Shiite leaders in Pakistan call end to bombing protest after operation against militants
Source: Washington Post
Shiite leaders called for an end to three days of protests by thousands of members of the minority Muslim sect in southwestern Pakistan on Tuesday, after the government launched a paramilitary operation against militants responsible for a weekend bombing that killed 89 people.
Many of the protesters in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan, dispersed peacefully. But some Shiite leaders disagreed with the decision to end the protest, saying their full demands had not been met. Relatives of the bombing victims who had refused to bury their loved ones in protest said they would continue their demonstration. Shiites in other cities in Pakistan also said they would continue their protests.
Leaders of the protest had earlier demanded the army take control of Quetta and launch a targeted operation against Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, the group that claimed responsibility for Saturday’s bombing in a produce market. Shiites have criticized police and paramilitary forces under control of the Interior Ministry in Quetta for failing to protect the minority sect, which comprises up to 20 percent of the country’s population of 180 million.
There was no indication the army would take control of the city. But the government announced that paramilitary forces began an operation against Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and other militant groups Monday night.