SECTARIAN CLASHES CLAIM 40 LIVES IN PAKISTAN. BY ABBAS KASSAR
12 Feb 2006
HYDERABAD: More than 40 people were killed and 60others injured in Hangu town in Frontier province of Pakistan on Thursday in suicide bomb attack on the procession of mourners of Ashura the 10th of first Muslim month of Muharram. . First bomb blast was heard at 10:45 a.m. when the mourners procession was passing from main Bazaar of Hingu town, 120 kilometers from Peshawar. Maulana Khurshid of Millat Jafria was to
address the procession. As he ascended the dice the blast went off. Three more blasts went off immediately after the first.
Armed clashes between supporters of both Shia and Sunni sects followed a suicide-bombing incident The death toll has risen to 40 after four more people were killed in sectarian violence on Friday. Unofficial sources say death toll may rise to 50.
Despite patrolling of heavy contingents of Army and FC personnel the clashes erupted in the adjacent villages to Hangu. The army has threatened to use gun ship helicopters on activists who were stationed at villages near Hangu launching mortar rounds at each other.
Paramilitary troops and police imposed a 24-hour curfew after a suicide attack on Thursday's targeted Ashura processions..
The government and political parties have strongly condemned the Hangu incident and said such acts of terrorism are against the spirit of Islam. They appealed to the people to live in peace and harmony as tolerance, brotherhood and unity is the need of the hour. Security was on high alert across the country amid fears that the bloodshed could stoke tensions between the rest of the country's Sunni and Shia.
Meanwhile, both the treasury and opposition benches in the Parliament on Friday strongly condemned the terrorist act in Hangu. MMA accused intelligence agencies to have hands in the incident while other opposition parties declared it a failure on the part of government to maintain peace and security during Muharram.