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Pak mosque attacks victims buried

Victims of Friday's deadly attacks on two Pakistani mosques were on Saturday buried separately after sect members cancelled a mass funeral for more than 80 people, fearing further attacks.

world Updated: May 29, 2010 16:33 IST

Victims of Friday's deadly attacks on two Pakistani mosques were on Saturday buried separately after sect members cancelled a mass funeral for more than 80 people, fearing further attacks.

"We are not satisfied with the security arrangements. We have cancelled the mass funeral programme," Salim-u-din, a spokesman for Lahore's Ahmadi community told AFP by telephone.

"We have dug a total of 93 graves and burials are under way. More than 30 bodies have been buried until now," the spokesman said.

Burials were also under way in Chinab Nagar, a town 160 kilometre west of Lahore and a spiritual centre for the Ahmadi community in Pakistan.

Officials in Lahore insisted that the death toll from Friday's attacks on two Ahmadi mosques in the city was unchanged.

"As per my record, 82 people have died, but we are collecting fresh information from the hospitals," Amin Chupra, an administrative official told AFP by telephone.

The victims were killed when suspected Sunni militants wearing suicide vests burst into prayer halls at the Garhi Shahu and Model Town mosques, firing guns, throwing grenades and taking hostages in Lahore's deadliest sectarian attack.

"We have been receiving threats for the last year," Qamar Suleman, a community leader told AFP at Garhi Shahu Saturday.

The day after the attack the mosque was still scattered with broken glass and stained with blood and human flesh on its green carpet and walls.

"Three terrorists started spraying bullets, I can not explain that... in words," said Ishaq Ahmed, a community volunteer at Garhi Shahu, where dozens of people were killed.

"I believed I would be killed as they could see me at any time," said Ahmed, who hid at the mosque's main gate when the attack began.

In Chinab Nagar, markets and bazaars remained closed and people were seen going in groups to the main graveyard, an AFP photographer said.

Ahmadis, who have been declared non-Muslim by Pakistan, may not be buried in Muslims graveyards, and the sect's main graveyard is in Chinab Nagar.

A city of eight million people, including two million members of the Ahmadi sect, Lahore has increasingly suffered Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked violence, with around 265 people killed in nine attacks since March 2009.

A historical city, Lahore is also a playground for Pakistan's elite and home to many top brass in its powerful military and intelligence establishment.

Founded by Ghulam Ahmad, who was born in 1838, the Ahmadi sect believes that Ahmad himself was a prophet and that Jesus died aged 120 in Srinagar, capital of Indian-ruled Kashmir.

A US State Department report on human rights says that 11 Ahmadis were killed for their faith in 2009.

Religious violence in Pakistan, mostly between majority Sunni Muslims and minority Shiites, has killed more than 4,000 people in the past decade.