A bomb blast in a Shiite district of Karachi, Pakistan, killed at least 45 people Sunday in the latest example of escalating sectarian and ethnic violence in the country.
Hassan Abbas, a former Pakistani government official who is now an academic and a senior adviser to the Asia Society, told Trend Lines that relations between South Asia’s Sunni and Shiite Muslim communities have historically been cordial, but that the recent uptick in sectarian attacks is linked to growing tension and violence in the region more generally.
“Religious bigotry, ignorance, ethnic tensions and regional tensions are driving this trend,” Abbas said in an email interview. “Many religious institutions with political agendas are teaching lessons of hatred while sectarian tensions in the Middle East are also having an impact,” he said. “In both Quetta and Karachi, where recent terrorist attacks happened, ethnic rivalries were also at play.”