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Anti-Shiite Protest Rattles Pakistan’s Karachi Amid Rising Tension Between Religious Groups

Sea of individuals at Anti-Shia protest in Pakistan’s Karachi on Friday. (Credit:ANI)

The rally follows a raft of blasphemy accusations towards main Shiite leaders in Pakistan after a televised broadcast of an Ashura procession final month confirmed clerics and members allegedly making disparaging remarks about historic Islamic figures.

  • AFP Karachi
  • Last Updated: September 12, 2020, 1:09 PM IST

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Thousands of anti-Shiite protesters together with demonstrators linked to Sunni extremists rallied in Pakistan’s Karachi Friday, sparking fears that rising tensions between the non secular teams might unleash a brand new spherical of sectarian violence.

The rally follows a raft of blasphemy accusations towards main Shiite leaders in Pakistan after a televised broadcast of an Ashura procession final month confirmed clerics and members allegedly making disparaging remarks about historic Islamic figures.






Ashura commemorates the killing of the Prophet Mohammed’s grandson Hussein on the Battle of Karbala in 680 AD – the defining second of the faith’s schism and the start of Shiite Islam.

Friday’s demonstration noticed 1000’s of protesters rally close to the tomb of the nation’s founder — Muhammad Ali Jinnah — the place members chanted “infidels” and “God is the greatest”.

“We will not tolerate any more defamation,” mentioned Qari Usman from the Islamist Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam political celebration throughout a speech.

Pockets of demonstrators held banners of the extremist anti-Shiite group Sipah-e-Sahaba, which has been linked to the killing of lots of of Shiites over time.

Blasphemy is a massively delicate difficulty in conservative Pakistan the place legal guidelines can carry the demise penalty for anybody deemed to have insulted Islam or Islamic figures.

Even unproven allegations have led to mob lynchings and vigilante murders.

Sectarian violence has erupted in matches and bursts for many years in Pakistan, with homegrown anti-Shiite militant teams bombing shrines and concentrating on Ashura processions.

Thousands have been killed within the earlier decade sparking a fierce crackdown by safety forces in 2015 which resulted in a dramatic drop in sectarian violence.

The crackdown culiminated in July 2015 when Malik Ishaq — the chief of the banned militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) — was killed in a firefight with police together with 13 fellow militants.

The shootout worn out a lot of the highest management of LeJ, a driving drive within the violence concentrating on Shiites, who make up round 20 p.c of Pakistan’s 220 million inhabitants.

Karachi — Pakistan’s largest metropolis which can also be a serious enterprise and industrial hub — was as soon as rife with political, sectarian, and ethnic militancy with 1000’s killed.

However a years-long operation by safety forces beginning in 2013 has introduced a substantial lull within the violence — however scattered assaults nonetheless happen.


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