Anti-Shia protesters march for second day in Karachi

The rallies have sparked fears of sectarian violence

September 12, 2020 10:22 pm | Updated 10:23 pm IST

Differing views:  Sunni Muslims shouting slogans during a protest in Karachi on Saturday.

Differing views: Sunni Muslims shouting slogans during a protest in Karachi on Saturday.

Tens of thousands of anti-Shia protesters, including demonstrators linked to Sunni extremists, rallied in Pakistan’s Karachi on Saturday, in the second day of protests that have sparked fears of sectarian violence.

The rallies follow a raft of blasphemy accusations against Shia leaders in Sunni-majority Pakistan after a broadcast of an Ashura procession last month showed clerics and participants allegedly making disparaging remarks about historic Islamic figures.

Ashura commemorates the killing of the Prophet Mohammed’s grandson Hussein at the Battle of Karbala in 680 AD — the defining moment of the religion’s schism and the birth of Shia Islam.

A security official said Saturday’s crowd was estimated to exceed 30,000 people. There were no immediate reports of violence.

The rally was organised by the Sunni organisation Jamaat Ahle Sunnat and the hardline Islamist party Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, which has organised violent protests over alleged blasphemy in the past.

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