Pakistani lawyers take to the streets to condemn the Quetta bombing.
The left-wing Awami Workers Party (AWP) has condemned the deadly bombing of the Civil Hospital in Quetta on August 8, in which more than 97 people lost their lives. Most victims were lawyers gathered for the funeral of recently-assassinated Balochistan Bar Association President Anwar Kasi.
In a statement, the AWP said: “This blast is a reminder of how the people of Balochistan have been thrown to the wolves by the Pakistani government and establishment. Banned outfits like LEJ and ASWJ [terror groups] continue to operate with impunity in Quetta and the rest of the province, which is also home to the infamous Taliban Quetta Shura.
“The dozens of deaths today are a consequence of our failed policies of support for such extremist groups that have ended up murdering tens of thousands of Pakistanis in cold blood…
“The AWP reiterates its position that there can be no lasting peace in Pakistan until the establishment ceases its support for all fundamentalist militant groups regardless of their strategic value in neighbouring countries. Far too much blood has been spilled because of our failure to reign in these monsters of our own making.
“AWP calls on all progressive forces in the country to forge a common front against fundamentalist violence and its supporters in state and society. Only through a collective political and ideological mass struggle against the rampant forces of reaction can we hope to end this kind of bloodshed.”
The Karachi-based Women's Action Forum (WAF) joined the AWP in “mourning the tragic loss of lives of our brothers and sisters in the bombing in Quetta today. We are bereaved by the deaths of respected members of the legal community and journalists who were killed on duty.”
In its statement, the WAF, “as members of the women's movement”, asked the government and state authorities:
“1. How does the most securitised province in Pakistan … become so easily breached by not just the targeted killing of the President of the Bar but also a well planned and mechanised bombing of the hospital where he was taken?
“2. Why has the head of a banned militant group who has sworn to eradicate the Hazara community been released from detention and how does the Quetta Shura operate with such impunity — in action but also by way of spreading a narrative of hate and threats?
“3. How is it so easy to suppress dissent by students and academics or intellectuals and nationalists, but not the hate mongering by murderous groups? Why are they never 'disappeared'? What is the definition of 'anti-state' for Balochistan?
“4. When the Hazara community was going through systematic genocidal persecution, why was that not taken as a symptom and prediction of mass murders that were sure to follow, as that which happened today?
“5. Is there no normative security apparatus left anymore in Pakistan? Even if the army insists on being manager of all provincial issues it must hold internal reckoning regarding its own role in the history of conflict within Pakistan, especially Balochistan. It has to understand that political resolution by political leadership has to take the lead to secure the lives of our citizens.”
The WAF said it “stands in solidarity with the families of those murdered today, but also those who have been victims of persecution and neglectful policies by the state in the history of Balochistan's struggle for just rights”.
“WAF resolves to continue its struggle against all forms of violence, especially which targets women and the marginalised and vows to build solidarity and seek justice for them.”