In Quetta, the families of Hazara coal miners killed in an Islamic State attack last week have refused to bury the bodies, demanding a visit by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, and immediate action against the perpetrators.
Eleven coal miners were abducted and killed Saturday in a terror attack claimed by the Islamic State. The families of the miners have since been leading a sit-in demonstration with the bodies.
Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal visited the protest camp Wednesday and urged them to let go of their demand that they will only bury their relatives if Khan visits them. He also sought to assure the protesters that his government is working towards eradicating terrorism.
A minority group in Sunni-majority Pakistan, the Hazaras follow the Shia sect and have been at the receiving end of many terror attacks. Believed to be of Mongol descent, their physical characteristics distinguish them from other ethnic groups in the area, which makes them all the more vulnerable to terrorist violence.
Most of the Hazaras in Pakistan reside in Balochistan’s Quetta region. Their persecution in Pakistan is believed to have intensified during General Zia-ul-Haq’s tenure as president from the late 1970s to the 1980s, which was marked by a rise in violent sectarianism.
Before that, it has been reported that Balochistan had a long tradition of a secular culture. Pakistan also had a Hazara as Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistan Army — General Musa Khan, who served on the post from 1958 to 1966.
Anti-terrorism judge tears into police over youth’s death
An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Islamabad accused the investigation officer looking into the murder of a 21-year-old of colluding with the suspects, all of them policemen, The Express Tribune has reported.
The death of 21-year-old Usama Nadeem aka Osama Satti has stoked a major row in Pakistan. The youth was shot dead late Saturday night by policemen in Islamabad. The policemen claim they mistook him for a group of robbers who had been reported fleeing in a similar vehicle, adding that he didn’t stop the car when they asked him too. The car had tinted windows. Nadeem’s father has, however, said he had had an altercation with the police a day before when he was threatened with dire consequences.
Five members of Islamabad police have been arrested in connection with the incident.
On Wednesday, ATC judge Raja Jawad Abbas pulled up the investigation officer because he did not present photographs of Nadeem’s vehicle from the front. Photos from the front, he said, would have helped ascertain the direction from which the police had fired shots.
The judge asked, “Where is the picture of the seat on which the bullet hit him?” When the investigation officer responded that he did not have the photo, the judge responded, “You have brought the picture that shows he was shot at from behind, but not the one that shows he was shot at from the front.”
Raising questions about the need to shoot Nadeem, he said: “It seems that you are all working together.”
PPP remembers slain Bhuttos on Zulfikar birth anniversary
The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) International Conferences and Seminars Forum (ICSF) — a body whose role includes countering propaganda against the party — Tuesday organised a virtual conference, ‘Bayad-e-Bhuttos (Remembering Bhuttos)’, to pay tribute to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and his daughter Benazir Bhutto, both former prime ministers of Pakistan.
While Zulfikar was executed in 1979, Benazir was assassinated at a political rally in 2007. The conference marked Zulfikar’s 93rd birth anniversary.
Among the many who paid tribute to the two leaders at the event was senior journalist and poet Mahmood Shaam, who said political training and encouragement of party workers was the need of the hour. Others who attended the virtual conference included former Pakistan senator Sardar Saleem, who praised Benazir’s son and PPP chair Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, saying he had “qualities similar to those of his grandfather and mother”.
The PPP has been out of power in Pakistan since 2008.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa gets woman officer at helm
Sonia Shamroz, a Chevening fellow and superintendent of police, has been appointed as the first female district police officer (DPO) of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa — a role that places her at the helm of law enforcement in the province.
According to a report in The Express Tribune, she is the latest woman to break the glass ceiling in the province’s police force. Other examples cited are Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Anila Naz, Peshawar’s first woman traffic police officer who is known to have reformed the department with her strict way of functioning and educating people about traffic rules.
Elite Force Lady Commando Gul Sana from Tank and Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Saima Sharif from Peshawar are two other examples. Both are now part of the UN’s peacekeeping mission.