Shiites lash out after Pakistan bombing kills 81
BY Associated Press
Monday, February 18, 2013
2/18/13 at 6:21 AM
Members of the Pakistani Shiite Hazara community Sunday threatened to hold widespread protests if the government did not arrest within 48 hours the people responsible for a massive bombing that killed 81 people in a southwestern city.
Saturday's blast at a produce market in Quetta underlined the precarious situation for Shiites living in a majority Sunni country where many extremist groups don't consider them real Muslims. Some 160 people were also wounded in the blast.
Most of the dead and wounded were Hazaras, an ethnic group that migrated from Afghanistan over a century ago. Shiite Muslims, including Hazaras, have often been targeted by Sunni extremists in Baluchistan province, of which Quetta is the capital, as well as in the southern city of Karachi and in northwestern Pakistan.
The vice chairman of the Hazara Democratic Party, a political group representing Hazaras, said Sunday that the party was giving the government 48 hours to find those responsible for the attack and arrest them.
"Otherwise, the Hazara community will start a protest in Pakistan and the world over," said Azizullah Hazara.The violence touched a chord among Pakistanis elsewhere in the country, with small-scale protests being held in Islamabad, Karachi and at least 12 other cities.
At the Islamabad rally, hundreds of Shiites and various civil rights groups demanded the government crackdown on the al-Qaida-linked militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Original Print Headline: Shiites lash out over bombing
Pakistani relatives of Saturday's bombing victims mourn next to their bodies in a mosque in Quetta, Pakistan, on Sunday. ARSHAD BUTT / Associated Press