Faultlines, Vol 21, Institute for Conflict Management, New Delhi. April 2018
Sectarian violence in Pakistan is not a new phenomenon. Though it has been in existence since independence, however, sectarian expansions today creates an entirely new geography, from Gilgit to Quetta, targeting new segments of the population in ever-widening locations. What started as a campaign against the Ahmadiyyas and enlarged to include the Shias, has now turned against Sufi and Barelvi Sunnis as well. In terms of perpetrators, new groups have emerged, more lethal than the earlier sectarian organizations. The Islamic State (also Daesh, formerly the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham) is one of the latest entrants into Pakistan’s landscape of sectarian violence. In terms of intensity, moreover, such violence has escalated dramatically, with growing access to modern weaponry and, particularly, the use of suicide bombers.