Heading for sectarian conflict?

Islamic World has been cursed and divided by the sectarian conflicts since centuries that took a new shape after the 1979’s Iranian Revolution. Cold war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, the two major sectarian hemispheres of Muslims, played the proxy wars for their own advantages by using the extremist elements of Muslim states.
Sectarian conflict in Iraq after 2003 and Syrian after the Arab Spring, defines a particular pattern of extremists through which Muslim sects are made daggers drawn at each other. The recent retaking of Mousul and disintegrating IS (Daesh) by Iraqi forces fabricates a new chapter and challenge for Pakistan. It has been observed that due to the loss of territory, terrorist organizations break into small cells and that can be predicted for IS as well.
The suicide bombing at the shrine of 13th century Sufi Philosopher Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, claimed by IS speaks out for its new targets itself. On the otherhand, the swelling numbers of young Pakistanis recruited by Tehran into Zainabyoun mostly by the areas of Kurram Agency’s Parachinar town and Hangu who jumped into the Syrian Conflict after 2013 attack on shrine of Zainab in Damascus portrays a new turn of the proxies and sectarian conflict in the region. The recent attack on Parachinar and spread of ethnic sentiments portrays that a fire is consciously being ignited to project the enmities between the two major Muslim Sects, risking the domestic security of Pakistan.
Pakistan has large Shiite population but has been fortunate enough to dilute the ethnic conflict at any stage, but the recent on going attacks bells the danger. Pakistan lacks effective response against the recruitments in IS and Zainabyoun and seems unprepared for the wave of sectarian conflict that can threaten its security in every possible way. Pakistan needs to ensure its political stability and strong hold of the centre over the people to avoid the extremist views.
ZOHA MALIK SHER
Islamabad

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