Hardline Pakistani group shuts Iranian stall at book fair

A stall set up by the Iranian consulate at the recent Karachi International Book Fair was forcibly shut down by a Pakistani right-wing group.

PTI| Updated: Dec 10, 2013, 21:13 PM IST

Karachi: A stall set up by the Iranian consulate at the recent Karachi International Book Fair was forcibly shut down by a Pakistani right-wing group.

According to the influential Dawn newspaper, the incident occurred during the recent three-day fair, in which representatives from several foreign countries, including India, took part.

An editorial in the daily said the Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat, considered a front for the banned Sipah-e-Sahaba, took umbrage at some of the books on display at the Iranian consulate`s stall because of their alleged sectarian nature.

The Sunni group lodged a complaint with police, which confiscated books and forced the Iranian consulate to shut down its stall. The incident highlighted the trend of growing intolerance in Pakistani society.

The consulate rejected the allegations that it had displayed any inflammatory material at its stall.

The editorial noted that the incident embodied ill for literary and cultural activities in Pakistan when extremists can have literature which they deem unacceptable removed and dictate terms to society.

Sectarian tensions and violence between Sunni and Shia Muslims has emerged as a major problem in recent years. The banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has been accused of carrying out attacks that have killed scores of Shias.