Volume. 12230

Pakistani Shias mourn as bomb death toll hits 48
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People check the damage in an apartment building which was destroyed along with other buildings in Sunday's car bombing in Karachi, Pakistan, Monday, March 4, 2013.
People check the damage in an apartment building which was destroyed along with other buildings in Sunday's car bombing in Karachi, Pakistan, Monday, March 4, 2013.
Shia Muslims in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi demanded government protection on Monday from a wave of violence that has targeted the minority sect, a day after a massive bombing in the city killed 45 people.
The bomb exploded on Sunday evening as people were leaving a mosque in the port city, and underlined the increasing threat Shias face as Sunni militant groups target them in ever-bolder attacks, The Associated Press reported.
And gunmen shot and killed two people returning from a funeral on Monday for the victims of Sunday’s bombing.
Thousands of Shia Muslims turned out to bury their dead and demanded government protection from militant groups.
Some of those attending the funeral set fire to buses in one Karachi neighborhood as they went to the cemetery, said police official Qamar Ahmad.
When they moved through the same area after the funeral, gunmen opened fire on the group and wounded several protesters, he said. Two of the men died and 13 were wounded, said Dr. Saleem Memon, who works at the hospital where the wounded were taken.
The Sohrab Goth neighborhood where the shooting occurred is home to many ethnic Pashtuns who traditionally live in northwestern Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan.
Over the years, many have migrated to the port city of Karachi. Security officials in Karachi have raised concerns that members of the Taliban -- also predominantly Pashtun -- are taking advantage of the large Pashtun community to hide themselves in Karachi and establish a foothold there.
Dr. Jalil Qadir, a Pakistani surgeon, said 48 people were killed and at least 200 wounded in the Sunday attack.
Thousands of people thronged a main road in Karachi on Monday for the funeral service. Many beat their chests and heads and chanted “Stop the brutal attacks!” They called on the government to take action against militant groups responsible for the attacks.
“Terrorists are killing us everywhere, but the state is nowhere to be seen,” said Intizar Hussain, whose father died in the bombing.
It was the third mass casualty attack since the beginning of the year against Shias. The first two killed nearly 200 people in the southwestern city of Quetta. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a terrorist group known for its virulent hatred of Shia Muslims, claimed responsibility for the two attacks.
Last year was one of the most deadly for Shias in the country's history. According to Human Rights Watch, more than 400 Shia Muslims were killed across Pakistan in 2012. This year could be even more dangerous with nearly 250 Shias already killed in the three attacks.
In an apparent attempt to deflect criticism, Interior Minister Rehman Malik has repeatedly lashed out at government officials in Punjab province where the group is based and said they have failed to crack down on militant groups.
Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf condemned the bombing late Sunday and ordered an inquiry into how the bombing was carried out. But many Pakistanis want more from the government.
“Go ask the sleeping government to wake up. Our brothers and sisters are dying every day. But the government is doing nothing,” said Shagufta Rasheed, a Karachi resident.
The city shut down on Monday for a day of mourning to honor the dead. Markets, gas stations and transportation were closed as security officials patrolled the streets. At the site of the blast, family and friends looked through the rubble for missing family members.
“I am here to look for my relative,” said Farzana Azfar. “People say he was here. But people say they have no idea about him.”

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