Tens of thousands of Sunni extremists participated in anti-Shia protesters in Pakistan’s Karachi. The riots which started after Ashura reportedly continues even after several days. According to reports, the Sunni community in the country was provoked by a broadcast of an Ashura procession last month.
Ashura commemorates the killing of Hussein, grandson of Muhammed, at the Battle of Karbala in 680 AD.
Video clips of the riots and protests have gone viral on social media. In a video, Sunni extremists atop buses can be seen waving flags and shouting Anti-Shia slogans and heard shouting “Kafir, Kafir Shia Kafir (Infidels, infidels, Shia infidels)”.
The persecution of Shia Muslims in Sunni-majority Pakistan is not a new phenomenon. Shias who constitute 20% of the Muslims in Pakistan and are often targeted during Muharram processions. While there has been a general decline in violence against Shiites since 2013, sectarian attacks continue unabated in several pockets of the country.
On September 6, Qaisar Abbas, a Shia Muslim by faith, in Kohat city in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan was gunned down by an unidentified miscreant. He a shopkeeper.