Four Hazara tribesmen were gunned down and two others received bullet wounds as they came under attack from a band of terrorists in Kuchlak area in the outskirts of the Provincial Capital on Sunday evening. The terrorists, on motorcycles, spared two women and fled after killing four, three of them on the spot.
According to initial reports published in the news pages, the Hazara tribesmen were travelling in a van. The van stopped at a filling station for refueling. The terrorists also reached the spot on bikes and disembarked all the passengers and gunned down the male sparing two females presumably pretending to be feminists or for any other reason.
Three of them died on the spot while another lost his life before any medical care was provided to him at the Civil Hospital. Both dead and injured were rushed to the Civil Hospital from the site of the terror attack. The armed terrorists fled from the scene after killing innocent people.
Official sources claimed that they were coming from border township of Chaman and on their way to Quetta city during which they were intercepted and attacked. An impression was given that they came from Afghanistan and presumably they were illegal immigrants possessing no valid travel documents.
This aspect of the story is yet to be confirmed by the official sources investigating the multiple murders by the terrorists. Later in the night, the official sources at the Civil Hospital released the names of the victims of terror attack. We are yet waiting for a reaction from the Hazara tribesmen that who were they.
They were local residents or not. Why they were targeted in the northern end of the Provincial Capital? The official sources should come out with more details that they possessed valid travel documents or not if they had crossed the international frontier.
Hazara tribesmen are settled in this part of Balochistan for two centuries, if not more. They are part and parcel of the society retaining highly cordial relations with the Baloch majority. During this long period of history, they were never discriminated or punished for their belief. The society is completely secular and jealously protected the rights of religious minorities, other linguistic groups.
The sectarian divide was an alien idea in Balochistan and it is hated by most of the people. The trouble with the Hazara tribesmen or a section of it, started following the Iranian Revolution. The expression was widely found in Karachi where the functionaries formed Sawad-i-Azam under a fascist Mulla specifically to punish certain Shia elements who tried to import the Shia revolution to Pakistan.
Later, the terrorist gangs were inducted to deal with such elements. Only certain brainwashed elements from other communities were hired and used in target killing of Hazara tribesmen. The events in Parachinar in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas took a more dreadful and ugly turn where hundreds of people are killed in frequent bomb attacks and explosions.
In any case, the sectarian conflict is an alien idea in the Baloch society and no right minded man in Pakistan will support killing of innocent people on any ground. The Hazara people should be treated as equal citizen of this country and they should enjoy equal and just rights at par with other communities, particularly in Balochistan.
The Government should investigate the target killing at Kuchlak and arrest the real culprits and their mastermind so that peace and tranquility should prevail in all parts of Pakistan under the present circumstances as the country is facing serious challenges on security issues.
Target killing or sectarian violence will not help in retaining durable peace and unity among the people at this critical juncture. The Chief Minister, Nawab Sanaullah Zehri, had already vowed to arrest the real culprits and punish them all under the law. We hope that the Government will investigate the incident and arrest the real culprits reassuring the Hazara tribesmen that justice is felt to be done.