Shia killings on the rise

Thursday’s execution-style killing of Shia citizens in Mansehra district and the killing of Hazaras in Quetta were only the latest incidents in what is now a clear trend: targeting innocent members of the sect — not necessarily members of any political or religious organisation — and killing them for no reason other than their religious affiliation. The Mansehra attack had a particularly disturbing aspect to it, with passengers made to show their identity papers and those suspected of being Shia, on the basis of their names or tribal affiliations, being picked out and killed. Like other recent sectarian killings in Balochistan, Kohistan and Orakzai, the approach used resembled ethnic cleansing in its chilling focus on identifying and killing innocent citizens simply because of their membership to a particular community. And while the Hazara community under attack in Balochistan is relatively small and powerless, the same is not true of Shia communities elsewhere in the country. If not arrested, this trend could well spiral out of control, turning the issue into a much larger conflict.

Meanwhile, where is the outrage from the security forces and politicians? We know these groups are willing to launch aggressive messaging campaigns when they wish to. Take, for example, the army’s response to Salala, the PML-N’s reaction to the government’s refusal to write the ‘Swiss letter’, the ruling party’s defensive posture on threats to democracy or the PTI’s campaign against drone strikes. And while it is unclear what judicial activism can achieve in such cases beyond raising their profile, where is the judiciary that otherwise takes suo moto notice of everything from the price of sugar to violence in Karachi? As each of these groups tries to focus on topics they think will boost their populist or nationalist credentials, the campaign to eradicate a minority community continues to receive less official attention than it should.

Beyond the messaging failure, little appears to have been done to confront the physical danger. Providing security escorts to pilgrims’ buses and changing the routes Shia travellers take has not been enough. Whether combating the problem is a matter of improving intelligence-gathering to prevent attacks, pre-emptively going after the groups that are carrying them out, improving policing in vulnerable areas or other intelligence or security measures, further delays are inexcusable. The state needs to demonstrate what it is doing to combat this threat. If not, Pakistan may as well give up any pretence of being a state for anyone other than its majority religious community.

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Comments (41) Closed

Aug 25, 2012 08:33am
Silence of these is crimnal
Aug 25, 2012 08:36am
Not merely, it is criminal.
Aug 18, 2012 10:45am
Actually there is no conflict, its simply the Sipah e Sahaba and Lashkar e Jhangvi killing innocent shias. Most political parties, army, judiciary are not bothered.
Aug 18, 2012 12:36pm
Why talk about Judiciary and PTI only? I am not defending them, but the entire media is silent. Of course, Dawn is an exception for writing this on editorial, otherwise Media is not talking of it. PML (N) and PPP are silent, and so are other NGO's who would speak of Human Rights as well. Though it is really appreciable that Dawn wrote an editorial, but they should take the lead and air some TV shows as well, seeking explanation from all, including PTI, PPP, PML, Security officials. Of course, nothing can be said about Judiciary. Though it will be great that Chief Justice should take suo moto action like He took in case of Missing Personnel
Iftikhar Husain
Aug 18, 2012 11:58am
I entirely agree with the editorial.
Cyrus Howell
Aug 18, 2012 07:48pm
Yes. The most important thing to a Pakistani is who is right and who is wrong.
Aug 21, 2012 10:14am
?? ??? ?? ?? ??? ?????? ?? ???? ?? ??? ????? ?? ?????? ?? ???? ??? ?? ?? ??? ??? ??? ?? ??? ?? ?? ??? ?? ???? ??? ??? ??? ???? ??? ?? The above lines are from an Indian poet; Sahir Ludhianvi, they basically mean, as you sow, so shall you reap! Dear Brutus, fault is not in our stars (neighbourhood) but in our ownselves. Because we never paid any heed or respect to the word of advice of the father of the nation, Mr. Jinnah, who clearly said to the lawmakers on Aug 11, 1947, ' ...state has nothing to do with religion (Islam)...' Unless we give due respect and honor to it and accordingly reframe constitution of the country, things shall never get better in my view.
Aug 20, 2012 11:35am
Good job
Aug 20, 2012 11:28am
killing of innocence human being in pakistan is the apathy of grovemnt and agences show their prejudice to a peticular sect.All these actions against a specifed sect and theri tarany is even inhuman i have never ever had listend about such cruality
Aug 24, 2012 06:59am
Silence of all institutions in Pakistan is a BIG question mark
Aug 23, 2012 04:01pm
Excellent Editorial.... Dawn deserves appreciation for maintaining its credibility to voice for the oppressed and asking all responsible to take necessary measures.
Aug 19, 2012 12:04pm
Why is Pakistan Government unable to ban these terrorist groups, Sipah e Sahaba and Lashkar e Jhangvi, who kills innocent peoples?
Aug 18, 2012 03:57am
Dawn, Thank you for raising this issue. Other news media are hiding the news, they do not mention that it was Shia killing. They called it sectarian killing. Why are they hiding the fact that it was Shia killing. Geo news and all its TV channels also hid this fact. You are right that there has not been any strong condemnation.
Aug 18, 2012 04:35am
This is the fearful looming fact : ----" Pakistan may as well give up any pretence of being a state for anyone other than its majority religious community. "
Aug 18, 2012 04:35am
Where are the long marches? Where is Difa-e-Pakistan? Where are the dharnas? Or have we turned into nothing but a collection of hypocrites?
Nasir Nawaz
Aug 18, 2012 07:00am
this is a very pathetic situation spreading in the country. the apathy of the govt may lead to serious threat to the security of Pakistan adding to the terrorism
Aug 18, 2012 08:08am
The faliure of the rulling Government. No hopes Left. so no comments. let them do what they are upto because they have forgot the day or reseruction, when the verdicts will be beyond their reach. the worst that will happen to an innocent is death. no problem. but who will be the responsible. the greater the respnsibility the greater will be the accountability.
M. Asghar
Aug 18, 2012 08:15am
The Shia Sunni conflict has been building for quite a while as a part of the geopolitical battle inside the country and in the region beyond, instigated by certain regional and Western powers. It has to be confronted ruthlessly before it spills out of control leading to devastating consequences.
Muhammad Yaqub
Aug 18, 2012 08:23am
Result of years of abuse in the name of Religion. Now the country is harvesting what they sowed earlier.
Aug 18, 2012 09:01am
true, where is Judiciary and PTI.
Aug 18, 2012 04:36pm
It's one thing that the conflicted MAY be exploited by international powers. But to say that it is INSTIGATED by those powers (and conveniently fail to mention Iran!, btw) is so much of abdication of responsibility.
Aug 18, 2012 05:34pm
Pakistanis mist do more mathematics to improve on their Logical & Rational Skills. Shias and SUnnis fight looks so silly to people who are non muslims.
Abrar Hussain
Aug 18, 2012 06:22pm
These types of incidents will create the condition of uncertainty among different sects which may leads to anarchism, because of which we can lose the unity, without unity,we may lose the feelings of nationalism and without nationalism, we cannot say Pakistani nation , after which any one can say that TOW NATION theory was the great fraud of the history. sorry to say..........
(Dr.) B.N. Anand
Aug 18, 2012 07:18pm
Sir, it is so bold and beautiful editorial in it's contents. The sad part is that this co- religious killings took place on the eve of holy Eid festival, when both the sections celebrate it with equal zealous. The inter-religion rivalries resulting in clashes and killings, though reprehensible, are still understandable and can be explained , though again without much logic. You are also right such killings are getting least attention from the high ups, only a section of society grieves and worries for the dreadful events which they fear for. But on a wider scale, this is a universal phenomenon, when in Iraq battles were being fought on the basis of religion. It will be great if some solution can be found to such co-religious sectarian killings. That will be indeed a great service to humanity. BNA
Cyrus Howell
Aug 18, 2012 07:44pm
This is always what will happen during economic hard times. People turn on each other and the minorities have trouble finding any work. If the minorities are the rich merchants they are murdered and their businesses looted. This tradition is thousands of years old. The minorities are the weakest, so they are driven out and their land stolen with the stroke of a pen.
Cyrus Howell
Aug 18, 2012 07:46pm
We hope.
Cyrus Howell
Aug 18, 2012 07:49pm
Who is right and who is wrong? Who is weak and who is strong?
Aug 18, 2012 08:18pm
iIf Pakistan has to rise from the sectarian violence, it has to spend more in education than anything else. We have not realised the power of it. Of course education means modern education not the madrassas where we pollute the minds for next break up of country. India is a second threat Extremism is the first one.
Aug 18, 2012 08:59pm
Hi Samir, Can you please explain, India is a threat to Pakistan, terrorists trained in Pakistan came to India and killed innocent unarmed citizens including Muslims, Is Pakistan threat to India or India threat to Pakistan.
shaher bano
Aug 18, 2012 09:06pm
Please can this editorial be translated in urdu and distributed? How much is the english readership? this excellent peace of analysis needs to be communicated to the maximum readers possible.
Aug 18, 2012 09:52pm
Fully agreed.
Ehtisham hussain
Aug 18, 2012 10:12pm
In Pakistan, Shia Holocaust is going on, it's a shame for a country whose founder himself was a Shia. He presented an ideology of freedom for every religion and wanted to see as progressive example for the other nations. But he didn't know about our prevailing situation, massacring opposite sect(s). Is this the Islam ?????? Killing human beings in the Holy Month. Pakistan is worst ever example of religious harmony. Our coming generations will be embarrassed like Germans do on Nazi Germany.
Aug 18, 2012 11:27pm
Shame on Imran Khan and CJ for being vocal about everything that harms terrorists but staying quite when innocent are killed by these terrorists
Aug 19, 2012 01:13am
Why kill innocent people ? Please share this story . These are Muslims being killed and no one is bothered ! We talk about people being killed in Myanmar , Palestine but why we are hesitant in sharing and talking about this ....
Aug 19, 2012 01:53am
Did not the TTP take responsibility for the latest murders?
Shirish Kokatay
Aug 19, 2012 02:06am
When good and decent people keep quiet in face of clear and unambigious evil then evil shal prevail upon your land. It will first seduce you towards intolerence, violence and aggresion. It will use fear, ignorance, and deepening sense of insecurities to ingritiate it within your hearts. Your ability to discriminate between, good and evil will blurr, you will forget your duty and dharma, you will be in a constant state of agitation, fear and distrust. And when this happens you can recognize this as a well known ands well travelled path toward destruction - this can happen to and individual or to an community or even a country. Look around - today they are coming for the Hindus, Shia, Ahmediyas and tomorrow the serpent will turn on you - wake up before it is too late. If you continue to tolerate intolrence it will eventually devour you. Does anyone recognize these signs, ... wake up those of you who have any sense of decency and fairness - are there any in Pakistan - go find some courage - you will need it by the tonnes. Good luck and God bless.
Adil Jadoon
Aug 19, 2012 02:23am
Where is the Government???????????Where is the opposition??????????????
Aug 19, 2012 02:27am
Thanks Mohammad for speaking truth. Speaking truth is not allowed in Pakistan.
Aug 19, 2012 02:55am
Ever since Saudia Arabia's influence grew in Pakistan, sectarian violence started. You talk about Iran, I have never heard or come across any news where shias go and blow themselves up in wah@bi mosques or line up innocent people and kill them. All terrorist are Saudi influenced wah@bis in Pakistan and around the world
Aug 24, 2012 08:15am
Great Article
Aug 23, 2012 09:53am
Is there any Government in Pakistan? Is there a judiciary in Pakistan? Is there a Parliament in Pakistan? Is there any political party in the country to voice against the Shia Killings? Is there a ny responsible civil society in the country to hate the bloodshed activities? Area Shia's not a Human being? Area Shias not Muslims? Are Shias not a patriot Pakistani? KHUDA RA IS MULK PAR RAHAM KARO. IS QOOM PAR RAHAM KARO. PAKISTAN PAR RAHAM KARO. INSANIAT PAR RAHAM KARO. INSAAN NUMA BHAIRIUN KO KHATAM KARO. YEH PAKISTAN KE DUSHMAN HAIN. YEH ISLAM KE MUH PAR TAMACHA HAIN. jaago aur utho in darandong ko lagaam do.