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Pakistan: Shia Target Killings Continue

On August 16, 2012, gunmen stopped a passenger bus in Mansehra, pulled 20 Shia Muslims off and killed them in cold blood. This is the third incident of targeted killing against the Shia community in Pakistan in the last 6 months.

The bus was en route to a popular tourist destination in the north of Pakistan Gilgit, from Rawalpindi, a city close to the capital Islamabad.

According to police official Shafiq Gul the gunmen were masked and the victims were pulled from three separate vehicles:

They stopped three vehicles, searched them and picked up people in three batches of five, six and nine and shot them dead. They were all Shias.

The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has accepted responsibility for the attack.

In a similar incident on February 28, gunmen in military fatigues hauled 18 Shia Muslim men off buses travelling from Rawalpindi to Gilgit and killed them. On April 3, a Sunni Muslim mob dragged nine Shia Muslims from buses and also shot them dead in the town of Chilas.

Activists of Majlis e Muslimeen Pakistan hold a protest against Shiite target killings in Gilgit & Quetta. Image by Rajput Yasir. Copyright Demotix (10/4/2012)

The social media in Pakistan were quick to react. Activist Ali_Abbas_Zaidi was among the first to report this incident:

@Ali_Abbas_Zaidi: Passengers were (again) made to stand out of the buses, identified and shot. 18-20 reportedly killed #Gilgit – Most probably #ShiaGenocide

@Darveshh expressed  his horror that the incident took place in the Islamic month of Ramadan:

@Darveshh: 20 funerals. 20 families. It's 27th Ramzan. Three days into Eid. Think of each child, mother, father, sister and brother. #ShiaGenocide #Gilgit

More reactions:

@sheerazhaider: #ShiaKilling This is 4th time in 4 months,1st one kosistan,2nd chelas,3rd manwar gilgit,and last babusar naraan today.CJP Are You Awake?

@yaroun1: RT @moeidhaider: @AwkwardShia @Marwa_313 : almost everyday shias r being brutally killed in pakistan (quetta gilgit) & majority is silent & yes media as well

@zahaibnabeel: Strongly condemn targeted killing of 20 Shia Muslims in Gilgit. Need to spread Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W)'s msg of peace & harmony among all.

@Aushpaz Imagine if the first target killing incident in #Pakistan was dealt with judiciously, we would not have been mourning #gilgit today!

@AnjumKiani: if u want to call it a  #ShiaGenocide then call It, If u want to term it as a  #SunniGenocide Do it. For me its a  #MuslimGenocide. #Gilgit

@javhb: RT @AnjumKiani: The 16 martyred in #Gilgit by Khawarji terrorist were neither 16 Sunni's or 16 Shia's, They were Pakistani Muslims. Full Stop!

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