Shia attack protests hit Karachi

Last Updated: Monday, February 18, 2013 - 21:30

Karachi: Pakistan`s biggest city and financial hub was paralysed on Monday after a series of sit-ins by Shia groups and incidents of violence in several areas to protest the deadly bomb attack on the Shia Hazara community in Quetta.

A massive bomb blast in Quetta killed at least 89 people and injured around 200 on Saturday.

Police and rangers had to resort to shelling and water cannons in some areas. The city wore a completely deserted look after a strike call by the Shia Ulema Council which was supported by most political parties and trade, transporters and petrol pump dealers.

All private and government schools also remained shut while examinations in universities were also affected.

Public transport remained off the roads and private vehicles were scarce. Shia Muslims supported by some civil, human rights and political parties staged sit-ins at least 18 points in the city.

Shia organisations have called for Quetta, the capital city of Baluchistan province to be handed over to the military as they claim the government has failed in safeguarding the lives of Hazaras and Shias.

Meanwhile, in Quetta, the families of the victims of the attack in a market in Hazara Town continued their sit-in for the second successive day refusing to bury those killed in the blast.

Leaders of the Shia and Hazara community said they would only end the sit-in and bury the dead when the military took control of the city.

Hasam Gul, a Hazara community leader said that 24 people still remained missing after the bombing. He said that 73 victims including 16 women have been identified while the remains of seven deceased are yet to be identified.

"We will not end this sit-in unless the government intervenes and hands over Quetta to the military as only they can carry out a proper targeted operation against these extremist organisations and provide us security," he said.

Vice President of the Majlis-e-Wahadat-e-Muslimeen, Maulana Amin Shaheedi, said the government needed to reinforce ban and restrict the activities of banned organisations and the Army to be handed control of Quetta.

Addressing a news conference, Maulana Shaheedi said the victims of the blast would not be buried and nationwide protests would continue until demands are met.

He added that security agencies had failed in Quetta and even the injured were not being provided proper medical care.

Imran Khan, the leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf also backed the call by the Shia and Hazara community leaders for the military to take over Quetta.

President Asif Zardari had in January imposed Governor`s rule in Baluchistan province after twin blasts in Quetta which killed nearly 100 people and injured dozens.

PTI



First Published: Monday, February 18, 2013 - 21:30

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