After the arrests and killings of Shia religious leaders, Shia Muslim protesters took to the streets of Karachi seeking protection from the government.
Pakistan, being a Sunni-majority country, is no stranger to this sectarian violence. The historical dispute has resulted in the deaths of thousands of Shias and Sunnis over the last three decades. This year alone, just over 100 Shias were murdered. These attacks showcase exactly what protesters are trying to fight -- the threat of armed extremist groups against religious minorities and the government's lack of protection and ability to convict perpetrators.
Protests began as early as 1:30 AM on Monday after the former Pakistan Peoples Party senator (PPP), Faisal Raza Abidi and chief of All-Pakistan Shia Action Committee (APSAC), Allama Mirza Yousaf Hussain were taken into custody. The political leaders were accused of involvement with 'sectarian' killings that occurred two days prior.
Protesters were seen carrying signs that accused the government of protecting leaders of banned outfits at the rally. They urged the government to release those wrongfully accused and to arrest those involved with the killings of five people in a gun attack outside of Nazimabad house on October 29.
In order to show their support, Canadian Shia Muslims have organized a rally at the Consulate General of Pakistan that will take place on Friday, November 11, between 2:30 and 4:30 PM. The demonstration was made possible by the Canadians Against Bloodshed in Pakistan organization, with hopes to actively work against the target killings and persecution of Shia Muslims.
The protesters are adamant on the release of their political leaders and stated that they will continue their call to action until arrested workers are released.
By Kelsey Seepersad
Banner photo courtesy of: The Express Tribune.
Azadari at Pakistan Consulate flyer. Photo courtesy of: Facebook.