A genuine outpouring of sympathy has been extended to His Highness the Aga Khan and his followers after the gun attack on a bus in Karachi on May 13, 2015 in which 43 Ismailis were killed at point black range. Two more people died later in a hospital from injuries they suffered. An Associated Press report published in both the Washington Post and The Miami Herald (Karachi Mass Funeral) states that Pakistan was observing a day of national mourning, and state-run television was broadcasting live footage, showing mourners attending the last rituals for the victims of Wednesday’s assault. Forty-three of the victims were laid to rest in a mass funeral on Thursday, one was buried earlier, and another body remains to be identified. The following is a selection of messages of sympathy that have been publicly released by numerous leaders and governments around the world.
Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada
“Canada condemns the cowardly terrorist attack on a bus carrying Shi’a Ismaili Muslims in Karachi.
“It is particularly chilling that gunmen opened fire indiscriminately, murdering many Ismailis regardless of their gender or age. It is an affront to everyone who cherishes religious freedom. We urge the Government of Pakistan to bring the perpetrators to justice and to ensure that all religious minorities in the country are protected and their religious freedom guaranteed.
“On behalf of all Canadians, Laureen and I offer our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who perished in this murderous attack. We also offer our heartfelt prayers that those injured may have a speedy recovery.
“I have worked closely with His Highness the Aga Khan over the years and know first-hand of the peaceful nature of the Shi’a Ismaili community here in Canada and around the world. We mourn with His Highness and the entire Shi’a Ismaili Imamat who have consistently stood for peace, pluralism and religious freedom.”
Statement by the US Secretary of State
“I strongly condemn the heinous May 13 attack on a bus in Karachi, which resulted in the deaths of dozens of members of the Ismaili community.
“The American people stand in solidarity with the people of Pakistan, and with the global Ismaili community on this tragic day. Make no mistake: There is more strength by far in the respect and solidarity that we feel towards one another than there could ever be in any terrorist attack.
“I extend my personal condolences to the families of the victims, and to my dear, esteemed friend His Highness the Aga Khan, who has led the Ismaili community in investing in so many important development and education projects not only in Pakistan, but around the world. We will support efforts to bring all those responsible to justice and stand ready to provide assistance to the investigation of this tragic attack.”
Statement by Canadian Senator Hon. Mobina S.B. Jaffer
“Honourable Senators, I rise today with a very heavy heart. Very early this morning, I awoke to the news that forty- three innocent Ismaili Muslims who were riding a bus in Karachi, Pakistan, were senselessly gunned down by six armed individuals who were dressed in police uniforms. They were my brothers and sisters in faith.
“Sixty-two people were on the bus on their way to a community centre when the gunmen boarded after cutting off the bus with their motorcycles. Once inside, the gunmen shot indiscriminately at the men, women and children. When the gunmen left, an injured individual drove the bus to a nearby hospital. By the time they arrived at the hospital, most of the passengers had died.
“His Highness the Aga Khan, my spiritual leader, stated: ‘This attack represents a senseless act of violence against a peaceful community. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and the families of those killed and wounded in the attack’.
“Other leaders across Pakistan have expressed their absolute shock at this attack on the Ismaili Muslim community. The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, called it ‘‘a deplorable attempt to spread chaos in Pakistan.’’
Honourable senators, the Ismaili Muslim community is one of the most peaceful and charitable communities in Pakistan. They are involved in a number of development projects across the country and work in all segments of society. Their roots in Pakistan are very deep, as they have inhabited that area of the world for hundreds of years. While the community is small, their positive impact on Pakistan is tremendous.
“As an Ismaili Muslim and as a Canadian, my heart breaks for the victims of this attack and for their families. Many of those killed had Canadian family members. I understand that one Canadian has lost his father, mother and brother. I know you join me in sending our condolences to those Canadians. I know this Chamber will join me in condemning this abhorrent attack on innocent individuals in Pakistan.
“As mine are, I know your thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their loved ones in Pakistan and Canada.”
Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the
New York, 13 May 2015
The Secretary-General condemns in the strongest possible terms the terrorist attack today on a bus in Karachi, Pakistan, reportedly killing at least 45 members of the Ismaili community and injuring several others.
The Secretary-General calls on the Government of Pakistan to take all necessary measures to bring to justice the perpetrators of this despicable act.
Taking note that a number of attacks against the Shia and Christian minorities have taken place in the recent past in Pakistan, the Secretary-General urges the Government of Pakistan to take swift measures aimed at effective protection of religious minorities in the country. Creating a climate of tolerance, understanding and respect will greatly contribute to achieving this objective.
Pakistan, as a responsible member of the international community, must uphold its obligations and commitments towards protecting its citizens, including all minorities.
The Secretary-General extends his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government and people of Pakistan. He wishes a speedy recovery to those injured in the attack.
Statement by the Iranian Foreign Ministry
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham, pictured at left, condemned a Wednesday terrorist attack in the Pakistani city of Karachi that killed scores of Shiite Muslims on a bus.
Afkham slammed the atrocity and condoled with the bereaved families of the victims and the Pakistani people and government.
“Extremism and terrorism are against humanity and Islam, and killing innocent people, with any purpose and in any form, is rejected and unjustifiable,” she said.
The objective of such terrorist attacks is to undermine unity in Pakistan, Afkham warned, but expressed confidence that prudence and rapport between the Pakistani government and nation would safeguard stability and security in Irans neighboring country.
Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Turkey
“We have learned with great sorrow that more than 40 people lost their lives and around 20 others were injured, according to initial reports, as a result of the armed attack perpetrated against a bus carrying members of the Ismaili sect, in Karachi, Pakistan today (13 May) in the morning hours.
“We strongly condemn this terrorist attack. We share the grief of the friendly and brotherly people of Pakistan and express once again our strong feelings of solidarity with the Government of Pakistan.
“We wish God’s mercy on those who lost their lives in this heinous attack, convey our condolences to their families and wish a speedy recovery to the wounded.”
Statement by the European Union Spokesperson
“The deadly attack on a bus in Karachi today that has killed at least 43 people and wounded more civilians is a further instance of the scourge of sectarian violence.
“The Pakistani government must do its utmost to tackle sectarian violence and bring to justice the perpetrators of these violent and criminal acts. There must also be no impunity for these crimes. The rights of all citizens need to be protected, regardless of religion or belief.
“The European Union expresses its condolences to the families and friends of the victims.”
Statement by the Pakistan Consul General in Chicago
Statement by US Ambassador to Pakistan
May 13, 2015
“On behalf of the American people, U.S. Ambassador Richard Olson extends his deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of the victims of Wednesday’s heinous bus attack in Karachi, and strongly condemns this senseless terrorist act.
“The United States remains steadfast in its commitment to the people of Pakistan in their efforts to counter terrorism, and supports the right of every person to worship as they choose, without fear of intimidation, coercion or violence. We support Pakistan’s efforts to bring all those involved to justice and stand ready to provide any appropriate assistance to authorities investigating this tragic attack.”
Statement by US Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky
May 14, 2015
WASHINGTON, DC – “I was shocked to learn of the devastating attack that brutally and senselessly murdered 43 innocent Ismailis and wounded many others. They were attacked because of their religious beliefs by militants who are targeting anyone who doesn’t accept their view of Islam.
“I have a significant and highly respected community of Ismailis within my Congressional District, and I work closely with them. For years I have participated in the Aga Khan Foundation Partnership Walk in Chicago, a walk that symbolizes the Ismaili community’s work to end global poverty, hunger, illiteracy and poor health around the world. My district is home to two of their houses of worship called Jamat Khana, one in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago and the other in Glenview, Illinois.
“My heart goes out to the families of the murdered and injured, and to the community as a whole which is deeply shaken by this act of terror. I stand strongly with the Ismaili people, a peaceful people, and all those across the world who reject violence and intolerance. We must join together as a global community to do everything possible to keep these attacks from happening in the future.”
Statements from Muslim Organizations in Canada
MEDIA DISPATCHES AND OPINIONS
Iran’s Press-TV reported that people in the Pakistani-controlled Jammu and Kashmir, home to other Shia communities, observed mourning and held ceremonies in commemoration of the victims.
Pakistan’s Express Tribune, a publication affiliated with the International New York Times (formerly the International Herald Tribune) reported that participants at the Ithad-e-Ummah Conference, organised by the Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) condemned the massacre of Ismailis in Karachi, and said that the killers have no religion. Among those attending the conference, which was chaired by PUC Chairperson Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi, was the Chief Guest, Azad Jammu and Kashmir’s President Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob, the Shia Ulema Council Secretary General Allama Arif Waheedi, International Islamic Study Council President Mian Abu Bakar, Qazi Kifayatullah, and Dr Allama Shabbir Hassam Mesmi.
In an opinion piece for the same paper, Raza Rumi, editor at The Friday Times, who is currently a visiting fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy in the US wrote:
“The sheer barbarity of the attack on the Ismaili community in Pakistan’s largest and one of the more misgoverned cities shocked the country. It is not the first time that such a sectarian attack has happened. During the past two years, more than a thousand people have been killed in targeted sectarian attacks. However, this was the largest attack on Ismailis. The head of the Ismaili community, Prince Karim Aga Khan, rightly termed the massacre of 43 men and women “a senseless act of violence against a peaceful community”. It is ironic that the Pakistan movement owes its genesis to the contributions of Sir Sultan Muhammed Shah, Aga Khan III who was the founder, patron and the first president of the All-India Muslim League.”
PEACEFUL REACTIONS IN HUNZA
http://www.Pamirtimes.net reports that the news of the attack created anger among the Ismailis of Gilgit-Baltistan. However, demonstrations that were held in Gilgit, Aliabad (Hunza) and Gulmit (Upper Hunza) were peaceful. The Karakuram Highway was blocked by protesters for several hours today to register protests. Shops and markets remained closed in different parts of Gilgit and Hunza after the carnage in Karachi.
Date posted: Wednesday, May 14, 2015 (20:45)
Date updated: Saturday, May 16, 2015 (09:30), more messages of condolences
We shall continue to post additional material on this page in the days and weeks to come.
Please also visit the latest post Canadian Muslim Organizations Offer Condolences to the Ismaili Community + List of Deceased.
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Also please see:
- Prayers for Syria – An Aid in Righteous Resistance Against Enemies and
- A Message to Our Beloved Ismaili Brothers and Sisters in Syria: Our Hearts and Prayers are With You, You are Never Alone!