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

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

1 Billion People Used Facebook on Single Day

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg praised the accomplishment in a posting on the social media site 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs