Shias in Pakistan receiving Muharram death threat messages

Last Updated: Fri, Nov 23, 2012 08:40 hrs

Shias in Pakistan are receiving death threat text messages on cell phones ahead of the climax of their religious festival of Muharram that has been tainted by violence in the past.

"Kill, Kill, Shias," say the text warnings to members of the minority sect.

Hardline militant groups linked to Al-Qaeda have in recent months stepped up attacks against Shias. The Pakistani Taliban have recently claimed responsibility of killing 23 persons and have said that more would follow over the next few days, reports the Daily Times.

Muharram, a 10-day period when processions mourn the death of the Prophet Mohammed's grandson, ends on Sunday and is a particular target of Sunni extremists. Terrorist groups frequently target Pakistan's minority Shia community.

"People belonging to Shia community are infidel and blasphemous and we will not spare them. You will see further attacks in coming days," a Taliban spokesman was quoted, as saying.

According to human rights groups, more than 300 Shias have been killed in Pakistan so far this year in sectarian conflict.

Hardline groups are expected to strike again this weekend, the climax of the Shias' mourning month of Muharram. Radical groups have staged high-profile suicide bombings against processions on that occasion before. About 50,000 people are expected to march through the streets of Islamabad on Saturday and thousands of security personnel are expected to be deployed in a bid to avoid attacks, the paper said.

Earlier, a blast outside a Shia mosque in the southern city of Karachi killed at least two people, and gunmen in north-west Pakistan killed four police officers in an ambush. (ANI)

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