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122 ‘sectarian incidents’ took place in Pakistan since 2013, NA told

122 ‘sectarian incidents’ took place in Pakistan since 2013, NA told

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly has been informed that 122 sectarian incidents have taken place all over the country since June 2013 and 10 banned organisations have claimed responsibility, or found involved during investigations, of 91 of them.

According to a written reply to a question by MNA Saman Sultana Jafri of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal states that 56 sectarian incidents took place in Punjab, 40 in Balochistan, 23 in Sindh and three in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa since June 2013.

Sectarian incidents also covered targeted killings on sectarian grounds, killings in riots, etc.

Ms Jafri told Dawn that she asked for five-year record of sectarian terrorism in the country, how many of them were claimed by banned outfits and what action the government had taken against these organisations.

In Punjab, responsibility of 36 of the incidents was claimed by outlawed Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan/Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, followed by 15 incidents claimed by Tehreek-i-Jafria Pakistan/Sipah-i-Mohammad Pakistan, two by Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM) and one by Al Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent.

Two sectarian incidents happened in Punjab were still untraced, the minister stated in the reply.

However, Ms Jafri said she was not satisfied with the government reply, which did not cover the five-year period, and she would move a calling-attention notice about implicating the MWM, which is not a banned organisation.

The written reply stated that 40 sectarian incidents took place in Balochistan. The elements responsible for 26 incidents were not identified as no one had claimed responsibility for these, it added.

Lashkar-i-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for six cases, followed by four incidents by JeI and one by another banned outfit, the reply stated.

According to an interior ministry official, the JeI probably stands for Jaish-e-Islam.

Likewise, 23 such incidents took place in Sindh. The reply did not name any particular organisation, but said: “Banned organisations have claimed responsibility.”

Three sectarian incidents took place in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and TG/Lashkar-i-Islam and Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan claimed responsibility for these.

No such incident happened in Islamabad, Fata, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir during the period, the minister stated.

Published in Dawn, February 20th, 2018

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