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Six Pakistanis killed over visit to Sufi Muslim shrine

By Syed Raza Hassan

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Six bodies were dumped at a Sufi shrine in Pakistan's southern city of Karachi on Tuesday, accompanied by a note purporting to be from the Taliban saying the men were killed for visiting the shrine, police said.

Most Pakistanis are Sufis, a form of worship that emphasizes a personal relationship with Allah. The Taliban espouse violent Wahhabi Islam, which rejects many traditional forms of Sufi worship, including worship at shrines.

Sectarian violence is increasing across Pakistan, with two Sufi shrines bombed last year in Sindh.

The six bodies were found outside the shrine in Karachi on Tuesday morning, with a note claiming to be from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Fazlullah Group, a senior police officer told Reuters.

"People visiting shrines will meet the same fate," he quoted the group as saying in the note.

Two of the men had been beheaded, while the rest had their throats slit, the policeman said, in the first such instance of a mass killing at a shrine that he knew of.

The violent port city of Karachi is heavily infiltrated by the Taliban and has been the site of Taliban-style executions.

Mullah Fazlullah was elected head of the Taliban last November and is notorious for directing mass beheadings.

Sufism is a non-violent form of Islam characterized by hypnotic rituals and ancient mysticism that has been practiced in Pakistan for centuries, but the insurgents see Sufis as irredeemable heretics who deserve to die.

(Reporting by Syed Raza Hassan; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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