News / Asia

Pakistan Authorities Under Attack for Failing to Protect Shiite Minority

Medics and civilians gather at the site of a bomb blast in Karachi, Pakistan, March 3, 2013.Medics and civilians gather at the site of a bomb blast in Karachi, Pakistan, March 3, 2013.
x
Medics and civilians gather at the site of a bomb blast in Karachi, Pakistan, March 3, 2013.
Medics and civilians gather at the site of a bomb blast in Karachi, Pakistan, March 3, 2013.
Ayaz Gul
Authorities in Pakistan are being severely criticized for failing to stop a wave of deadly attacks on the country's minority Shi'ite Muslims that has left nearly 250 people dead since early January. The latest sectarian assault came on Sunday, when a massive bombing in the nation's largest city, Karachi, left at least 45 people, mostly Shi'ites, dead, and wounded scores of others.

As in previous attacks, outlawed militants from Pakistan's majority Sunni population are the prime suspects in Sunday's deadly bombing in Karachi. The attack targeted a Shi'ite-dominated neighborhood in the violent southern port city, and most of the deaths happened instantly.

This was the third major assault on Shi'ite Muslims in the country since the beginning of the year. The previous two bombings took place in the southwestern city of Quetta. Sunni extremists do not regard Shi'ites as true Muslims.  

The government observed a day of morning on Monday and offered financial compensation for the lives lost and property damaged in Karachi's carnage. Critics, however, have rejected these measures, demanding authorities arrest the culprits in order to end the deadly sectarian attacks.

Pakistani security forces have been battling domestic Taliban insurgents in the country's northwestern tribal regions on the Afghan border. However, the rise in sectarian attacks has now become a major concern for the authorities.

Imran Khan, the head of a major Pakistani opposition party and a harsh critic of the ruling coalition, says the violence is the result of the lack of an official strategy to deal with the situation.

“They have failed to stop terrorism, but specifically sectarian terrorism, which should be relatively much easier to handle than the border insurgency going on in the tribal areas," said Khan.

Lawmaker Bushra Gohar, a member of a junior partner in the governing coalition, criticized the security establishment and intelligence agencies for failing to protect Pakistani citizens. 

"We need a critical review of our security setup," said Gohar. "There is a lack of coordination, there is a lack of will to do anything. And there is this fear amongst the public that maybe the security agencies are also involved in many of these incidents. We need to clarify these perceptions that are growing within our public that have lost faith in our security setup."

Local and foreign human rights groups say more than 400 Shi'ites were killed in Pakistan last year, while this year's toll has already reached nearly 250.

A Sunni militant group, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, has claimed responsibility for attacks on Shi'ites in Pakistan. The banned outfit is known to have links to al-Qaida and the Taliban.

In an apparent attempt to deflect criticism, federal authorities have repeatedly lashed out at government officials in Punjab province, where the militant group is based. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is alleged to have ties to the ruling party there.

Presidential spokesman Senator Farhatullah Babar says the central government is taking all possible steps to deal with the "menace of terrorism."

"The government is doing as best as it can," said Babar. "Of course there is room for doing more. Pakistan, being in a state of war, is a victim of this (terrorism), but the important thing is that we have not lost our determination and our will (to fight terrorism)."

Terrorist and sectarian attacks, particularly the ongoing violence in Pakistan's commercial center Karachi, are seen as a major reason for the rapid decline in foreign investment in the country.

Federal Finance Minister Saleem Mandviwalla tells VOA that violence and street agitation are undermining business activity in Karachi, which handles more than 95 percent of Pakistan's foreign trade.  

"Obviously, when these type of things happen, these terrorist activities, so business shuts down and things don't function. So there is an economic loss to the country and that goes in billions of rupees of loss (per) day, that the production does not take place and business don't run," said Mandviwalla.

Karachi has also been the scene of politically-motivated violence involving the city's major political forces. That turf war left more than 2,000 people dead last year, and the violence continues in the run-up to national elections scheduled for May.

You May Like

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Video Russian Anti-Corruption Campaigner Slams Putin’s Crackdown on Dissent

In interview with VOA Alexei Navalny says he believes new law against 'undesirable NGOs' part of move to keep Russian president in power More

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: mustafa from: karachi
March 04, 2013 10:03 PM
When the main purpose of GOVT to increase personal bank balance but out side Pakistan, personal properties for their safe future but also out side Pakistan. These Corrupt Ministers transfer their families out side Pakistan so then can move easily with their luggage with full of POOR PAKISTANI MONEY. When this their agenda in FIVE YEAR TERM, then same thing will happen after some interval on regular basis.

by: Mr.kellar from: Los angelos
March 04, 2013 9:05 PM
This is obviously America's fault, they need to get that CIA terrorist organization out of there and stop stirring up unnecessary violence between two peaceful groups.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs