Another bloody Day in Pakistan

At least 43 people were killed and 13 others wounded on Wednesday when armed men opened fire inside a bus carrying members of the Ismailia community near Safoora Chowk in Karachi.  Sindh Police Inspector General Ghulam Haider Jamali said that 60 people were on board the bus when six gunmen entered and executed 43 passengers. He added that the armed men used 9mm pistols in the massacre. The attackers managed to successfully flee after the attack.

The Pakistani newspapers Dawn, quoting hospital sources confirmed that the dead include 25 men and 16 women. Police officials said that there were no children among the casualties. As per initial reports, the armed men came on three motorcycles and opened fire on these bus passengers.

Jundullah, a Pakistani Taliban splinter group claimed responsibility for the attack. “These killed people were Ismaili and we consider them [non-Muslim]. We had four attackers. In the coming days we will attack Ismailis, Shias and Christians,” spokesman Ahmed Marwat told Reuters.

Targeted attacks on Shias in Pakistan have continued for many years now. In the last many years, professionals, mostly doctors belonging to the community have been killed in many cities of Pakistan. Such individual killings are often punctuated by mass killings like the one in Karachi. Pakistan has gained notoriety for religious and sectarian violence which has seen an upward trend in the past decade. Terrorists indulging in such violence have often attacked Christians, Shias, Sunni Muslims, often owing allegiance to the Barelvi School, Imambargahs, Dargahs and have even carried out these attacks in open markets and highways. The impunity with which such terrorists carry out these acts of wanton violence raises serious doubts whether the Pakistani State is serious about tackling this scourge.

In the last one year, Pakistan has shown a definite resolve to fight the menace of terrorism that has manifested itself in the form of TTP. Pakistan Army and Air Force has carried out attacks against them and severely damaged their capabilities and infrastructure. But in case of religious and sectarian violence, Pakistan has shown no such resolve. Hate speeches against various religious groups are freely allowed and various organizations who are involved in such activities are also free to carry out their activities. Friday sermons in mosques can often be used to spread such hate.  There is even no regulation on the vast network of Madrassas throughout the country. The State has not put any monitoring mechanism to track funding of these Madrassas and organizations, with the result these organizations are not only allowed to mushroom but also allowed to spread a deadly ideology the fruits of which poor Pakistanis are reaping. The deadly attack in Peshawar in which more than 130 school children were killed also didn’t force Pakistani establishment to look within and seek solutions. Knowing the country’s mollycoddling with religious extremists, even this cruel attack in Karachi may not force the State to come out of its hibernation. 

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