Islamabad: At least four university pupils were killed and more than 50 other people injured on Monday when a bomb fixed to a car exploded and hit a bus carrying students in Pakistan’s Quetta city, media reports said.
The blast took place around 8.20 am when the bus carrying 52 students from the Balochistan University of Information Technology was hit by the explosion inside a small car parked near the Federal Investigation Authority building on Samungli Road.
Geo News said at least 53 people, including four policemen and four women students, were injured.
A TV channel quoted hospital officials as saying that the injured included nine women and five children.
The blast left a two-foot-deep crater on the ground, witnesses said. A motorbike and a rickshaw near the blast site were destroyed, Xinhua reported.
State-run PTV channel said the injured policemen were passing by the site in a car when the bomb went off.
A bomb disposal squad said around 50 kg of explosives were used in the blast.
Police said it was not clear if the bus was the target. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The toll may rise as at least 20 people are lying in hospitals in critical condition. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has condemned the attack.
Angry students gathered near the hospitals where the injured were admitted, and staged a protest.
9 killed in wave of sectarian violence in Quetta
Islamabad, Sep 1 (IANS)
Unidentified gunmen attacked a car carrying Shia Muslims of Hazara ethnic group, attacked a girls' school and fired in various areas of the city to create panic.
The firing incidents started early in the morning when gunmen fired at a private car, killing five Shia Muslims in Hazar Ganji area. In another incident in the same area later, two more Shia Muslims were gunned down.
Following the second incident, the Shia religious leaders of Hazara community took to the streets and demanded government to arrest the people involved in brutal killings of Shias.
In another incident, one man was killed and 11 others were injured when unidentified gunmen opened fire at the Shia Muslims protesting against target killing of Hazara community.
No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Some unidentified gunmen also fired at the building of a girls' school to create panic among the students and staff members.
Hazara Democratic Party strongly condemned the incident and called for a shut down strike in Quetta Sunday. Balochistan Shia Conference announced a three-day-mourning in the province.
Chief Minister of Balochistan, Nawab Aslam Raisani Nawab has sought a report about the incident from the concerned officials.
Talking to media, the chief secretary said target killing is not a new issue in Quetta but in recent months, its incidence has increased alarmingly. He said the authorities are trying hard to bring the situation under control.
Police did not succeed in arresting any of the attackers, local news reports said. (IANS)
The Supreme Court remains unamused by the unfolding sequence of events in Balochistan. At the latest hearing held by a three-member bench of the apex Court, on a petition regarding the law and order situation in the province, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, besides commenting on poor policing and impossibility of maintaining law and order in the province, also termed the killing of Nawab Akbar Bugti “the biggest mistake”. The chief justice also gave directives for including Nawab Bugti’s family in the voters’ list. The chief justice quite rightly lamented the hopelessness of a situation where a sessions court judge could be killed on sectarian basis without the government being prompted into taking any sort of action. In addition, the wisdom behind handing police powers to the FC when it has been accused of extrajudicial killings in the province also raised eyebrows among those sitting on the bench. The Court rejected the government’s response that there had been no increase in the number of people who had gone missing and that the number of dead bodies turning up on streets had declined. The bench pointed out that ‘settlers’ from other provinces continued to flee Balochistan, which was hardly an example of a comforting law and order situation within the province.
The Court hearings on Balochistan have highlighted many of the wrongs that have been committed in Balochistan, including the assassination of Nawab Bugti. But the problem is that even though top law-enforcement officials have appeared in the Court, no solutions have emerged, with killings on sectarian and ethnic bases continuing. As the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has pointed out, not many of the people who had gone missing have resurfaced despite the apex Court’s efforts in this regard.
The Court has been able to identify issues — and sometimes culprits. What we need now is a means to fix the mess. Law enforcement alone is not the answer. The political forces enjoying influence in Balochistan need to be engaged in a process that can lead towards genuine order and be encouraged to begin a dialogue on this without further loss of time. Unless this happens, things will not improve.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 5th, 2012.
The administration of Balochistan is in a decrepit state. While a large share of the blame is placed on ministers in absentia, the engine of governance, the bureaucracy, is also running on empty in the troubled province.
A comparison of District Management Group (DMG) officers posted in Punjab and Balochistan presents a skewed and problematic picture, with the former operating with hundreds of officers and the latter with only 26, The Express Tribune has learned.
As many as 287 DMG officers are working in Punjab whereas only 26 DMG officers are posted in various slots in Balochistan to deal with government business and assist political leadership in serving the masses.
According to available data, there are 466 sanctioned posts reserved for DMG officers ranging from BS-22 to BS-17 in the provincial administrative hierarchy of Punjab from assistant commissioners to chief secretary as per the Inter-Provincial Coordination Committee (IPCC) formula.
In Balochistan there are 234 sanctioned posts reserved for DMG officers in BS-22 to BS-17 in the provincial administrative hierarchy to handle public affairs, enforce law and establish the writ of government in the province.
The allocation was made with the goal of achieving broader national objectives through national integration and cohesion among the federating units, a senior official said, requesting anonymity.
There is one sanctioned post in BS-22 for the Chief Secretary (CS) to head the bureaucracy in Punjab where three senior DMG officers are currently posted, including CS Nasir Mehmood Khosa, Chairman Planning and Development, Aslam Javed and senior member on the Board of Revenue, Sami Saeed.
There is also one post in BS-22 in Balochistan for a CS, but the incumbent, Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad, is posted in BS-21.
In BS-21, there are 16 total posts reserved for DMG officers in Punjab. Currently, 15 officers are already posted, leaving only one slot vacant.
In Balochistan, five posts in BS-21 are reserved for DMG officers, but only two have been filled. Three slots have been vacant for the past year.
As many as 66 posts have been reserved for DMG officers in BS-20 in Punjab.
There are 68 DMG officers posted in BS-20 working in the provincial civil administration, exceeding three from its quota reserved for other provincial cadres.
In Balochistan there are 23 posts reserved for DMG officers in BS-20, but only six officers are working, which leaves 17 posts vacant without any justification. In BS-19, there are 106 posts for DMG officers in Punjab and 66 have been filled.
In Balochistan, as many as 35 posts in BS-19 are reserved for DMG officers. Out of these, only one DMG officer has filled a seat. This leaves 34 seats vacated, with one man doing the job of 35. In BS-18, there are 205 sanctioned posts for DMG officers in Punjab according to the IPCC formula but 83 officers are currently working.
In Balochistan, there are 40 posts in civil administration reserved for DMG officers in BS-18 but only eight seats posts have been filled. The posts in BS-17 present a similar picture, as there are 72 reserved for DMG in Punjab and 52 have been filled.
In Balochistan, there are 125 posts in BS-17 reserved for DMG officers but only nine officers are working.
“The DMG has been taking the lion’s share of postings in different slots in Punjab,” a group of Provincial Civil Service (PCS) officers requesting anonymity told The Express Tribune.
The system in Punjab is quite different from that of the other three provinces, the PCS officers said. The officers claimed that even DMG officers from other provinces preferred to serve in Punjab due to the perks and privileges available in the province.
Taking serious notice of shortage of officers in Balochistan, Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf issued a new rotation policy last Saturday.
Officers say they are reluctant to serve in Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa despite lucrative packages offered by the federal government, owing to the prevailing unrest in those areas.
In Sindh, the provincial cadre dominates civil administration and DMG officers are not interested in posts of lesser importance.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 26th, 2012.