It is hard to say exactly who is behind the blast near Safari Park on University Road in Karachi that killed two people on August 17. Indeed, we are not even sure if the explosion was caused by an IED, as the police claimed, or whether it was the result of a gas cylinder explosion, as several news channels reported. According to the authorities, the intended target was a bus carrying members of the Imamia Students Organisation (ISO) to protest on the occasion of Al-Quds Day. If they were indeed the target, then it is likely that this was yet another anti-Shia attack, since the ISO is one of the largest Shia student groups in the country.
That the explosion came just one day after the incident near Gilgit where 19 Shia passengers were brutally murdered, will only add to the grievance and sense of persecution that this community currently faces. What the authorities now need to do is to ensure that all these lives lost do not go completely in vain. Tracking down the perpetrators of the attacks is only the first step, and yet, one that has rarely been taken up whole-heartedly by the law-enforcement agencies. We need a change in the mindsets of the government and the military which, rather than ignoring the fact that militant groups that have had official patronage in the past are now behind the anti-Shia attacks, need to take them on.
For there to even be a small chance of this happening, the people themselves will need an awakening. The fact that this attack appeared to target protestors heading to an Al-Quds rally will surely be picked up as proof by the conspiracy theorists that external forces, like Israel, are actually behind this and all other similar attacks in Pakistan. The impressionable followers of such propagators will then spread the word and soon the issue will be muddied and confused. For once, let us be clear that there is no phantom Jewish or Hindu conspiracy out to get us. We live in a country where one sect has no problem attacking the other weaker sect. Let us own up to that. Until the time this realisation sinks, we would continue to witness such despicable acts of terror occurring on a regular basis.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2012.