ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Sectarian Violence in Pakistan

Pakistan always had the seeds of a Sunni-Shia schism but the confl ict was suppressed until the 1980s; it came out into the open under the Islamising dictatorship of General Zia when the state became involved in sectarianism. The violence is now open with many observers arguing that Pakistan will need the Shia-killing non-state actors for the Afghan civil war expected to start after the US and NATO forces leave Afghanistan in 2014.

A terrorist bomb blast at Abbas town in Karachi on 3 March 2013 took over 40 lives while injuring hundreds and depriving hundreds of their housing. Earlier, on 16 February, a similar blast had taken the lives of 91 Shia Hazaras in Quetta in Balochistan. A little more than a month earlier, Quetta had seen its Shia massacred in an attack owned by a Taliban and Al Qaida-affiliated Punjabi organisation called Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ).

Al Qaida practises Shia-killing in Iraq and Syria. It backs the Shia-killing Taliban of Pakhtun and Punjabi variety with funds that come from Arabs in the Gulf region that is scared of Iran as it completes its journey of becoming a nuclear power and seeks to come to the help of Shia minorities in Arab lands living in taqiyya (state of disguise) for fear of being killed by people subject increasingly to a salafi trend of contesting the legitimacy of Shia Islam. Al Qaida-led sectarian war in Iraq annually claims 1,600 lives; Pakistan comes second with 1,400.

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