The annual Youm-e-Ali celebrations, which mark the 21st day of Ramadan, fall this year on Saturday, June 17. This is a significant event for Shi’a Muslims and events have been targeted by terrorists in the past; the (Sunni) terrorist group Islamic State (IS) has made a general call for its sympathizers to perpetrate attacks during Ramadan. The Pakistani Taliban factions Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan as well as IS have perpetrated various attacks in the country over the past few months, primarily in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, the Tribal Areas, Peshawar, and Lahore.
Ramadan is a period of reflection and self-restraint and carries great significance within the Muslim calendar. Muslims traditionally observe daytime fasting and are called to practice increased devotion. Nearly 96 percent of the Pakistani population is Muslim and 84 percent reportedly support sharia law, a legal code based on the Quran and other Islamic scripture, as the official law of the land (is this the case?). More generally, this period marks a significant increase in the terror threat in many countries.
Individuals in Pakistan are advised to stay away from large religious gatherings due to the threat of terrorism and the risk of sectarian violence and to report any suspicious objects or behavior to the relevant authorities. Individuals are also advised not to eat, drink, or smoke in public by day during Ramadan.
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