Pakistan faces growing anger over sectarian bombings after latest blast

Bomb killed at least 81 in Quetta market

Anger is growing today among Pakistan's Shiites over perceived security failings after a bomb blast killed 81 in a marketplace in Quetta.

Many claim the country's leaders have done little to protect them against increasing persecution by the country's Sunni majority, who see them as heretics and non-Muslims.

On Saturday, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), a ruthless sectarian group, claimed responsibility for the attack in the country's south-west, which deepened suspicions among Shi'ites that Pakistan's intelligence agencies are turning a blind eye to the bloodshed or even supporting extremists.

The bomb, which was hidden in a water tank and towed into the market by a tractor, was remotely detonated. The explosion destroyed shops in the residential suburb and caused a two-storey building to collapse, burying people in rubble.

After the blast, members of the Shiite community took to the city streets in angry protest, blocking roads with burning tyres and throwing stones at passing vehicles.

Some fired bullets at the sky to deter others from the area in case there was another explosion. Insurgents sometimes stagger the explosions to kill people who rush to the scene to help.

A senior security official said today that the death toll could rise as 20 people are critically wounded.

The blast was the deadliest incident in Pakistan since a series of similar bombings in January killed 86 in the same city. That attack led to days of protests that eventually toppled the local government.

After that attack, residents protested against the government's response by refusing to bury their dead for days, camping out on the streets with the bodies in coffins.

After days of protests, Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf flew to the city to meet protesters and sacked the chief minister and his cabinet.

Many of the Shiites in Quetta are Hazaras, an ethnic group that migrated over the Afghan border more than a century ago.

Today Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi, governor of Quetta's province, Baluchistan, said: "The terrorist attack on the Hazara Shiite community in Quetta is a failure of the intelligence and security forces."

And Aziz Hazara, vice president of the Hazara Democratic Party, said: "The government is responsible for terrorist attacks and killings in the Hazara community because its security forces have not conducted operations against extremist groups.

"We are giving the government 48 hours to arrest the culprits involved in the killing of our people and after that we will launch strong protests."

"The government knows exactly who is doing what and who is behind all this," said Mohammad Imran, a local trader. "If the government wants (to prevent it), no one can take even a kitchen knife into any market."

About 400 people, including some Sunnis, staged a protest in the capital Islamabad demanding the government to stamp out extremism. Protests were also held in other cities, including Quetta and Karachi.

"There is a law of the jungle, but in this country I think there is not even a law of the jungle," said Syed Abbas Naqvi, a Shiite.

Last year was particularly deadly for Shiites in Pakistan. According to Human Rights Watch, more than 400 were killed in targeted attacks across the country.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' is based on historical events
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
filmSir Ian McKellen will play retired detective in new film
Life and Style
tech
News
Justin Bieber performing in Paris earlier this year
people
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Lauren O'Neil in Jamie Lloyd's Richard III
theatreReview: The monarch's malign magnetism and diabolic effrontery aren’t felt
Arts and Entertainment
'Molecular Man +1+1+1' by Jonathan Borofsky at Yorkshire Sculpture park
tv
News
Glamour magazine hosts a yoga class with Yogalosophy author Mandy Ingber on June 10, 2013 in New York City.
newsFather Padraig O'Baoill said the exercise was 'unsavoury' in a weekly parish newsletter
Extras
indybest
News
people'She is unstoppable', says Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris show
Sport
Alexis Sanchez and apparently his barber Carlos Moles in Barcelona today
football
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Accounts Assistant, Hammersmith

£25000 per annum: Charter Selection: Exciting sports company with a strong bra...

Financial Accountant-IFRS-Gloucester-£300/day

£250 - £295 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Financial Accountant - IFRS - Glouc...

Technical Support Engineer - Central London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Support Engineer - Central London...

SharePoint/C# Developer - Aberdeen - Circa £40K + benefits

£30000 - £40000 per annum + excellent benefits: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited:...

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil