January 7th, 2021

By Ahmad Saeed 


LAHORE

Civil society on Thursday staged a demonstration at Liberty Roundabout to protest the heinous killings of Hazara Shias in Machh, calling upon the government to accept all demands of the victims’ families and strictly deal with the perpetrators of the attack.

Students, activists and women participated in the protest organized by the Joint Action Committee (JAC). The demonstrators held placards and chanted slogans to express their anguish over the massacre.

‘Perpetrators be held accountable’

The protesters demanded that the government hold the perpetrators accountable for the numerous attacks on the marginalized community. “The Hazara community has faced such tragedies for several years but on each occasion, senior government officials have come up with empty promises of justice which soon die down till another massacre,” says Ghazi Taimur, a student participating in the demonstration. He said the Prime Minister should assure that the systemic discrimination against the Hazara community should end and the government apparatus effectively acts against the perpetrators. The Hazaras who are also a Shia community have not been protected all these years, he said.

The protesters were unanimous that the whole nation should rise up to protest the killings in Machh as silence would only lead to the flames of terrorism eventually engulfing the entire country.

“It’s hard to comprehend why has the Prime Minister still not visited Quetta to condole with the Hazari community which is one of the poorest and weakest in the country,” says Sakina Alam, one of many women present in the protest. She said the New Zealand Prime Minister went to the Muslim community after the terror attacks there but sadly the country’s Prime Minister had not done so in the case of the Hazara Shias.  Alam said she came to protest so that the young generation should understand the importance of standing up to injustice. She said the government should use all state machinery to trace the terrorists as well as use all resources to protect the vulnerable community.

Protesters question if Hazara community killers have protection by state elements
The participants said that people could not be fooled any longer with the so-called mantra of blaming unidentified attackers for such massacres. They said questions are being raised about whether the perpetrators have had protection from certain state elements. “The rhetoric of unidentified attackers must cease, now everybody knows who the perpetrators are,” says Shehar Bano. She said the prevailing situation has pushed citizens to the wall which does not bode well for the State. The protesters called upon the government to accept all demands of the victims’ families and sternly deal with the perpetrators of the attack.

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