Islamabad: The recent suicide attacks by militants in Pakistan have prompted Interior Minister Rehman Malik to ask the Shi’ite community to curb mourning processions in open areas.
“I request the Shi’ite community to cut short their programmes because they are soft target of terrorists,” Malik said, adding, “How can police provide security to a gathering of 15,000 people?”
“We have asked Shia Ulema to select specific places for taking out mourning processions and not to come in markets and streets,” the Dawn quoted him as saying further.
Malik said that shoot at sight order had been issued to settle the security concerns in Karachi. He also said the federal and provincial governments should work in tandem to fight terrorism and sectarianism.
When asked if he was scared of terrorists, Malik replied, “We do not fear terrorists. Rather, we are crushing them in Swat and tribal areas and this action will continue.”
Malik was speaking to reporters outside Parliament House. He accused the militants of trying to create a divide between Shi’ite and Sunni communities, as well as the Barelvis and the Deobandis.
Shi’ite scholar Allama Abbas Kumeli said the government should provide security to mourning processions, instead of stopping such gatherings. He accepted that these attacks were an attempt to divide the Shi’ite and Sunni sects, but blamed security lapse for such incidents.
At least 37 people were killed, and 250 injured in Wednesday’s triple bombing on a religious procession in Lahore.
Pakistan has witnessed a dramatic rise in the incidents of suicide attacks in the country over the past three years since the storming of the Lal Masjid by security forces in mid-2007.