At least 24 Shia pilgrims were killed and many injured in a bomb explosion and firing incidents in Taftan on Pak-Iran border. The attackers barged into the Al-Murtaza and Hashmi Hotel’s located in Taftan, minutes after the pilgrims arrived. A group called ‘Jaishul Islam’ has claimed responsibility for the attacks; the outfit is considered to be an offshoot of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which has orchestrated numerous sectarian attacks across Pakistan, particularly in Balochistan.

Pakistan has faced varying degrees of religious, ethnic, linguistic and political problems that are often in conflict with our national interest. To guard against all external, as well as internal challenges, a well knitted and integrated nation is required. Protection for all citizens, includingthe Shia community, must be provided, and the perpetrators of these sectarian violence must be punished severely. Scholars of different sects must act in unison to create inter-sect harmony to prevent polarization in Pakistani society.

ANZA KANWAL,

Rawalpindi, June 17.