Fri, Mar 15, 2013 - Page 9 News List

Pakistan’s Shiites fear a rise in ‘genocidal’ sectarian attacks

With nearly 300 Shiites killed this year, critics point to possible collusion between militants, police, military, intelligence agencies and politicians in the deadly violence

By Kathy Gannon  /  AP, QUETTA, Pakistan

Still, Rahmani said the Afghan Taliban have not promoted sectarian violence, which might explain why there have been no other anti-Shiite attacks.

Zahid Hussain, whose books plot the rise of militancy in Pakistan, linked the latest round of sectarian carnage in Baluchistan to lashkars, or tribal militias, established with the support of Pakistan’s intelligence agencies to crush a burgeoning secessionist movement.

The militias, Hussain said, draw heavily from local religious schools, or madrasahs, which are heavily financed by donations from Gulf and Arab countries, and are run by hardline clerics with close ties to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

“That provides a deadly and unholy nexus [between] forces fighting the Baluch separatists and those waging war against the Shia community,” Hussain wrote in a recent column.

It also implicates Pakistan’s intelligence agencies, even if indirectly, in the carnage — an allegation they deny.

In a column assailing the Punjab government’s “dangerous liaisons” with militants in its province, Hussain said: “Pity the nation where the blood of innocents comes cheap and murderers live under state patronage.”

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