Saturday, January 25, 2014
Pakistan Has Suspended Buses Carrying Shiite Pilgrims To Iran
Pakistan has suspended buses carrying Shi'ite pilgrims from travelling through its volatile Baluchistan province to neighboring Iran due to security concerns after a suicide attack that killed 27 27 pilgrims this week, officials said on Friday. A 700 kilometers (430) miles connecting the Pakistani city of Quetta and Iran, home to many Shi'ite pilgrimage sites, has seen dozens of suicides and roadside bomb attacks claimed by radical Sunni Islamist groups. "We have temporarily suspended the movement of buses on the highway until the security situation improves" said a senior official of provincial government. Sectarian attacks are on the rise in Pakistan where minority Shi'ite make 20 percent of 180 million population. Human Rights Watch says more than 400 Shi'ite were killed during 2013, including Shi'ite Hazara minority group. On Tuesday a suicide bomber drove his car into the bus killing 27 Shi'ite pilgrims prompting hundreds of Hazaras to take to streets to protest against the violence. "No place is safe for us. There is no alternate road. We have to travel through this 'bloody highway' each time we go on a pilgrimage", said one protester. Sunni militant group Lashkar e Jhanghvi claimed the responsibility for the latest attack.