ISLAMABAD: The number of incidents related to sectarian violence is continuously increasing in the country. Moreover, suicide attacks are also being used during sectarian clashes, and have resulted in the death of numerous people across the country.
This was revealed in the ‘Pakistan Security Report 2013’ launched by Pak Institute for Peace Studies (Pips) on Sunday. Pips is a think-tank based in Islamabad which is engaged in research to understand ongoing conflicts such as militancy, extremism, radicalisation and insurgency.
According to the report, the rise in sectarian violence started in 2011 and continued through the subsequent years.
The report maintained that there had been 208 incidents of sectarian-related terrorist attacks in the country in which 658 people were killed and 1,195 injured.
The table provides a province-wise breakdown of these attacks.
Furthermore, the number of suicide attacks across the country also rose by 39 per cent as 46 suicide attacks were reported in 2013 compared to 33 in 2012.
Of these, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) witnessed 18 suicide attacks in 2013 while 12 attacks occurred in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Furthermore, nine suicide attacks occurred in Balochistan, five in Sindh and one each in Rawalpindi and Azad Kashmir.
The report claimed that nine suicide attacks in 2013 were related to sectarian clashes and were mainly carried out by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.
One of the suicide blasts was carried out by nationalist insurgents and another two attacks were carried out during inter-militant clashes.
The security report has also endorsed the establishment of the Cabinet Committee on National Security (CCNS), and has recommended expansion of its role. It stated that the committee’s role should be shifted from that of a consultative decision-making body to implementing the National Security Initiatives (NSIs).
When contacted, Member Pakistan Ex-Servicemen Association Brig. (retired) Masud-ul-Hassan told Dawn that there were ‘foreign elements’ behind these sectarian killings.
“CIA has been providing funds to various sectarian groups to create unrest in the country.
“Once a civil war ensues, USA will force Pakistan to handover its nuclear assets,” he alleged.
“USA also wants to stop westward expansion of Chinese influence, and for that, it is using India. Earlier in the 70s and 80s, US used to support Pakistan to resolve the issue of Kashmir, but now it is suggesting that Pakistan should simply give up the issue,” he said.
While responding to a question, Mr Hassan said it was not easy to resolve the issue of sectarianism.
“The fate of the country is now in the hands of the nation. People should understand that Pakistan can only develop if there is peace and unity among its citizens who belong to various schools of thoughts,” he said.
Sectarian-related terrorist attacks in 2013
Province Number of Killed Injured
Balochistan 33 278 499
Sindh 132 215 319
Punjab 17 32 29
KP/FATA 26 133 348
Total 208 658 1,195