In a dramatic departure from his silence on genocide of Shia Muslims at the hands of banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ, currently operating as Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat ASWJ), Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Friday (30 June 2012) termed the barbaric incident of Quetta (attack on Shia pilgrims bus) as part of the systematic wave of violent attacks against the Hazara community, and demanded stern action against the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.
(While Imran Khan still stopped short of acknowledging that massacre of Shia Hazaras is a part of the larger Shia genocide taking place in all parts of Pakistan at the hands of the LeJ-ASWJ and Taliban, his clear reference to the LeJ and its condemnation is a positive development and one can hope he will soon realize the bigger picture and condemn the Pakistan wide Shia genocide which is not confined to a specific ethnicity or area.)
In his statement, Imran Khan strongly condemned attack on a Quetta bound bus carrying Shia pilgrims from Iran, which led to loss of 13 innocent lives. Terming the attack barbaric, Imran Khan said that the incident is part of the systematic wave of violent attacks against the Hazara community. Atleast 60 people belonging to the Hazara community have been brutally killed during the past six months. Imran Khan stated that there could be serious repercussions if the dangerous trend of increasing frequency and intensity of violent attacks against the Hazara Community is not reversed. The security situation of Balochistan is extremely uncertain and continued attacks against a particular community can push the province into a state of complete chaos. Constant failure to ensure security of the Hazara community despite loss of so many innocent lives is criminal negligence on part of the government. The situation demands the government to undertake emergency measures to stop violent attacks against the community, he added.
Imran Khan demanded stern action against the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which has openly claimed responsibility of this barbaric attack. The PTI Chairman expressed complete solidarity with the Hazara community and conveyed deepest condolences to the bereaved families.
Imran Khan’s statement has been appreciated by Pakistanis of all ethnic and religious backgrounds who want to see an end to the ongoing acts of violence by the LeJ-AsWJ.
What is, however, worrying is a threatening message that was noticed on Twitter on 30 June 2012 in the aftermath of Imran Khan’s condemnation of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. One person namely Raja Huzaifa posted the following insulting and threatening message:
oye kanjar lashkar-e-jhangvi ke khilaf baqwas ki to qatal kar dain gaye. NEXT TIME SHIA HAZARA KE HAQ MAIN BAAT KI TO OFFICE MAIN AA KAR GOLI MARAIN GAYE TUJHE.
Loose translation: Rascal, if you barked against Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, we will kill you. Next time if you spoke in support of Shia Hazara, we will come to your office and shoot you.
While the threat is not particularly directed against Imran Khan, it’s obvious that Imran Khan is the only notable leader who has taken a bold, commendable stance against the murderous LeJ in the last few days. (We have not yet seen such bold statement by any other leader including Asif Zardari, Nawaz Sharif, Asfandyar Wali Khan etc.)
We pray for Imran Khan’s safety and long life, and urge Pakistan’s federal and provincial governments as well as army to take all necessary measures to protect him from those who might be upset due to his bold statement.