LAHORE:(APS)August 8,2016- The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has strongly condemned two attacks targeting lawyers in Quetta on Monday in which at least 53 people have been killed. It has also slammed the authorities’ inability to protect citizens through effective counter-terrorism measures.
In a statement, the Commission said: “HRCP condemns in the strongest possible terms the killing of Balochistan Bar Association President Bilal Anwar Kasi and the bombing at Quetta’s Civil Hospital which has claimed 53 lives so far and injured 50 people. A large number of the casualties are lawyers and at least two media workers have been killed and a number of them injured.
“This coordinated mowing down of lawyers is absolutely unacceptable and outrageous. Official condemnation of this latest massacre in Quetta or calling it the work of a foreign intelligence agency is not enough. The state has the responsibility to safeguard the lives of all citizens from all actors who have an appetite for bloodletting.
“The people are justified in asking where were our security agencies when these actors, foreign or Pakistani, were plotting or causing mayhem in Quetta. The government must go beyond calling Monday’s terrible events a security lapse and explain why it has failed to prevent such a terrible attack. How does the government plan to ensure that its counter-terrorism plan, whatever it is, actually prevents terrorism? It is particularly important to focus on security of citizens in Balochistan, where signs of some let up in violence over recent months had fuelled hopes, apparently prematurely, for a return to normalcy.
“The fact that the reprehensible attack that caused large-scale casualties on Monday occurred in a hospital, which are not supposed to be targeted even during wartime, must spur the authorities into taking action against militants of all shades. This is not the first time either that a hospital has been attacked in Quetta after victim/s from an earlier attack were brought there. In June 2013, a bombing in a bus carrying Sardar Bahadur Khan Women’s University students was followed by gun-and-bomb attacks on Bolan Medical College hospital when the victims were brought there for treatment. The failure to provide adequate security at the hospital in the circumstances is highly regrettable.
“HRCP urges the government to ensure that the public resources are used for securing the lives of all citizens. No one, in Quetta or elsewhere, will grudge security or protocol details for VIPs or for sports festivals if that does not come at the expense of security for the people.
“No amount of money could make up for the loss of the bereaved families, but the least the government can do now is give adequate compensation to the families of the victims and the injured so that at least their financial needs are met at this difficult time.”