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Islamic State growing in Pakistan? (Relevant for GS Prelims and Mains Paper II)

The suicide attack at a Sufi shrine in Sehwan in Pakistan’s Sindh province that killed at least 80 people, underscores fears about the Islamic State gaining strength in the country.

About the terrorist attack on shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar
A suicide bomber blew himself up at the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, among the most venerated of Sufi saints. People of all faiths in the subcontinent have flocked here over the centuries, making it a prominent symbol of amalgamation of various religions, and thereby a particularly potent target for the IS.

ISIS in Pakistan
The terrorist group, which had announced its Pakistan branch more than two years ago, has claimed a string of attacks in recent months, mostly on minority Muslim sects.

Strategy of Islamic state
The IS is clearly following a strategy that was successful in mobilising fighters and gaining publicity in Iraq and Syria. The highly planned, well-publicised attacks on Shias in these countries helped the IS whip up Sunni sectarian sentiment and win recruits.

There is still no evidence that the Pakistani branch of the group is directed by the IS core in Mosul or Raqqah. But IS fighters in eastern Afghanistan, where the group has established a province of the ‘Caliphate’, and those in Pakistan seem to have aligned themselves with local terror groups like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar for organisational support. This indicates a dangerous trend.



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