The fanaticism of sectarian groups killing members of the Shia community has been a bane in Pakistan flourishing in its magnitude with each passing day and will continue to do so owing to the lax response of the law enforcers. On Wednesday, six men belonging to the Shia Muslim community became their targets in Karachi and Quetta, gunned down in a similar way. Three of the deceased in Karachi were lawyers and members of the Legal Aid Committee while the other three murdered in Quetta belonged to the peaceful Shia Hazara community. They included an inspector of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), a television artist and a poet. The killings took place only a day after two activists of the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) — a re-organised version of the banned militant group Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) — were shot dead in Karachi. There is speculation that the Karachi killings were in response to the murders of ASWJ activists. However, this should not be treated as a ‘tit-for-tat’ response in the face of the mounting death toll of Shias being killed every other day around the country.
Thousands of Shia Muslims have been killed during the last three decades across the country after General Zia in collaboration with Saudi Arabia endorsed the Deobandi militants and sowed the ugly seeds of sectarianism in society. Since then, the country has been witnessing sectarian violence and bloodshed. Sectarian groups have gained so much strength that it seems almost impossible to control their terrorist activities. Unfortunately, there are several lacunae in the country’s legal system and the prosecution regime is full of flaws, which in turn facilitates the terrorists even if some of them are captured. The same happened in the case of Malik Ishaq, the chief of defunct sectarian group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) who has been released by a court despite the fact that his group had claimed responsibility for the Mastung deadly attack on Iran-bound innocent Hazara pilgrims last year. It is even more unfortunate that Ishaq enjoys a soft corner in the heart of the Punjab government. The presence of these extremist elements can be easily felt in the state institutions, which is another reason for the government’s helplessness against them. The situation indeed reflects the paralysis of political will to take a stern action against these gory murderers.
The time has come that the government decide the fate of these religious fanatics and use all force to crush them otherwise this contagion will spread and invite retaliation from the victim community. There is also an urgent need to improve the faulty Anti-Terrorism Act and criminal laws or replace them with specially made effective laws so that justice can be served. To fight these saboteurs of peace and religious harmony, the government has to act decisively. (Source)
Kab Tak on Dawn News 26th January 2012 (Sofia Jamal)
3 lawyers’ funeral in Karachi:
Aaj Kamran Khan Ke Saath (Geo News) – 26th january 2012
Shia Killing: Funeral of 3 Shia lawyers (Karachi, 26 Jan 2012)