10/26/2016, 09.41
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Pakistan mourns 61 victims of the Quetta military school attack

by Kamran Chaudhry

The funeral of cadets and guards killed by the three bombers were held yesterday. Authorities believe the attacker is from a local Sunni group. Both Isis that Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the massacre. Christians and Shiite Muslims hold candle light vigil all over the country.


Quetta (AsiaNews) - Pakistan has buried the 61 victims of the massacre which took place in the military school in Quetta, in Balochistan province. Relatives and senior government officials took turns in leading prayers and meditations in front of the corpses, wrapped in the Pakistani flag. After the state funeral some bodies were transported to the villages from which murdered cadets and guards came. Meanwhile the authorities are trying to identify the three attackers who stormed the training center. According to the government, they belong to the Islamic Sunni group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which has previously targeted the Shia minority. On the other hand both the Islamic State and Pakistani Taliban Hakimullah extremist group claimed responsibility for the massacre.

Provincial governments have announced mourning for the 61 police cadets killed yesterday when Taliban stormed a training college in Quetta, Balochistan province.  Both ISIS and Tehreek-e-Taliban Karachi have made claims of responsibility of the one of the deadliest extremist attacks this year which injured 165. This August, 71 lawyers died in the suicide blast at Civil Hospital of Quetta.

Speaking to AsiaNews minority leaders - Christians and Shiite Muslims – describe the ongoing situation of insecurity, in an area that lies on the border with Afghanistan, and therefore traditional breeding ground for the recruitment of extremists and violent operations. Last night Christian and Muslim activists held candlelight vigils and peaceful protests in several cities throughout the country. They condemned the act of the Taliban and expressed solidarity with the people of Balochistan.

 "There is a traditional red alert in the province. Frontier Constabulary and police personnel have been increased", Ahmed Ali Kohzad General Secretary of Hazara Democratic Party in Quetta told AsiaNews. "For 12 years, Shia Hazars were has target of persecution and violence. Now everybody feels insecure. Business is being affected and students are going to other cities. Parents prefer to marry their daughters in safer cities".

In the neighbouring Sindh province, the government has decided to register all the immigrants and to put 93 seminaries on watch list. Pakistan's Central Bank has also ordered the country's commercial banks to freeze the accounts of about 4,000 individuals and businesses linked with terrorism, anti-state activities and hate speech. 

However Kohzad demand more pressure on Taliban groups."The latest attack on police academy is meant to create instability in the country and create a security problem. Meanwhile political parties are doing nothing except mere condemnation. Citizens and religious groups can only point out the facilitators of militants but ultimately it is the responsibility of the state to provide protection. The rulers have become apathetic", he said. "The ongoing proxy war can only be won on the basis of intelligence sharing and security systems. Plus we have gain the acceptance of our neighboring countries. A country cannot be run when there is interference in foreign policy and protection of some banned outfits".  

Kalim Sadiq a Quetta based Christian journalist said the roads in city mostly remained blocked. "The courts are open but there are no lawyers to proceed the cases and many cases are pending. Police is demoralized and there is no peace in our small city. Sealing the borders with Afghanistan and neighboring Iran is one solution", he said.

The National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) of the Pakistani Bishops' Conference strongly condemned the tragic attack. Msgr. Joseph Arshad, president of Ncjp, Fr. Emmanuel Yousaf Mani, National Director, Shane and Cecil Chaudhry, executive director, issued a message in which they state that "killing the younger generation who were being formed to serve the people of Pakistan is an inhuman act". "The tragic attack against innocent young recruits - the statement continues -  is totally unacceptable." The Church leaders believe that it is the responsibility of Pakistan "to improve plans for security in the province of Balochistan", which "during the past 15 years has witnessed an increased number of violent incidents compared to the other provinces." Finally they pray for the fallen and express "deep condolences to the victims' families. We pray to the Lord our God to give them the strength to overcome this irreparable loss and for a quick recovery of the wounded."



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