Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Shia Muslims demand action on attacks
Anger spreads after 89 die in bombingShia mourners at a bridge near Islamabad
- ucanews.com reporter, Islamabad
- February 19, 2013
Shia Muslim members of the Hazara ethnic group are demanding actionÂ after a remote-controlled bomb killed 89 people and wounded more than 200 others in the city of Quetta over the weekend. An estimated 550,00 of Quetta's population of around two million are Hazaras.Â
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a banned Sunni militant group, has claimed responsibility for the bombing.
â€œWe demand a targeted operation against Muslims who have sold themselves to terrorist forces from outside," saidÂ Muhammad Asghar Askari, deputy secretary general of the Majlis e Wahdat Muslimeen, a Shia political party.
â€œOur demands also include targeted operations on those mosques and madrassas (Islamic schools) in Balochistan province that have become training camps for terrorists. The state should declare it has failed, and people must be granted licenses to carry weapons for self protection," Asghar said.Â
Outrage over the recent violence has galvanized Hazara Shia communities in other parts of the country.
Baton-weilding Hazara students blocked a bridge yesterday afternoon in Islamabad, preventing vehicles from leaving the capital city for six hours, whileÂ Shia clerics addressed mourners who gathered nearby.Â
Last month the Balochistan assembly was dissolved and governor rule was enactedÂ following the death of 126 Hazaras. Media reports say more than 500 Shia Hazaras were killed last year, mostly in and around Quetta and Karachi.
The Peace and Tolerance Alliance, a coalition of civil society organizations and human rights defenders, also demanded action against the terrorists.Â
â€œThe whole nation is in shock over the continuous massacre of the Shia Hazara Community in Quetta," said the group's deputy convener,Â Samson Salamat, in a recent statement.Â "It is very unfortunate that banned outfits are operating easily and the state institutions are not taking action to stop their inhumane activities. A concrete policy is required to save the country from this bloodshed."
Balochistan governor Zulfiqar Magsi has called the killing of Hazara Shias a failure of intelligence agencies. â€œThere are two possibilities for the failure of intelligence agencies: We either can't trace the terrorists, or military forces are scared because they think they might become targeted," he told reporters.
Meanwhile, sit-in protests are taking place in Quetta and families of the bombing victims have refused to bury their dead until the army takes over the city.