(Nazir Naji, 23 Nov 2008)
(Jang, 21 Nov 2008, update)
Sectarian terrorists of Taliban cum Sipah-e-Sahaba once again attack Shia Muslims in D.I.Khan.
10 die in DI Khan funeral procession blast
Updated at: 1250 PST, Friday, November 21, 2008 (The News)
DERA ISMAIL KHAN: Ten people have been killed and several injured in a blast occurred in funeral procession on Bannu Road near Kotli Imam on Friday.
According to sources, ten people have been killed and several injured in a blast occurred during funeral prayer of yesterday’s targeting killing victim.
Angry protestors opened fire on police after the blast. Security forces have cordoned off the area and security put on high alert in the city.
The bodies and injured have been shifted to district headquarters hospital.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
The bomb that exploded at the funeral of a Shia cleric in Dera Ismail Khan brought to a climax the flurry of sectarian violence seen in the town ahead of the attack. The cleric being buried had been shot a day earlier; hours before his funeral took place the caretaker of a Shia mosque was gunned down outside his home. The bombing at the funeral, in which ten people died and 43 were injured triggered violence by mobs that rampaged through the streets setting vehicles ablaze.
Such scenes of anger are of course familiar to us. We have lived with worsening sectarian hatred over the past two decades or more. Killings and counter-killings organized along the lines of sect have seen areas such as Hangu in the tribal areas literally descend into chaos and a frenzy of killings. Similar violence has been seen in other areas at various points in time. Shias, who make up somewhere between ten and twenty per cent of the population, depending on which set of data you believe, live in a state of fear. Many have chosen to give children names that cannot instantly identify their sect; guards stand outside the homes of many prominent Shias and informal surveys suggest there are more and more people in the country, from amongst the pre-dominantly Sunni majority, now question the right of Shias to call themselves Muslim. Myths are deliberately spread about the school of thought and its practices. The growth of intolerance, which led to anti-Ahmadi laws being ushered in 1974, under which the group was declared ‘non-Muslim’, continues. Shias fear they could be the next target.
The question is what is being done to check the tide. It seems evident a well-planned strategy is needed to eradicate the menace of hatred that is now a part of lives. As a step towards this, laws that pertain to the spread of sectarian hatred must be enforced. Currently, we have a situation in which certain television show hosts, many newspapers and other publications have been able to add to intolerance in many places. CDs and video cassettes available in the market deliver the same message with still less subtlety. We also need to address the issue within school curriculums and resist the opposition to such changes that comes from orthodox elements each time an attempt is made to bring in change. And as the month of Muharram approaches, adding to the tensions, the government needs to send out a clear signal that sectarianism will not be tolerated. The current practice, of banning the entry of specific persons to various districts, is largely useless given that hatred can be disseminated easily in this day and age through cassettes or even over the Internet.
Changing society is not an easy task. In most cases it takes years, if not decades, to achieve. It also becomes a particularly difficult task when hatred has been woven deep into the fabric of society and is retained there through the teachings imparted at madressahs and indeed in many other places. Prayer leaders at Sunni mosques have been known to make their own vicious attacks on Shias. But despite these challenges, an effort to halt the tide of hatred must be made now – otherwise we will face still greater mayhem and violence in the days ahead. (The News, 23 Nov 2008)
BBC Urdu Reports:
It may be noted that Taliban have previously claimed responsibility for such sectarian attacks in D.I.Khan including an attack on a hospital earlier this year in which 28 people lost their lives.
For details, read: