Pakistani religious radicals have found some new targets: septuagenarians, the dead, and Shiite minorities. The NYT has a harrowing report:
For at least a year now, Sunni extremist gunmen have been methodically attacking members of the Hazara community, a Persian-speaking Shiite minority that emigrated here from Afghanistan more than a century ago. The killers strike with chilling abandon, apparently fearless of the law: shop owners are gunned down at their counters, students as they play cricket, pilgrims dragged from buses and executed on the roadside.
The latest victim, a mechanic named Hussain Ali, was killed Wednesday, shot inside his workshop. He joined the list of more than 100 Hazaras who have been killed this year, many in broad daylight. As often as not, the gunmen do not even bother to cover their faces.
The government, which claims that threats are taken seriously, already has the Taliban on their hands. But a more troubling trend may be at work:
With such a dizzy array of threats, it is perhaps unsurprising that the security forces have failed to stem sectarian violence. But many analysts see a more disturbing cause: a fatal ambivalence inside the police and military toward jihadi groups.
The article describes the cold blooded murder of a 72-year-old Christian charity worker, the mass desecration of an Ahmadi cemetery, and the detention by kidnappers of a 72-year-old Jewish man, forced to appear on an al-Qaeda video pleading for his life.
Contemptible and cowardly are hardly strong enough terms for the perpetrators of these acts. Bullies and thugs exist in all cultures and religions; the tragedy in Pakistan is that such people too often are praised and encouraged by fringe religious leaders.
Meanwhile, as many as 375 Shiites, many Hazaras, have been gunned down in Pakistan in recent months. As in the 1990s, foreign funding is involved, with Saudi money playing a significant role.
Unutterably shameful. Indescribably sad. Read the whole thing here.