News / Asia

Pakistani Shi'ites March to Demand Protection From Terrorists

Shi'ite Muslims take part in a protest against Saturday's bomb attack, in Quetta, Pakistan, February 18, 2013.Shi'ite Muslims take part in a protest against Saturday's bomb attack, in Quetta, Pakistan, February 18, 2013.
x
Shi'ite Muslims take part in a protest against Saturday's bomb attack, in Quetta, Pakistan, February 18, 2013.
Shi'ite Muslims take part in a protest against Saturday's bomb attack, in Quetta, Pakistan, February 18, 2013.
Ayaz Gul
— Angry Shi'ite Muslims have taken to the streets in predominantly Sunni Pakistan to protest against Saturday's bombing in a southwestern city that killed 89 people and wounded more than 200 others. Militant attacks have become routine in recent years, but lately, Pakistan has witnessed an increase in the sectarian violence that has left nearly 200 Shi'ites dead since January.
 
For the second consecutive day, thousands of Shi'ite Hazaras staged a sit-in protest in Quetta and demanded that security forces protect them from Sunni militants. Relatives have refused to bury their loved ones until the army restores order in the southwestern Pakistani city and the perpetrators of Saturday's violence are brought to justice.
 
The bombing ripped through a crowded market in Quetta and instantly killed dozens of people, a majority of them Shi'ite Muslims. Protesters also took to the streets in other Pakistani cities, including Karachi, the country's commercial center.

No military intervention yet

Baluchistan's home secretary, Akbar Hussain Durrani, said the government has no plans to call in the military, adding that about 3,000 personnel of the paramilitary Frontier Corps [FC] already are assisting the police force in maintaining law and order.
 
"The army is not the issue. The issue is how we can protect the people. We have deployed the FC. If worse comes worse and if we think the FC is not sufficient, then army can be called, but at the moment we don’t require that effort," said Durrani.
 
The sectarian attack happened more than a month after a double bombing in a predominantly Hazara neighborhood of the violence-hit city killed 92 people. Angry protesters also had refused to bury the victims of that attack until the provincial government was dismissed for failing to check the violence.

A banned Sunni militant organization, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, has claimed responsibility for both of the bombings. Pakistan is a predominantly Sunni nation where extremists within the Muslim sect consider Shi'ites to be heretics.
 
Addressing a gathering in Islamabad Monday evening, President Asif Ali Zardari condemned the Quetta attack and suggested the violence is meant to destabilize Pakistan.
 
"I am grieved and my heart goes out to the people who are being terrorized by the terrorists in Quetta. Inshallah [God Willing] we will move on, progress will move on," said Zardari.

Human rights issues

Human rights groups have criticized Pakistani authorities for not doing enough to uproot militant organizations and bring sectarian killers to justice.  Pakistani anti-terrorism courts also are under fire for a high rate of acquittals of suspects involved in terrorist and sectarian attacks.

But in a speech to senior judges Saturday in Islamabad, Pakistan's Chief Justice, Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, blamed the government for what he called ineffective implementation of anti-terrorism laws. He said the violence is encouraged by the government's failure to protect witnesses, judges and investigators.
 
"The witnesses usually avoid coming forward to depose against the culprits, especially in the cases of terrorism and sectarian killing, because of the matter of the safety and their protection. If there is no sufficient evidence, it is not possible for the courts to award punishment," said Chaudhry.
 
Separately on Monday, militants disguised as policemen raided the office of a top political official in the northwestern city of Peshawar. Authorities say the incident left five people dead, including four security personnel. Suspected domestic Taliban militants frequently have carried out such attacks to avenge bombings of their hideouts in the Pakistani tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

You May Like

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ITme from: USA
February 18, 2013 6:32 PM
Are you sure they are the terrorists? Dig deeper, you might be surprise who's the real terrorist.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid