Source: The Washington Post
For the first time, after years of appeasing certain Islamist militant groups for political and religious reasons, the government has reluctantly agreed to allow the armed forces to enter Punjab province, authorized with special powers to hunt down, arrest and shoot suspected militants.
Punjab is the political stronghold of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his ruling party, the Pakistan Muslim League-N. It is also the home of a variety of Islamist groups, including mainstream religious parties, sectarian movements officially banned for their violent methods, and anti-India militants who have been accused of a 2008 terrorist siege in Mumbai.
None of these groups appear to have been directly involved in a five-day spate of suicide bombings that shocked the nation last week, including one at a Sufi shrine full of devotees that killed 86 people. The attacks were mostly claimed by an Afghan-based militia linked to the Islamic State, which declared it was starting a war against the Pakistani government.