[PDF Notes] Short Essay on Sectarian Conflicts in Pakistan


Sectarian violence is one of the biggest social problems of Pakistan.

Time and again armed conflicts take place between two major sects of Muslims (Shea and Sunni).

Ideological differences between these two sects are projected in the inflammatory manner by their scholars due to which armed conflicts take place. Sectarian violence in Pakistan started in the late 80s which is continued till this date. Some critics and journalists make Gen.Zia Ul Haque responsible for it because sectarian violence started in his regime but he overlooked that.

Incidents of sectarian violence take place in different areas and cities of Pakistan but the most affected are: Karachi (the metropolitan city of Pakistan), Quetta (capital of Baluchistan) and Hangu and Kurram Agency -federally administrated tribal areas.

According to a report issued by South Asia Terrorism Portal (Satp) from 1989 to 2011 the total 2565 incidents of sectarian violence took place in which 3675 people were killed and 7699 were injured. 2010 was the deadliest year. In the year 2010-2011, 57 incidents of sectarian violence took place in which 509 people were killed and 1170 got injured.

In 2002 Gen.Pervaz Musharraf banned the sectarian groups but it wasn’t effective because the ban couldn’t put an end to sectarian violence. Since Gen.Zia’s regime till 2002 Shia and Sunni sectarian groups were sponsored by Iran and Saudi Arabia respectively.

Moreover the Sunni group is also supported by the Mudrassahs (Seminaries). Some people also doubt the intelligence agencies of India, U.S and Israel for sponsoring the sectarian groups as they want to destabilize Pakistan by creating law and order situation. The sectarian groups also get involved in criminal activities like bank robberies and abduction of businessmen for fulfilling their financial needs.

Islam is the religion of peace and brotherhood but the “so-called” Islamic scholars (Maulvis and Imams) propagate the teachings of Islam in their own styles. They create religious disharmony by delivering provocative and inflammatory speeches which result in armed conflicts and bloodshed. The core reason behind sectarian violence is irresponsible attitude of the scholars. Strict measures need to be taken and more restrictive laws need to be made for curbing this social problem.

Misuse of loudspeakers and publishing of inflammatory pamphlets should be strictly prohibited. Biased scholars need to be discouraged. Ideological differences always exist but it doesn’t mean that one go on extremes and starts killing those who belong to the opposite sect. Strict security measures, effective intelligence reporting, indiscriminate and strict action against those involved in sectarian violence will help in making the situation better.


Tariq Rahim

Email: tariq.rahim89-at-gmail.com

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