The Bold Voice of J&K

Baloch blast

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Baloch blast
The tragically numerous sectarian attacks in Balochistan need to come to a stop. And in addition to going after the militant infrastructure, attention also needs to be paid at creating sectarian harmony. The forces of bigotry should not be allowed any more space to take lives of innocent civilians. Needless to say, protection of life is one of the fundamental responsibilities of the state, and the Shias in Balochistan must be guaranteed this protection. The horrific bomb blast at Quetta’s Civil Hospital has reportedly left 70 people dead and many injured, while no group has yet accepted responsibility for the attack. Previously, there was the targeted killing of Balochistan Bar Association President Advocate Bilal Anwar Kasi whose body was in the hospital where the blast took place, and many lawyers and journalists had gone there to accompany it. While it is premature to speculate whether the two attacks are connected, they nevertheless show the alarming crisis of security in Balochistan. For long, Balochistan has been home to conflict of various kinds, and to make matters worse, the acute deprivation in the province is further fuelling grievances. Whether it is militant separatists who target government facilities or religious extremists who attack Hazara Shias, this security crisis needs a multifaceted approach that identifies the cause of all these different types of conflict and addresses them. Merely beefing up security or putting the blame on mysterious foreign forces would simply not suffice. Quetta has also long been regarded as a base for the Afghan Taliban. In May, Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour was killed by a US drone strike while travelling to Quetta from the Pakistan-Iran border. Balochistan is plagued by both a separatist rebellion and sectarian infighting between Sunnis and Shias. The Taliban and armed groups that support them also carry out attacks in the province, particularly in areas near the Afghan border. Pakistan’s military has been engaged in a long-running battle against those militant groups. The sectarian killings should come to stop and not to continue with the blame game which has been going on.

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