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

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid