Fear of strong sectarian violence eclipses the streets of Karachi as thousands stepped out in a massive anti-Shia demonstration in Pakistan. Visuals were being circulated along with the hashtag #ShiaGenocide on Pakistan's social media which revealed protestors chanting Kafir, Kafir, Shia Kafir holding banners near the Jinnah Mausoleum, also known as Mazar-e-Quaid.
According to reports, the Sunni extremists, affiliated with anti-Shia groups such as Sipah Sahaba and Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan, referred to Shias as non-believers (Kafirs). The Sipah Sahaba are reportedly linked to the killing of Shias over the years, lead the protest.
This comes after some major Shia leaders in the country allegedly made remarks against Islam in a televised broadcast of an Ashura procession last month, according to media reports. In Pakistan, over the last few decades incidents of crimes against Shia and Ahmedi sects have been witnessed.
'Shias in Pakistan receiving anonymous messages that said 'kill the Shia'
Activist Afreen took to Twitter and shared, "Since the start of Muharram, we have seen numerous Shia believers targetted for reciting religious scriptures and partaking in Ashura commemorations. This demonstration should not be taken lightly when our brothers and sisters are being kidnapped and killed for their beliefs," Afreen said in a tweet.
"Some years ago, Shias in Pakistan were receiving anonymous text messages that said 'kill the Shia'. Terrorists hurled grenades where Ashura processions were taking place. The Shia in Kashmir and Kabul are also under siege and yet some still believe #ShiaGenocide is a myth," Afreen said in another tweet.
She wrote, "I have been told that one demand was to proscribe Ashura processions in Pakistan. It should be made clear that Pakistan's government has allowed known terrorists to spread their anti-Shia rhetoric far and wide. @ImranKhanPTI should be held accountable."
A Twitter user wrote, "So this all has started. Sipah Sahaba & Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan chanting Kafir Kafir Shia Kafir in Karachi. Imam Bargah Imamia at Lines Area under attack by the same goons, some pelting on Bargah reported."
Another Twitter user said, " I am a #Shia living n Karachi. Yesterday, my city echoed with the chants of Kafir Kafir Shia Kafir. Few hrs later, state arrested #BilalFarooqi who is one of the rare journalists covering sectarian violence/orgs. If this is not step by step towards #ShiaGenocide then what it is?"