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Pakistan: State patronage propels Sunni jihadis to target Shias, Ahmadis

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Then in the West, Shia and Ahmadi leaders work with those who would persecute and victimize them in Pakistan.

“Pakistan: State patronage propels Sunni groups to target Shias, Ahmadis,” ANI, September 18, 2022:

Islamabad [Pakistan], September 18 (ANI): Sectarian violence in Pakistan is on the rise as Sunni groups are threatening Shias, Ahmadis and non-Muslim minorities under the state patronage.

The Sunni groups enjoy support from the military and political leadership, reported International Forum for Right and Security (IFFRAS).

Although the phenomenon has been known to many, especially the military, there has been a clampdown on the media in reporting such a trend.

In 2020, well-known defence analyst, Dr Ayesha Siddiqa wrote about the revival of sectarian tension between Sunnis and Shias in Karachi and other urban centres in Sindh and Punjab. She pointed out that Pakistan has reportedly witnessed the killing of approximately 4,847 Shias in incidents of sectarian violence between 2001 and 2018, reported IFFRAS.

Two years later, a well-known international policy think tank, the International Crisis Group (ICG) in its latest report on sectarian violence in Pakistan, warned of “the rise of a local Islamic State franchise and the growing influence of a hard-line and violent protest movement known as ‘Labaik’ that draws support mostly from Pakistan’s Barelvi majority.”

The “Labaik” is the hardline Barelvi group, Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), which has been on the rise for the past few years, especially during the Imran Khan regime, reported IFFRAS.

The ICG report, published in early September this year, pointed out that these new groups, though different in many ways, were responsible for some of the country’s worst inter-communal bloodshed in recent years.

The report warned that “Muslim minorities, particularly Shias, are deeply vulnerable. Vigilantism is dangerous as hardliners mobilise around allegations of blasphemy to gain political clout.”…

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