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                                        Volume. 11655

Massacres of Pakistani Shias meant to sully image of Islam
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The recent terrorist attack in a Hazara neighborhood of the city of Quetta in Pakistan’s Balochistan province, in which 90 Hazara Shias were killed, raised many questions about whether the move was only meant to undermine the rule of the central government in Islamabad or was part of a plot devised outside Pakistan, which was formulated and supported by foreign governments in order to create a broader impact in the region.   
 
The reemergence of terrorist attacks in Pakistan on such a grand scale is a sign that certain regional and extra-regional players have resumed their support for extremists in the country. The main aim of this measure is to sully the image of Islam and to create a general sense of fear about the rise of Islamists to power in the Arab world. The attacks could also intensify the sectarian disputes between Shia and Sunni communities in various Muslim countries, which would certainly serve the interests of the anti-Islamic front in the West. 
 
The general inability of certain governments to control extremism has created a safe haven for terrorist groups to expand their sabotage operations in countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and now Syria, with thousands of innocent civilians losing their lives in the conflagrations. 
 
Western governments are seriously concerned about Islamists’ rise to power in the Arab world. The establishment of Islamic democratic systems across the Middle East and North Africa region would be a serious blow to the interests of the United States and its main regional ally, Israel. Thus, they will use everything at their disposal to undermine the Islamists and prevent them from expanding their domain of influence. The massacres of Shias in Pakistan and the efforts to foment sectarian disputes are clear manifestations of this policy, which greatly benefits the West. 
 
The role of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence in the recent incidents should not be underestimated. Over the years, the ISI has closely cooperated with the U.S. government. However, Islamabad should be aware that the ISI assisted certain groups that later became anti-Shia terrorists, and these fanatics must be reined in to avoid more embarrassment for Pakistan in the future. 
 
Sadreddin Mousavi is a political analyst and an expert on the Indian Subcontinent based in Tehran. 
 
MS/HG

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Last Updated on 25 February 2013 16:54