A twin bombing of a billiard hall in the city on January 10th, Thursday, claimed the lives of 86 minority Shiite Muslims, committed by a sectarian militant group of radical Sunni Muslims connected with al-Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.
The tragic incident prompted thousands of Shiites, including the relatives of the victims, who staged protests over the past three days blocking a main road in the Baluchistan capital of Quetta with dozens of coffins containing the bodies of the deceased victims.
The dismissal of the provincial government and the responsibility for the city to be taken over by the Army were the demands made by the angry protesters.
And their demands were met by Pakistani leaders who sacked the southwest Baluchistan province government by replacing its chief minister in lieu of the governor as the new head of the province, as said in a televised speech by Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Jan. 14th, Monday, including police powers transferred to paramilitary forces assigned in an operation launched to pursue the perpetrators responsible for the attack as its primary objective.
Human rights organization accused the government in their failure to address the issue of protection of Shiite Muslims who are heretics in the eyes of Sunni Muslims, and as other means employed to pacify the protesters were to no avail, the PM decided to proceed to Quetta on Jan. 13th, Sunday, and subsequently resolved the issue the following day.
Being the home for the largest community of Shiites in the country, Baluchistan experienced intense violence with over 400 fatalities in targeted killings last year.
Over the past years, the Pakistani government have been waging war against Taliban insurgents and their allies, and lately, on Jan. 14th, Sunday, to be precise, 14 soldiers were killed and 20 were wounded in one of the considered deadliest attacks against the Army, as a Pakistani Army convoy fell victim to a roadside bomb which totally destroyed two vehicles and partially damaged another one in a militant fortress near Dosalli village in north Waziristan, as confirmed by intelligence officials.
North Waziristan, a remote region and home to Talibans, al-Qaeda and other militants such as the Afghan Haqqani Network, a potential ally in Afghanistan once foreign powers withdraw, hence any military offensive in the stronghold is complicated.