A suicide bombing in Mastung in Pakistan’s south-western Balochistan province targeted an election campaign event killing 150 people and injuring many others. The blast was the deadliest terrorist attack in Pakistan this year. It was the day marked with the homecoming of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz. Both were recently convicted and sentenced to jail by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) court. There was another blast in Bannu targeting Jamat-ul-Islami-Fazl (JUIF)Leader Akram Khan Durrani (former chief minister for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) leaving four dead. Another blast in Peshawar just couple of days before had left 20 dead including Awami National Party’s (ANP) candidate Haroon Bilour during the party’s public corner meeting. Similar scenes are not unexpected in Pakistan. Just last year in capital city Islamabad,thousands of the followers of Khadim Rizvi blocked roads and arranged sit-ins demanding the resignation of federal minister Zahid Hamid over alleged amendments in Khatam-e-Nabuwat laws. Many of the religious groups joined Khadim Rizvi’s protest to form a collective entity now known as Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan. Progressive moderate Muslims are frightened and bewildered by the current events going on in a country that once regarded itself as a moderate Muslim nation. They watch nervously, the spread of fundamentalist organisations and rallies of ultra-right religious parties vying for Allah’s vote in general election 2018. Many of the political analysts observe a broader shift in the country towards intolerant, anti-western thoughts. And they speculate on why it is happening. Some explain the worrying new trend through the way the world has changed. Until late 70s, apart from a handful of anti-imperialists leftists, most Pakistanis were pro-western. Islam and communism could not get along. When cold war divided the world, Pakistan exactly knew which side it was on. The generous economic aid by US was enough to be an incentive to bolster Pakistan against its biggest enemy, India. Later in the 90s, after Russian withdrawal from Afghanistan, the US cut off the aid until 9/11. The post-9/11 era once again witnessed showering of Dollars by US to Pakistan for fighting against Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. But soon, Pakistan alluded with increasing agreement among rightists, leftists, moderates, Islamists, secularists, bureaucrats, businessmen and soldiers over one point that US is a hypocritical, self-serving, and anti-Islam nation. Centre-right to ultra-right religious parties have never been good at winning the elections, however, failure at the polls has not dispirited them. Experience has taught them that violence and other forms of extra-parliamentary pressures will get them what they want. The willingness of the past governments to accommodate the views of an armed minority has given the fundamentalists encouragement they should never have been given These new feelings blended well with the anti-western brand of Islam which is quite similar to that of Iran. These days, the call that stirs the young and angry is an Islamic one. Imran khan, cricketer turn demagogue, provides a fine illustration of this new mood ‘Tabdeeli’. Public rallies and election campaign of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) resound with cries of ‘Wazir e Azam-Imran Khan’ as he lambasts the politicians of is country for looting the country’s wealth and licking the boots of west. Centre-right to ultra-right religious parties have never been good at winning the elections, however, failure at the polls has not dispirited them. Experience has taught them that violence and other forms of extra-parliamentary pressures will get them their ways. The willingness of the past governments to accommodate the views of the armed minority has given the fundamentalists both the encouragement and a growing structure of legal props. The writer is a lecturer at IMS, Bahauddin Zakariya University Multan and a research fellow at the University of Queensland Australia. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: @Alluring_Will Published in Daily Times, July 21st 2018.