Published by Seth Oldmixon on January 11, 2017

Pakistan’s Interior Minister’s Disturbing Remarks on Sectarianism

Chaudhry Nisar with Tariq MauwiyahThousands of Pakistanis have been killed in terrorist attacks carried out by violent sectarian militant groups. In fact, for over fifteen years, more than one hundred Pakistanis have died at the hands of sectarian militants every year. Pakistan’s sectarian militants carry out both mass-casualty attacks such as November’s bombing at the Shah Noori shrine that killed over 50, as well as more personal targeted killings such as those that have claimed the lives of dozens of Shia doctors in Karachi.

The gravity of the threat sectarianism poses to Pakistan is no secret. Last year, the country’s military reported that it’s leadership had met to discuss a strategy “to eliminate terrorism, extremism and sectarianism without any discrimination.” That phrase – without discrimination – was widely viewed as a crucial turning point in Pakistan’s national security posture which had, for decades, tried to separate jihadis that it viewed as a threat to the state from those that either served Pakistan’s strategic interest, or at least were seen as not directly challenging the state.

Pakistan’s Interior Minister, Chaudhry Nisar, however, appears to break with the consensus of his government and military. Briefing Senators in Pakistan on Tuesday, the Mr. Nisar cautioned lawmakers against considering sectarian militants terrorists.

You cannot equate banned sectarian organisations with the banned terrorist organisations.

According to local media reports, opposition lawmakers walked out of parliament in protest.

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