Just a few days after I lamented what had become of Pakistan’s aspiration to be a refuge for the subcontinent’s Muslims, a Pakistani Taliban suicide bomber yesterday killed at least 54 people in Quetta who were taking part in a Shi’a-organised al-Quds Day rally in support of the Palestinians.
Various news agencies are quoting Qari Hussain Mehsud, a deputy leader of the Pakistani Taliban (whose leader, Hakimullah Mehsud – a cousin of Qari Hussain Mehsud – is pictured above), as claiming responsibility for the bombing. Reuters quotes him as saying:
“We take pride in taking responsibility for the Quetta attack.”
The Quetta bombing comes the day after another sectarian bombing of a Shi’a procession in Lahore which killed at least 33 people.
The Daily Telegraph quotes Qari Hussain Mehsud as justifying the attack on the Shi’a rally in Quetta saying:
“Our war is against America and Pakistan security forces, but Shiites are also our target because they too are our enemies.”
Qari Hussain Mehsud was also quoted as threatening similar attacks in Europe and the USA “very soon.”
What can one make of this? What possible sectarian differences can justify the killing of civilians in this callous manner? And during the holy month of Ramadan?