Taliban kill six over Karachi shrine visit

January 08, 2014 - 12:00:00 am

Media persons gather as bodies are being shifted to a morgue in Karachi yesterday.

ISLAMABAD: The bodies of six Pakistanis were dumped at a Sufi shrine in the southern city of Karachi yesterday, accompanied by a note purporting to be from the Taliban saying the men were killed for visiting the shrine, police said.

Most Pakistanis are Sufis, a form of worship that emphasises a personal relationship with Allah. The Taliban espouse violent Wahhabi Islam, which rejects many traditional forms of Sufi worship, including worship at shrines.

Sectarian violence is increasing across Pakistan, with two Sufi shrines bombed last year in Sindh. The six bodies were found outside the shrine in Karachi yesterday morning, with a note claiming to be from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Fazlullah Group, a senior police officer said. 

“People visiting shrines will meet the same fate,” he quoted the group as saying in the note. 

Two of the men had been beheaded, while the rest had their throats slit, the policeman said, in the first such instance of a mass killing at a shrine that he knew of.

The violent port city of Karachi is heavily infiltrated by the Taliban and has been the site of Taliban-style executions. 

Mullah Fazlullah was elected head of the Taliban last November and is notorious for directing mass beheadings. 

Sufism is a non-violent form of Islam characterised by hypnotic rituals and ancient mysticism that has been practised in Pakistan for centuries, but the insurgents see Sufis as irredeemable heretics who are deserving to die.

Sufi shrines, and sometimes Sufi mosques, have been damaged or destroyed in many parts of the Muslim world.           REUTERS

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