The UN and the US have condemned the killing of 45 Shia Ismaili Muslims who were shot dead on Wednesday by militants in Pakistan’s volatile Karachi city.
“We are horrified by this act of brutality and extend our condolences to the families of the deceased and the wounded. We express our deep concern about the repeated acts of blind violence against religious and ethnic minorities in Pakistan and reaffirm our strongest commitment to protecting the rights of all minorities for them to freely exercise their rights,” said Jacqui Badcock, Resident Coordinator of the UN in Pakistan.
The UN also urged the Pakistani government to encourage tolerance between different religious and ethnic communities in the country.
US Ambassador to Pakistan, Richard Olson extended condolences to the families of the victims while strongly condemning the “senseless terrorist act”.
“The US remains steadfast in its commitment to the people of Pakistan in their efforts to counter terrorism, and supports the right of every person to worship as they choose, without fear of intimidation, coercion or violence.
“We support Pakistan’s efforts to bring all those involved to justice and stand ready to provide any appropriate assistance to authorities investigating this tragic attack,” Olson said.
Kalashnikov-wielding militants in police uniforms gunned down the victims from the minority Shia Ismaili sect, including 16 women, shooting them in the head in the assault on a bus ferrying over 60 people to a Shia community centre in the country’s biggest city, the latest sectarian attack claimed by the dreaded Islamic State (IS) terror group.
Pakistan has seen a rise in sectarian violence in recent years particularly against minority Shias who represent around 20 per cent of the country’s predominantly Muslim population.