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Blackwater and RAW trying to stir sectarian riots in Pakistan

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Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Pakistan, a leading religious political party, has accused the Blackwater and Indian intelligence agency RAW for Sunday's bomb blasts at the shrine of Hazrat Sakhi Sarwar in DG Khan which claimed at least 49 lives and left scores wounded. In a press statement, the JI chief Syed Munawar Hasan, said the enemy agencies were out to spark sectarian riots in the country to harm the national unity and drive the country towards a civil war.

Three suicide bombers struck the shrine of Sakhi Sarwar near DG Khan District of southern Punjab, where thousands of devotees had converged to celebrate the annual Urs of the Sufi Saint. The attack was the latest in a string of similar incidents at some of the most venerated shrines across the country. Starting from the attack on Rehman Baba's shrine near Peshawar in 2010, extremists have targeted the Data Darbar in Lahore, Abdullah Shah Ghaziàs mausoleum in Karachi, the Baba Fareed Shakarganj shrine in Pakpattan among many others.

One bitter fallout of the latest shrine blast is likely to be further sharpening the divide between the two main Sunni religious sects namely Barelvis and Deobandis. The attacks will incense followers of the Barelvi sect who in general venerate shrines and saints as opposed to Deobandis, adherents of more puritanical strains of the faith, who view the veneration of shrines as un-Islamic.

The Nation, a leading newspaper of Pakistan, quoted intelligence sources and police investigators as saying that "it seemed a well-thought-out plan hatched by anti-Pakistan elements to create sectarian strife among the people of this country." The paper said that security experts believe some foreign forces are openly funding the terrorist and militant outfits to destabilize nuclear-armed Pakistan as the security forces are at war to flush out militancy from the country.

Security experts say hostile foreign-funded elements have always tried to create differences between Sunni and Shia communities to create unrest in the country. "Presently, religious shrines are being targeted to ignite religious sentiments. The aim is to widen the sectarian divide among peaceful factions. We need to take solid steps to counter this very serious threat," an expert said.

Nearly 4,200 people have been killed in suicide attacks and bomb explosions, blamed on home-grown Taliban and other extremist networks, since 2007.

The DG Khan attack came four days after leading religio-political figure, Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman, survived two bomb attacks within 48 hours in the northwest.

Twelve people, three of them security personnel, were killed on Thursday when a suspected suicide bomber struck the convoy of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) leader near Charsadda in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Ten people, including two policemen, were killed when a suicide bomber targeted the workers of Jamiat near Swabi on Wednesday.

The Maulana escaped unhurt in both attacks. No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The JUI-F chief indirectly blamed the US and "some other elements' for the attacks because, he said, they were unhappy with his criticism of their policies and actions. "Apparently I was the target; the attackers sprayed my vehicle with bullets," he told reporters at Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar where he had gone to visit the injured.

"Who is behind these attacks? I don't know," he said in reply to a question.   "I am opposing drone attacks, criticizing the release of Raymond Davis and US policies and raising voice for the release of Aafia Siddiqui, which are not acceptable to some people."

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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