2012 bloody year of sectarian violence in Pakistan: Dawn

Syndicated from IANS | Published on Fri, Nov 23 2012 17:48 IST | 3 Views | Add comment
Islamabad, Nov 23

This year saw violent sectarian clashes in Pakistan as it witnessed a new phase in the long history of sectarian feud, the Dawn said Friday.

With attacks on religious places and processions, 2012 could be a "particularly bloody one" in terms of sectarian conflict.

If anyone thought the increased security measures would be able to confront the threat, that has clearly not been the case, it said.

The Taliban, which claimed responsibility for Wednesday's blasts, has threatened more attacks on the Shia community, and the interior minister has declared that the country faces serious threats in the days to come.

More than 20 people, mostly Shia Muslims, died in bomb attacks on Muharram processions in Karachi and Rawalpindi cities.

The rising level of sectarian tension should have prompted security agencies to pro-actively crack down on violent elements in the society, it said.

"The writing was on the wall about what was to come in the first 10 days of the holy month. But given that these groups were not identified and targeted earlier, the only option left over the next handful of days is to focus even harder on prevention."

Although extraordinary measures are in place, from public holidays to cellphone service bans for the next three days, the culmination of the Muharram mourning, some of which would be highly inconvenient for the citizens, daily said.

Restrictions on parking vehicles and large deployment of security personnel may have warded off some attacks. But despite all of this, it is clear the militants have time and space to prepare themselves for another attack.

One reason for optimism amid the developments of the last few days is the fact that the Shia and Sunni communities have not turned on each other.

There is always the fear that a massive attack, such as the 2009 Ashura blast in Karachi, could trigger a violent response.

So far, though, the absence of violent or large-scale protests indicates that the Shia community is opting for composure and maturity, for which they and their ulema are to be credited.

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