THE grenade attacks targeting two Aga Khani Ismaili jamaatkhanas in Karachi on Tuesday, in which a woman and her child were killed, are yet another indicator of where Pakistan stands after over six decades of its creation. Once again we have proof of how far we are from the dream of a pluralistic, inclusive state in which Muslims of various persuasions as well as citizens of other faiths were meant to live peacefully without having to contend with the tactics of a violent minority seeking to impose its extremely narrow interpretation of faith on them. In this case, as in so many other instances of terrorism before it, senior police officials suspect the involvement of Lashkar-i-Jhangvi — an Ismaili doctor had given evidence against the militants currently on death row. However, there have also been reports that the Ismaili community has been receiving threats from the TTP. Indeed, let alone religious minorities who have all too often faced the wrath of the militants, no sect within Islam seems to have been spared either. Shias, Barelvis, Sufis and Deobandis not subscribing to the militant worldview have been killed individually and collectively. Last year, Dawoodi Bohras joined the list as a predominantly Bohra neighbourhood in Karachi was bombed, while community members were also shot in Hyderabad. And now, the Aga Khani Ismailis have become the latest Muslim group to be attacked.

The Ismailis are a peaceful, progressive and largely apolitical community that has done much for Pakistan’s health and education sectors, especially in regions where the government has failed. In the past there has been anti-Ismaili violence in Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan, mostly in the form of communal flare-ups. But the Karachi attacks bear the all the hallmarks of the militants. What should the state’s response be, apart from issuing the usual condemnations and orders for increased security at places of worship? The answer seems deceptively simple: the authorities must take decisive action against violent non-state actors with sectarian and militant agendas. But of course the million-dollar question is: will it?

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Comments (7)

a muslim
August 15, 2013 7:41 am

To Editor,

Sincerely appreciate raising a voice in defence of Ismailis and other peace loving citizens of Pakistan.

Amir Dewani
August 15, 2013 4:45 pm

The million dollar answer to your searching question is: Your leaders, being so impotent, can't give any sense of protection to those peaceful/loyal/taxpaying business communities, nor to the other innocent citizens of the Pak land. All of the leaders - including the concerned CM, the home minister, the federal minister Ch. Nisar, the PM and the controversially elected President must take shame and resign forthwith. It is also a matter of shame that Mr. Ban- Ki -moon has to come all the way from the UN to familiarize himself about the wave of brutal killings and non-stop violence. The relatives of the affected people far away from the native land are worried about the most dangerous situation, but your top leaders are not budging an inch because their own families are safe and able to leave the country any time. They all have businesses, properties and dual nationalities where as the innocent people are solely loyal- going nowhere. Let us pray for this beautiful country.

August 15, 2013 6:33 pm

You got your "Land of The Pak." So, enjoy it. Maulan Abul Kalam Azad, a great Muslim, a patriot, a true great human being and the first Education Minister of India was prescient in his prophecy about the disintegration and eventual collapse of Pakistan in 1946 interview. A MUST READING FOR ALL PAKISTANIS WHO WANT PAKISTAN to SURVIVE.

S R Khan
August 15, 2013 6:37 pm

The attack on a peaceful and moderate community which is busy in the arduous task of developing some of the most disadvantaged areas of the country needs to be condemned in the strongest terms. The apathy of the security and law enforcement agencies is a matter of further concern. So far in the country none of the high value target has been arrested nor punished, nor the govt has come out with a strong, specific and focus anti-terrorism policy. It seems that this exercise of terrorizing the whole nation will continue

August 15, 2013 7:00 pm

Unless people take to the streets regularly demanding that militants be arrested and charged, nothing will happen. Saeed is running around making speeches, all sorts of mullahs make fatwas everyday, and people just behave like sheep. They don't deserve any better - the just don't seem to care enough to make even a token protest.

August 15, 2013 7:12 pm

There are at least a dozen Islam channels of various sects, and each of them claiming supremacy of the other.

Mirza aslam
August 16, 2013 1:43 am

Sir,Ismailis are safe in India.with the help of your esteemed newspaper,I invite them to India for temporary or permanent residence

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