Embattled minority

Embattled minority

This has been a week of bloodshed in Pakistan. Dawn reported on January 11: "Bomb and suicide attacks in Quetta and a powerful explosion in the Mingora town of Swat valley on Thursday claimed the lives of at least 115 people and left 261 others injured... Some volunteers of rescue and relief organisations and several media personnel were also killed or injured. On what is being described as a day of carnage in the country, another 11 people were gunned down in different areas of Karachi." A suicide attack targeted a snooker club in a Hazara Shia-dominated area of Quetta. A little later, a time bomb went off nearby when mediapersons and rescue workers arrived at the scene. The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has claimed responsibility. Shias in Pakistan have been embattled for the last couple of years. Various extremist outfits, Taliban and non-Taliban, make no bones about their hatred for Shias. Hence the unending violence against them. The Express Tribune carried a report voicing Shia concerns on January 11: "Shia leaders called on the military on Friday to seize control of... Quetta to protect the Muslim minority after one of the worst sectarian attacks in the country's history. Shia leaders also... said they would not allow... victims... to be buried until their demands were met." Balochistan is observing a three-day mourning.

On the border

TENSION has built up not just across the LoC but also between the Indian and Pakistani foreign ministries after the deaths of soldiers on both sides in cross-border firing.

The News reported on January 11: "There was once again an escalation of hostilities on the LoC on Thursday when the Indian troops... killed a Pakistani soldier... in Battai, the Inter Services Public Relations stated... a military officer said that Indian soldiers had not crossed the LoC, but had resorted to unprovoked firing, which claimed the life of Havildar Mohyuddin. The Indian media, meanwhile, reported that Indian commanders admitted that they had built new observation posts in the area while construction work is barred under a 10-year-old ceasefire agreement between the two rivals."

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