Times of India reports that sectarian killings rose by more than a fifth in Pakistan last year. A human rights group gave warning of an alarming increase in violence against religious minorities.The independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said 687 people were killed in more than 200 sectarian attacks last year, a rise of 22 per cent on 2012. The group warned that ongoing peace talks between the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the hardline militant Islamists of the Pakistani Taliban could make minorities even more vulnerable. Around 97 per cent of Pakistan's 180 million population is Muslim, the vast majority Sunnis. Violence against Shia Muslims, who make up around 20 per cent, has been growing in recent years, much of it led by extremist sectarian groups such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. The country's small Christian, Hindu, Zoroastrian and Ahmadi communities also suffer discrimination and occasional outbursts of violence. "Minorities in Pakistan are increasingly feeling insecure since the present government came to power in June last year," said the head of HRCP. "Peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban could have "immense repercussions" on religious minorities, he warned.
It appears that minorities in Pakistan are in danger if the authorities make peace with the Taliban.