Five men have been arrested in connection with the May 13 gun attack on a bus containing members of the minority Ismaili Shia community in Karachi, Pakistan officials say. Forty-five people were killed and a dozen others wounded when at least six gunmen linked to Sunni militants groups ambushed their bus. Ismailis are Shia Muslims who also revere Imam Ismail who died in 765 AD. They number about 15 million worldwide with about 500,000 living in Pakistan. The attack drew condemnation from the United Nations, US, European Union and rights groups. “Four militants, who planned the horrific attack on the bus, have been arrested in Karachi,” Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah told reporters in Nawabshah district of Sindh province on Tuesday. “Statements from witnesses have been investigated and verified and soon all the attackers will be put behind bars,” he said. Separately, media quoted intelligence sources saying the mastermind of the Karachi bus attack was also arrested in Bahawalpur district of Punjab province. A security team was immediately sent to Bahawalpur to bring the suspect to Karachi for questioning, according to reports. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif congratulated law enforcement agencies and the provincial chief minister over the arrests. Sharif telephoned Chief Minister Shah and expressed his government’s resolve to eradicate terrorism, a statement from his office said. “The arrest of plotters of this heinous crime in such a short time proves that Karachi is going in the right direction and that our law enforcement agencies have the capability of handling such challenging tasks,” Sharif said. A report released by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom earlier this month listed Pakistan as one of the worst places in the world for religious freedom of countries not currently designated by the US as “countries of particular concern”.
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