Top Pakistan court demands strategy to protect Shiites

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 February, 2013, 9:33pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 February, 2013, 9:37pm

Pakistan’s top court ordered authorities on Tuesday to develop a long-term strategy to protect Shiite Muslims after bomb attacks killed nearly 200 of them in the country’s southwest.

The Supreme Court rejected a report on intensified measures to protect the minority ethnic Hazara Shiite community after the latest attack killed 90 people in the Baluchistan provincial capital Quetta on February 16.

The provincial government, which had been ordered by the court to present a report, said it had increased the number of police and was checking vehicles. It promised to instal scanners to check for explosives.

But Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry said this was not enough.

“You have to take long-term measures; you should go to the root cause of such incidents. The steps taken are temporary,” Chaudhry said.

“This report has not given us any satisfaction,” he said, ordering the arrest of all those responsible for recent attacks.

The February 16 bombing was the second major attack on Shiite Hazaras in Quetta in weeks.

A double suicide bombing on a snooker club on January 10 killed at least 92 people, the deadliest ever attack on the community in Pakistan.

The attacks have highlighted the government’s inability to stem sectarian violence and raise serious questions about security as nuclear-armed Pakistan prepares to hold elections by mid-May.

“You should plan a permanent solution, no one wants instability in Quetta,” Chaudhry said, adding it was the state’s responsibility to protect every citizen.

He told lawyers representing the Baluchistan government to submit another report and adjourned the case until March 6.