Pakistani Shi'ites demanding protection from hardline Sunni groups

Pakistani Shi'ites demanding protection from hardline Sunni groups

PanARMENIAN.Net - Pakistani Shi'ites furious over a sectarian bombing that killed 85 people protested on Monday, Feb 18, demanding that security forces protect them from hardline Sunni groups, Reuters reported.

The attack, near a street market in the southwestern city of Quetta on Saturday, highlighted the government's failure to crack down on militancy in nuclear-armed Pakistan just a few months before a general election is due.

While the Taliban and al Qaeda remain a major source of instability, Sunni extremists, who regard Shi'ites as non-Muslims, have emerged as another significant security threat.

Shi'ite frustrations with waves of attacks on them have reached boiling point.

In Quetta, some ethnic Shi'ite Hazaras are refusing to bury their dead until the army and security forces go after Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), the group which claimed responsibility for the latest bombing.

Around 4,000 men, women and children placed 71 bodies beside a Shi'ite place of worship. Muslim tradition requires that bodies are buried as soon as possible and leaving them above ground is a potent expression of grief and pain.

The paramilitary Frontier Corps is largely responsible for security in Baluchistan province, of which Quetta is the capital, but Shi'ites say it is unable or unwilling to protect them.

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