Stop ignoring sectarian killings, Sherry asks govt

islamabad - A delegation of Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) led by Senator Sherry Rehman visited the protest and hunger strike camp of Majlis-e-Wahdatul Muslimeen at National Press Club yesterday.

The Majlis-e-Wahdatul Muslimeen has been staging protest against recent killings of Shiite Muslims in the country. The delegation strongly condemned the killings of innocent citizens in the name of sectarianism and expressed solidarity with the protesters.

The PPP delegation included Vice President PPPP Senator Sherry Rehman, Senator Taj Haider, Zamrud Khan, Senator Sassui Palejo, Senator Rubina Khalid and Ghulam Murtaza Satti. They were welcomed and briefed by MWM Pakistan General Secretary Allama Raja Nasir Abbas Jaffari, Allama Hassan Zafar Naqvi, Allama Zaheerul Hassan Naqvi, Allama Ahmed Iqbal Rizvi, Allama Abdul Khaliq Asadi, Syed Nasir Abbas Sherzi, Syed Asad Abbas Naqvi, Alama Asghar Askri and Asif Raza. Admonishing the federal government for turning a blind eye to the plight of Pakistan’s Shia community, Senator Sherry Rehman said, “The purpose of the National Action Plan was not to impart selective justice. The government cannot continue ignoring these killings.”

“Renowned journalist and social activist Khurram Zaki was assassinated this month, adding to a long list of community members targeted in recent times,” the senator said.

Since last month, Shia professionals are continually being targeted by banned outfits in different cities of Pakistan, especially in Dera Ismail Khan, Peshawar, Charsadda, Karachi and Parachinar.

“According to a conservative estimate, at least 250 Shias were killed in 2015 – Does burying your head in the sand or attacking the victims sound like a plan?” asked Senator Rehman.

The MWM has declared a hunger strike to protest the recent wave of sectarian killings, particularly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The government, however, has turned a blind eye to it.

Calling on the government to take notice and dispense justice, Rehman said, “Attempts to divide the country along sectarian lines cannot be allowed, nor can this community, or any other, continue to live in fear and suffer simply for believing differently - it is the time to take action against perpetrators of such injustice.”

Sherry Rehman said, “Rising against injustice and every type of maltreatment is in the manifesto of PPPP. The PPPP leaders sacrificed their lives against the injustice, inequality and brutality.”

“Rising voice against such killings is our moral and social responsibility,” she added.

Earlier, Sherry met with a delegation of the MWM who called on her in Islamabad to convey their demands for justice.