February 16, 2013: Sunni terrorists target Shia Muslims in Pakistan

On this day in 2013 at least 79 people were killed and another 180 injured in a bomb attack in a predominantly Shia Muslim part of the Pakistani city of Quetta

QUETTA, PAKISTAN – Another day, another attack by one group of Muslims against another.

There are days when I think maybe we would be better off without religion.

Before you ‘crucify’ me hear me out. It is not that I do not recognise the heights to which faith can lift people and as someone who adores (pre-)Baroque music I can testify to the beauty of art inspired by belief.

It’s just that as someone who also worked in counterterrorism for 15 years and who has studied the phenomenon for two decades and counting I cannot shake this sense that the bloodshed outweighs the benefits.

Some of the worst instigators of religious violence are those we call ‘jihadis‘. I have said it before and I’ll say it again: the vast majority of the victims of terrorist attacks carried out by Islamist extremists are Muslims the former see as not worthy of life. Today’s featured attack is alas one more example.

On this day in 2013

At least 79 people were killed and another 180 injured in a bomb attack in a predominantly Shia Muslim part of the south-western Pakistani city of Quetta. The Sunni Islamist terrorist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for the atrocity.

I saw many bodies of women and children. At least a dozen people were burned to death by the blast.


Angry crowds gathered in the area immediately following the blast, pelting police and initially refusing to let them and rescue workers reach the scene of the blast. The city’s minority Shia community were long angered by what they say is a lack of protection for them against sectarian attacks by Pakistani Sunni militants.

I am sure Lashkar-e-Jhangvi celebrated their ‘victory’. One more example of what Bernard Lewis famously said about religious hatred: “I’m right, you’re wrong, go to hell!”

Here’s hoping that the perpetrators end up in hell – if there is such a place.

Read More Today in Terrorism

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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