FaithWorld

Shi’ite leader challenges Pakistani army chief over Sunni sectarian attacks

By Reuters Staff
January 11, 2013

(A paramilitary soldier stands guard at the scene of a bomb explosion in Quetta January 10, 2013.  REUTERS/Naseer Ahmed)

In a rare challenge, a Shi’ite Muslim leader publicly criticized Pakistani military chief General Ashfaq Kayani over security in the country on Friday after bombings targeting the minority sect killed 118 people.

The criticism of Kayani, arguably the most powerful man in the South Asian state, highlighted Shi’ite frustrations with Pakistan’s failure to contain Sunni Muslim militant groups who have vowed to wipe out Shi’ites.

“I ask the army chief: What have you done with these extra three years you got (in office)? What did you give us except more death?” Maulana Amin Shaheedi, who heads a national council of Shi’ite organizations, told a news conference.

Most of Thursday’s deaths were caused by twin attacks aimed Shi’ites in the southwestern city of Quetta, near the Afghan border, where members of the minority have long accused the state of turning a blind eye to Sunni death squads.

Shi’ite leaders were so outraged at the latest bloodshed that they called for the military to take control of Quetta to shield them and said they would not allow the 85 victims of twin bomb attacks to be buried until their demands were met.

The burials had been scheduled to take place after Friday prayers but the bodies would remain in place until Shi’ites had received promises of protection.

Shaheedi said scores of bodies were still lying on a road. “They will not be buried until the army comes into Quetta.”
Read the full story by Gul Yousufzai here.
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