19 Shia pilgrims killed in Pak, UN chief appalled
New York: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on Sunday criticised the recent spate of attacks in Pakistan and reportedly said that he was “appalled by escalating terrorist violence.”
In the wake of bomb attack in Pakistan in which 19 Shi'ite pilgrims were killed, a statement issued from Ban Ki-moon's spokesman, Martin Nesirky, stated that the UN chief “condemns in particular the continued violent targeting of religious minorities.”
The recent abduction and killing of 21 Pakistani police force was also condemned by the UN chief. “These cruel acts of violence cannot be justified by any cause or grievance and should be brought to justice,” the statement reportedly further said.
A deadly suicide bomb blast on Sunday morning targeted a bus convoy carrying Shi'ite Muslim pilgrims, killing 19 in Mastung district of Baluchistan in southwest Pakistan. More than 20 others were injured when the suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into the pilgrims' bus convoy. The pilgrims were on their way to Quetta from the Iranian city of Taftan.
Shi'ites make up around 15 percent of Pakistan's 190 million people. They are scattered around the country, but the province of Baluchistan has the largest community, mainly made up of ethnic Hazaras, easily identified by their facial features which resemble those of Central Asians.
Sunni extremists have long carried out attacks against Shi'ites in Pakistan. But the sectarian campaign has stepped up in recent years, fuelled mainly by the radical group Laskar-e-Jangvhi, aligned to Pakistani Taliban militants headquartered in the tribal region. More than 300 Shi'ites have been killed in Pakistan this year, according to Human Rights Watch.
Also, 21 tribal policemen believed to have been kidnapped by the Taliban were found shot dead in Pakistan's troubled northwest tribal region, government officials said.
(With Agency Inputs)