Shia Muslim neighborhood threatened in Pakistan
Militants give Shias 10 days to leave or face consequences
A Pakistani militant group yesterday threatened minority Shia Muslims to leave their neighborhood or face dire consequences.
According to police, outlawed militant group Lashkar-e-Islam - Army of Islam - distributed copies of a pamphlet in the Mazhar district of Peshawar, capital of the country’s troubled Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The pamphlet told residents, who are mostly Shias, to vacate the area within 10 days.
In the pamphlet, leader Lutfullah said that the group’s shura – executive council - had decided to act against the people of Mazhar.
He did not elaborate on what prompted the militants to issue the threat at this time, but security sources believe it is part of a long-running hostility towards the Shias, who are denounced as heretics and non-Muslims by Sunni extremist groups.
“Our families are terrified by this threat,” a Shia resident, who asked not to be named, told ucanews.com. “We have asked the police to ensure security, but nothing has been done yet."
Police said they have launched an investigation to ascertain the pamphlet’s authenticity.
Shias make up approximately 15 percent of Pakistan’s mostly Sunni population. Sectarian attacks against them have been on the rise in recent years. According to Human Rights Watch, more than 400 Shias were killed in 2013.
Last week, four Shia professionals, two doctors and two lawyers, were gunned down in Karachi in what police described as sectarian attacks.
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