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Pakistan provincial government dismissed over Quetta attacks


Pakistan's prime minister has dismissed the government of a southwestern province over deadly bomb attacks on Shiites in the provincial capital Quetta. With their demands met, protestors have now agreed to bury the dead.

Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf announced early Monday morning that the government of the southwestern Balochistan province has been dismissed and the chief minister has been sacked.

The decision comes in response to an attack on minority Shiite Muslims on Thursday in Quetta which killed at least 86 people sparking protests across Pakistan.

Ashraf flew to Quetta on Sunday to meet with angry protesters, who had refused to bury their dead until the provincial government was removed and the army was given control of the city.

"After complete consultation, we have invoked Article 234 of the constitution in the province," Ashraf said in a televised news conference in Quetta in the early morning hours Monday. Ashraf said the provinces' governor would now be put in charge.

The attacks were claimed by the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi militant group.

Shiites make up around 20 percent of Pakistan's population of 180 million. Fatal sectarian violence has been increasing in Pakistan even though casualties from other forms of militant violence have decreased. More than 400 Shiites were murdered last year in blasts and gun attacks, according to Human Rights Watch.

hc/ccp (Reuters, AP, dpa)

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