THE BLOG

More Shia Dead as Extremism Becomes Commonplace in Pakistan

18/05/2015 11:16 BST | Updated 17/05/2016 10:59 BST

In February of this year I drafted this article asking whether anyone really cared about the Shia of Pakistan. The brutal butchery committed by local extremist groups in Pakistan has reached such a point that some of the most peaceful communities in Pakistan are now being targeted on a weekly basis.

On 13 May, a bus carrying Ismaili Shia communities was targeted leading to the death of 45 people who were going about their daily business in Karachi. Six gunmen on motorcycles sprayed the bus which was then followed by the usual sickening calls of responsibility for the attacks.

The groups were mainly local Pakistani extremist groups including the Taliban splinter group Jundullah and the Tehrik Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Responsibility was also accepted by the Islamic State in what can only be considered as a sick publicity stunt.

A few days ago, Pakistani police and intelligence sources made arrests totalling some 145 people and with over 90 people linked to madrassas and religious seminaries. The reality is far from clear as to who conducted these attacks, though swift action by the police and Pakistani intelligence sources is to be commended.

The reality is that Pakistan has become a basket case and has always teetered on being a failed state. Corruption, double-speak, a foreign policy based on propping up extreme groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan have led to the current situation where the army and intelligence agencies are virtually powerless to counter some of these murderous acts before they happen. Pakistan's obsession with security has meant that it has been drawn into a cat and mouse game of allying itself with some of the worst groups in the region whilst providing the international community with sugared words about tackling extremism and intolerance.

The Shia, Ahmaddiya, Christians and other minorities of Pakistan have been shaken by the consistent targeting of them by individuals and groups who are acting with some level of material support and co-ordination. Many of these minority groups have left for the South East, Europe and the United States. Those who have left have turned their anger towards their homeland and some Christian Pakistanis have turned their anger against Muslims and Islam. However, it seems that such anger should be directed at the ruling elite in Pakistan who run the country as if it is their private fiefdom. It should be directed at those politicians and corrupt administrators who languish in five star London hotels whilst the people of Pakistan bury their dead and suffer hunger and the humiliation of being targeted by the religious extreme right.

Lastly, I am sure of one thing. The founder of Pakistan, Mohammed Ali Jinnah must be turning in his grave at the Pakistan of today. This is precisely the kind of state he would not have wanted to see - one riven with intolerance, bigotry, corruption and hatred. What is the point of a Pakistan that flexes its military might when the rest of the world looks at it as the basket case that it has become?