People gather at the site of a bomb attack targeting Shias in Quetta, southwestern Pakistan, February 16, 2013.
Pakistanis have called on the government to take swift action against those who killed more than 80 people in a bomb attack targeting Shia Muslims near the southwestern city of Quetta.
Many businesses in Quetta, Balochistan Province, have gone on strike to condemn Saturday’s deadly bombing. The protesters call for an end to violence against Shia Muslims.
The governor of Balochistan has also criticized Pakistani security officials for failing to protect Shias.
The bombing tore through a crowded vegetable market in the town of Hazara, on the outskirts of Quetta on Saturday. The area is mostly inhabited by Shia Muslims.
According to Pakistani police, nearly 200 people were also wounded in the attack.
The bomb, containing nearly a tone of explosives, was hidden in a water tank and towed into the market by a tractor, Quetta police chief Zubair Mahmood told reporters.
On January 10, nearly 130 people were killed and many others injured in a wave of bombings targeting both Pakistani security guards and civilians, including Shia Muslims, in Quetta.
The attack triggered protests in condemnation of violence against Shia Muslims in Pakistan. Protesters said the Pakistani government had failed to take proper action to prevent terror attacks on the Shia Muslim community.
Violence has escalated against Shia Muslims in different parts of Pakistan in recent months. Since the beginning of 2012, hundreds of Shias have been killed in the country. The attacks have targeted many doctors, engineers, high-ranking government officials, teachers, and politicians.