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Author: Dr. Huma Baqai
Published at: International Journal of Business and Social Science, Vol. 2 No. 3, Special Issue – January 2011

Religious Extremism and Exclusivity are on the rise in Pakistan. Religion triggered violence has claimed over three thousands lives in the last two decades and disrupted thousands more and continues to haunt the lives of people in Pakistan (see the table no.1) Religious minorities have become a threatened entity. This phenomenon is not limited to Non-Muslim religious entities like Hindus, Christians, Ahmedis and others which only constitute about three percent of the population. It also impacts Shia’ites who are targeted and killed on a regular basis and make up about 20 percent of the population. Even within the majority Sunni Sect (77 Percent) there are several sub sects who follow different methodologies and practices and consider others deficient and flawed (see the chart below). Religious occasions and festivals like Muhram and Rabi-ul-Awal and even the Eids are marred by violence or threats of violence. Religion in Pakistan has become a source of conflict and insecurity. May be it is time to reevaluate the role of religion in the lives of the citizens of Pakistan and its hold on the apparatus of the state.