Pakistan Ahmadis bury Lahore mosque attacks victims

Mourners gather to bury some of the mosque attack victims

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Mourners in Pakistan have buried the 93 victims of co-ordinated attacks by gunmen on two mosques of the minority Ahmadi Islamic sect in Lahore.

The attackers fired guns and threw grenades at worshippers during Friday prayers. Three militants later blew themselves up and two were captured.

An Ahmadi leader called for greater government protection after the attacks by suspected Taliban militants.

Lahore has been the scene of a string of brazen attacks.

The victims were buried in Rabwah, the religious headquarters of the Ahmadi community.

'Easy targets'

Security was tight at the two mosques on Saturday.

A day earlier, several attackers, armed with AK-47 rifles, shotguns and grenades, held people hostage briefly inside a mosque in the heavily built-up Garhi Shahu area.

WHO ARE THE AHMADIS?

  • A minority Islamic sect founded in 1889, Ahmadis believe their own founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who died in 1908, was a prophet
  • This is anathema to most Muslims who believe the last prophet was Muhammad, who died in 632
  • Most Ahmadi followers live in the Indian subcontinent
  • Ahmadis have been the subject of sectarian attacks and persecution in Pakistan and elsewhere
  • In 1974 the Pakistani government declared the sect non-Muslim

Some took up positions on top of the minarets, and fired at police engaged in gunfights with militants below.

Police took control of the other mosque in the nearby Model Town area after a two-hour gunfight.

Pakistan's Geo TV channel said the Pakistani Taliban had claimed responsibility for the assaults.

Members of the community have often been mobbed, or gunned down in targeted attacks, says the BBC's M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad.

But this is the first time their places of worship have suffered daring and well co-ordinated attacks that bear the mark of Taliban militants, our correspondent adds.

Ali Dayan Hassan of Human Rights Watch told the BBC the worshippers were "easy targets" for militant Sunni groups who consider the Ahmadis to be infidels.

While the Ahmadis consider themselves Muslim and follow all Islamic rituals, they were declared non-Muslim in Pakistan in 1973, and in 1984 they were legally barred from proselytising or identifying themselves as Muslims.

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