Railways minister Sheikh Rashid blames India for Sunni-Shia unrest in Pakistan

Sheikh Rashid has advised Pakistanis to remain strong and united amid increasing sectarian unrest, and has also castigated India for its futile attempts to add fuel to the Shia-Sunni feud in Pakistan.

Sheikh Rashid Shia Sunni

Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid posted on Twitter on Friday giving his take on the sectarian unrest in Pakistan. Minister Rashid in his tweet claimed that Pakistan is the true strength of the Islamic world.

The minister spoke of how India is scheming and making futile attempts to reignite flames of the Shia-Sunni feud in order to propogate unrest in the nation and its people. He held that these were testing times for Pakistan. Minister Rashid also shed some light on how one must not abandon their faith, whatever they may be, and not taunt or tease anyone regarding their faith, belittling the beliefs they hold dear.

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Sheikh Rashid’s Twitter post reads, “India is making futile attempts to reignite the Shia-Sunni feud in Pakistan but to of no avail. Pakistan is being tested. One must not abandon their faith nor taunt the faith of another. By being noble and united we must keep the Pakistani flag elevated. Pakistan is the true strength of the Islamic world.”

Sectarian unrest threatens violence in Pakistan

Tens of thousands of protesters, including demonstrators linked to extremists, rallied in Pakistan’s Karachi last week, in the second day of protests that have sparked fears of sectarian violence.

Vast crowds of men thronged downtown Karachi — Pakistan’s largest city and a major business and industrial hub — many of them waving sectarian flags and chanting power slogans.

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The rallies follow a raft of blasphemy accusations against some religious leaders in Muslim-majority Pakistan after a broadcast of a procession last month showed clerics and participants allegedly making disparaging remarks about historic Islamic figures.

The rally was organised by the organisation Jamaat Ahle Sunnat and by the hardline Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), which has organised huge and often violent protests over alleged blasphemy in the past.

“If you play with the religious sentiments, we will not tolerate it,” Karachi TLP chief Allama Abid Mubara told the rally.

Religious people could ultimately “get their heads cut off, but can also behead other people,” he added. But Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman, who was the event’s main speaker, insisted the rally aimed to “promote peace.”

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“Our movement is not against any sectarian group, our movement is against those individuals who desecrate our revered personalities,” he said.

Blasphemy is a hugely sensitive issue in conservative Pakistan where laws can carry the death penalty for anyone deemed to have insulted Islam or Islamic figures. Even unproven allegations have led to mob lynchings and vigilante murders.

Sectarian violence has erupted in fits and bursts for decades in Pakistan, with militant groups bombing shrines and targeting processions in attacks that have killed thousands.

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Amir Rana, director for the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies, warned last week’s rally could stoke tensions. “It will have negative consequences and will increase the sectarian divide,” he told AFP.

GVS News Desk with additional input from AFP

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