Pakistani Shiites demand protection in bombing aftermath
By The Washington Post
Published: Monday, Feb. 18, 2013, 9:24 p.m.
ISLAMABAD—Thousands of Shiite Muslims staged protests across Pakistan on Monday, demanding that the government and military protect them from Sunni extremists in a bombing that killed 89 on Saturday in the southwestern city of Quetta.
Shiites, a religious minority in Pakistan, pointed to the attack that followed a similar devastating bombing in January, as further evidence of Islamabad's indifference to what many describe as a pogrom against Shiites in Balochistan province.
The bombings have been aimed in particular at ethnically Hazara Shiites whose distinctive features have made them easy, frequent targets of gun-wielding assassins in recent months. Sunni militant groups do not consider Shiites to be Muslims.
Many families of Saturday's bombing victims refuse to bury their dead until the Pakistani army acts against Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a banned militia that asserted responsibility for Saturday's bombing and for a January blast that killed more than 90.
The sectarian killings and subsequent unrest present yet another challenge to the strategically vital, nuclear-armed nation, already embroiled in a war against an indigenous Taliban.
“The government has failed to protect the lives of people and maintain peace,” Maulana Amin Shaheedi, deputy secretary of the main political organization representing different Shiite groups in Pakistan, said at a news conference in Quetta, the provincial capital. “We will not bury the victims until the army is deployed in Quetta.”
The paramilitary Frontier Corps is nominally in charge of security in Balochistan, a huge, sparsely populated province that comprises about 40 percent of Pakistan's land mass.
But Shiite activists and their supporters want a concerted operation by the main military to end the sectarian attacks.
More than 400 Shiites were killed in Pakistan in 2012, the worst year on record for fatal attacks against Shiites, according to Human Rights Watch. More than 125 of those were killed in Balochistan, the group said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Indian court upholds anti-gay law
- Sign-language ‘interpreter’ pulls off fraud on world stage
- U.S. suspends nonlethal aid to Syrian opposition
- Nukes an ‘equalizer’ to conventional U.S. attacks
- U.S. dire on full pullout from Afghanistan if deal not signed
- Chinese drink pesticide in protest
- South Korea ups air defense ante
- Pope Francis is Time’s Person of the Year
- Egypt strikes a perilous repose
- 11-year-old pummels toddler
- 6 held in theft of radioactive material