Federal rule declared in Pakistani province following protest
Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf dismissed his party's government in the south-western province of Balochistan Monday, clearing the way for Shiite Muslims hit by a deadly attack last week to bury their dead.
Ashraf took the decision early Monday as sympathy and support for a Shiite demand for removal of what was described as an "inept" provincial government in Balochistan gathered unprecedented momentum across the country, DPA reported.
Thousands of members of the minority sect had been staging a sit-in among dozens of shroud-covered bodies in the provincial capital Quetta since Friday to protest twin bombings one day earlier that killed more than 84 people, mostly Shiites from ethnic Hazara community.
The Shias refused to bury their dead and began the sit-in, demanding the provincial government be sacked and imposition of military rule for their protection. People in major Pakistani cities held vigils and protests in solidarity with them.
"After complete consultation, we have invoked Article 234 of the constitution in the province," Ashraf said in a televised news conference in Quetta, referring to proclamation of federal rule.
The governor will be the chief executive and the provincial government will stand dismissed, he said.
Removing the regional government and giving the city's control to the army were the main demands of the Shiites.
Ashraf distanced himself from directly announcing that the powerful military would take over the responsibility, but he said the governor was authorized to call in troops if needed.