Sectarian violence between extremist members of Pakistan’s majority Sunni and minority Shia communities has resulted in the deaths of thousands of people since the 1980s.
Analysts say Pakistan is increasingly becoming the battleground in a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
They claim the bulk of the violence more recently has been committed against the Shia community.
Bomb blasts this year alone have killed hundreds of Shias, with Sunni hardline group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claiming responsibility for most of the violence.
The extremist group has an openly anti-Shia agenda and is banned in Pakistan. It is classified as a terrorist organisation by several Western nations.
Rights group Amnesty International says the Shia Hazara community is particularly vulnerable to being targeted. The Hazara tribe is ethnically Mongolian and its people have oriental features that make them easily identifiable from the rest of the country’s population
So, can the Pakistani authorities protect its minorities and if so how?
101 East speaks with the families of victims of sectarian violence, from Pakistan’s Shia as well as Sunni communities. We also speak with Hazaras who have survived attacks in Quetta, and those who are fleeing the insecurity they face while living there. We film with counter-terror police and the government and talk to them about efforts to end sectarian violence.
How can authorities stop sectarian violence in Pakistan? Share your thoughts with us @AJ101East #PakistanSectarianViolence