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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book 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.
Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festivali
X
April 24, 2015 4:09 AM
Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Keeping Washington Airspace Safe Is Tall Order

Being the home of all three branches of the U.S. federal government makes Washington, D.C. the prime target for those who want to make their messages and ideas heard. Unfortunately, many of them choose to deliver them in unorthodox ways, including from the air, as a recent incident clearly showed involving a gyrocopter landing on the Capitol’s West Lawn. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.

VOA Blogs