Seven dead from blasts as Chehlum observed across Pakistan

Published: December 24, 2013
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Mourners march in a religious procession in Rawalpindi on December 24, 2013. PHOTO: AFP

Mourners march in a religious procession in Rawalpindi on December 24, 2013. PHOTO: AFP

Mourners march in a religious procession in Rawalpindi on December 24, 2013. PHOTO: AFP A screengrab showing the Rawalpindi protesters and security personnel. A screengrab showing the procession route where a blast was heard. A screengrab showing the procession route where a blast was heard. A file photo of a Muharram procession. PHOTOS: EXPRESS Police and military personnel keep watch as mourners take part in a religious procession in Islamabad on December 23, 2013. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: As Pakistanis observed the Chehlum of Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) on Tuesday, a total of seven people were killed and at least 25 injured in multiple bomb explosions in Karachi and Mansehra, Express News reported.

The Chehlum is an observance that occurs 40 days after Ashura and is marked by processions.

The government suspended mobile services in 56 cities to ensure tightened security, but that did not stop two explosions going off in Mansehra.

The first one injured four people while the next one on Chakrali Road killed three near a school.

Earlier, in Karachi, blasts in Orangi Town took four lives and injuring 21.

In Rawalpindi, a clash broke out between between a group of protesters and security personnel the Pirwadhai area, which borders Islamabad.

Five people were injured in a firing incident in Raja Bazaar area of Rawalpindi, too.

A heavy contingent of security officers was present in the area when unidentified armed men opened fire. It was reported that processionists in Rawalpindi tried to enter Islamabad but the police stopped them, which led to clashes.

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4:49pm

Update on the wounded in the Karachi blast below:

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4:24pm

Separately, three people were killed in an explosion near a school on Chakrali Road in Mansehra.

The bomb was on the side of the road and was activated by a remote control device.

Four people were also injured in another explosion in the same place this morning. The injured from the first explosion have been taken to a hospital.

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3:57pm

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3:42pm

The main Chehlum procession in Rawalpindi has reached the Jama Masjid Road.

A clash broke out between a group of protesters and security personnel in Rawalpindi’s Pirwadhai area which borders Islamabad.

The armed protesters have reportedly forced shopkeepers to shut down their shops.

Police officers shelled the group in their attempt to disperse them. SSP Islamabad has also arrived in the area and arrested five suspects.

More security officers have been called in from Islamabad to contain the mob in Rawalpindi and not allow them to enter the capital city.

 

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3:28pm

The blasts in Orangi Town, Karachi left three dead and 21 injured. The deceased include a man named Irfan and 15-year-old boy named Sunny.

According to initial details, a timed-device was used for the explosion.

A few rescue officials were also left injured when the second blast took place while they were carrying out relief activities.

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3:18pm

It was reported that processionists in Rawalpindi tried to go to Islamabad but the police stopped them, and they reacted violently.

Two people were also arrested during processions earlier today.

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2:43pm

Five people were injured in a firing incident in Raja Bazaar area of Rawalpindi.

A heavy contingent of security officers was present in the area when unidentified armed men opened fire.

The situation has now been brought under control.

A violent clash broke out at the same place during Ashura procession on November 15 and a curfew was imposed in the city to bring the situation under control.

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2:11pm

The number of injured in Karachi’s Orangi Town blasts has risen to 17.

An assistant sub inspector is also among the injured.

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2:07pm

The bodies of the victims of Karachi’s Orangi Town blasts have been sent to a local hospital for post-mortem.

In Rawalpindi, police resorted to shelling in order to control a few angry members of a Chehlum procession.

The procession was going through the Pirwadhai area of the city and details about the reason why the participants got out of hand are not yet known.

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2:00pm

The death toll  in Karachi’s Orangi Town blasts has risen to three while the number of people who were injured reached 14.

A rescue ambulance was also destroyed in the blasts.

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1:54pm

Mourners have started to gather outside the Imambargah Ali Raza on MA Jinnah Road in Karachi to offer Zuhr prayers.

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1:26pm

Additional IG Shahid Hayat while speaking to the media said a small amount of explosive material was used in the explosion near Karachi’s Capri Cinema.

He said the procession route is now being rechecked for any suspicious material.

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1:13pm

The twin explosions in Karachi’s Orangi Town left two dead and 10 injured.

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1:06pm

Police and rescue officials have arrived in the area, while injured were taken to a nearby hospital.

Police have not verified the explosion as yet.

The number of injured has increased to five.

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1:04pm

Another blast was heard in Karachi’s Orangi Town.

One person was killed and two others were injured in the explosion.

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12:59pm

Police and Rangers have cordoned off the area.

Security officers claim a tyre had burst and was mistaken for an explosion.

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12:55pm

A few tweets regarding the explosion:

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12:49pm

Bomb Disposal Squad and rescue officials have been called in to handle the situation near Karachi’s Capri Cinema.

The Chehlum procession was meant to pass through this area and mourners were starting to gather here.

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12:45pm

A blast was heard near Karachi’s Capri Cinema.

Police and Rangers personnel are present in the area as a part of the Chehlum security plan.

The exact nature of the blast is not known as yet.

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12:25pm

Army took control of security in Rawalpindi with around 7,000 personnel deployed to maintain law and order in the garrison city.

At least 5,000 security officers are on duty in Karachi for security purposes, while army units are on standby to deal with any emergency situation.

Procession routes in major cities are also monitored through security cameras, while sniffer dogs are used for olfactory surveillance.

Cellphone services will remain blocked in Karachi from 7am till 10pm, from 9am till 10pm in Hyderabad, from 8am till 8pm in Sukkur and from 7am till 12am in Mirpurkhas.

The Sindh government has also placed a ban on pillion riding in a few cities of the province including Karachi, while displaying arms in public is also prohibited.

Section 144 was put in place in Peshawar, barring Afghan refugees from entering the city.

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Reader Comments (52)

  • Asad
    Dec 24, 2013 - 12:07PM

    Mobile service working in Islamabad and Lahore

    Recommend

  • Anoni
    Dec 24, 2013 - 12:20PM

    Hope everything remain peaceful.

    and get to catch the miscreant this time

    Recommend

  • SaRa Tirmizi
    Dec 24, 2013 - 12:47PM

    According to the news mobile services will remain suspended from 8am till 8pm in Sukkur , but a while ago I called my sister she is in Sukkur [I’m in Khairpur]. So mobile services are working fine here.

    Recommend

  • Dec 24, 2013 - 2:22PM

    May ALLAH protect us from enemies of Pakistan..Recommend

  • Niaz Ahmed
    Dec 24, 2013 - 2:58PM

    Public movement blocked, millions effected, billions lost. Then we ask why are groups fighting among each other.

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  • abcde
    Dec 24, 2013 - 3:05PM

    Hope the wont burn the market again this time.

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  • Rohit Sen
    Dec 24, 2013 - 3:43PM

    Why are you sending the army to fight? Why not send imran khan to talk to them? Hope people in Pakistan realise that you can not negotiate with terrorists, whatever be their motivation, misunderstanding of Islam or any other motivation! Killers of innocent people won’t understand words!!!

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  • loudNclear
    Dec 24, 2013 - 3:54PM

    Access of everything is bad even if it is of religion!

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  • Farhan
    Dec 24, 2013 - 3:59PM

    Don’t get me wrong but exactly why is chehlum observed more and more like Muharram every year? Are we trying to get another religious holiday in our calendar?

    And btw, I’m not a salafist or anti-shia for asking this question. I ask the same for Rabi-ul-Awwal processions and am not in favour of the madressah mafia either.

    I support a secular Pakistan.

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  • vasan
    Dec 24, 2013 - 4:09PM

    A procession of followers of a particular religion requires so much protection and causes so much violence in a land created for the followers of the same religion. What a pity

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  • Kanwal
    Dec 24, 2013 - 4:44PM

    In the land of the pure. Let’s ban all who want to practice their religion freely in the land of the pure. Never let the minorities practice anything they like, lest they get hope. These processions were there since ages. Where did the riots come from? Yeah, lots of petro dollars and remnants of strategic depth.

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  • Dec 24, 2013 - 5:10PM

    Enemies of Pakistan are working day and night to destabilizing our poor nation so we also need to take strong measures to protect our citizens suspending mobiles is a good way but there should be more investment in advance high tech apparatus for our police and law enforcement agencies to safeguard the public and also police officers not only such special occasion but in generally. May G-d Almighty protect our homeland.Recommend

  • Mohammed
    Dec 24, 2013 - 6:16PM

    What is wrong with people. Whatever happened to our humanity? How can any true muslim hate any of Allahs creations?

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  • Tipu
    Dec 24, 2013 - 6:22PM

    As a secular sunni, I support my Shia brothers and condemn the acts of religious intolerance and violence against them. The salafist perpetrators are the enemies of Pakistan and have the blood of another 50,000 innocent Pakistanis at their hands. Slowly and slowly they are taking over the country.

    Recommend

  • Major Iqbal
    Dec 24, 2013 - 6:39PM

    @adnan:

    The enemies of Pakistan are your military.

    The sooner you disband them, the better.

    Recommend

  • Gul Agha
    Dec 24, 2013 - 6:42PM

    Strategic depth has turned into strategic death.

    Recommend

  • Bilal
    Dec 24, 2013 - 6:43PM

    When will our leaders and society realize that unless Pakistan puts emphasis on Science and rational thought, we have no future. A society where medieval thinking is the norm and suspension of critical thinking is celebrated as a national virtue, will tear itself apart as we are seeing everyday.

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  • Dec 24, 2013 - 6:45PM

    We send our heartfelt condolences to the victims’ families. We hope that they will find the strength to deal with this tragedy. We also wish a quick and full recovery for those who are injured.

    Ali Khan
    DET, United States Central Command

    Recommend

  • Anees Ahmed Khan
    Dec 24, 2013 - 6:51PM

    Now time has come to forcefully end the foolishness in the name religious processions of all sects and religions.

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  • sano
    Dec 24, 2013 - 7:15PM

    Our govt and state is not sincere in ensuring the security and safety of the ordinary people of Pak, otherwise it is not difficult to control a few terrorist and miscreants from creating violence.

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  • Syed
    Dec 24, 2013 - 7:24PM

    Lets get this straight. No matter how much you try but these processions will not end, in fact they will only grow. They are happening all across the globe too. More and more people are saying Hamaray hain Hussain (a.s.)

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  • Xnain
    Dec 24, 2013 - 7:33PM

    @Kanwal:
    Well leaving aside ages, there wasn’t anything publically observed as chehlum even 10 years ago. I remember only Ashura was observed publically not the chehlum. Freedom to practice religion is one thing, but it should be imposed upon others as well. In Pakistan two minorities are killing eachother in cold blood yet none of them is willing to retract to safety. These Chehlum processions are only held in Pakistan,Iran,Syria,Lebnon and Iraq? why not in Western countries where you have much more religious freedom supposedly? And lastly chehlum is a practice, not religion. Its a pity that the totality of religion has been confined to such events.

    Recommend

  • Aamir
    Dec 24, 2013 - 7:43PM

    @Farhan:
    If someone starts targeting friday prayers, then one day, in order to protect friday worshipers, we will also need to seal the city and suspend mobile services. In short, it is not the activity, but the threat to its continuation that demands such measures.
    Chehlum is the same, the routes are the same, they are not new. It is the growing threat that creates the hype. Demanding an end to the processions is the solutions. The problem lies somewhere else.

    Recommend

  • Imran
    Dec 24, 2013 - 7:44PM

    @Anees Ahmed Khan:
    Religion is foolishness. Time to declare the state secular, ban the madrissas, banish all mullahs, and the beard.

    Recommend

  • abcde
    Dec 24, 2013 - 8:10PM

    @Kanwal:

    Whenever Muslims try to practice their religion in the west, people like you say that minorities should not put their likings on majority but here its totally opposite. Everest of hypocrisy

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  • syed baqar ahsan
    Dec 24, 2013 - 8:24PM

    @US CENTCOM:
    double gaming is the only art of war we learnt from USA as a friend,ally,none-NATO ally, friends of democratic Pakistan.what else these killings & blasts are is out come all types friends.

    Recommend

  • Syed hussain
    Dec 24, 2013 - 8:49PM

    We’ve had enough it’s pretty clear state is either not willing or complicit in the killins of Shia. We need international community to help us combat this menace.

    Recommend

  • Jibran
    Dec 24, 2013 - 8:54PM

    @abcde:
    There is difference between practicing and imposing. Of course, if your religion promotes hatred and bloodshed (as in the case of Salafism), it should be banned whether East or West.

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  • Arsalan
    Dec 24, 2013 - 9:07PM

    Pakistan made the same mistake as was made by the Mughals. They never built a nation. We repeated the same. How the outcome could be different.

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  • Arsalan
    Dec 24, 2013 - 9:09PM

    Pakistan is fast becoming a satellite colony of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, many fold return on their investment in the form of their hospitality to the Sharifs 10 years ago.

    Recommend

  • abcde
    Dec 24, 2013 - 9:12PM

    @Jibran:

    You are so right. This was not imposed. No body had to close his shop. No one had to miss the work. No road was closed. Mobile networks were working flawlessly. No one insisted to take the same route where they already burn and kill civilians.

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  • Dec 24, 2013 - 9:20PM

    @adnan: Pakistanis have only one set of enemies – Pakistanis.

    Recommend

  • Abbas
    Dec 24, 2013 - 9:25PM

    @Xnain:
    Not sure where you live; I’m almost 50 years old and have always participated in Ashura and a Chelum jaloos all of my life.

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  • Dec 24, 2013 - 9:50PM

    There are no outside enemies involved in the murders, killings, bomb blasts happening in Pakistan. They are all your brothers and Muslims of Pakistan. Don’t close your eyes and blame unknown persons which is a disease the Pakistanis are suffering from. The world not only call us terrorists but also liars.

    Recommend

  • JB
    Dec 24, 2013 - 10:02PM

    @Xnain:
    Never seen such a hollow comment. I don’t know why people do not confirm their so-called ‘facts’ confirmed by a mere two-minute research through google..

    Recommend

  • qbc
    Dec 24, 2013 - 11:10PM

    @Xnain:

    Chehlum is practiced in every western country i have been to lots of them and i live in one all my life.I just returned from a procession in london and i have been to many including in new york
    Paris etc

    Why do you use propaganda to further your sect try telling the truth.

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  • Syed
    Dec 24, 2013 - 11:31PM

    @Farhan:

    I live in secular western countries where they welcome (and facilitate) and encourage every group to have their religious and cultural activities openly. This makes the country and society rich. What you are envisioning is place and society like former soviet.

    What is next you would demand not doing Eid prayers openly? they are security risk too in environment like Pakistan.

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  • Nawazish Ali
    Dec 25, 2013 - 12:51AM

    Kill as many of the Shia as you want. Guess what, they will keep growing and the name of Hussain will live on forever. You can’t stop it.

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  • hassan
    Dec 25, 2013 - 12:56AM

    well first to all my those friends who want to be seculer.. pakistan is not a seculer country. but a muslim nation has its obligation to protect the religious rights of even non muslims, what to talk of other sect. secondly to those who say that religious processions shud be limited to walls. my friend soon u will also say that we can not protect u even in mosques and imambargas, what then!!!! as it happend with christens in peshawar. so plz instead of only thinking selfishly today… try to criticise the root causes and be united as one. Dnt fall prey to negative propagandas. these religious processions are our assets may it be milad un nabi or ashura or Arbain e Imam. May Allah protect us All and give us forsight.

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  • Kanwal
    Dec 25, 2013 - 1:09AM

    @xnain
    “Two minorities killing each other”? The 50000 Deaths in Pakistan are the result of this killing then? The Sunnis who died were victims of Shias and vice versa? See the flaw in your logic?
    And about the chehlum procession, yes there is a chehlum procession here in London too where I live. It’s very organised, takes place in the centre of the city and consumes majority of the day on which it is held. And the government provides all the facilities for it. Before coming here, I lived in Karachi and i remember this procession from my childhood so I don’t know where you live but I have seen it since ages.
    In the end, it all comes down to this: a peaceful people taking their religious processions out on street and giving a big boost to the local economy and showing a lot can be accomplished( for example, the government of Pakistan can actually provide security if they try hard enough!), and people like you are objecting bcoz some thugs have decided to target these processions in recent years. So the Pakistani logic is: never mind the thugs, block the processions. Bravo.

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  • qbc
    Dec 25, 2013 - 2:27AM

    @abcde:

    Are you feeling ok muslims do practice islam in the west in some things even more than the east without bomb attacks from your brothers.

    Recommend

  • Murshid
    Dec 25, 2013 - 7:56AM

    Deobund is in India, but in India, Deobundis are all chilled out and never hurt anybody. In Pakistan however they’re all like a bunch of dangerous psychotics in a daycare center. Therein lies the crux of the matter. The goody-two-shoes West continuously gives copious amounts of monies to the undemocratically elected crooks at the helm of this country. Their salary?

    “Oh here’s money for education.” “Here’s money for clothes and shelter.” “Here’s money for development.” “Here’s money for [Nato supply].” “Here’s money for the blackmailing brown noser.” “Go buy yourselves more estates in our countries.” “Print more fiat currency for the USD.” “Don’t mine coal and gas or else petrodollar will die and you will have no spoils from the next war.”

    No, no, no. Do not mistake them as the new and best way out secular or humanitarian or evolved homosapiens looking forward to help other people for the good of our race. They’re equally hideous if not more and these indigenous baboons our politicians and terrorist militias are indeed their pawns, doing all the dirty work for them and right under their noses and with their full blessings. They’re not the prophets of peace and happiness either. They want your money, your organs, whatever they can profit from.

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  • Xnain
    Dec 25, 2013 - 10:08AM

    @Kanwal:
    Leaving aisde the thugs but what about the millions of people in Karachi who suffered due to road blockades and millions more in Pakistan who suffered due to mobile service suspension. I am sure in London the procession would have been day long and blocked the main-roads of already crowded London ryt?

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  • Xnain
    Dec 25, 2013 - 10:10AM

    @hassan:
    Pakistan is an Islamic republic not a shia-republic (like iran) nor a sulfi republic (like KSA).

    Recommend

  • Xnain
    Dec 25, 2013 - 10:12AM

    @Kanwal:
    “The 50000 Deaths in Pakistan are the result of this killing then? The Sunnis who died were victims of Shias and vice versa? See the flaw in your logic?”
    It appears that you’re confused between war on terror and sectarian violence…..

    Recommend

  • Hari Om
    Dec 25, 2013 - 11:31AM

    It continues to remain baffling to me both as a Non-Pakistani and Non-Muslim that Pakistan, a country claimed to have been founded to provide a safe haven for the Muslims of the Indian Sub-Continent, sees such frequent incidents of violence pitting Muslim against Muslim over differences in interpretation of the Islamic faith. All this even while in the supposed “not-safe haven” area of the Indian Sub-Continent, namely “Hindu India”, the Muslim festival of Arbaeen /Chehlum passed off peacefully without Muslim’s being molested by Hindu’s and with no need for widespread recourse to measures such as imposing curfew, deploying the Army, shutting down the cell phone network, banning pillion riding and other draconian measures taken in Pakistan.

    What is particularly ironic is that Pakistan’s founder Mr. M.A. Jinnah would have risked life and limb for following the practices of his original Shia sect of Islam on the occasion of Arbaeen / Chehlum in the country he created specifically for Muslims even while members of his original Shia sect of Islam remained unmolested for following their Arbaeen / Chehlum practices in the country (ie: India) he partitioned on religious grounds!

    Next I wait to hear the oft repeated statement that there is no such thing as intra Muslim sectarian killings in Pakistan as it is inconceivable that a Muslim can kill another Muslim as Islam is the Religion of Peace where even killing one person is considered as killing all humanity making instances like these killings in Pakistani minds a RAW / Mossad / CIA perpetrated act by India / Israel / USA to malign Islam and Pakistan.

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  • abcde
    Dec 25, 2013 - 2:10PM

    @qbc:

    Strangely I’ve never seen any of the processions going in the streets of London. Is the religion different in West and Pakistan? Its the extremest from both sides. One side is your extremist brothers Saudis and Other side is extremist yourself. You guys have made this country the battle ground for your own good

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  • J T
    Dec 25, 2013 - 3:46PM

    @Hari Om:
    Very well-put, Sir. This couldn’t have been said any better.

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  • qbc
    Dec 25, 2013 - 7:20PM

    @abcde:
    So you have not seen processions in marble arch London please google it you extremist.Why do you always make things up to further your sect.

    There is no battle ground in Pakistan the stats prove it one side your brothers are killing inocents around the world. You use propaganda to make things up as you please on one side we have the Saudis and you (extremists the other side you have peacefull people who get blown up or target killed.

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  • qbc
    Dec 25, 2013 - 7:27PM

    @abcde:

    The meaning of extremist is a person who holds extreme political or religious views, especially one who advocates illegal, violent, or other extreme action.

    That fits you perfectly plus you make up things up to back up your claims just google marble arch processions in London.

    I am a victim of your brothers killing machine in Pakistan they have killed my family members there they were just going about there normal routine.

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  • qbc
    Dec 25, 2013 - 7:37PM

    @abcde:

    Nice try I don’t believe in violence unlike you and your brothers please stop making things up.Try to google marble arch London processions it happens every year plus smaller ones in London. You say the things you say because you are an extremist.

    There is no battle going on in pak because only one side your brothers who are fighting the other side has not reacted yet.

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  • Nawazish Ali
    Dec 25, 2013 - 8:12PM

    @abcde: Strangely you must be blind or too ignorant to see that there have been processions in London and all over UK for decades now to commemorate the martyrdom of The Holy Prophet’s (saw) Grandson and his loyal companions. Do you not have any friends or access to Facebook that would show you these events? Try checking Forest Gate, Tooting, West London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leicester on the day of Ashura. Even my non-Muslim friends have more awareness than you. (This is in response to the message below)

    “Strangely I’ve never seen any of the processions going in the streets of London. Is the religion different in West and Pakistan? Its the extremest from both sides. One side is your extremist brothers Saudis and Other side is extremist yourself. You guys have made this country the battle ground for your own good”

    Recommend

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