Shikarpur massacre: Condemnation crosses sectarian divide

Residents protest, vow to fight sectarian, ethnic violence .

Protesters chant slogans demanding action against the group that claimed responsibility for the attack. PHOTO: HUMA CHOUDHARY

ISLAMABAD: Sectarian and ethnic violence cannot set Sunnis and Shias apart, the more you kill them the more they will unite and come out on the streets to raise their voice against injustice, extremism and brutality.

This was the crux of the message conveyed by a group of civil society representatives who gathered in Sector F-6 on Saturday to register their protest against the suicide blast at an imambargah in Lakhidar, Shikarpur, Sindh that claimed over 60 lives and injured dozens more.

They said that the latest attack had refreshed their wounds of last year’s barbaric attack on the innocent children of Army Public School, Peshawar.

The protesters said those who were getting foreign funds wished to pit members of the two sects together by carrying out large scale and small scale killings.

They demanded prompt action against the group that had claimed responsibility for the attack and shouted ‘death to terrorists’. The demonstrators also demanded thorough and effective imposition of the ban placed on such groups.

Marvi Sirmed, a human rights activist, criticised the government over allegedly releasing terrorists who had taken lives of innocent people and hanging only those who were found involved in attacks on the GHQ in Rawalpindi and former president Gen (retired) Pervez Musharraf.

She asked the government where all those terrorists who had been involved in the attack on the Ahmadi mosques went.

“If the government is helpless in front of the enemies of the country, then let us secure ourselves by taking up guns,” said Sirmed, adding that when a political leader like Imran Khan can openly announce civil disobedience movement then why couldn’t they.

Shamoon Hashmi, a social activist, said, “Stop Shia genocide now! The more you kill them the more they will stand up against this extremism and brutality.”

Rakhshanda Parveen, another activist, said Pakistani leaders were not scared of such kind of terrorism as their families were residing abroad and they were carrying foreign passports in their pockets so they could escape overseas when they personally feel insecure and unsafe.

“They cannot feel the pain of those parents who are losing their children every day in acts of terrorism,” she said.

Parveen appealed to the government to suspend diplomatic relations with countries that were funding terrorist organisations in Pakistan.

Tahira Noor, another activist said every year a high number of Shias were being killed but their killers were not arrested or executed.

She opposed ethnic divisions in the country and said people should unite on the basis of common humanity.

Zenaib Baber, who was representing Pakistan Youth Change Advocates (PYCA), said there was a need to foster sectarian harmony in the country so such terrorist attacks could not divide people.

She added that after the Peshawar school massacre, PYCA was running a campaign to promote tolerance and harmony among people of the country.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 1st, 2015.


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