The monster rears its head — again

Published: February 29, 2012

25 victims, most of them Shia pilgrims, were returning home when attack took place. PHOTO: AFP/ FILE

Like a wild and destructive bushfire that no force can douse, violence of the very worst kind appears to be taking more and more of our country into its grip, snaking its way into areas that till now had seemed relatively peaceful. The attack on a bus winding its way down the Karakoram Highway in the remote Kohistan district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa is being labelled after initial investigations as sectarian in nature. Eighteen people died as armed men opened fire on the vehicle run by a private tourism company. All 25 of the passengers travelling from Gilgit to Rawalpindi are believed to have been Shia. Their CNICs were checked by the assailants before the killing began.

The outfit behind the attack is thought to be linked to a sectarian organisation. This would appear to be the first time they have operated in Kohistan. Questions also arise as to how they knew — or suspected — the sect of the passengers and what information had been leaked out. This aspect of the whole matter needs to be looked into. The news of the ruthless ambush was followed — quite understandably — by angry protests in Chilas and also, of course, deep grief for the families of all those killed during what appears to have been a pre-planned excursion. It seems no place in our country is any longer safe. The fact that the wave of hatred is spreading to new regions is especially dangerous. Just three decades ago no one could have imagined that the Shias of the country, well-integrated for decades with their Sunni neighbours, would be hunted down and killed in so savage a manner. Yet this is exactly what we are seeing today with things rapidly getting worse and worse. Thousands of Shias have been killed over the last decade or so and the state has not done what it should have to protect them from the monster of sectarianism. Others, including top professionals have fled. The government and its intelligence agencies need to act and come down with an iron hand on the monsters behind this sectarian violence. At the same time, an effort must be made to clamp down on the dissemination of hate literature and speech, especially by people pretending to be scholars.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 29th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (7)

  • Mirza
    Feb 29, 2012 - 1:31AM

    The terrorists are continuously killing common Muslims and civilians of Pakistan. It is a shame but nothing new, this has been happening for over a decade now. Recommend

  • Mirza
    Feb 29, 2012 - 9:16AM

    “Jundallah’s commander Ahmed Marwat, who contacted media persons soon after the attack, claimed responsibility for the assault.”
    Where are the Drones when we need them? Let us get rid of these terrorists by Drones if the Pakistanis are not willing to do that.

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  • Feb 29, 2012 - 9:50AM

    @Mirza: Just to clarify.. muslims are continuously killing muslims.

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  • Feroz
    Feb 29, 2012 - 11:09AM

    US secretary of State Hillary Clinton on her Pakistan visit had said,”if you breed snakes they are likely to bite you”. The International community has been shouting itself hoarse saying please control radicalisation and extremism. What we got after that is DFC, a group suspected to have backing from powerful quarters. To continue on the same path expecting different results is foolish. When disease is not correctly diagnosed it cannot be treated and patient dies. Time for laying to rest conspiracy theories and waking up.

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  • Ali Khan
    Feb 29, 2012 - 3:37PM

    Sorry to say but this editorial is ill-researched. No one protested the killings in Chilas , a 100 percent Sunni town. The protests were held in Gilgit , Skardu and other areas. Please do some research before writing about a region you are not familiar with.

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  • Imran Bhatt
    Feb 29, 2012 - 8:09PM

    Pakistan descending into the path of dreadful Zawanda during its worst genocide between Hutus and Tutsis.

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  • Noise
    Mar 2, 2012 - 8:46PM

    @Imran Butt
    In Rwanda, despite their genocide against the Tutsi minority the Hutus eventually lost their civil war to the the Tutsi militias who were better fighters and had better relations with neighboring countries.

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