Bilawal and Maryam’s Visit to Quetta’s Hazaras
The PPP chairperson and PMLN Vice President have reached Quetta to address the Hazara community and express their grief over the attack.
On Thursday, 7th January, PPP chairperson and PLMN Vice President, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Maryam Nawaz, arrived at Quetta to express their condolences to the people of the Hazara community, following the inhumane attack on Sunday.
Taking to the stage, Bilawal and Maryam, both of whom belong to the PDM addressed the Hazara protestors along with multiple other political leaders like Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.
Bilawal recalled the time when the Hazara community was under attack during the PPP government’s reign, and how the government acted to ensure justice. “Then too, you had put forward your demands to us. We had even dismissed the [provincial] government,” he told the protesters, regretting that attacks against the community had continued through the terms of subsequent governments.
In 2013, there were three consecutive bombings targeting the Hazara community in Quetta. the PPP government had dismissed the Balochistan government and imposed governor’s rule in the province. This announcement was made by the former prime minister, Raja Pervez Ashraf, who was welcomed by thousands of Hazara Shias who had been staging a sit-in in the freezing cold in Quetta along with the bodies of dozens of people killed in the attacks.
Similar to 2013, the Hazaras have been staging a sit-in for the Machh killings as well and it has exceeded up to 6 days in the freezing cold. “Pakistan is a country where even our martyred and the dead have to protest,” Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said, adding that although basic utilities like gas and electricity had become expensive in the country, “the people’s blood is cheap”. “The blood of our laborers is cheap, and that of political workers, police officers, lawyers, residents, and the Hazara community.”
Moreover, Bilawal added that nearly 2000+ Hazaras have been killed since 1998, yet not even one of them has gotten justice. “I too belong to a family of martyrs. We too have not been able to get our martyrs justice to date, like you. I promise you, the way we struggle day and night to get justice for our martyrs, we will struggle for our poor people’s right to live till the day we do politics. What kind of justice is this where you are killed by [identification through] ID cards while doing labor or going to school? What kind of justice is this where the families of the martyred have to repeatedly protest along with their coffins?” Bilawal asked.
He further talked about Imran Khan’s inefficiency to meet the Hazara community and said that the state could not be called a state until it ensured the security of life for oppressed segments. “On behalf of the PPP, we demand from the state that you had promised to implement the National Action Plan, and promised the children of APS (Army Public School Peshawar) to eliminate terrorism from Pakistan, and if today not only can terrorist launch attacks, but extremists can spread extremism, raise slogans of ‘Kafir! Kafir!‘ and spread hate, then the NAP has failed and terrorists backs’ have not been broken.” says Bilawal.
Furthermore, Maryam Nawaz also had plenty to say about PM Imran Khan and the Hazara attack. “I am sad that you are calling for an insensitive man and he doesn’t have the time to come here,” she said while referring to the PM. “Today I want to say while putting aside all political differences, please visit, for God’s sake. The state’s job is to protect its people, especially those who are under attack and vulnerable.”
She continued while addressing the authorities: “If you have failed in your duty [to protect the Hazaras], then have some courage, come here and sympathize with these people. Is your ego bigger than their pain and these bodies? And then you say politics should not be done on this issue. We never do that, but if you think you can dodge your failure and callousness by crying ‘politics’, we won’t let that happen.”
The matter has escalated to such an extent, that Nobel Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai, has also taken notice and tweeted about the Hazara tragedy. “This is not the first time that this has happened. But I hope it is the last,” she wrote on Twitter, requesting Prime Minister Imran to meet with the victims’ families “as soon as possible”.
I am short of words to express my grief over the brutal killings of Hazara miners. This is not the first time that this has happened. But I hope it is the last. The whole country is in mourning.
— Malala (@Malala) January 7, 2021
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