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Pakistan: Shia Target Killings Continue

Categories: South Asia, Pakistan, Breaking News, Citizen Media, Human Rights, Religion, War & Conflict

On August 16, 2012, gunmen stopped a passenger bus in Mansehra [1], pulled 20 Shia Muslims off and killed them [2] 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 [3], from Rawalpindi, a city close to the capital Islamabad.

According to police official Shafiq Gul [4] 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 [6] was among the first to report this incident:

@Ali_Abbas_Zaidi [6]: Passengers were (again) made to stand out of the buses, identified and shot. 18-20 reportedly killed #Gilgit – Most probably #ShiaGenocide

@Darveshh [7] expressed  his horror that the incident took place in the Islamic month of Ramadan:

@Darveshh [7]: 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 [8]: #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 [9]: RT @moeidhaider: @AwkwardShia @Marwa_313 : almost everyday shias r being brutally killed in pakistan (quetta gilgit) & majority is silent & yes media as well

@zahaibnabeel [10]: 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 [11] Imagine if the first target killing incident in #Pakistan was dealt with judiciously, we would not have been mourning #gilgit today!

@AnjumKiani [12]: 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 [13]: 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!