KARACHI – A Pakistani court sentenced an Islamic militant to death on Saturday for masterminding two suicide attacks on minority Shi’ite Muslims that killed at least 45 people, lawyers said.
The convict, Gul Hasan, belonged to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, an underground banned militant group that has ties with the former Taliban regime in Afghanistan and al Qaeda-linked militants.
Judge Haq Nawaz of an anti-terrorism court said Hasan was found guilty of masterminding attacks on two Shi’ite mosques in Karachi in May last year, in which around 127 people were also injured…
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is one of Pakistan’s most feared militant groups and police have blamed it for much of the sectarian bloodletting in the country.
It has also been implicated in attacks on Western targets in Karachi, including the murder of U.S. reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002, and in two attempts to kill President Pervez Musharraf.
Investigators also suspect that the group was behind suicide attacks in the capital Islamabad and Karachi last month in which at least 24 people died, most of them Shi’ites.
More than 100 people have been killed in tit-for-tat attacks by majority Sunni and minority Shi’ite militants in the past year.
Most of the sectarian victims have been Shi’ite Muslims, who account for about 15 percent of a Pakistan’s predominantly Sunni population of 150 million.
UPDATE: There is something that doesn’t ring true about this story. Stay tuned for updates.