Pak blames Lashkar-e-Jhangvi for attacks on Shi’ite processions



Islamabad: Pakistan government has blamed the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi for recent bomb attacks on Shi’ite processions in Karachi that killed at least 43 people and said the militant group has joined Taliban and al Qaeda to form a "triangular syndicate" to destabilise the country.

"The people behind all three blasts (targeting Shi’ite processions) in Karachi have been arrested. The banned outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi was behind these attacks," Interior Minister Malik said in the National Assembly or lower house of Parliament last night.

The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has joined the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and al Qaeda to form a "triangular syndicate" to destabilise the country but the government will foil their designs, Malik said.

Three Shi’ite processions during the Islamic holy month of Muharram were attacked in the southern port city of Karachi on December 26, 27 and 28. The third attack was the most deadly as 43 people, including women and children, lost their lives.

Authorities initially claimed the third attack was carried out by a suicide bomber.

A faction of the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack on December 30, saying it was carried out by a suicide bomber.

However, Malik said earlier this month that the Shi’ite procession was targeted with a bomb planted by the roadside. The bombing triggered widespread rioting and arson in Karachi and Malik told the National Assembly that these acts were supervised by gangsters and criminals elements.

The claim of responsibility by a Taliban commander was aimed at "deviating the focus of the investigation" into the three attacks on the Shi’ite processions, he said.

The blast occurred at 4:30 pm local time on December 28 and the rioting and arson started five minutes later, Malik said.

An investigation team had arrested some people involved in the looting and arson.

Malik also told the House that Karachi had also witnessed the targeted killing of workers of political parties from January 7.

Supporters of all parties, including the ruling Pakistan People's Party and Muttahida Qaumi Movement, were the target of these attacks, he said.

Criminals and gangsters might be involved in these killings as they want to disrupt peace in Karachi, Malik said. Over 40 workers of different political parties were killed in the recent spate of violence in Karachi, Pakistan's main financial hub and the capital of Sindh province.

The killings strained relations between the PPP and MQM, which are partners in the ruling coalition in Sindh.

PTI