News / Asia

Anger Rises in Pakistan Over Killings of Shi'ite Muslims

Shi'ite Muslims display the unburied coffins of victims of Thursday's twin bomb attack during a sit-in in Quetta, January 12, 2013.
Shi'ite Muslims display the unburied coffins of victims of Thursday's twin bomb attack during a sit-in in Quetta, January 12, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Sharon Behn
— Anger and frustration rose in Pakistan Saturday over bomb blasts that killed almost 100 Shi'ite Muslims, with critics saying the government is failing to protect the nation's religious minority.
 
Shi'ite families in the southwestern city of Quetta on Saturday have refused to bury their dead to protest the bomb blasts that killed almost 100 people Thursday. Sunni militants claimed responsibility for the attack.
 
One Shi'ite community leader criticized Pakistan's army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, for failing to halt the killings. Such attacks have been increasing steadily, according to Pakistan Human Rights Watch, which says more than 400 Shi'ites were killed last year.

Quetta, Pakistan mapQuetta, Pakistan map
x
Quetta, Pakistan map
Quetta, Pakistan map
Call for sympathy protests

Pakistanis anxious to reduce the violence reached out through social media Saturday, calling for sympathy protests in the capital, Islamabad, and other major cities.
 
Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said in a statement the government has given the paramilitary Frontier Corps expanded powers to control violence in the province. He also promised financial compensation would go to affected families.
 
Analyst Raza Rumi said it remains to be seen if public pressure rises to a point that forces political leaders and the military to act against terrorist and militant organizations operating in Pakistan.
 
"There is no shortcut in Pakistan now for the military to act other than public pressure - intense public pressure, scrutiny and naming and shaming - because, you know, it is quite clear the military is not keen to do anything, or even the government, about these terrorist organizations," said Rumi.

Multiple explosions

The same day the explosions in Quetta targeted Shi'ites living there, another blast by the Baluch nationalist network killed 12 people, mostly security personnel. A fourth explosion in northwest Pakistan killed more than 20 Muslim missionaries.
 
The violence and subsequent criticism of the government and security forces comes as Pakistan is gearing up for national elections expected in a few months.
 
Mustafa Qadri of Amnesty International says putting an end to terrorist violence is a challenge with which any new government will have to grapple.
 
"Now it's up to the political parties to provide really concrete steps and plans for what they will do differently when in government," said Qadri. "And of course for the government right now, we still have several months before the elections, but the new government really now has this pressure on its shoulders to really do things differently and to do the reforms that are needed to stop this stuff from happening again."

Qadri said that in the past, when the state has had the will to bring perpetrators to justice and to protect victims, Pakistan has shown the capacity to do so.

  • People mourn next to the coffins of their relatives who were killed in bombings, Quetta, Pakistan, January 11, 2013.
  • People attend funeral prayers for a victim who was killed by a bomb blast, in Mingora, Swat valley, Pakistan, January 11, 2013.
  • Shi'ite Muslims hold a silent protest a day after deadly blasts in Quetta, Pakistan, January 11, 2013. (H. Samsoor/VOA)
  • Journalists hold a black flag outside the Quetta Press Club to mourn the three journalists killed in the January 10th explosions in the city, Quetta, Pakistan, January 11, 2013.
  • A paramilitary soldier frisks a man at the entrance of a mosque in Mingora, Swat valley, Pakistan a day after deadly bombings, January 11, 2013.
  • A man takes a photograph with his mobile phone of a house that was damaged by a bomb blast in Quetta, Pakistan, January 11, 2013.
  • People walk around the debris from a bomb blast in Quetta, Pakistan, January 10, 2013. (Hameed Samsor/VOA)
  • Police and residents at the site of a bomb blast in Quetta, Pakistan, January 10, 2013. (Hameed Samsor/VOA)
  • The site of bomb blast in Quetta, Pakistan, January 10, 2013. (Hameed Samsor/VOA)

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: CrygDyllyn from: USA
January 13, 2013 9:38 AM
When Pakistan and India were both founded they were about the same. Look at the difference today. Pakistan is almost a failed state while India has a booming economy, a growing middle class, and a robust civil life. In India, people of all faiths practice their faiths with no fear or hatred.

In Pakistan, Islamic hatred rules. If you are non-muslim you are in danger. If you are not the right kind of muslim you are in danger. And if you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time you are in danger.

Now we read about Islamic discrimination in Aceh Indonesia. I don't think there is one Islamic country where people are happy, and allowed to live their lives. To all appearances, Islam is the religion of hate.


by: Walter Johnson
January 12, 2013 8:22 PM
Someone please tell me why there is more hostility among Islam's religious sects than among Christian denominations. In Islam it appears like a religious war inside its own home.

In Response

by: Leonard Evans from: MI
January 13, 2013 10:29 PM
Your ignorance of history is something quite astonishing! When Christians really believed they were slaughtering each other and 'infidels' with relish, as God commanded . Europe, 100 years war, Inquisition, Crusades, and so on. Today the Christian denominations believe very little that is different from what other folks believe. So what is there to fight over?

In Response

by: L
January 13, 2013 8:33 AM
Have the same Q....


by: syed naqvi from: oklahoma city
January 12, 2013 5:49 PM
This is genocide.

In Response

by: Walter Johnson
January 12, 2013 8:26 PM
The sects of Islam are not racial groups, although they may break down along tribal lines. What are you calling genocide. The level of violence has come no where need as great as in recognized genocides the international community has intervened in.


by: Anonymous
January 12, 2013 4:09 PM
Gods be with them


by: Alm757 from: dallas
January 12, 2013 2:23 PM
My condolance with families who's loved one's were forceiably removed from them. May Allah ellevate their souls in heaven and give strength to rest of the families to bear this loss, and bring justice they are looking for.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid