Pakistani volunteers search for blast victims in the wreckage of a destroyed passenger bus following a bomb explosion. (File photo)
An Iranian lawmaker says the West is behind terrorist attacks against Shia Muslims, addressing a recent deadly bombing attack in southwestern Pakistan.
Javad Heravi made the remarks in an interview with ICANA, Majlis (the Iranian Parliament)'s official news agency, on Sunday.
He noted that, “Terrorist attacks and heinous crimes against Shias are planned by the West” as Shia principles are against those of the West.
He also stated that the hatred against Shias has grown among atheist groups and Wahabis, and that such actions are all preplanned.
Earlier on Sunday, an attack in southwestern Pakistan on Shia pilgrims, who were on their way to Iran, claimed the lives of at least 19 people.
The attack took place after a bomb ripped through a convoy of three buses carrying Shia pilgrims in the Mastung district, some 30 kilometers (18 miles) south of Quetta in the Balochistan province.
Reports say a number of women and children are among the dead.
A senior government official in Quetta, the capital of the Baluchistan province, said the buses were carrying some 180 Shia pilgrims.
Attacks against Shia Muslims in different parts of Pakistan have escalated in recent months. Since the beginning of 2012, hundreds of Shias have been killed in the country.
Last month, many Shia Muslims were killed in several attacks targeting processions held to commemorate the martyrdom of the third Shia Imam, Imam Hussein (PBUH).
Pakistani Shia leaders have called on the government to form a judicial commission to investigate the bloodshed.
According to Human Rights Watch, the Pakistani government has failed to stop violence against Shias, who account for around 20 percent of the country’s 167-million-strong population.
Pro-Taliban militants have been involved in a violent campaign against Shia Muslims in Pakistan over the past years.