Protests across Karachi over Mastung suicide attack on pilgrims bus

Protests across Karachi over Mastung suicide attack on pilgrims busEnraged protesters, including women and children, held sit-ins across the city on Wednesday to voice anguish at the deadly sulcide attack on a bus of Shia pilgrims in Mastung a day before that claimed more than 20 lives.

The protesters condemned unabated assaults on the community on sectarian grounds and demanded the government must come up with a `bold and decisive policy` against terrorism.
The protesters converged at the Numaish traffic intersection in the evening and later their protest was replicated in two other areas where people held sit-ins on Shahrah-ePakistan and National Highway.
The sit-in organised by the Majlis Wahdat-iMuslimeen was part of the organisation`s countrywide protests against Tuesday`s attack in Mastung, Quetta, where a suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden car into a bus carrying Shia pilgrims returning from Iran, killing at least 22 including women and children and leaving some 32 wounded.`Sit-ins are being organised in all major cities of the country including Sindh,` said the MWM spokesman. `In Karachi, the sit-ins have been organised at Numaish, Shahrah-ePakistan and National Highway, which will continue till the burial of Quetta victims and a credible announcement by the Balochistan and federal governments about their response to the tragedy,` he said.

Anger ran high among protesters from Karachi to Kashmore where Shia organisations took out protest rallies, staged sits-in and held press conferences to condemn the latest attack on the community which had suffered deadlyterrorist attacks over the past four years.

Shia clerics questioned in their speeches the role of Balochistan as well as the federal government and said they had failed to ensure safety of people`s life and property.

`If someone is really concerned about our security and the situation we are facing, it must be reflected in their actions,` said Allama Sajid Raza Tagvi, a senior leader of the MWM.

`With new governments both in the centre and the province after May 11 elections, there were high hopes the terror-hit community would have some breather but regrettably nothing has changed,` he said.

The protesters at the sit-ins on mainShahrah-e-Pakistan at Incholi and National Highway near Malir City traffic intersection vowed not to give up `peaceful struggle` for the safety and equal rights for all communities in the country to practise their beliefs and religions.

The leaders and clerics also warned the government that the `policy of dialogue` they were pursuing would not produce desired results as the militant outfits had no belief in any peaceful solution of the crisis.

`Some external elements want to impose their brand of Islam on Pakistan as shrines of Sufi saints are also being attacked,` said renowned cleric Allama Ali Anwar while addressing the sit-in at Numaish.

`We will not renounce our beliefs at any cost and we are not afraid of martyrdom. The government must realise that it`s high time it took a decisive and bold decision to tackle the menace of terrorism,` he said.

The MWM spokesman said the party leadership had conveyed its concerns and demands to the authorities, which were well aware of the gravity of the threat. It was now up to the government, he said, to impose its writ as it was the only way it could satisfy the protesters and the fear-hit community.

`We have not planned yet but it [protests] may continue. Protest is the only peaceful option we have to show anger and convey our demands,` he added.

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