Originally appeared on Balochistan Voices on January 24, 2017: Quetta: From Peace to Chaos
Have you ever lived in a city where you are under constant threat of an attack 24/7? In a city where the authorities issue threat alerts weekly? In a city where those who are in charge of your safety are not safe themselves?
Fortunately, many of you have not been through the experience of living in such a topsy-turvy city. Most of you come and go from your homes each and every day without a thought of not returning. But let me share with you the story of my city where I was born and where I live and draw affection from – Quetta.
Quetta, the capital city of Balochistan, has been a victim of violence for a decade. A city that was based on Love and Unity lost its main elements. Not many years ago, Quetta was a city of peace. People from across the country used to come here to spend vacations. But frequent blasts and target killings in the city has destroyed the peace here. Violence has claimed lives without the discrimination of color, creed, and sect. There have been numerous barbaric attacks in the city in the year 2016 alone. The attack on lawyers at civil hospital on August 8th, attack on Police Training Center on October 24th are just a few on the never-ending list.
It’s definitely hard to live in a city where you always have to look over your shoulders to make sure that you are safe. People are scared and you can see it in their eyes. In past, it was way easy to move around the city’s neighborhood but now people do not feel safe even though they work there and live there and there a number of security check posts but they just don’t feel safe walking in the neighborhoods.
The result of persistent violence has given rise to serious behavioral issues in the society. The people of the already lagged city are now becoming extremely pessimistic about their future, and the scarcity of opportunities have disheartened them. And it’s not a surprise because violence influence behavior. Even with the explosions of crackers on ceremonies, everyone gets worried about the safety of their loved ones. If someone is not home until 8 o’clock at night, it poses worry to everyone.
Improving the security of the city and enhancing the educational and recreational framework of the city can revive a new ray of hope and will certainly help in bringing the life back to normal. The residents of the city are waiting for the return of Peace with a question in their mind, are the high-powered and responsible willing to bring it back?