Thursday, October 07, 2010

Terrorists Target Abdullah Shah Ghazi Shrine in Karachi

Eight killed in Karachi shrine suicide attacks
Staff Report, Daily Times, October 8, 2010

KARACHI: The twin suicide bombings at the shrine of Abdullah Shah Ghazi is a continuation of sectarian killings that have been witnessed in the city during the last few months.

There are two sectarian wars going on in the city simultaneously: one between the Deobandi-inspired Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat, formerly Sipah-e-Sahabah and the Shia sect; and the other between Sunni Tehrik and the Deobandi sect for the control of mosques.

The blasts at the shrine took place after the funeral prayer of Maulana Amin, who was gunned down in a targeted attack on Tuesday.

Targeted killings of banned outfit Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) activists started last year that fuelled sectarianism in the city. Since then sectarian killings have claimed lives of 23 people belonging to the Deobandi school of thought. In the aftermath of their killings, a number of Shias including doctors and high profile personalities were also killed in targeted attacks in the city.

A senior police official speaking on condition of anonymity said the turmoil has been organised in which rival group members exploited the situation.

He said the conspiracy to push the city into sectarianism was exposed when terrorists targeted the Ashura and Chehlum processions.

Before that there had been no terrorist activities in Karachi for the last few years, he said, adding that such activities were entirely sectarian based.

Sunni Action Committee, a sister organisation of SSP, had categorically accused the Sunni Tehreek for assassination of their leader Amin.

The accusation angered the activists of both thought schools and the blast at the Ghazi shrine would further flare the confrontation.

Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies, on directives of Home Minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza, sealed all shrines in the metropolis following the blasts.

Auqaf Secretary Bilal Zaidi agreed with the decision to seal the shrines.

However, the decision of the closure of shrines would also increase tension among the sects as clerics and scholars of different sects declined to accept the decision.

Sunni Tehreek chief Sarwat Ejaz Qadri condemned the decision and said the government should arrest the elements involved in such activities instead of imposing bans on shrines.

Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen leader Maulana Hassan Zafar said instead of evolving a counter-terrorism strategy, the government has imposed the ban on shrines.

Going by the trend, he said, the government would then also close down mosques and impose ban on markets as the terrorists have targeted mosques and shopping centres in the past.

At least 80 shrines of saints across the province, including 36 in Karachi, have been declared sensitive by the Sindh Auqaf Department following the terrorism threat.

Sources privy to the matter told Daily Times that the department had provided a list of 80 shrines to the Sindh Home Department and law enforcement and intelligence agencies for arranging foolproof security to avoid any untoward incident. Despite repeated warnings by intelligence agencies, the security department concerned did not take proper security initiatives.

The barbarians have attacked another shrine – no respite for Karachi - Jahane Rumi
Pakistan: Militants attack leading Sufi shrine - Independent
8 killed in blasts at Sufi shrine in Pakistan - Los Angeles Times
US condemns deadly bombings at Pakistani shrine - AFP
In pictures: Pakistan shrine bombing - BBC (also picture source above)

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