THE bomb was hidden on a motorcycle parked outside a milk shop in the narrow lanes of Abbas Town, a middle-class, mainly Shia district of Karachi. Ali Mudassar remembers sitting across the road from the milk-seller on the evening of November 18th, chatting to friends. The force of the explosion hurled him backwards into the steel shutters of the shops behind. Three died and at least 15 were injured. “This is a game to break Pakistan,” says 25-year-old Mr Mudassar, whose body is pitted with the tiny metal ball-bearings that were packed around the explosives.
In Karachi’s crowded Shia neighbourhoods, fear and defiance have mingled during Muharram, the month of ritual mourning that began on November 16th. Last week alone, eight bombings struck Shia processions, killing at least 31 people in cities across the country.