Growing sectarian violence

Growing sectarian violence

In a brutal act of violence, at least 20 Shia passengers were targeted by unknown attackers and shot dead on Thursday. The attackers disguised themselves in army uniforms, checked the passengers’ documents and targeted those who were Shia. The incident was the third of its kind in the last six months.

Meanwhile, in Balochistan, Hazara Shia Muslims have been constantly targeted in a similar manner by assailants. On the same day as the bus carnage in Gilgit, three Hazara men were killed in Quetta.

The trend of Shia Muslims being targeted in specific parts of the country has increased over the last few months. Nothing seems to stop these attacks. The identity of the attackers is never revealed. When banned religious outfits claim responsibility for such attacks, there is no response except in the form of monotonous condemnation by government officials, who then go on to blame the violence on “foreign hands” and/or liberation movements.

A set pattern of the routes, targets and manner of attacks has emerged. Yet, law-enforcement agencies are unable to curb these attacks. Highways to hometowns and holy pilgrimage sites have turned into highways to hell. The impunity the attackers exhibit is horrid. In a video that has emerged after yesterday’s carnage, passengers are apparently being checked for being Shia Muslims. While the origins and the actual date and place of the filming of the video remain unclear, the brutality of the attackers is quite clear.

When will the law-enforcement agencies and the government take measures to stop such attacks?

Will the government ever admit to lapses in security it provides to the citizens? Why can they not do their basic job of providing security? Are they too busy fighting court cases? Or playing politics? Or is it a plain case of incompetence and complacency?

How can the non-Muslim minorities be assured of their safety in Pakistan when even the Muslim minorities are not safe? invites its readers to share their opinions and suggestions…


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99 Responses to “Growing sectarian violence”

  1. salman says:

    Where is the Chief Justice now? Where are his suo motos?

  2. Syed M N says:

    If secular culture is developed in Pakistan there will be peace on all fronts.That means no interference in others belief/religion and no act that hurts others feeling.

  3. vijai says:

    Pakistan, the land of the pure is turned into another Germany, The jews have been repalced by Hindus, Sikhs, Ahmadis and now Shias, Sooner or later, this country will meet the fate of Germany at the end of world war II. The only thing to se is that if Pakistan has the resilience and determination of Germany to recover, grow, bounce back and take a meaningful and respectful place in the world or it will go down like Afghanistan or Somalia

  4. A Ali says:

    Pakistan is the country of Muslim Majority, but within my beloved country there is interest conflict between Sunnis (are in majority) and Shias. Each of one wants to hold in each walk of life within country territory. So its natural, when someone (minority) trying to cup up or trying to influence more than other majority group. Like such happening is obvious. Examples at state level are Iraq and Syria is infront of us. I believed this is not a war of Islam; it is a conflict between them to show unlikeness of power getting by minorities.
    I don’t agree with blog comments to some extent. Let us observe, when Shias are observing Mohrumm activities, All Pakistan is looking Shias during the month of Moharrum ul Haram. Just becuase of Sunnis, have respect to them. But unfortunately Shias are not acknowledging such effort. In response and reaction of Sadist happening in Gilgit Baldistan incendent, how many Sunnis were killed in Karachi. no anyone Shias groups, religious leader condemning the continues brutal killing of Sunnis, even Suni political and religious are not in position to condemn, Why? When every little majority of Hazara (Shia) liviing in Quetta and most of them in recent decade migrated from Afganistan to Pakistan (Quetta). Rest of Pakistan don’t know that how in government services, scholarship allocation and all other benefits from Balochistan, they are much more enjoying benefits other than most majority of Quetta’s local from support of establishment and neighboring country. So conflict of interest is obvious. Number of Sunni Ullama was killed in reaction of Hazara target killing even a student of 8th class (Sunni) targeted in reaction.
    They have strong hold in Media and picturing Pakistan current situation just for their interest as they want in front of World. Yes foreign Aid, hand and support from both sects are enjoying to disturb our beautiful country just to rid and retain control, power over state system.
    For God sake, be honest in sharing news and information. “Complete Lying is much better than half-truth”

    • LailaC. says:

      I’m very glad that you posted as you did, because you are the true evil face of baloch or pashtun of Baluchistan. First of all, Hazaras are peace loving community. For decades our leaders prevented us from retaliation. But now, our youth will answer a bullet with a bullet. It is not lack of bravery that holds us back, trust me on that.

      For several years since days of cursed Zia, we have made government appeals for better security.

      Hazaras understand the value of education. In just 4 generations, We have outstanding academic achievements. Why don’t other tribes do an actual effort too? It’s such hypocrite way of addressing insecure sentiments and jalousy by writing Hazaras take the rights of poor baloch or pashtun, how pathetic!

      Don’t We have freedom of religion in Pakistan?
      Quran surah 2: verse 265: There is no compulsion in religion (Islam).
      So what is it you are trying to claim by belonging to sunni majority?
      Arrogance is not liked by Allah, janaab.

      How odd, my ancestor migrated from Bamiyaan to Quetta before partition of India due to genocide carried out by abdul rehman. Today, while We helped building Pakistan in various ways the jalousy of socalled pious locals now makes it total HALAL to kill us because We happen to be a minority, namely Shia.

      How does it feel to be the actual victim for once, hu? When widows are left with unfed orphans? Tough ain’t it? So wake up and smell the coffee for once, Ali.

    • Saeed says:

      Sectarianism is nothing new for Islamic world in general and Indo-Pak in particular. Sectarianism has no preplanned genocide program. the terrorists who are killing shias are also targeting Pak Army, other security personnel, minorities and even baralvis. The frequency of terrorists acts against shias and the brutal and organized way is the main reason, that we are specifically mentioning shias here. One should check the facts as hazara shias have been living in Baluchistan for the last 200 years, they are not Afghans, and even if they are Afghans, they are human beings.The number of Shias killing on religious ground is much higher and has no comparison with killings of Sunni muslims. There is no shia organization or person which has declared JEHAD against Sunnis (Ref: Malik Ishaque). Again we should call spade a spade. Sectarianism is not a bid issue, but target killing and planned terrorism against any community whether it is Sunni, Shia , Ahmadi, Christians, Hindus etc, is no doubt a big conspiracy against Pakistan. We must give a thought to the historic unholy alliance of a particular ideology with capitalist forces.

  5. Karim says:

    In order to help in under standing the issue under discussion , I would urge the angry killers to write down in these columns why they are inhumane and kill shias

    • LailaC. says:

      Read the reply of A. Ali, he is the picture perfect image of what really happens and how they justify the shia killings. To baloch or pashtun, hazaras r none locals though We migrated before the muhajjirs, Urdu speaking population of PK but still We seem be to the big thorn in their eyes.

      I’m proud to be of Hazara origin. We have Hazara female minister. InshAllah rehman future PM will be the best of Punjabi and Hazara mix DNA. We don’t start or invoke conflicts. We understand the value of tolerance, education and peaceful halal living. Live and let live!
      Na hum naouzubillah Khuda hai, na Khuda bannein ko kosish karte hai. Jo khuda ke insaanoon ko qatl karte hai, vo khuda ka momin bandha phir kaisa?

  6. Kamal says:

    Shia genocide must stop or Pakistan may plunge into a civil war

    • Saeed says:

      I agree. Shias are most patriotic people of Pakistan,never funded for proxies. We havent been allowed by our Mutahideen for taliban like war or suicide attacks, but if situation goes out of control then any thing can be expected.

  7. Saeed says:

    A particular ideology is being used by enemy to weaken Pakistan as well as Muslims the world over. Terrorists are followers of that ideology and will come in action only in those countries where their string pullers desire. In Pakistan they are targeting those who support federation of Pakistan, whether these targets are institutions. sects or religions. I agree with the notion that this violence can’t be called sectarianism, it is genocide of shia Muslims. Journalists, political parties, institutions are not willing to call spade a spade out of fear or because of vested interests. How can we expect a political party to speak against terrorists when banners of terrorist outfits are displayed in its rallies or a political party’s sitting minister declares that he had support of such terrorist groups during the elections. All of us have to be honest with ourselves and declare, what is right and what is wrong, who is innocent and who is culprit. No if and buts.

  8. Slim says:

    When ZAB declared “Ahmedis” as non-muslims, for his own political benefit without thinking about the long term consequences for the people and country it opened a “Pandora’s” box,and of course Zia-ul-Haq’s rule messed up things further, for which the Shias are paying the price. No one knows where this thing will stop.

  9. Naush says:

    I couldn’t resist myself not to write anything here.

    Lets try to be as fair and accurate as possible. There are only couple of sub-sects within Sunni sect who would believe that killing Shia (or any person against their believe) is mandatory/Wajib. So, lets not post a blanket statement and blame all sunnis.

    There is no foreign hand, and if there is any, its not more than corrupt media and news agencies. This is all illiterate people need. Yes, there are cases where foreign agencies work hard to create conflict among muslims, but it is on much larger scale, such as Syria. Muslim is killing Muslim and once someone gets killed, we hear, Allah-ho-akber. What an peak of illiteracy!!!

    Its only taliban who can actually kill another human being. Its NOT normal sunni. I am sure of it and I am NOT sunni.

  10. Sadiq says:

    Shias and Sunnis have had their differences for centuries. It is deep rooted in history. While some fanatic sunnis call Yazid ‘Hazrat’ some ignorant shias do look down on the first three caliphs. Mainly because of the treatment given by one of them to Hazrat Fatima and her child. However, in the India-Pakistan, they mutually respected each other and shared the commonalities.

    Remember, the Gaama Shah of Lahore was the teacher of Data Ganj Buksh. Teacher shia and pupil sunni. No problem then, why now?

  11. taranveer Singh says:

    do anything , nothing wil improve. until you people remove Islamic glasses from your eyes and stop thinking Islam is religion of peace. change angle of view. brainwashed people. Pakistan can be better more honest more tolerant . peaceful . more colorful without Islam. same for Afghanistan.

  12. baqar says:

    What an Islamic country? There is no Sunni Mullah who has guts to condemn these barbaric killings of Shias where they are slaughtered like animals. There is no Jinnah’s Pakistan this is a wild Talibanistan.

  13. LailaC. says:

    The honorable politicians or soon to be ex. Imran change as seasons if the year to uphold status quo. Hazaras do not trust Imran because he never uttered a word against Hazara shia target killing while he was in Quetta to campaign. Only on tv when forced by a lady journalist did he state his views.

    Hazaras can’t shop in markets. They can’t go to jobs as regular ppl. They are restricted and live in a separate end of Quetta city. Prices of basic items is triple None Hazaras college students or workers refuse to sit in same bus as Hazaras. Most places ex. Police, colleges and office transport they tell Hazaras to suit themselves, meaning they decline to share same transport in fear of taliban.

    Killing of Nawab Bukti have made it impossible to have any sober dialogue with Baloch community. The pashtun harvest the benefits of this on going conflict since days of barbaric ruler abdul rehman…. None objects against the mighty tribes of the region. None celebrates 23. March in Quetta out of fear.

    We call Allah to our help to banish the transgressors by Quranic clear punishments as earth quake and tsunami where the enemies largely reside.

    I have zero respect for chaudery sujjat or whatever… They r all pro taliban as the sharif brothers. We need martial law rest never work….

    All pro taliban ppl can export themselves. We won’t miss them!

  14. Ali USA says:

    STOP CALLING IT SECTARIAN violence. This is journalistic corruption. You are misleading people. We don’t have a Shia – Sunni war in Pakistan. Using these terms is both dangerous and disingenuous. You know well that terrorists target Sunni Muslims also. They kill innocent civilians, Pakistani military, Christians, Ahmadis, and Shias. Of course the Shia killing is so much that it is now looking like a genocide but when you use the sectarian term, you make it look like some type of a Sunni- Shia war. First, majority of Sunnis support Shias and are against violence. Second, Shias have not responded violently. So how can it be sectarian violence? Call it Attempteqd Shia Genocide by the terrorists. Call it Terrorists vs. Pakistan. But please don’t call it sectarian violence. You are doing grave injustice to both Shias and Pakistan by using that term. We are one nation and we stand united against the terrorists. Enough is enough and we are ready to take back our country. Help us God.

    • ACFP says:

      Unfortunately it is people like you who want to condone these brutal crimes by trying be Mr. Goody Tosho or politically correct. Stop being apologetic to please majority Sunni because you are not doing any favor to them. One cancer cell kills the whole body. Until you call the crime for what it is, nothing will change. Majority of Sunnis are silent spectators which is as bad. Please read Dawn blog titled sectarian divide and Mr. Sword and you may understand a bit better.

    • Dr Shaaz Mahboob says:

      How many rallies have been taken out by Imran Khan or Jamat e Islami or any other Sunni group against the brutal murders of Shias in Pakistan recently?
      How often does the “Pakistani” public come out to express their disgust at these mindless killings?
      If these signs do not inidcate a Shia Sunni war then what would?

  15. Syed Nazim says:

    The divide between Sunnis and Shias is deep rooted. It can not go by superficial speeches. One has to be bold and ugly to tell Sunnis that killing shias or any body can not force any one to toe their line. At the same time shias have to be told that sunnis feeling are hurt when shias use abusive and insulting language against khulfa e rashidin in religious meeting/majalis. If not for other reason but diplomacy demand that they and their religious and political leaders state publicly that it is wrong perception that they use insulting and abusive language against Khula e Rashidin. Personally I am against all sort of anti shia behavior in spite of their belief and actions but most of people are not liberal like me.
    Similarly some body has to make Pakistanis under stand why most of Indians hate Pakistan and Pakistanis. It is natural that no one tolerate division of their country. Pakistanis

    In this competitive world no nation can survive unless adopts realistic and practical policy. If we develop respect and love for all human beings irrespective of cast and creed , there will be peace in world and poverty will be eliminated

  16. Danish says:

    This is a well planned genocide of Shias Muslims where they are located on strategic cities such as Karachi, Gilgat, Quetta etc. and that is why despite police knew who and where are the Killers of shias but cant do anything because of Pakistan elite intelligence agencies interferences.

  17. ZAHEER ABBAS says:


  18. Arif says:

    Where r u chief justice , army and govt ? they r responisble for killing innocent people. Islam not saying to kill innocent people. Religion is matter between Allah and man and Allah will decide who is right or wrong at the end of the world.why all mullah did not condem this killing.i think it is shame for our media because they always talking about politics but not doing any programme on Shia killing. Please wake up .

  19. Abdul Qayoom says:

    Key difference b/w other Muslim countries and Pakistan is lack of education, where education rate in the country constantly drops there is no matter to find such incidents at regular intervals. Our religious book also emphasis us on learning and make other taught. Pakistan has alway relied on foreign aid to support their education sector, I earnestly request our leaders, please provide fair distribution of country income to at least one sector to save the people from passing their lives in dark age.

  20. Whenever such tragic incidents of sectarianism occurred in any part of the country, the columnists, bloggers etc while writing on such incidents, generally reported that “unknown attackers, unknown terrorists, unknown…”, which I think shouldn’t mentioned in this way. Though the term Obscurantist Forces are being applied for these terrorists and nobody can identify their name of faces, but we shouldn’t intermingle or create confusion about their particular way of thinking and line of action. To a minimum extent, we can mention that a particular school of thought was imported from a known Arab country who openly declare Shia as Kafir(infidels) and liable to be persecuted. (Such trend is also in vogue when TTP attack on any sensitive defensive installations of our country and instead of pin-pointing the TTP who claimed responsibility of those attacks, we generally turn the causes towards a neighbouring country.)
    If we continued to use the term Unknown Attackers or turn towards the neighbouring country, then we become a part of covering the faces of such sectarian groups.

  21. dr abbas ali. says:

    In nut shell Mr KAYANI n Mr chief justice are responsibles for these killings.

  22. Ajaya K Dutt says:

    Somebody said something like this before world war II, “First it was communists, I stayed silent; then it was gypsies, I stayed silent; then it was Jews and I stayed silent then it was me but then there was nobody to say anything”.

    It should read more like “First it was Hindus and Sikhs, then it was Ahmedis, then it was Shia, then it…..”

  23. saleem tahir says:

    Soon,very soon,different sub sects of sunnis will be targetting each others both in civil and military that will be the end of Pakistan and this madness .God save Pakistan from the rabid clergy.

  24. Abus says:

    Pakistans 70% sunnis does not beleive they owe any thing to other minorities. Infact they have soft corners for taliban and other terrorists organizations, then how do you think viloence can be ended when majority is unconciously on the side of violence. The evidence is all over the media the way they portray Shias. Jang news doesn’t even identify shias target killing and considers killing as usual incident and not a targeted one.

  25. Devendra says:

    Pakistan is on the precipice. If it wants to survive as a nation, here in my humble opinion are some the things it needs to do:
    1) The Sunni majority needs to condemn these murders in strongest possible terms. Let the Mullahs and Politicians know that if they do not also condemn these murderers unequivocally and in the strongest terms that they will boycott and excommunicate them.
    2) Take all religiosity off the TV. Censor and remove journalists (who pretend to be one) who are spreading hate and soft peddaling these murders by providing them cover. Remove and ban them for life so they can never be on TV.
    3) Control the Mullahs. Promulgate and enforce an ordinance so if the Mullahs in the mosques preach hatred, they are removed and banned for life from preaching in any mosque in Pakistan. Close that mosque for a year and then bring new Mullah who is not a hate spreader.
    4) Fire the police and military authorities in the area where a massacre of Shias and any minority takes place and the culprits are not brought to juctice in six months. If you can’t catch them in six months, you will never catch them.
    5) Remove religion from public discourse and books. Faith is between a man and his maker irrespective of the religion.
    6) Remove religion, caste and other ethnic identifiers from the driver’s license and any other verifying documents. Remove them from ALL APPLICATIONS AND DOCUMENTS – PRIVATE OR PUBLIC , BY LAW.

    These may help but the most important is for the people to get angry and go after these murderers, politicians who protect them and the Mullahs who condone them and provide an Islamic justification for these heinous acts. on Facebook on Facebook