Sectarian violence in Pakistan is on the rise as Sunni groups are threatening Shias, Ahmadis and non-Muslim minorities under State patronage. The Sunni groups enjoy support from the military and political leadership, reported International Forum for Right and Security (IFFRAS).
In 2020, well-known defence analyst Dr Ayesha Siddiqa wrote about the revival of sectarian tension between Sunnis and Shias in Karachi and other urban centres in Sindh and Punjab. She pointed out that Pakistan has reportedly witnessed the killing of approximately 4,847 Shias in incidents of sectarian violence between 2001 and 2018, reported IFFRAS.
Two years later, a well-known international policy think tank, the International Crisis Group (ICG), in its latest report on sectarian violence in Pakistan, warned of “the rise of a local Islamic State franchise and the growing influence of a hardline and violent protest movement known as ‘Labaik’ that draws support mostly from Pakistan’s Barelvi majority.”
The “Labaik” is the hardline Barelvi group, Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), which has been on the rise for the past few years, especially during the Imran Khan regime, reported IFFRAS.