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Pakistan’s Shia Muslims call off 48-hour sit-in protest

Shia Muslims in Pakistan have called off their 48-hour sit-in to protest against a deadly attack against the community.

LAHORE: Shia Muslims in Pakistan have called off their 48-hour sit-in to protest against a deadly attack against the community.

More than 25 Shias were killed in a suicide bombing on Thursday.

The Pakistan government has since given its reassurance that the terrorists would be brought to justice.

A bomb attack in Pakistan's Baluchistan province brought the country to a standstill.

On Thursday, a suicide bomber blew himself up near a bus carrying Shia pilgrims, on their way home from Iran.

More than 25 people were killed, and over 40 others injured.

The banned militant organisation, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, claimed responsibility and warned of more to come.

The attack so outraged the Hazara Shia community in Quetta that they took to the streets in protest.

Relatives refused to bury their dead without justice first being served.

The entire country followed suit, with protests and sit-ins held across Pakistan.

The opposition party, Pakistan Tehreek I Insaf headed by Imran Khan, criticised the government for its inaction.

Pakistan Tehreek-I-Insaf Punjab’s president Ejaz Chaudhry said: "No government representative went to console the affected in the Hazara community. For us, it is a big issue because people of all communities -- Shia, Sunni and Christians -- are a vital part of Pakistan."

There were demonstrations in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad.

Traffic and flight schedules were disrupted, bringing most of the country to a stand-still until the government finally woke up to the situation and addressed the grievances of the Hazara Shia community.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nasir Ali Khan said: "The central and provincial government will find those behind the deadly attack on the Hazara community and justice will be served. This incident has saddened the entire nation."

The Shia Hazara community, satisfied with the reassurance, then proceeded to bury the dead.

But more sectarian violence can be expected in the days ahead, as pro-Taliban militant groups have launched a campaign against the country's Shia Muslims, who make up about a third of Pakistan's population. 

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