Pakistan: Terrorist Attacks On Major Sufi Shrines – OpEd


Terrorists have perpetrated many attacks in Pakistan against the shrines of Sufi Saints and grand scholars of Islam, who played major role in preaching Islam in the Subcontinent. The saints like Syed Ali Hijweri and Baba Farrid were acclaimed spiritual leaders of Muslim World, as they converted millions of non-Muslims to Islam. As per the teachings of Islam, even the graves of ordinary Muslims are respectable but unfortunately, Al-Qaeda, DAISH and Taliban have conducted more than 70 attacks, on the shrines of revered Sufi saints in Pakistan. Suicide bombers were used in the most of the attacks and hundreds of Muslims were killed by the terrorists. The suicide attack on the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar on 16 Feb, 2017, in which more than 70 devotees, innocent women and children were killed, is reflective of this hate.

In one of the worst attacks on Sufi mosques and shrines, on 1 July, 2010, two suicide bombers targeted the shrine of Datta Darbar in Lahore. At least 42 people were killed and 172 were injured in the attack. On 8 Oct, 2010, at least eight people were killed and more than 65 people were injured after two bombs exploded at the Abdullah Shah Ghazi Mazaar at Clifton, Karachi. The shrine of Baba Farrid at Pakpattan, one of the most important Sufi centres was also attacked on 26 Oct, 2010. 6 persons were killed and 12 injured in this attack. On Apr 3, 2011, at least 51 persons were killed and more than 100 were injured when two suicide bombers blew themselves outside the shrine of Sufi Saint Ahmed Sultan, popularly known as Sakhi Sarwar at Dera Ghazi Khan. In Khuzdar, Balochistan, the suicide attack at the Shrine of Shah Noorani resulted in 60 deaths and more than 100 people were injured on 12 Nov, 2016.

The people of KP confronted the major brunt of terrorists’ attacks, as more than 50 Sufi shrines were targeted by the militants in the Province. On 5 Mar, 2009, the attack at the mausoleum of Rehman Baba, a revered Pashto Sufi poet of the 17th century, was widely condemned by the public. Terrorists’ utter disrespect to the shrines of Muslim saints depicts their extreme level of ignorance. They neither respect teachings of Islam nor honor Pashtun traditions.

*Shaikh Muhammad Bilal is a freelance journalist

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