FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
Islam at war: Pakistan, Iraq attacks failure to resolve internal political contestations
Updated:Mar 1, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
By C Uday Bhaskar
 
An attack on a major Sufi shrine in Sehwan in  the Sind province of Pakistan  on Thursday (Feb 16) resulted in the death of  76 innocent people and more than 200 have been injured.  The death toll is expected to rise. The Islamic State (IS)  and its ideological affiliates  in Pakistan have claimed responsibility for this attack and threatened that this is only the beginning of such an anti-Sufi /Shia  campaign to exterminate the apostate – or ‘non-believer’.
 
On the same day (Feb 16) a car bomb killed 55  people and injured scores more in the Shia dominated area of the Iraqi capital Baghdad.  The attack was  claimed by the IS and this was the third attack in the week.
 
In Pakistan the Sind  suicide bomber attack was preceded by a major terror attack in Lahore, Punjab  on Monday (Feb 13) and this was followed by similar attacks in the other two provinces  of Pakistan  on Tuesday and Wednesday.  In both cases, the TTP (Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan) , an anti-Shia terror group has claimed responsibility.
 
It may be recalled that the same group had carried out the attack on an army  school in Peshawar in December 2014 that resulted in the death of more than 140 innocents -  of whom 132 were children.  At the time  it was believed that Peshawar represented a tipping point in the Pakistani domestic resolve to eliminate terror groups  and  the radical ideology that  enabled such violence.
 
The root of the current pattern of terror-related bloodshed in Pakistan can be traced to the cynical political manipulation of intra-Islamic sectarian identity and related  practice that prioritizes the dominant Sunni faction at the expense  of the other sects. This political ploy goes back to the early 1950s  and has been exacerbated by the special status accorded to the Saudi form of  puritanical, misogynistic Wahabbi-Salafi Islam.
 
The IS and the virulent anti-Shia ideology associated with it is currently  under increasing military pressure in West Asia (Syria-Iraq)  and  being forced to re-group and assert its appeal and credibility.
 
The  current  pattern of   intense terror-triggered violence  targeting the Sufi-Shia combine  in Pakistan and Iraq is a manifestation of this undercurrent.  Alas, this is not the end of this internal contestation and Pakistan in particular has to objectively and courageously   resolve its  internal  political contradictions of stoking hatred and selectively  supporting  the ‘good’ terrorist and targeting the non-Sunni innocent.
 
This seems unlikely – unless the mass appeal of  Lal Qalandar (the  Sufi saint who is venerated in Sehwan) -   can bring about a change of mindset  in Pakistan that  the enormity of  Peshawar could not.
 
 (The author is Director, Society for Policy Studies,  New Delhi. He can be contacted at  cudaybhaskar@spsindia.in)
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
India is not participating in the conference on negotiations for a total ban on nuclear weapons. India was expected later this week to issue a comprehensive statement at the United Nations laying out its stance on the meeting that is officially called the Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons,
 
read-more
Taiwan's new programme of building indigenous submarines came after it was unable to procure any submarines from the US and Europe. However, even this programme would largely depend on outside help, writes Namrata Hasija for South Asia Monitor.
 
read-more
 India should not hesitate in using both overt and covert means to bring its policies to successful fruition. Indian policy makers must be guided by the dictum that there is no permanent friend or enemy but only permanent interests, writes Adarsh Singh for South Asia Monitor.
 
read-more
Society for Policy Studies in association with India Habitat Centre invites you to a lecture in the Changing Asia Series by by Prof. K. Srinath Reddy, President, Public Health Foundation of India on Health And Development: India Must Bridge The Disconnect Chair: C Uday Bhaskar, Director, Soci...
 
read-more
spotlight image 'Covert military actions or surgical strikes against terror launch pads in Pakistan have limited utility that won't change the mind of the Pakistan Army or the ISI  which sponsor cross-border terrorism
 
read-more
In Dutch politics, alliances are imperative to construct an administration. The post-election government formation is, therefore, a slightly time-consuming process. In due course, a coalition led by the incumbent Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, will surface.  
 
read-more
Japan is a special country in several ways. For centuries, it remained isolated and disconnected with the outside world. But once it opened itself up to the West with the Convention of Kanagawa in 1854 by the use of force by Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry of the United States Navy, Japan has never looked back. Japan is a spe
 
read-more
Recently, under the leadership of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, and earlier under the late Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdallah bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud, Saudi Arabia has rolled out a series of women-friendly initiatives.  Recently, under the leadership of Custodian of the
 
read-more
The Islamist terror strike on Parliament building in London was the way this global menace that calls itself the Islamic State (IS), kicked the US-led West-Gulf states combine’s fight to eradicate the self-styled Caliphate. The Islamist terror strike on Parliament building in London was the way this global menace that cal
 
read-more
Column-image

India remians the inflexible bête-noir for Pakistan, yet there are few books by Indian authors that have sought to interpret the prodigal neighbour in a holistic, informed and empathetic manner.

 
Column-image

The line that Mortimer Durand drew across a small map in 1893 has bled the Pashtun heart ever since. More than a century later both sides of that line remain restless. But the mystery behind what actually happened on 12 November 1893 has never ...

 
Column-image

What went wrong for the West in Afghanistan? Why couldn't a global coalition led by the world's preeminent military and economic power defeat "a bunch of farmers in plastic sandals on dirt bikes" in a conflict that outlasted b...

 
Column-image

What will be Pakistan's fate? Acts of commission or omission by itself, in/by neighbours, and superpowers far and near have led the nuclear-armed country at a strategic Asian crossroads to emerge as a serious regional and global concern whi...

 
Column-image

Some South African generals, allied with the British forces, sought segregation from the enlisted men, all blacks, after being taken prisoners of war. The surprised German commander told them firmly that they would have to share the same quarte...

 
Subscribe to our newsletter
Archive