Today Lord Avebury will lead a debate in the Lords on curbing religious violence in Pakistan. The tide of destruction is on such a scale that the UN Security Council now has to tackle it, he says
The international community needs to pay attention to the upsurge in religious violence and hatred in Pakistan.
The country will be the largest recipient of UK aid in the world when it gets £446m in 2014-15. They also receive billions from the US in military and economic aid. But 30,000 civilians have been killed in religious and political assassinations and massacres since 2001. All that money hasn’t reduced the level of political and religious mayhem.
At the same time the stability of Pakistan has become vital to the peace of the region, with the withdrawal of allied forces from Afghanistan.
The agenda of the Sunni extremists in Pakistan and their brothers in al-Qaeda and its many imitators across the Islamic world is to eliminate other varieties of Islam as well as the unbelievers.
But their main target has always been the Shia as they brazenly acknowledge, taking credit for the atrocities they commit. They say that the Shia are infidels, that they should be labeled as non-Muslims under the law, and that they are ‘worthy to be killed’.
One semi-legal extremist body fielded 130 candidates in the recent Pakistani elections, and it appears they won a few seats. Listed sectarian terrorists stood in 55 constituencies, and returning officers had no power to disqualify them.
Recent terrorist attacks on Shias include a massacre in the northern territories when a convoy of buses was stopped en route to Gilgit; the male passengers were taken off and 25 of them with Shia names were shot dead on the spot. No official report has been published on this atrocity, nor has anybody been arrested for it.
In January, twin bomb blasts in the busy market area at Alamdar Road, Quetta, killed at least 108 people and injured 120. A terrorist spokesman telephoned the media to say they had committed this outrage.
Then in February a bomb in Hazara Town, Quetta, killed at least 92 people and injured more than 200. The police arrested 170 suspects, but there have been no trials, let alone convictions.
Another targeted religious minority is the peaceful Ahmadiyya Muslims. Simultaneous terrorist attacks on their two principal mosques in Lahore during Friday prayers in May 2010 killed 94 people and injured more than 120.
We need a worldwide strategy to combat the monstrous ideology which says that killing unbelievers is approved by God. Such is the magnitude of the danger it presents to world peace that only the United Nations Security Council has the authority and resources to grapple with it, and I hope the Government will raise the matter at that level.
Published and promoted by Tim Gordon on behalf of the Liberal Democrats, both at LDHQ, 8-10 Great George Street, London, SW1P 3AE.