Governor’s rule imposed in Balochistan

Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf (C) in a press conference in the city of Rawalpindi on October 12, 2012.

Governor’s rule has been imposed in Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan Province following the dismissal of the provincial government, Press TV reports.

Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf announced that Governor Zulfiqar Ali Magsi would be the chief executive of the province late Sunday after visiting families of victims, killed in deadly bomb attacks in the city of Quetta on Thursday.

The Pakistani government’s decision came amid countrywide protests of Shia Muslims, who accused Islamabad of failing to take over security of the province.

The families of the dead refused to bury the bodies of their loved ones after nearly four days in a bid to pressure the government into restoring security to Balochistan and put an end to the ongoing violence against Shia Muslims.

The victims, however, are scheduled to be buried on Monday afternoon, following the premier’s meeting with Shias in Quetta on Sunday.

The Pakistani premier said the decision was made after consultation with coalition partners and other opposition leaders.

According to article 234 of the Pakistani constitution, the governor’s rule in Balochistan will be effective for two months from Monday.

On January 10, nearly 130 people were killed and many others injured in a wave of deadly attacks targeting both Pakistani security guards and civilians, including Shia Muslims.

Shias make up 20 percent of the country’s 180-million-strong population.

Thousands of Pakistanis have lost their lives in bombings and other militant attacks since 2001 when Pakistan entered an alliance with the United States in the so-called war on terror.

Violence has escalated against Shia Muslims in different parts of Pakistan in recent months. Since the beginning of 2012, hundreds of Shias have been killed in the country. The attacks have targeted many doctors, engineers, high-ranking government officials, teachers, and politicians.

AO/SZH