Attack on Sufi shrine

On 17th Feb 2017, a suicide attack in Pakistan's Lal Shahbaz Qalandar Sufi shrine has killed at least 75 people (43 men, nine women and 20 children were among the victims). The bomber blew himself up among devotees in the shrine.

How will Pakistan deal with the increasing threat?

On 17th Feb 2017, a suicide attack in Pakistan's Lal Shahbaz Qalandar Sufi shrine has killed at least 75 people (43 men, nine women and 20 children were among the victims). The bomber blew himself up among devotees in the shrine. The blast hit as Sufi Muslims were gathering to perform the Dhamaal ritual. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has condemned the attack, which has been claimed by ISIL.

Week of Violence
Date Place Number Killed Method of Attack Claimed Responsibility by
16 th Feb Awaran 3 killed IED hit military convoy No one
15 th Feb Peshawar 1 killed Suicide bomber Taliban Tehkreek e-Taliban
15 th Feb Mohmand 5 killed Suicide bomber Taliban-linked Jamaat-ul-Ahrar
14 th Feb Quetta 2 killed  While defusing a bomb Al Alami faction
13 th Feb Lahore 13 killed Suicide bomber Taliban-linked Jamaat-ul-Ahrar

Implications of the Attack

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group claimed responsibility for the blast via its Amaq propaganda website.. But it seems like Taliban-linked Jamaat-ul-Ahrar are responsible for the attack based on the recent attacks in the past week.

Pakistani authorities claim militants launch attacks from Afghanistan, where the government and international troops are fighting to oust al-Qaeda and the Taliban in the continuing war. The wave of violence has raised tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Assessment

In the aftermath of the Peshawar School attack in Dec 2014, the Pakistan Army had launched Zarb-i-Azb in the tribal areas. More than 3500 terrorists were killed and the border with Afghanistan sealed. The recent spate of terrorist attacks indicate a new phase with suicide bombings aimed at expanding the conflict to include Southern Punjab. Pakistan Army Chief, Qumar Javed Bajwa has directed a grand operation against terrorists in Southern Punjab. The new Army Chief is expected to win his spurs with this new challenge.

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