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Pakistan sacks Baluchistan government

January 14, 2013 08:59 IST

After major protests in Quetta over Thursday's targeted attacks on the Hazara Shia community, the Pakistan government was forced to impose Governor's Rule in Baluchistan. Tahir Ali reports

The Pakistan government has imposed Governor's rule in the troubled province of Baluchistan after dissolving the ruling provincial government of Nawab Raisani.

Prime Minister, Raja Pervaz Ashraf made the announcement late Sunday night after prolonged talks with Hazara Shia leaders who were staging a sit-in to demand the dismissal of provincial government and the army control of Quetta.

Ashraf assured the community leaders that under Governor's rule, the chief executive of the province could summon the army anytime to help the administration.

Hazara community leaders have been on a sit-in protest on Alamdar road in Quetta since Thursday night when twin bomb blasts in the area killed around 98 people and injured over 130.

Most of those killed in the twin blasts belonged to the Hazara Shia community.

The community had refused to bury the victims until their demands were met by the government.

Hazara community leader Abdul Qayum Changezi had earlier said, "In the last five years, 1,100 men belonging to our community have been killed. The community is being targeted to make them migrate to other areas."

Last year alone, according to Human Rights organisations, around 500 Shias -- most of them from the Hazara community -- were killed in targeted attacks in the province.

After listening to the community's demands, Prime Minister Ashraf announced, "We are imposing article 234 in the entire Baluchistan. As you wake up in the morning the chief minister would be removed and power will be exercised by Governor Zulfiqar Magsi. He would be the chief executive of the province."

The prime minister further said that the Frontier Corps had been given authority to maintain law and order in the province.

"Targeted operations would be conducted in Quetta and other parts of Baluchistan to ensure security of people," he said, adding that victims of Thursday's attacks will be compensated before January 31.

The prime minister also requested the Hazara community to bury the dead bodies.

Talking to media later, Qayum Changezi said: "Our demand has been fulfilled. However, our sit-in will continue. There will be no burial until the notification (of Governor's rule) is issued."

The notification came later in the night.

With Agency Inputs

 

Tahir Ali in Islamabad