Tue Feb 19, 2013 1:45PM
Pakistani Shia Muslims gather around the coffins of bomb attack victims in the city of Quetta on February 19, 2013.

Pakistani Shia Muslims gather around the coffins of bomb attack victims in the city of Quetta on February 19, 2013.

The death toll from a bomb attack targeting Shia Muslims in a market in Pakistan has climbed to 90, as the victims' families continue their sit-in for the second consecutive day in the city of Quetta demanding government protection. The bombing tore through the crowded vegetable market in the town of Hazara, on the outskirts of Quetta in Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan Province, on Saturday. The area is mostly inhabited by Shia Muslims. On Tuesday, the mourning relatives of the victims refused to bury the bodies of their loved ones unless the government takes concrete actions and finds the perpetrators of the slaughter. Following the Quetta massacre, massive demonstrations were also held across Pakistan and other countries including the neighboring Afghanistan to denounce the violence against Shia Muslims. The protesters said the Pakistani government had failed to take proper action to prevent the terror attacks on the Shia Muslim community. Meanwhile, Pakistan arrested seven suspects in connection with the bloody bombing on Tuesday morning. Officials say Pakistani forces also killed four men during an operation on the outskirts of Quetta on the same day. Akbar Hussain Durrani, the home secretary of Balochistan Province, said that one of the masterminds of carnage was among those arrested. "Those who were killed were high-profile target killers," he said. A spokesman for the outlawed Pakistani terrorist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for the bombing that drew global condemnations. 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. On February 1, some 19 people were killed and dozens wounded when a motorcycle packed with explosives exploded near a mosque in the town of Hangu in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. On January 10, nearly 130 people were killed and many others injured in a wave of deadly attacks targeting both Pakistani security guards and civilians, including Shia Muslims, in the country. Shias make up about a third of Pakistan’s population of over 180 million. MAM/JR/SL
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