The number of people who informally follow Sufi traditions is believed to be in the millions in Pakistan. They have long been condemned as un-Islamic by fundamentalist groups because they worship saints and perform music and dance.

 

A powerful explosion killed at least 3 people and wounded more than 20 others when a bomb planted in a bicycle exploded near a Sufi shrine in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Nowshera on October 28, 2012. The explosion took place near the main gate of Kaka Saheb shrine while people were visiting it on the second day of the Muslim religious festival of Eid-al-Adha.

 

A bomb on a donkey cart killed three people and wounded 21 on June 21, 2012 at a Sufi shrine in Pakistan’s Taliban-hit city of Peshawar. The dead included a five-year-old boy and a four-year-old girl who had come with their parents to the shrine.

A medium-intensity bomb bomb went off on November 3, 2012, at the Phandu Baba shrine in Chamkani, a suburb of the provincial capital. The bomb which contained three kilograms of explosives caused extensive damage to the shrine. No casualties were reported. On the same day, the shrine of an 11th century Sufi saint was blown up by militants in Jalala, in the Takhtbhai tehsil of Mardan.

 

Analysts say that attacks on minorities are motivated by more than religious hatred, and that militant groups hope by inflaming sectarian tensions they can further destabilise Pakistan and weaken the government’s tenuous grip on the country