“The Shia and Sunni are all brothers. There is no enmity between us. However, the incidents that occurred on Friday are a message for the government that it can not maintain peace and order just by disconnecting the phone services, or restricting people to their homes. It has to plan the whole year to nullify the foreign elements who are trying to promote sectarian differences in Pakistan. There is actual funding for different banned organizations, who come back each time, adopting a new name like the banned Sipah-e-Sahaba which are now using the name of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jama’at. The real Sunnis and Shias have always remained peaceful. It is these militant outfits which have crept into our midst and are now causing these sorrowful incidents, such as the one in Rawalpindi.” – Maulana Jamil Rathore, leader of Muttahida Bain ul Muslimeen Forum, in a Press Conference held in Karachi.
“The loss of lives is extremely sad, but could have been prevented. Better administrative planning could have averted these riots. Didn’t they [the authorities] know how things can get in these processions? Shia-Sunni conflicts have been deliberately fanned across the Middle East, and they are now poisoning Pakistan.” – Imran Khan, the PTI Chief.
“While much of what happened in Pindi is in dispute, this appears to be reasonably certain from media witnesses, police and shia people posting in their defense: a shia mob dragged three madrassa walay after *verbal* provocation and beat them to death. Shias must not defend this reflexively, we shouldn’t be tribal about this. It takes a lot of violence to beat someone to death. It is more gruesome than a shot to the head and more prolonged than a beheading. It is deliberate and sustained. It is disgusting and there is no defense for it. Verbal provocation is no excuse (otherwise you justify those who form sipahs to defend the sahabas’ honor). Nor is it justified because shias suffer overwhelmingly elsewhere. It’s a cliché but injustice isn’t excused by injustice. Strive to be ‘neither victims nor murderers.” – An anonymous foreign-based Shia.
“I would like to tell the country, Shahbaz Sharif, and the government that this is a total failure of the administration. We are sandwiched between the armed forces and the diplomats. The CM should help those people whose shops were destroyed due to sectarian clashes which erupted at the procession. The public and the Ulema should maintain their own beliefs while respecting others’ beliefs as well.” – Sheikh Rasheed, President of the Awami Muslim League (AML).
“The incident shows the government of Pakistan is supporting the Shia community everywhere. We will carry out revenge attacks against the Shia Community in Pakistan, especially in Rawalpindi city.Very soon, our Mujahedeen will show our presence to these people and we will target them everywhere in Pakistan especially in the Rawalpindi region.” – Ahmed Ali Intaqami, the Ameer of the TTP Rawalpindi Wing.
“We condemn the incident in every way. But it seems it was planned to achieve nefarious aims and sabotage the peace during the month of Muharram-ul-Haram. Therefore, the nation must defeat this conspiracy to create unrest with the help of harmony.” – Allama Sajid Ali Naqvi, chief of the Shia Ulema Council.
“It is deplorable that the enemies have once again succeeded in igniting sectarian strife. The people who hatch conspiracies to create sectarian divide cannot be well-wishers of the Ummah and cannot be called Muslims. I appeal to the scholars and elders of both the sects to come forward to stop sectarian violence, and to work for sectarian harmony.” – Altaf Hussain, leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement.
“This incident is a repetition of the Karachi incident that occurred in 2009, and it depicts the failure of the law-enforcement agencies. The ulema from all the sects should play their due role in keeping peace in the country. I urge the Shiites to remain peaceful and cooperate with the law-enforcement agencies so that the real culprits can be caught. The forming of the judicial commission is a welcome stop but it should be empowered to investigate all the agencies and persons and fix responsibility.” – Allama Hasan Zafar Naqvi, spokesman for Majlis-e-Wehdat-ul-Muslimeen.
“We will never find out how the events unfolded in reality. There may have been shots fired from the mosque first, before the peaceful procession turned into a mob, that burned the mosque and beat people to death. The people who threw stones and fired shots at the procession, and those that burned the mosque and killed its inhabitants, may have belonged to a same entity, which wants sectarian differences to grow in Pakistan. But it does not matter who initiated the incident or is responsible for it. What matters is that people need to understand the need for harmony now. ‘Sunnis pointing fingers at the Shia community as a whole’, or ‘Shias acclaiming the incident as a warning of what happens when both sides pick up arms’ is not the way to go. These kind of reactions are idiotic and will only worsen the situation.” – Ali Qamber, YC’s Senior Editor.