Pakistani Shi’ites Protest Deadly Bombings

Posted January 12th, 2013 at 12:55 pm (UTC-5)
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Pakistani Shi'ites protested in southwestern Pakistan for a second day Saturday, following bomb blasts that killed nearly 100 people.

More than 3,000 protesters gathered near the scene of twin suicide attacks Thursday that killed at least 86 people in the city of Quetta, capital of Baluchistan province.

Police say the bombing targeted a billiards hall in an area of Quetta occupied mainly by ethnic Hazaras, who are Shi'ite Muslims. The outlawed militant Sunni group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Dozens of coffins lined the road where the protesters gathered Saturday. Shi'ite families in Quetta have refused to bury their dead to protest the Muslim minority group's lack of security.

A separate bomb blast Thursday in Quetta killed 12 people, mostly security personnel. Militant Baluch nationalists claimed responsibility for that bombing.

Attacks on Pakistani Shi'ites have been increasing steadily. One Shi'ite leader in Quetta criticized Pakistan's army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, for failing to halt the killings.

The violence and criticism of the government and security forces comes as Pakistan is gearing up for national elections expected in a few months.

Shi'ites comprise about 20 percent of Pakistan's mostly Sunni Muslim population of 160 million people.

A fourth explosion Thursday in northwestern Pakistan killed more than 20 Muslim missionaries.