Feb. 27 - A cycle of tit-for-tat killings between Pakistan's Sunni and Shi'ite communities threatens to rip open sectarian fault lines. Simon Hanna reports.
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Pakistan's Sunni majority and Shi'ite minority are under threat from widening sectarian divisions in the country.
After radical Sunni ideologue Aurangzeb Farooqi survived an attempt on his life that left six of his bodyguards dead, he called on his followers to close ranks against Karachi's Shi'ites.
(SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) KARACHI HEAD OF AHLE SUNNAT WAL JAMA'AT, FORMERLY KNOWN AS SIPAH E-SAHABA, AURANGZEB FAROQI:
"People don't have to kill Shi'ites, instead they do a social boycott of them, whereby noone shakes hands with them. Killing someone is forbidden in our religion."
The Shi'ite minority are braced for a new chapter of persecution following a series of bombings that have killed almost 200 people in Quetta since the beginning of the year.
While Quetta grabbed the world's attention, a spate of murders in Karachi has led to 80 Shi'ite deaths in the past six months.
In return, a number of hard-line Sunni clerics and followers of Farooqi have also been killed.
But despite the growing death toll, many Karachi residents are still trying to create a more tolerant inclusive society.
One of those is Abdul Sattar Ehdi, who was nominated for a Nobel Prize for dedicating his life to Karachi's poor.
(SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) ABDUL SATTAR EHDI, WHO WAS ONCE NOMINATED FOR A NOBEL PEACE PRIZE:
"We need to become human beings. We need to work for humanity leaving the weapons aside. Put an end to arms."
General elections due in May could be an indication of Pakistan's future path, with voices of diversity and unity competing with those of polarisation and division.
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