Ashura terror in Pakistan

A suicide bomber killed at least 28 and injured dozens Feb. 20 in Dera Ismail Khan, a town in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province—the latest in an escalating series of attacks aimed at the country’s Shi’ite minority. The attack targeted the funeral procession for Sher Zeman, a Shi’ite leader who was gunned down in the city the day before. The blast sparked hours of rioting in which furious crowds torched shops, homes and cars. The army was called in and the town placed under curfew. (Daily Times, Pakistan, Feb. 21)

The attack came just as the Shi’ite holy period of Ashura drew to a close. Pakistan’s media took the occasion to note that there has been no progress in prosecuting five men who were charged with planning suicide attacks against Ashura processions in 2008, despite the passage of a year. This is apparently due to official intransigence, with four witnesses in the case who are Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officers failing to appear in the court. (The News, Pakistan, Jan. 26)

Last year’s Ashura saw bloody attacks on Shi’ites in Pakistan.

This year’s Ashura period also saw repeated attacks on Shi’ites in Iraq.

See our last post on Pakistan.