SHAFAQNA – According to a Middle East Institute (MEI) report, approximately 2,300 people have died in the country’s four main provinces and some 1,500 people have lost their lives in the tribal area of the Kurram Agency since 2007. Prominent members of both the Sunni and Shiite groups have fallen victim to the violence in nearly every main city in Pakistan.Conflicts between the Islamic Republic’s Sunni Deobandi and Shiite Muslim groups have increased in brutality, frequency and mortality over the past several years.
Increasingly the victims are Shia Muslims, which is why it is seen as a Shia massacre and #ShiaGenocide is increasingly being used in Pakistan. In the last 30 days, according to Topsy, the hashtag has been used 16K times. #ShiaGenocide was first used 4 years ago by Pakistani blogger Abdul Nishapuri.
The term ‘sectarian violence’ has been used to describe the recent attacks in Pakistani media, but Rehan Naqvi, Norway-based journalist, argues:
What Pakistan is experiencing is not sectarian violence but “gradual genocide” of Pakistani Shia Muslims being carried out by a fraction of ”Muslims” who are quite frequently disowned by majority of Sunni Muslims.
Sibtain Naqvi, a writer and social commentator, attempts to define the term further:
This is a deliberate massacre of a particular community .. The right term is not ‘sectarian violence’ which implies that it is a war between two sects. If this was a war, then there would be Shia suicide bombers or killers attacking other sects. The right term is ‘genocide’ defined as, “The deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular nation or ethnic group.”
Arif Rafi, author of ‘Pakistan’s Resurgent Sectarian War’ report, explains:
It is important that we identify this as not a Sunni-Shiite conflict, but a conflict between Sunni Deobandi and Shiite Muslims – with Shiite civilians bearing the brunt of the violence.
Some people are advocating to steer clear of the Shia-Sunni debate, saying militants want to create differences among Pakistanis. And some activists like Jibran Nasir of the Reclaim Your Mosques movement want scholars across the Sunni Shia divide to unanimously condemn and demand the shutting down of all banned extremist militant organizations operating in the country with impunity.
Source : Globalevoices.org