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Pakistan: Shikarpur survivors’ update, urgent call for blood, and article on the bombing: a deliberate attack on Sindh’s tolerant Sufi culture

by beenasarwar, 1 February 2015

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8-year old Samar Abbas in critical condition at AKUH: He has a blood clot in his brains, a broken jaw and a collapsed respiratory system. Photo: Anas Mallick

8-year old Samar Abbas in critical condition at AKUH: He has a blood clot in his brains, a broken jaw and a collapsed respiratory system. Photo: Anas Mallick

UPDATE Shikarpur blast: Over 60 were buried in Shikarpur, funeral prayers attended by an over 10,000-strong crowd. 15 survivors were airlifted to hospitals in Karachi, of whom two have passed away. Urgent need for blood at the Agha Khan University Hospital laboratory in Karachi, including for critically injured 8-year old Samar Abbas is in urgent need of O+ blood. Below, extracts from my article yesterday in Scroll also linked here: Bombing of Shikarpur mosque is a deliberate attack on Sindh’s tolerant Sufi culture

Another day, another mass funeral. This time, Shikarpur.

Another day, another mass funeral. This time, Shikarpur.

Extracts:

Barely a month after the massacre at an army public school in Peshawar that shook not just Pakistan but the world, the Shikarpur attack brings into focus an ongoing, destructive trend – inroads into Sindh by extremists following a Takfiri ideology (to to declare someone a “kafir” or non-believer. Takfiris term other Muslims as non-Muslim or accuse them of “blasphemy”, and justify their murder)

The banned militant organisation Jundallah (Ahmed Marwat Group) has claimed responsibility for the Shikarpur attack in a statement issued to the media, saying: “Our target was the Shia community. They are our enemies”… Jundullah was also behind the attack on a Shia pilgrims’ bus in 2012 and an attack on an ISI office in 2013. The group is known to be affiliated with Daesh/ISIL in Iraq.

These are the consequences of allowing homegrown terrorists to operate in the name of religion because they are considered to be “strategic assets” for foreign policy objectives related to India and Afghanistan.

Their inroads into Sindh are clearly part of a deliberate attack on the syncretic, inclusive, tolerant Sufi culture of the region. Over 95% of Pakistan’s Hindu population lives in Sindh….

… But a mess that has taken decades to make cannot be fixed overnight. Given the effect that the Taliban and their affiliated groups have had in the country, enabled by Pakistan’s “good Taliban, bad Taliban” policy, there are likely to be more such barbaric attacks.

It is imperative for the government, the security establishment, and the citizens of Pakistan to unanimously agree on a counter-narrative and zero tolerance for criminal actions, even if they are committed on the basis of religion. The rule of law must be enforced without fear or favour and the democratic process must be allowed to continue.

Those calling for military intervention in politics forget that it is military interference in politics that created the mess in the first place. Read the full piece here


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