Anti-Shiite protest rattles Karachi

Karachi: Radical extremist groups Sipah Sahaba and Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan took to roads chanting slogans against the Shia community in Karachi yesterday, which turned into a huge rally.

The rally followed a raft of blasphemy accusations against major Shiite leaders in Pakistan after a televised broadcast of an Ashura procession last month showed clerics and participants allegedly making disparaging remarks about historic Islamic figures.

During the rally, the participant chanted hate slogans, such as ‘Shia kafir’ against the members of the Shia community and demanded a ban on Muharram processions.

Sources revealed that an imam bargah in the Imamia Lines Area was also allegedly attacked by the members of the radical Sunni parties.

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Since the start of Muharram, there has been an increase in hate campaigns against Shia groups and subsequent blasphemy allegations for reciting Ziyarat-e-Ashura — a prayer that denounces the killers of Imam Hussain.

Sectarian violence has erupted in fits and bursts for decades in Pakistan, with homegrown anti-Shia militant groups bombing shrines and targeting Ashura processions.

Thousands were killed in the previous decade sparking a fierce crackdown by security forces in 2015 which resulted in a dramatic drop in sectarian violence.

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