HRW slams Pakistan over Shia massacre

Islamabad, Jan 11 (IANS) Pakistan's "persistent failure" to protect the Shias from recurring sectarian attacks has come under criticism from Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Pakistan should immediately hold accountable those responsible for ordering and participating in deadly attacks targeting Shias across the country, the Daily Times cited the HRW as saying.

"2012 was the bloodiest year for Pakistan's Shia community in living memory," the US-based rights body said.

The HRW statement came after serial bombings in Quetta killed at least 93 people and wounded around 120.

"If this latest attack is any indication, 2013 has started on an even more dismal note," HRW said.

"As Shia community members continue to be slaughtered in cold blood, the callousness and indifference of authorities offers a damning indictment of the state, its military and security agencies."

While sectarian violence is a longstanding problem in Pakistan, attacks against ordinary Shias have increased dramatically in recent years, HRW said.

In 2012, around 400 Shias were killed in targeted attacks. About 120 died in Balochistan province.

Similar attacks took place repeatedly last year in Karachi, Gilgit-Baltistan and in the northwest tribal areas, HRW said.

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