Who Attacked Pakistan Sufi Landmark and Why?

No one takes responsibility for the attack that killed 50

This article is from the archive of our partner .

At least 50 people were killed in Lahore, Pakistan, when three suicide bombers attacked the Data Darbar mosque complex, a prominent Pakistani cultural landmark and major religious site for Sufism, an Islamic sect that emphasizes mysticism and peace. The Sufi mosque was an unusual target, and, strangely, no one has yet claimed credit for the attack. Who is behind this act of violence, why did it happen, and what does it mean?

  • How Did They Breach Security?  Muhammad Faisal Ali of the Pakistani English-language news site Dawn writes, "A guard identified as Salim Raza, who was posted at an entry gate equipped with a scanner, detected a suspicious man clad in a green turban, white robes and a shawl and carrying a bag. He ran after the bomber who seconds later detonated his explosives, engulfing the site in a huge cloud of white smoke and leaving the white marble floor splattered with blood, body parts and people's belongings. Pakistani authorities said they had found the heads of the two suicide bombers and were investigating how they managed to penetrate into the area despite strict security measures."
  • Pakistani Taliban Denies Responsibility, Condemns Attack  Agence France-Presse's Waqar Hussain reports, "Pakistan's Taliban, which has been instrumental in a wave of bloody attacks blamed on Islamist militants over the past three years, denied it was involved in Thursday's bombings ... a spokesman for Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan denied it was involved in Thursday's attack, the second against religious sites in the city of 10 million people in just over a month. 'We are not responsible for these attacks, this is a conspiracy by foreign secret agencies, you know we do not attack public places,' Azam Tariq told AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location. 'We condemn this brutal act. Our target is very clear and we only attack police, army and other security personnel.'"
  • Locals Blame India, U.S., Ahmadi Minority  The Guardian's Declan Walsh reports, "Investigators said they had recovered the heads of both suicide bombers, but there was no claim of responsibility. The Lahore commissioner, Khusro Pervaiz, blamed the attack on a 'conspiracy in which locals are being used' – a euphemism often used to point the finger at neighbouring India. Some Lahore residents blamed the attacks on the US, saying its drone attacks in the frontier were provoking militants, while others suggested the Ahmadi community – which has no history of organised violence – was taking revenge."
  • Most Likely 'Punjabi Taliban'  Reuters' Chris Allbritton writes, "Militants drawn from Punjab who have joined ranks with Taliban in their northwestern bastion -- some of the most feared groups in the country -- and are likely to be high on the list of suspects. These militants, sometimes called the 'Punjabi Taliban', are especially troublesome because they pose a threat to stability in Punjab, Pakistan's most economically important province and the country's traditional seat of power. ... The attackers, assuming they're part of the constellation of radical Sunni groups operating in Pakistan, are violently opposed to differing views of Islam. Shi'ites, Ahmadis, and Sufis are all considered heretics or apostates to most of the militant groups, and thus worthy of being killed."
  • Security Camera Captures One Attacker's Identity  Geo reports, "One of the two suicide bombers who blew himself up in Data Darbar on Thursday night has been identified, Geo News quoted police sources as saying. According to police, the bomber identified as Usman son of Yaseen, is a resident of Hadyara Barki, district Lahore and carried out blast in the basement of Data Darbar."
  • Taliban Trying to Spark Sectarian War?  Center for New American Security analyst Londonstani explores the worst-case. "This is a big, big deal. I would agree with the various respected analysts I have spoken to while in Pakistan who would say that the Taliban is trying to provoke sectarian warfare in Pakistan and then set themselves up as the protectors of the Sunnis."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.