The leaders and representatives of the Hazara community said they were giving assurances to disperse the sit-ins in various areas in and around the city after coming to an agreement following Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa's Tuesday visit.
After arriving in Quetta, Gen Bajwa met with the Hazara leaders Tuesday night here in the city. Representatives of the protesters comprised provincial Law Minister Syed Muhammad Agha Raza, religious scholars Allamas Juma Asadi and Hashim Mousavi, former National Assembly member Syed Nasir Ali Shah, Qayyum Changezi, and Dawood Agha.
The Hazara leaders informed the COAS and his team of their reservations on the target killings in Quetta, according to Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, the Army spokesperson and director-general of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
The Army chief, while observing and analysing the security situation in Quetta, offered condolences and Fateha prayers for the deceased during the meeting to end the sit-ins, Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said.
COAS along with Federal Interior Minister and CM & Home Minister Balochistan met reps of Hazara Community at Qta. “We shall defeat hostile attempts through national cohesion. Anything & everything which is for the betterment of security of people of Pakistan shall be done”, COAS. pic.twitter.com/dg08cuPLpY— Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor (@OfficialDGISPR) May 1, 2018
Gen Bajwa also assuresd the Hazara community that "those who have targeted them shall suffer twice as much", a press release issued by the ISPR last night said. He stressed this while noting that nothing could compensate losing dear ones.
"Through a unified national effort, we have turned the tide of terrorism," the Army chief said. "We have busted many terrorists’ networks and we know how these networks are being supported by hostile agencies."
"However, a lot is still being done against inimical designs to reverse the gains by exploiting various fault lines."
Gen Bajwa underscored that all Pakistani people should stay united regardless of which area, religion or caste they belong to.
"Every Pakistani irrespective of religion, sect, language or caste has to stay steadfast and united to defeat hostile forces trying to create divisions.
"Chief of Army Staff said that we shall defeat hostile attempts through national cohesion. Anything and everything which is for the betterment of security of people of Pakistan shall be done."
COAS along with Federal Interior Minister and CM & Home Minister Balochistan met reps of Hazara Community at Qta. “We shall defeat hostile attempts through national cohesion. Anything & everything which is for the betterment of security of people of Pakistan shall be done”, COAS. pic.twitter.com/dg08cuPLpY
The Army chief expressed his hope that youth in Balochistan would "stay focused on their positive endeavors towards self and nation-building, trust, and [assisting the leadership] in taking Pakistan forward to its rightful destination".
Gen Bajwa was accompanied by Commander Southern Command Lieutenant General Asim Saleem Bajwa and Minister of Interior Ahsan Iqbal, as well as Balochistan's chief and home ministers Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo and Sarfraz Bugti, respectively.
On Monday night, Iqbal had visited a protest camp set up outside the Balochistan Assembly. He had held talks with Raza who was leading the protest against unabated killings of members of the Hazara community.
The protesters, however, had then refused to end their protest until the Army chief visited them.
Gen Bajwa would receive an update on the security situation in the city, the military's media wing said.
Iqbal had expressed solidarity with the protesters over the killing of two Hazara men by terrorists. “In last five years, the situation has much improved with killings dropping from 215 in 2014 to 8. Our efforts will continue to bring it to zero,” he wrote on social media.
A protest by Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen (MWM) continued for the second consecutive day today.
Apart from the sit-in outside the assembly, a social activist Advocate Jalila Haider-led hunger strike was also being staged by Hazara community women outside the Quetta Press Club.
The protesters wished for an immediate end to the targetting of Hazara community members and arrest of every culprit involved in the heinous acts.