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‘Pak govt supports militants’

world Updated: Feb 18, 2013 00:46 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad

As the death toll of Saturday’s bombing in Quetta rose to 80, local Shia Hazara leaders said that the government’s support to militant outfits was resulting in the systematic elimination of the country’s minority religious communities.

They also said that the Pakistan army was supporting such outfits “because it needs them in its operations against India and other countries.”

On Sunday, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi group, which is closely associated with the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan and the Jaish-e-Muhammad group of Maulana Masood Azhar took responsibility for the attack where a water tanker packed with explosives was detonated in a market area.

Quetta city police chief Zubair Mehmood said the water tanker, which officials said was packed with some 800 kilograms of explosives, was placed near a pillar of a two-storey building, which collapsed in the blast. “We fear that several people have been trapped inside. Rescue work is ongoing but I see very little chance of their survival,” Mehmood told the media.
In January, a similar attack on the Shia Hazara community in which two bombs were detonated killed 92 people. At the time, the community members refused to bury the dead and demanded that army be handed control of Quetta. This did not happen but PM Raja Pervez Ashraf imposed Governor rule in the province.

Governor Zulfiqar Magsi said the attack had resulted because of an intelligence failure. He said as governor he had given a free hand to the security forces but despite this an attack of such a magnitude had taken place.

“The nexus of religious militancy continues to grow in Pakistan,” said a spokesman of the Majlis-e-Wehdat-e-Muslameen, a Shia organisation.