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Sat Apr 19 03:49:27 SAST 2014

Pakistan Shi'ites refuse to bury victims of water tanker bombing

Sapa-dpa | 18 February, 2013 11:44
A man prepares graves for the burial of victims of Saturday's bomb attack in a Shi'ite Muslim area, in the Pakistani city of Quetta February 17, 2013.
Image by: NASEER AHMED / REUTERS

Hundreds of minority Shi'ite Muslims refused Monday to bury the victims of a weekend bombing in south-western Pakistan until an army operation was authorised against the militant perpetrators, police and Shiite leaders said.

Allama Amin Shaheedi - deputy leader of Majlis Wahadatul Muslimeen, which is the main political organ for various Shi'ite groups - said they were using the bodies to protest the repeated attacks at their community.

"We will not bury the victims until Quetta city is handed over to the military to launch a targeted operation against banned militant outfits attacking our people," Shaheedi said.

At least 85 people were killed and about 180 injured when about 1,000 kilogrammes of explosives hidden in a water tanker ripped through a market Saturday in Quetta, capital of Balochistan, police said.

The Sunni Muslim extremist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for the attack after it also said it was behind twin blasts against Shiites last month in Quetta, which killed at least 86 people.

Shi'ites protested for four days against the January incident by placing the bodies of victims on roads. They buried the victims after President Asif Ali Zardari sacked the regional government for failure to ensure law and order.

Balochistan, Pakistan's largest province by area, has seen a recent spike in attacks on Shi'ite Muslims, most of whom are ethnic Hazaras and can easily be distinguished because of their facial features.

Human Rights Watch said this month that more than 400 Shiite Muslims were killed in "targeted attacks" across Pakistan in 2012.

They account for 20 per cent of Pakistan's people, most of whom are Sunnis.

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Sat Apr 19 03:49:27 SAST 2014 ::