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Pakistan militants attack Muslim pilgrims

More than 320 Shiites have been killed this year in Pakistan and attacks are on the rise, which suggests the government is 'indifferent,' according to New York-based Human Rights Watch.

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People mourn the deaths of suicide attack victims at a funeral in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Nov. 22. A Taliban suicide bomber struck a Shiite Muslim procession near Pakistan's capital, killing nearly two dozen people in a series of bombings targeting Shiites during the holiest month of the year for the sect, officials said.

B.K. Bangash/AP

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Pakistani militants, who have escalated attacks in recent weeks, killed at least 41 people in two separate incidents, officials said on Sunday, challenging assertions that military offensives have broken the back of hardline Islamist groups.

The United States has long pressured nuclear-armed ally Pakistan to crack down harder on both homegrown militants groups such as the Taliban and others which are based on its soil and attack Western forces in Afghanistan.

In the north, 21 men working for a government-backed paramilitary force were executed overnight after they were kidnapped last week, a provincial official said.

Twenty Shiite pilgrims died and 24 were wounded, meanwhile, when a car bomb targeted their bus convoy as it headed toward the Iranian border in the southwest, a doctor said.

New York-based Human Rights Watch has noted more than 320 Shiites killed this year in Pakistan and said attacks were on the rise. It said the government's failure to catch or prosecute attackers suggested it was "indifferent" to the killings.

Pakistan, seen as critical to US efforts to stabilize the region before NATO forces withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, denies allegations that it supports militant groups like the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network.

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