The APPG for International Freedom of Religion or Belief condemns the attack of 4th March, 2022, at which 63 people died and more than 200 were left critically injured after a deadly blast during Friday prayers in a historical Shia Mosque in Peshawar, Northwest, Pakistan. ISIS’ local chapter Islamic State Khorasan (IS-K) claimed responsibility for the attack.
The APPG notes with regret that this is one of many examples of violence enacted by IS-K against Shias in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The targeting of the Shia community ranges from attacks on religious gatherings and processions, to killings of those with distinguished careers such as doctors, lawyers, engineers, businessmen, and students. The APPG condemns all such acts and urges for the safe return of those missing Shia who have been forcibly abducted.
The APPG is concerned by this latest large-scale attack, and notes that it coincides with increasing use of blasphemy laws in Pakistan to target the Shia community. In 2020, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan reported that 40 blasphemy cases were registered against members of the Shia community in a single month. This must stop. The APPG urges Pakistani authorities and leaders to abolish blasphemy laws and put an end to such an outdated and discriminatory practice.
Finally, the APPG urges that the Pakistani media does not attempt to erase the Shia identity of the victims, and expresses its support and solidarity with those of the Shia community being attacked.