Pakistan suspends Shi'ite pilgrims rout to Iran

Pakistan suspends Shi'ite pilgrims rout to Iran
Fri Jan 24, 2014 17:39:32

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 killed 27 pilgrims this week, officials said on Friday.

A 700 km (430 mile) highway connecting the Pakistani city of Quetta and Iran, home to many Shi'ite pilgrimage sites, has seen dozens of suicide and roadside bomb attacks claimed by foreign backed Wahhabi extremist groups.

"We have temporarily suspended the movement of buses on the highway until the security situation improves," a senior official of the provincial government told Reuters.

Foreign-backed terror attacks against Muslims are on the rise in Pakistan, where minority Shi'ites make up about 20 percent of the 180 million people. Human Rights Watch says more than 400 Shi'ites were killed in 2013, including members of the Shi'ite Hazara minority group.

On Tuesday, a suicide bomber drove his car into a bus killing 27 Shi'ite pilgrims and prompting hundreds of Hazaras to take to the 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 Mohammad Ismail Changazi, one protester.

Foreign-backed terrorist group of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for the latest attack. LeJ, which is funded by some Western and Arab regimes, is seeking to create chaos and promote sectarian clashes among Pakistan’s Muslims.


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