KARACHI Gunmen sprayed bullets on people returning from a funeral Monday for Shia Muslim victims of a massive bombing in Karachi, highlighting increasing insecurity in a city where nearly 50 people were killed the day before.
The bomb exploded Sunday evening as people were leaving a mosque, and underlined the increasing threat Shia Muslims face as extremist militant groups target them in ever-bolder attacks.
Thousands of Muslims turned out Monday to bury their dead and demanded government protection from terror groups.
When some of those attending the funeral were returning home through Sohrab Goth area, gunmen opened fire on the group and wounded several of them, police said. Two of the men died and 13 were wounded, many critically said Dr. Saleem Memon, who works at the hospital where the wounded were taken. One report said two of the injured later died in hospital.
Thousands of people thronged a main road in Karachi Monday for the funeral service. Many beat their chests and heads and chanted “Stop the brutal attacks!” They called on the government to take action against militant groups responsible for the attacks.
“Terrorists are killing us everywhere, but the state is nowhere to be seen,” said Intizar Hussain, whose father died in the bombing.
It was the third mass casualty attack since the beginning of the year against Shiites. The first two killed nearly 200 people in the southwestern city of Quetta. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a Sunni militant group known for its virulent hatred of Shia Muslims, claimed responsibility for the two attacks.
Thousands bury blast victims, toll 50
THOUSANDS of Pakistanis have attended funerals for victims of a bombing that killed 50 people in a Karachi, the latest in a series of devastating attacks against minority Shia community.
The bomb exploded in Abbas Town as worshippers left mosques and ripped through two apartment blocks, setting one of them on fire and trapping people beneath piles of rubble. Survivors are being housed temporarily in schools.
It was the deadliest bombing in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city and business hub, since at least 43 people died in an attack on Shia worshippers in December 2009.
Banned Sunni extremist organisation Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has claimed major attacks on Shia Muslims so far.
Thousands of men, women and children, many of them wearing black headbands, beat their chests and sobbed as scores of coffins passed by at the start of the first funeral, an AFP reporter said.
Traffic was light as educational institutions, businesses and markets closed Shia groups declared three days of mourning for those killed in Sunday’s bombing.
Rights groups have strongly criticised the government for failing to prevent sectarian murders and bombings or to bring to justice those responsible.
“Terrorists are killing us but the government is not taking any action to eliminate them,” said Mohsin Ali, 29 whose elder brother was killed.
“How long will we keep losing our children, our relatives?”
Survivors could be seen searching for personal items and belongings such as jewellery from the rubble of their apartments.
“The government should provide us with arms to deal with terrorists if their agencies are unable to bring them to book,” said Azam Khan, a Sunni Muslim who said he had taken several of the dead to hospital.
“We will vote for those who eliminate these terrorists. We are not ready to be hoodwinked by empty slogans any more.”
Sindh provincial police surgeon Aslam Pechuho told AFP the death toll had risen to 50 from an overnight 45, with around 200 wounded.
Last year was the deadliest on record for Shia Muslims in Pakistan with more than 400 killed, according to Human Rights Watch.
Police on February 22 detained Lashkar-e-Jhangvi leader Malik Ishaq for 30 days under a law intended to maintain public order. He was also detained briefly last year for inciting sectarian hatred, having been released on bail in 2011 despite being implicated in dozens of murders. Agencies
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