The attack was one of the deadliest in years to hit Peshawar. There have been numerous sectarian attacks on Pakistani soil in recent years.
Qatar has expressed strong condemnation of the suicide bombing on Friday that targeted a Shia mosque in Peshawar in northwestern Pakistan. The attack is responsible for the killing of at least 62 people and wounding almost 200 in one of the “worst terrorist attacks” in Pakistan in several years, according to reports.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs stresses Qatar’s solid position against violence and terrorism irrespective of the motivation and reason as the country thoroughly rejects perpetration of violence on places of worship and intimidation of mere civilians.
The Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani has also offered his condolences to the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Arif Alvi, and the country’s Prime Minister, Imran Khan, wishing the injured a speedy recovery.
During a Friday congregation, a bomb ripped through the Shia mosque in Koocha Risaldar, which is home to the largest concentration of the Shia community in Peshawar’s centuries-old Qissa Khawani.
Among those whose lives were claimed in the deadly attack, was a Pakistani student who had just fled the life-threatening situation in Ukraine, seeking refuge in his homeland.
The Islamic State’s Afghan affiliate, Islamic State Khorasan, or ISIS-K, declared responsibility, according to a translation of an ISIS statement by the SITE Intelligence Group. The statement said the bombing was carried out by an Afghan suicide bomber, the NY Times said.
Sectarian attacks in Pakistan
Pakistan has been a target of sectarian attacks in the past. It is home to almost 221 million people, with predominantly Muslims living in the country. Pakistan is also home to one of the largest Shia populations in the world, as an approximate 20 percent of Muslims there are from the Shia sect, according to Al-Jazeera.
In August 2021, a blast claimed at least three lives and wounded 50 others during a Shia Muslim procession in the Punjab province.
“Sectarian violence – in particular by Sunni hardliners – against the Shia […] has erupted in fits and bursts for decades in Pakistan,” Al-Jazeera noted.
“Anti-Shia armed groups have bombed shrines and targeted Ashura processions in attacks that have killed thousands,” the report added.
Considered the “graveyard” for Pakistan’s Shia civilians, Wadi-e-Hussain, located in Karachi, has “red flags planted by the graves of observant Shia Muslims who have died in targeted killings, gun or bomb attacks,” according to Al-Jazeera.
By June 2018, a South Asia Terrorism Portal report evidently documented that since 2001, more than 2,700 Shia Muslims have been killed in violent attacks in the South Asian country.