Pakistan Shias bury bombings victims

Pakistani Shia Muslims mourn the victims of bombings in Quetta, Balochistan Province, on January 13, 2013.

Pakistan’s Shia Muslims have buried the victims of recent bombings in Balochistan Province, four days after the attacks in the city of Quetta.

On January 10, nearly 130 people were killed and many others injured in a wave of bombings targeting both Pakistani security guards and civilians, including Shia Muslims.

More than 90 of the victims lost their lives in twin bomb attacks that targeted Shias in a crowded place in Quetta. The outlawed terrorist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for the attack.

The burial of the victims on Monday came after Shia Muslim protesters put an end to their nearly four-day protest demanding tighter security in the city.

Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf visited the families of the victims on Sunday and dismissed the provincial government of southwestern Balochistan in response to the demands of the Shias.

Prior to the prime minister’s visit, the families of the victims in Quetta had refused to bury the bodies of the victims, calling on Islamabad to dispatch security forces to the province to implement law and order.

Meanwhile, Ashraf announced late Sunday that Governor Zulfiqar Ali Magsi would be the chief executive of the province. According to article 234 of the Pakistani constitution, the governor’s rule in Balochistan will be effective for two months from Monday.

Massive protests were held across the country to denounce the violence against Shias, with protesters accusing the Pakistani government of failing to take enough action to prevent terror attacks on Shias. Shias make up about 20 percent of Pakistan’s population of 180 million.

Violence has escalated against Shia Muslims in different parts of the country in recent months. Since the beginning of 2012, hundreds of Shias have been killed in Pakistan. The attacks have targeted many doctors, engineers, high-ranking government officials, teachers, and politicians.

MAM/HSN