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Friday, January 18, 2013

Activists Document Sit-In by Families of Bombing Victims in Pakistan

A video report on a protest in the city of Quetta on Friday, from the Pakistani channel Geo News.

Last Updated, 8:31 p.m. Hours after it started on Friday night, Pakistani television began to report on a protest in the city of Quetta, where relatives of scores of people killed in bomb attacks one day earlier sat beside coffins in the street, refusing to bury their loved ones until they received assurance that the state would protect them.

As my colleague Salman Masood reports, most of those killed in Thursday’s twin bomb attacks were Shiite Muslims from the Hazara ethnic group. Hazaras in Pakistan have been the target of a murderous campaign by Sunni Muslim extremists from the Taliban and a related militant group, La! shkar-e-Jhangvi, which claimed responsibility for Thursday’s massacre of 86.

Pakistani activists, angered that the protest was ignored for so long by local media, attempted to draw attention to the sit-in near the site of the attack on Quetta’s Alamdar Road. In a series of Twitter messages, they called on the international press to cover the demonstration and shared photographs of the sit-in as it continued late into the night. The attention of journalists and bloggers in other parts of the country was focused more firmly on Quetta on Friday by the death in Thursday’s second bombing of the well-known Hazara activist Irfan Ali.