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Pakistani minister thanks militants for not attacking Shia Muslims on Ashura day

(Xinhua)

09:13, December 07, 2011

ISLAMABAD, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik, in a surprise move, thanked Taliban militants for not attacking Shia Muslims during their religious rituals on Tuesday.

Millions of Shia Muslims across Pakistan commemorated the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Mohammad under unprecedented security with the deployment of thousands of paramilitary soldiers and police men to provide security cover to the processions in almost all major cities and towns.

Ashura means "ten" in Arabic and is the tenth day of Moharam the first month of the year in Islamic calendar. Imam Hussain along with 72 of his followers including some family members were brutally murdered in Karballa of Iraq in 680 AD.

Taliban militants have in the past carried out suicide attacks on Shia Muslims in Pakistan, but the day had been relatively peaceful with no major attack in any part of the country.

Two minor blasts in the port city of Karachi slightly injured four people while some rockets were fired in the northwestern city of Hangu, which injured five people.

However, two blasts rocked Afghanistan on Tuesday, leaving 55 people dead and injuring over 134 others.

"I am thankful to the Taliban who did not carry out any attack on Shia Muslims and showed respect to their rituals," Makik told reporters in Islamabad.

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