PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and PML-N Vice President Mohtarma Maryam Nawaz Sharif arrived in Quetta today (Thursday) to demonstrate solidarity with the Shia Hazara community sit in where the families of those killed have refused to bury their dead until PM Imran Khan comes to hear their pleas.
After offering fateha, both opposition leaders talked to the victims’ families and elders of the community at the camp in Hazara Town. Both leaders then gave short speeches, with Bilawal Bhutto Zardari going first.
The PPP chairman said he could not find words to console the Hazara community. “You’ve staged protests previously, and are out on the street again only to demand the right to live.”
“What can I say, what can I do,” he wondered, adding that he demanded that the community be allowed to exist. “The whole country stands with Hazara community. They are the most patriotic people,” he stated.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari says that Pakistan is such a country where even the martyrs’ families have to protest. “Everything is expensive these days, but our blood seems to be cheap.”
“I belong to a family of martyrs, I understand your pain. This is the land where even martyrs are protesting. We will not surrender in front of cruelty,” he declared.
“You said we will break the backs of terrorists after acting on National Action Plan,” the PPP chairman said in a cryptic remark. “We do not want to hear that this was a conspiracy by a foreign government,” he concluded.
In contrast to Bilawal, Maryam Nawaz focused her speech on Prime Minister Imran Khan, reminding him of his obligation to show up at the protest camp.
“I will remind Imran Khan that he is a father, a brother who has sisters. Is your ego bigger than the bodies being kept here? They are not asking for something big. You will have to come here and put your hand on their heads,” she stressed.
She also blamed the state for failing the community. “The state is like a mother. But I realize this mother did not protect you,” she said to the family members who have been sitting at the camp with the bodies of their loved ones since five days.
Condoling with the bereaved families, Maryam said she could not even imagine what they must be going through. “Only the one who suffers the loss can really understand what it feels like to be in such a situation.”
“You are a parent yourself. Try to put yourself in their shoes for a moment and feel their pain. For God’s sake have some mercy on these people,” the PML-N leader appealed.
Maryam said she had been informed by the mourners that they would not bury their dead if the prime minister does not show up – no matter how long it takes. “If you do not come and condole with them, then people won’t let you sit in Islamabad,” she said.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has, meanwhile, not visited the grieving families for the fifth day, and he spares time with YouTubers and famous Turkish drama “Ertugrul” delegation in PM office.