Lahore, March 1: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has called upon the government to use the military wherever it is necessary for putting an end to sectarian violence in the country and has called for an impartial probe to apprehend those behind Tuesday’s attack on a bus in which 18 Shia men were killed.
A statement by HRCP on Thursday said: “The Commission is saddened by the grisly sectarian attack on a Gilgit-bound bus in which 18 Shia men were killed. It welcomes the army chief’s offer to help investigate the brazen killings by attackers who were reported to be in military uniforms. There are two aspects to it, the more important one being that the military has considerable presence in the area where the attack took place and the frequent occurrence of sectarian violence there demands that the civil authority and the military join hands to ensure effective protection and prevention strategies. At the same time, there really needs to be some regulation of the unchecked sale of military uniforms in markets across the country.
HRCP demands that the tragic attack on the bus passengers should be probed by an impartial and independent authority, along with the series of sectarian attacks in the last 10 years, to bring the perpetrators to justice. The government must redouble effort to promote sectarian harmony and tolerance to prevent further bloodshed. It must also find the will to decisively act against sectarian militant groups and show the commitment to effectively prosecute those apprehended for sectarian violence. But most importantly, the root causes of sectarian violence in society need to be looked at and addressed, especially the institutional soft corner for militants.”