Pakistan imploding under sectarian violence

It was during General Zia’s time when madrassas were turned into military academies where intelligence operatives trained hundreds of thousands of Afghans, Arabs, and Pakistanis in warfare; equipped them with Kalashnikov assault rifles and Stringer missiles; and marched them into Afghanistan...While Afghanistan imploded in the early 90s...several thousand alumni of the Afghan war returned to Pakistan to establish their own mini jihad factories in Pakistan. For over a decade, the jihadis used Shias for target practice until they waged a full-fledged war against Pakistan’s establishment in 2001.The patron-in-chief of the jihadis, including the Taliban, has been General Hameed Gul, who headed Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence during the formative years..


The comparative statistics on terrorist violence between India and Pakistan speak volumes of how the tide has indeed turned against Pakistan. The data compiled by South Asian Terrorism Portal reveals that in the current year alone, approximately 150 civilians, mostly Shias, have died in sectarian violence in Pakistan. In comparison only 23 violent deaths were recorded in the Indian controlled Kashmir in 2012. Even with a six-times larger demographic footprint, 62 civilians reportedly died in terrorist violence in India in 2012, whereas 734 civilians became victims of terrorist violence in Pakistan during the same time period. For decades, Pakistan had pointed finger at India and accused her of failing to protect the life and property of religious minorities. Today, Pakistan stands accused of the same where Muslims belonging to minority sects and others are being murdered while the state’s machinery has failed miserably to protect their lives and property.

Sectarian violence has spread to all corners of Pakistan. Only last week several Shias belonging to the Hazara tribe were gunned down by the Sunni extremists in a crowded market in Quetta. Later, Sunni militants called local newspapers and claimed responsibility for their murderous accomplishment. Over the past few years hundreds, if not thousands, of Shias have been murdered in Kurram Agency by Sunni extremists and Taliban factions who are reportedly aligned with Pakistan’s intelligence agencies. In other parts of Pakistan Shias have been taken off buses, lined up, and gunned down.

As of late, the followers of majority Sunni sects, such as Barelvis, have increasingly become targets of militants who are followers of radicalised Sunni sects. The attack on Data Darbar, the mausoleum of Lahore’s patron saint, in July 2010 left almost 50 moderate Sunni Muslims dead. In an earlier post, I reported police statistics which showed that almost 90 per cent of arrested terrorists in Pakistan were followers of the Deobandi sect.

It is only recently that the moderate Sunnis have been targeted by the followers of radical Sunni sects in Pakistan. However, for decades, Shias and other minorities were the only victims of extremist violence. The majority Sunnis, who never agreed with the murderous agenda of the few radicalised groups, however remained complacent and maintained a deafening silence over the murders of Shias and others, which escalated during the dark days of General Ziaul Haq. It was during General Zia’s time when madrassas were turned into military academies where intelligence operatives trained hundreds of thousands of Afghans, Arabs, and Pakistanis in warfare; equipped them with Kalashnikov assault rifles and Stringer missiles; and marched them into Afghanistan.

The widespread distribution of small arms weaponised the Afghan society to such extremes that after the withdrawal of the Soviet Army in 1989 successive Afghan regimes collapsed because of the in-fighting that continued between heavily armed Afghan militias who could not agree on a post-Soviet governance formula...
Read more: http://dawn.com/2012/04/18/pakistan-imploding-under-sectarian-violence/

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