Shias in Quetta refuse to bury victims, demand Army control

Pakistan protests

Hundreds of minority Shia Hazaras continued their sit-in protest for a second day today in southwest Pakistan's terror-hit Quetta, refusing to bury the over 80 victims of bomb attacks till the army takes control of the city to improve security.

Protesters from the vulnerable community, including women, children and the elderly, joined a sit-in at Alamdar Road, a Shia-dominated neighbourhood where 92 people were killed in bomb blasts on Thursday.

They huddled around more than 80 bodies, most of them wrapped in white shrouds and covered with plastic sheets to protect them from the rain.

Though the protest began over 20 hours ago, Hazara Shia leaders complained that no ministers of the Balochistan government or elected representatives had met them to express solidarity or to discuss their demands.

Many protesters shouted slogans against the government and the militant groups that have been targeting the Shias.

The protesters were wrapped in shawls as they sat through the night in the biting cold and rain.

Many woman clad in black broke down and wept while children and youth lit candles to pay tributes to the victims of the bombings.

Shia leaders have demanded that control of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan, should be handed over to the army as the provincial government had failed to stop attacks by

notorious sectarian groups like the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which claimed responsibility for Thursday's attacks.

A spokesman of the Majlis-e-Wahdatul Muslimeen, a leading Shia group, told the media that the dead would not be buried till the community's demands are accepted.

The protesters said they were determined to continue the sit-in indefinitely and would not accept any verbal promises from authorities.

Roads around the Shia-majority neighbourhood were blocked with barricades and trucks and people were barred from entering the area.

Large contingents of security forces were deployed in the area and Shia groups mobilised their volunteers to ensure security for the gathering.

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