Sunday, January 13, 2013

Why Hazara?

After over 48 hours since it started, the sit-in on Quetta’s Alamdar Road staged by hundreds of members from the Hazara Shia community continues on Sunday. The demonstrators, while refusing to bury their loved ones, began the protests shortly after a series of blasts rocked Quetta on Jan 10, 2012, killing over 100 people, mostly from the Hazara community. In a conversation with on the current situation in Balochistan’s capital, chairman of the Hazara Democratic Party (HDP), Abdul Khaliq Hazara, who is currently observing a three-day-long hunger strike in Quetta to draw attention to the Hazaras’ plight, said that the government and law enforcement agencies’ failure to stop the ‘genocide’ of the community amounted to complicity. A similar stance was also previously highlighted in a recent HRW report on Balochistan. The HDP chief described the government’s performance as indicative of the fact that there were black sheep within the government and the security personnel who supported those responsible for the targeted killings of members of the Hazara community. He claimed that there had been neither any arrests nor other developments in any of the cases involving the victimisation of the Hazara community. Hazara said in his view the authorities’ negligence and incompetence amounted to complicity. The HDP chief moreover told that the laws were being applied only to persecute the poor and helpless and not to bring to account those behind the kidnappings for ransom and robberies rampant in Quetta. He further alleged that such incidents could only occur at the behest of those who wielded power and influence. In response to a question over his thoughts on a possible solution to the problem, the HDP chief said: “Those in charge of affairs — under whose watch the situation has deteriorated to the current level — need to be replaced immediately. Moreover, only a military-supervised targeted operation along the same lines as the Lal Masjid, Swat and Karachi operations could help eliminate the handful of individuals responsible for such incidents. Why should Quetta be an exception?” “Quetta was a metropolitan city consisting of multicultural and religiously-tolerant citizens,” reminisced the HDP chairman. “It is not as vast in terms of area as other major cities but some elements are trying to destabilise the situation and push the people into a state of anarchy and civil war.” He said he feared that the Hazara community, which has “always held a non-violent approach” within constitutional perimeters, was being pushed into violence through the Talibanisation of its lands and the involvement of other extremist elements. When questioned whether he thought the protests and sit-ins staged in Quetta could be a risk to the Hazara community, he said: “We have no other choice but to resort to these methods. The risk exists in our daily lives. At least, this way our plight is being highlighted and some awareness is being created.” Speaking on the reaction and show of support by the civil society over the Quetta bombings, he said it was due to the awareness that had been created on the recent events that people who were educated and from the middle class were choosing to involve themselves in the cause. He said the awareness of the plight of the Hazara community in Quetta did not come easily nor overnight. Hazara also referred to the protests being held by members of the community in 36 major cities of the world. Earlier in Dec 2012, a conference held in Gothenburg, Sweden had adopted a resolution asking the Swedish government and European Union to put pressure on the Pakistani government to protect ethnic and religious minority communities. Also, the British House of Commons had, on Nov 19, hosted a similar conference which was attended by 20 MPs. Before the HDP chairman could be questioned on the suspected motives behind the attacks against the Hazara community, Abdul Khaliq Hazara said: “We are peace-loving people, why would anyone want to target our hapless community”.

President Zardari signs summary of Governor's rule imposition in Balochistan

Governor’s rule has been imposed in Balochistan province as President Asif Ali Zardari signed the summary here in the wee hours of Monday, Geo News reported. Earlier, Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf announced that invoking article 234 of the constitution, Governor’s rule in Balochistan has been imposed effective from Monday. Talking to protestors of the Hazara sit-in, PM Ashraf expressed hope that as an executive of the province, Governor Zulfiqar Ali Magsi would take all necessary steps to hold those behind the Quetta bombings accountable. He also said that FC has been given all powers of police in the province. The prime minister asked protestors to inform Governor Balochistan and FC Commander about their problems, adding that action would be taken immediately. He assured the protestors that federal government would fully cooperate with the governor. False FIR registered against Shia people would also be withdrawn, the prime minister said. Replying a query regarding deployment of army in the province, Ashraf said that army could be called in anytime for civilian administration’s help.

Pakistan sacks provincial government after attack

Associated Press
Pakistani leaders dismissed the government of southwest Baluchistan province early Monday in response to the demands of protesters angry about an attack on minority Shiite Muslims there that killed 86 people. In another part of the country, a roadside bomb killed 14 Pakistani soldiers. Over the past three days, thousands of Shiites have blocked a main road in the Baluchistan capital of Quetta with dozens of coffins of relatives killed in the twin bombing of a billiards hall in the city Thursday. They demanded the provincial government be dismissed and that the army take over responsibility for the city. Last year was the deadliest ever for Shiites in Pakistan, with over 400 dead in targeted killings. Violence has been especially intense in Baluchistan, home of the largest number of Shiites in the country. Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said in a televised address shortly early Monday that the governor has been made head of Baluchistan province, replacing the chief minister. Also, paramilitary forces will receive police powers and launch an operation against militants behind the billiards hall attack. The prime minister flew to Quetta on Sunday after other efforts to pacify the protesters failed. Human rights organizations have accused the Pakistani government of not doing enough to protect Shiites targeted by radical Sunni Muslims who believe they are heretics. The billiards hall attack was carried out by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a sectarian militant group allied with al-Qaida and the Pakistani Taliban. Taliban militants and their allies have also been waging a bloody insurgency against the Pakistani government over the past several years. A roadside bomb hit a Pakistani army convoy Sunday in a mountainous militant stronghold in the northwest, killing 14 soldiers, one of the deadliest attacks against the army in that sector, intelligence officials said. The North Waziristan tribal area is a major trouble spot that the military has been reluctant to tackle. The remote region is home to Pakistani Taliban and al-Qaida militants at war with the government. It is also used as a sanctuary by other militants who have focused their attacks in neighboring Afghanistan. The attack Sunday occurred near Dosalli village in North Waziristan, said Pakistani intelligence officials. The blast destroyed two vehicles and damaged a third, they said. The 14 dead and 20 wounded were brought to a military hospital in the nearby town of Miran Shah, the officials said. Pakistani military officials confirmed the bombing but said four soldiers were killed and 11 others wounded. The discrepancy could not immediately be reconciled. Then officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters. The Pakistani military is worried that if it targets its enemies in North Waziristan, that could trigger a backlash whereby other militants in the area turn against Pakistan. The most powerful group in the area, the Afghan Haqqani network, is also believed to be seen by the army as a potential ally in Afghanistan after foreign forces withdraw, making a military offensive even more complicated. North Waziristan has been a sore point in relations between Pakistan and the United States. Washington has repeatedly pushed Islamabad to launch an operation in the area, especially against the Haqqani network, considered one of the most dangerous groups fighting in Afghanistan. But Pakistan has refused. North Waziristan has also become an increasing problem for Pakistan. It is the only part of the tribal region where the army has not conducted an offensive, and many Pakistani Taliban militants have fled there to escape army operations. The Taliban and their allies have staged hundreds of attacks across Pakistan that have killed thousands of people. Also Sunday, a Pakistani cleric and thousands of his supporters left the eastern city of Lahore on a "long march" to demand sweeping election reforms before national elections expected this spring. Police officer Suhail Sukhera estimated the crowd to be at least 15,000. They left for Islamabad in hundreds of buses, cars and trucks. Some waved flags and pictures of the 61-year-old Sunni Muslim cleric, while others shouted, "Revolution is our goal, brave and religious leader Qadri." Critics of Qadri, who returned last month after years in Canada, are worried he is bent on derailing elections, possibly at the behest of the country's powerful military — allegations the cleric has denied. Qadri has a large following that extends outside Pakistan and has a reputation for speaking out against terrorism and promoting his message through hundreds of books, an online television channel and videos. Now, Qadri's focus is on Pakistan's election laws. He is suggesting vaguely worded changes, such as making sure candidates are honest as well as ending exploitation and income disparities so that poor people are free to vote for whomever they want. His plan to hold a massive rally in Islamabad on Monday has alarmed many members of Pakistan's political system. The government has deployed a large number of police throughout the capital and set up shipping containers to block protesters from reaching sensitive areas. Qadri accused the provincial government of Punjab, where Lahore is the capital, of harassing his supporters Sunday to make it difficult for them to participate in the march. "These negative tactics will not work, and God willing the march will reach Islamabad with a sea of people," Qadri told reporters. ___

Powell defends Clinton on Benghazi
Former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell defended current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's handling of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, saying it could've happened under anyone's watch.
"I think she's had a distinguished record," Powell said in an interview on NBC's "Meet The Press" broadcast Sunday. "And I don't think that this one incident--which is one of these things that those of us in government have been through many, many times where suddenly an action happens late at night ... I don't think it's a blot on her record." "You're surprised," Powell said of the Sept. 11, 2o12, attack that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. "Somebody gets killed, something gets blown up. And then the after-action reports start and everybody wants to know who was at fault. Who was responsible? 'Why didn't you keep this from happening?' Well, you can't keep everything from happening. Benghazi was a very, very difficult one and a difficult situation, and maybe they shouldn't have been there in the first place." Earlier, Powell was asked for his assessment on Chuck Hagel, President Barack Obama's nominee for defense secretary. "This is a guy who knows veterans, knows the troops," Powell said. "And when people say, 'Well, that doesn't necessarily make him a good candidate for secretary of defense,' I'll tell you who thinks that makes him a good candidate for secretary of defense: The men and women in the armed forces of the United States and their parents, who know that this is a guy who will be very careful about putting their lives at risk, 'cause he put his life at risk." Powell continued: "He knows what war is, and he will fight a war if it's necessary. But he's a guy who will do it with great deliberation and care. … He is a fellow he speaks his mind. He sometimes gets in trouble with those who thinks he should not speak his mind, but he says what he believes and he sticks with it." The retired general said Hagel--who was criticized for past comments about Israel--"will be on Israel's side."Powell, who served as secretary of state during President George W. Bush's first term, also gave a frank assessment of the GOP. "I think the Republican Party right now is having an identity problem, and I'm still a Republican," Powell said. "But in recent years, there's been a significant shift to the right, and we have seen what that shift has produced: two losing presidential campaigns. I think what the Republican Party needs to do now is take a very hard look at itself and understand that the country has changed. The country is changing demographically. And if the Republican Party does not change along with that demographic, they're going to be in trouble. "There's also a dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the party," he added. "Everybody wants to talk about, 'Who's going to be the candidate?' You've got to think first about, 'What's the party actually going to represent?' If it's just going to represent the far right wing of the political spectrum, I think the party is in difficulty."

Governor's rule in Balochistan on the cards

Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf has principally decided to dismiss the Balochistan government and clamp governor’s rule in the province. The prime minister Sunday evening visited Quetta and held a meeting with the Governor Balochistan Nawab Zualfiqar Magsi. It has been learnt that PM has taken this decision after consultations with the legal experts. It must be recalled that many political leaders, including Imran Khan, had demanded of the government to dismiss the government of Balochistan. MQM Chief Altaf Hussain also telephoned the PM and urged him to impose governor’s rule in the province. Raja Pervaiz Ashraf has been consulting various political leaders in the regard, including PML-Q leader Ch Shujjat, who has Sunday evening suggested that Balochistan should be handed over to army. CM Balochistan Aslam Raisani is presently abroad of on a tour. The demand for dismissal of Balochistan government gained momentum after the sit-in by the families of the people killed in the Quetta blasts, who refused to bury the dead till the acceptance of their demands.

India: Police arrest six in new case of gang-rape on bus

Six men have been arrested over the rape of a woman who was travelling by bus in the northern Indian state of Punjab, police said on Sunday. The attack comes just weeks after the death of a gang-rape victim sparked nationwide protests. Six men have been arrested over the rape of a passenger on a coach in India, police said Sunday, weeks after the gang-rape and murder of a student on a bus in New Delhi sparked nationwide protests. The victim had boarded the service to her in-laws' home in the northern state of Punjab when she was abducted Friday and driven to a district bordering the Sikh holy city of Amritsar, local police officer Raj Jeet Singh said. Five men joined the driver and conductor, who had taken her by motorbike to an unknown address, and took turns to rape the victim before dropping her off near her in-laws' village on Saturday morning, he said. "Six men have been arrested on allegations of having raped a 29-year-old woman... after forcibly taking her to an unknown location on the night of January 11," the policeman told AFP, adding that a seventh suspect was being hunted. "The lady, after being kidnapped, was raped brutally throughout the night by the seven accused," he said. "After raping the victim throughout the night, one of the accused dropped her near her in-laws' house the next morning where she narrated the whole incident to her two sisters-in-law." He said the extent of her injuries had yet to be established. The attack is disturbingly similar to the December 16 gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old student in Delhi, where five men are on trial in a case that has fuelled anger across India over the treatment of women.
Partap Singh Bajwa, a local Congress Party politician, blamed the police for not enforcing stringent checks on buses operating in the state. "It all happened due to laxity of police as they never bother to check out the buses moving on national highways during night time," Bajwa told AFP. Protesters across India have called for the police to be more vigilant and sensitive to the growing incidence of sexual assault against women, after details emerged of the New Delhi attack. Police and prosecutors have outlined how the alleged rapists picked up the student and her male companion in a school bus which they had taken for a joyride after drinking heavily. The bus would have had to cross numerous police checkpoints at that time of night but at no stage was the vehicle pulled over by officers. After getting into an argument with the woman's male companion, the group allegedly beat him up and raped the victim in the back of the bus while driving around Delhi for some 45 minutes. They also sexually assaulted the woman with a rusting metal bar, leaving her with severe intestinal injuries, before hurling her out of the vehicle. She died in a Singapore hospital 13 days after the attack.

Is Afghanistan ready for a complete pullout?

For the first time, Washington has publicly announced the possibility that no US soldiers will remain in Afghanistan past 2014. German experts are skeptical that Afghan security will be able to cope without their help. "We wouldn’t rule out any option," US deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes said on Tuesday, January 8, referring to a complete withdrawal of all American troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. The statement, the first high-level public acknowledgement that the US is considering a complete pullout, comes at a time when Afghan President Hamid Karzai is in Washington for talks on the future of Afghanistan. International ISAF troops are set to pull out of Afghanistan in 2014. Since July 2011, Afghan security officials have already begun taking responsibility for their country’s security. According to current plans, a small number of international soldiers will remain in the country. They are supposed to help train and advise local police and security officials and support the country’s civilian reconstruction. The US administration, which has the largest troop contingent on the ground, is mulling over its options. There is talk of some 3,000 to 9,000 US soldiers staying on in Afghanistan - compared to the 15,000 soldiers top US commander, General John Allen, had asked for. There are currently some 66,000 US soldiers in Afghanistan.Working with "the wrong Afghans" Joachim Spross, who heads the German-Afghan Friendship Society, told DW that the security situation gave rise to concern - as did the most recent debate on a complete withdrawal. "I just don’t understand, considering that the US and Afghanistan agreed on a contract last year," Spross said. According to the agreement, the US would maintain one or two military bases. "I am convinced it would be unwise to withdraw all soldiers." Spross added that "mistakes" had been made in the selection of local security personnel. For a long time, Spross said, foreign troops had been working with "the wrong Afghans" and had been unable to recruit and promote untainted civilians to top positions. Rainer Stinner, foreign policy spokesman for the ruling FDP party, is convinced that, despite the unstable political situation, Afghanistan has achieved a lot. He points to more roads and improved access to education and health care. But Stinner, too, said a complete withdrawal was unthinkable. "Within NATO, we talked about the fact that we have certain responsibilities towards this country. That is why I am convinced that some US troops will remain in Afghanistan post-2014," Stinner told DW. He added that the most recent debate was not to be taken seriously and that, given the huge material and human "investments," it would be wrong to pull out completely. Just political wrangling? Frithjof Schmidt, Afghanistanexpert for the Green Party, isn’t convinced that the White House really wants to withdraw all its troops. He said the most recent comments made by the US were a reaction to ongoing criticism by the Afghan government. He pointed to accusations of US unilateral military and deployment plans which Afghan officials say undermine their sovereignty. "I think it’s just a lot of noise to strengthen the American’s hand when it comes to negotiating the conditions for US support for Afghan security officials," he said. However, Schmidt thinks that US considerations coincide with the strategic shift agreed upon by the international community in 2010, namely away from a military to a political solution, which includes negotiations with insurgent groups. "First they increased the number of troops to show that they were serious about keeping up the pressure for negotiations. Now we’ve entered the final phase, in which the US government is conducting a conceptual discussion, to what extent they want to actively engage following the ISAF mission," Schmidt told DW. With President Obama’s re-election, the discussion has now entered into its decisive phase, he added.
Lacking logistical capabilities
Schmidt is convinced that the bad security situation in Afghanistan proves the strategic change was the right decision. "It’s high time for a new impulse in the political negotiations with the insurgents." He said it was crucial that training and advisory missions be strictly separated from the fight against insurgents and that combat troops be completely withdrawn. Should, against all expectations, Americans completely withdraw their troops next year, the German government would have to revise its plans of maintaining only a reduced number of German soldiers in Afghanistan, Stinner, spokesman for the FDP, said. "In order to ensure a safe environment in Afghanistan, we need capacities that only the Americans have had so far, for example in logistics." Should the unlikely scenario of a complete withdrawal actually become a reality, Stinner added, "this would have a direct impact on our deployment in Afghanistan."

Massacre of Shias in Quetta provides damning indictment of authorities: HRW

The Express Tribune
The government’s persistent failure to protect the minority Shia community from sectarian attacks by Sunni militant groups, is reprehensible and amounts to complicity in the barbaric slaughter of Pakistani citizens, Human Rights Watch said Thursday. “The government should immediately hold accountable those responsible for ordering and participating in deadly attacks targeting the Shia across Pakistan and particularly the Hazara Shia in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province.” On January 10, at least 4 bomb attacks took place in Quetta killing over 90 and injuring well over 150 people. Those killed included at least 8 police personnel and one journalist. “2012 was the bloodiest year for Pakistan’s Shia community in living memory and if this latest attack is any indication, 2013 has started on an even more dismal note,” said Ali Dayan Hasan, Pakistan director at Human Rights Watch. “As Shia community members continue to be slaughtered in cold blood, the callousness and indifference of authorities offers a damning indictment of the state, its military and security agencies.” In 2012, well over 400 members of the Shia population were killed in targeted attacks. Over 120 of these were killed in Balochistan province, the vast majority from the Hazara Shia community. Similar attacks targeting the Shia population have taken place repeatedly over the last year in Balochistan, Karachi, predominantly Shia populated areas of Gilgit Baltistan in the northern areas, and in Pakistan’s tribal areas, Human Rights Watch said. “Pakistan’s tolerance for religious extremists is not just destroying lives and alienating entire communities, it is destroying Pakistani society across the board,” said Hasan. “Sectarian violence won’t end until those responsible are brought to trial and justice.” Human Rights Watch urged the federal government and relevant provincial governments to make all possible efforts to promptly apprehend and prosecute those responsible for recent attacks and other crimes targeting the Shia population.

Calls for Governor’s rule in Balochistan grow

Calls for imposition of Governor’s rule in Balochistan and handing over the control of Quetta City to the military are growing as talks between the Hazara community leaders and government officials on Saturday failed to quell a protest that brought thousands onto cold, wet streets for a second night to watch over the bodies of over 100 people killed in one of country’s worst sectarian attacks. Talking to reporters after talks with MQM leaders in Karachi on Saturday, Hazara tribe chief Sardar Saadat Ali demanded immediate handing over of Quetta to the Army and if need arises Governor’s rule should be imposed. MQM chief Altaf Hussain also called for dissolution of the Balochistan Assembly and Cabinet. The City’s control should be given to the military and the Chief Justice of Pakistan should take notice of the genocide of members of Hazara community. Speaking in Lahore, PTI Chairman Imran Khan demanded immediate resignation from federal and Balochistan governments over their failure to control the law and order situation, besides imposing Governor’s rule in the volatile province. Imran said he had directed party leaders and workers in Balochistan to take part in the sit-in of the Quetta Solidarity Council, while he would also reach there to express solidarity with the Hazaras. Advisor to Prime Minister on Human Rights Nawaz Khokhar, PAC Chairman Nadeem Afzal Chan and PML-F have also demanded slapping Governor’s rule in Balochistan. Meanwhile, despite freezing cold weather, hundreds of Hazara Shias continued their sit-in on the second day at Quetta’s Alamdar Road that was the scene of the suicide attacks. The protesters including women and children are keeping more than 60 coffins carrying the victims’ bodies there and say they would not burry them until the army takes control of the provincial capital and governor rule is imposed in the restive province. Federal Minister Khurshid Shah, Balochistan Governor Nawab Zulfiqar Magsi and other government officials visited protestors and held talks with Hazaras representative Qaumi Yakjehti Council (QYC) but they could not achieve anything despite assurances of the federal minister that he would soon convey their massage to the PM. The QYC warned that it would expand its protest to the cantonment area and Balochistan High Court if their demands would not be fulfilled. “We will not end our protest until we get an assurance that the Pakistan army will take over security and administrative control in Quetta,” a QYC leader said. After talks with Hazaras, Khurshid Shah told the media that the president and PM were in contact with Governor Magsi. About governor rule, he said the assembly could not be dissolved without CM’s advice. When pointed out that CM did not turn up to meet the victim families, the governor said he would not have been there had Mr Raisani been in Quetta. “There are many secrets in this answer for journalists,” he added. Also on Saturday, more than 500 supporters of the Hazara Democratic Party gathered outside the IGP office as its leader Abdul Khaliq went on a three-day hunger strike against lack of security. In Islamabad, Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf has ordered the Frontier Crops (FC) to help maintain security in Balochistan and instructed Chief Minister Aslam Raisani to immediately return to country as Hazara families have refused to bury their dead after twin bombings in Quetta, vowing to continue their sit-in protest until the army takes over control. Interior Minister Rahman Malik called on the prime minister at the PM House on Saturday and apprised him about the latest situation in Quetta in the backdrop of the deadly blasts. The PM ordered immediate dispatch of Pakistan Air Force’s C-130 plane to shift the injured of the blasts to Karachi for better medical treatment. He also announced one million rupees for the family of each dead and one hundred thousand rupees for every injured. The PM, on the request of Balochistan government, ordered the FC to extend assistance to the civil administration in the maintenance of law and order. The FC has been given full police powers for the purpose and reinforcement of its contingents has been ordered. The PM also asked Governor Balochistan and provincial chief secretary to keep him updated, besides directed Federal Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira to go to Quetta for monitoring the situation.

Quetta’s dead remain unburied: Nationwide protest over carnage

As the devastated Shia protesters in Quetta continued their vigil over the unburied bodies of their loves ones, their grief was felt across the country as members of the Shia and Hazara communities and civil society came out on the streets of various cities of Pakistan on Saturday. From Karachi to Islamabad, Shia parties such as Majlis-i-Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM) and the Imamia Students Organisation (ISO) as well as civil society activists gathered to protest the three blasts in Quetta on Thursday which claimed over a hundred lives – most of them of Shia and Hazaras. On Friday, distraught relatives of the victims had begun a protest in Quetta. Accompanied by coffins holding the bodies of those killed on Thursday, they said they would not move or bury their loved ones till the army took control of Quetta. By Saturday, a stunned nation appeared to have rallied around in support of the protesters by holding protests. In Islamabad, a protest organised by Shia groups blocked a main road for several hours. Although the protesters dispersed late in the night, they promised to return for a peaceful demonstration on Sunday morning. Activists of the Shia Ulema Council, Majlis-i-Wahdatul Muslimeen and Imamia Students Organisation also took out rallies in major cities of Punjab and held a demonstration outside the Governor’s house in Lahore which continued till late into the night. Sindh also witnessed similar protests as did Peshawar. As this wave of protests hit the headlines by Saturday afternoon, the apathetic political leadership began to wake up. Till then they continued to be preoccupied with shenanigans such as the march of Maulana Tahirul Qadri; this is lent credence by the fact that the only PPP leader who visited Quetta on Saturday to talk to protesters was Khursheed Shah. His efforts at placating the protesters proved ineffective. The only other politician who appeared at the scene was Balochistan Governor Zulfiqar Magsi, who did little beyond expressing his lack of powers and firing a few verbal rounds at the provincial government and Mr Shah. The prime minister woke up late in the evening – metaphorically – to call the governor; grant police powers to the Frontier Corps (FC) in Balochistan, and order an ever missing Chief Minister Aslam Raisani to immediately return to the country from Dubai. According to his spokesman, the provincial head was getting his throat treated. There were reports that the prime minister may meet some Hazara leaders on Sunday. Other parties followed suit. Phone calls were made as the prime minister called his ministers and other leaders and Altaf Hussain, the Muttahida chief, called government officials from London. The MQM held a press conference in Karachi where a distraught Hazara leader addressed the media. He could only lament that no one from the government had turned up to share the grief of the victims. The MQM leaders promised their support for the victims. However, in Rawalpindi, where the military’s headquarters are located, there was silence. There was no word from the military that has been called upon to take over Quetta and which has been critised by many in the past 48 hours. An ISPR official said the army can be called in by the civil administration and the provincial government.