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Angry Shias mourn Quetta mosque attack

Quetta, July 5 (Reuters): Thousands of angry mourners packed a Shia cemetery in the Pakistani city of Quetta today as last rites were held for many of the 47 people killed in a suicide attack on a mosque.

A curfew imposed by police and soldiers shortly after yesterday’s attack by three suicide bombers was gradually being eased, although tensions between Shias and majority Sunnis remained high.

Local officials said angry protesters seeking revenge for the attack had raided a Sunni seminary in Quetta and killed a teacher late yesterday. “The army had evacuated all teachers and pupils from the seminary but the protesters got hold of a teacher and hacked him to death,” an official from the provincial home department said.

Earlier yesterday, Shias, most ly from the Hazara tribe, rampaged through Quetta, shooting into the air and torching property, vehicles and the wing of a hospital. There were no reports of violence today, but there was no let-up in the anger.

“This is an unbearable outrage,” said Asif Jafferi, who lost a relative in the mosque attack, as verses from the Quran were recited over loudspeakers at Shia mosques across the city.

“It shows the inability of the government to stop such incidents,” said another mourner, Manzoor Hussain, whose brother and brother-in-law were killed. They were attending a sombre funeral for 24 of the victims at a heavily guarded graveyard reserved for the city’s Shia community.

Extremists from the Shia and Sunni sects of Islam have a long history of violence in Pakistan, and there have been at least three major sectarian killings so far this year claiming 67 lives. Two were in Quetta and the third in Karachi.

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, returning from a tour of the US and Europe, said at the airport near Islamabad that he would deal severely with the perpetrators and their associates.

He had just been telling investors abroad that there was no security threat in Pakistan.

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