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The LeJ was banned more than a decade ago under American pressure on Pakistan following the 9/11 attacks on the US. But the group operates openly in Pakistan under the very nose of the security forces.
The deepening tension between Shia and Sunni is not limited to Pakistan and has enveloped the Arabian Peninsula. From Bahrain in the east to Syria in the north, the conflict has enveloped most other faultlines within and across the region.
Bahrain marked the second anniversary of the uprising two years ago for political reform with renewed clashes between security forces and protesters. What started out as a non-sectarian movement for democratic change soon became a conflict between the Sunni monarchy and the Shia majority. The Shia constitute nearly 70 per cent of the population and complain about their condition as a virtual underclass.
Bahrain's internal conflict acquired a regional dimension as the Sunni monarchy blamed Iran for fomenting the rebellion and invited a military intervention led by Saudi Arabia. Attempts to find reconciliation between the Sunni minority regime and the Shia majority appear to be breaking down amidst the renewed violence.
Iraq and Syria
As the Shia in Bahrain fight for majority rights, the recently empowered Shia majority in Iraq has big problems finding peace with the Sunni minority.
Until the American military intervention to oust the Saddam Hussein regime in 2003, a Sunni minority ruled over the Shia majority and marginalised the ethnic Kurds.
There was much hope that Iraq would ensure the rights of minorities in the new democratic framework. But those hopes have been dashed amidst growing conflict between Shia and Sunni.
The difficulties of the young democracy in Iraq to finding a balance between redressing historic injustices and protecting minority rights has been exacerbated by the