Pakistan PM asks paramilitary to assist Baloch administration
Islamabad: Against the backdrop of the Balochistan government's failure to prevent terror attacks against minority Shias, Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Saturday ordered the paramilitary Frontier Corps to assist the civil administration in maintaining law and order.
Ashraf took "serious notice" of the situation in Balochistan, where 104 people were killed in a string of bombings in the provincial capital Quetta on Thursday.
A majority of the victims were Hazara Shias and the minority community has demanded that the army should take control of Quetta to improve security.
Responding to a request from the Balochistan government, Ashraf said the Frontier Corps would "exercise all powers of the police" to assist the civil administration.
The premier directed Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira to go to Quetta to monitor the situation.
State-run APP news agency reported that Ashraf had also directed Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani to come back to the country from Dubai, where he was on a private visit.
Media reports said Raisani had gone to Dubai to get his daughter admitted in a college there.
Hazara Shias have launched a protest on Alamdar Road, a Shia-majority neighbourhood in Quetta, and said they will not bury over 80 victims of Thursday's bombings till the army takes control of the city.
Though the protest began yesterday, Shia leaders complained that no provincial ministers or elected representatives had come to meet them.
Following a meeting with Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Prime Minister Ashraf directed officials to send a C-130 transport aircraft of the Pakistan Air Force's to shift injured persons from Quetta to Karachi for medical treatment.
He announced that Rs 1 million would be paid to the kin of the dead and Rs 100,000 to the injured.
The premier said provincial and federal law enforcement agencies should work in coordination under the Balochistan government.
He asked the Governor and Chief Secretary of Balochistan to keep him informed about the situation in Quetta.
He also directed the provincial government to "leave no stone unturned" in ensuring the safety of citizens.
Ashraf will meet a Hazara delegation from Quetta next week to discuss their grievances, officials said.
On Thursday, a suicide bomber targeted a snooker club at Alamdar Road in Quetta. As police, rescue workers and journalists gathered, a powerful car bomb went off.
The notorious Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which has repeatedly targeted Hazara Shias, claimed responsibility for the bombings.