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.
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

800-Pound Man Determined to Slim Down

Man says he was kicked out of hospital for ordering pizza; wants to be an actor More

Australia Prepares to Resettle 12,000 Syrian Refugees

Preference will be given to refugees from persecuted minorities, and the first group is expected to arrive before late December More

S. African Miners Seek Class Action Suit Against Gold Mines

The estimated 100,000 say say they contracted the lung diseases silicosis and tuberculosis in the mines More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
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.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs