On Sunday, eight people died and another 8 were wounded when gunmen threw grenades and opened fire at a Sufi Islamic religious gathering in Pakistan’s port city of Karachi.
No one claimed responsibility for the attack; however, suspicion is likely to fall on militants such as the Pakistani Taliban or their affiliated sectarian groups who have little tolerance for those who follow an interpretation of Islam different from theirs.
For the Taliban and their like, Muslims who follow Sufi influenced Islam or minorities like Shiites are heretics.
Just last month six men were found slaughtered inside a shrine in the same city and the Pakistani Taliban affirmed their involvement as a punishment for those who pay homage to saints and visit shrines.
The alleged letter that was left behind y the assailants warned that those visiting the shrines will have to face the same fate.
Sufism is a non-violent form of Islam characterized by hypnotic rituals and ancient mysticism that has been practiced in Pakistan for centuries, but the insurgents see Sufis as a sort of renegades of Islam who deserve to die.
The Taliban, belonging to the Wahabi or Salafist branch of Islam that advocates an inflexible form of the and reject many traditional forms of Sufi worship, including worship at shrines and are known to have attacked more than 50 Pakistani places of worship of various faiths during the past decade.
These rigidly intolerant people are the same ones the government of Pakistan is having a ‘dialogue’ with. But the Taliban will only cooperate if their demands including Sharia (Islamic code of conduct) being implemented; Islamic education introduced in educational institutions; Stopping drone strikes and letting go of Talibans held in jails (estimated to be about 4,000 in number) are met.
There is serious skepticism about thetalks taking place between the Pakistani government and the Pakistani Talibans.
For one, their demands are outrageous; however, the Taliban are known to be rigid in terms of what their agenda is and what they want. They hardly ever compromise on anything.
They want Shariah to be imposed, but it has to be based on their interpretation of the religion- an interpretation that tolerates no diversity and reacts with violence against anyone practicing what they feel does not come within the bounds of their version of Shariah.