The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms the murderous attack on a bus full of peaceful civilians in Karachi, Pakistan.
Wednesday, May 13th, was just another work day for many of the residents of Al Azhar Gardens who rode on the pink commuter bus that morning. As the bus travelled its usual route, six men on three motorcycles pulled up alongside it and flagged it to a stop. The six men boarded the bus and immediately began to shoot the passengers. All victims were shot in the head, and at least 45 of them died. The Pakistani-based Jundallah, a Tehrik-e-Taliban splinter group that pledged its allegiance to ISIL, claimed responsibility for the murders.
The vast majority of the victims were members of the Ismaili community, a branch of Shia Muslims who follow the Aga Khan as their spiritual leader. The Ismailis believe that the Aga Khan has the authority to interpret the Quran in relation to the present time. They are peaceful, progressive and non-political. According to Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the Ismailis are “a very patriotic and peaceful people who have always worked for the wellbeing of Pakistan."
But to extremists, anyone whose religious precepts differ even slightly from their own, qualifies as a heretic. Extremists see nothing wrong with killing a human being who does not worship exactly as they do.
We offer our deepest condolences to the families of the victims. The American people stand in solidarity with the people of Pakistan, and with the global Ismaili community on this tragic day. “Make no mistake,” said Secretary of State John Kerry.“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.”
The United States will support efforts to bring all those responsible to justice, and stand ready to provide assistance to the investigation of this tragic attack.