Early monsoon rains have swollen rivers, swept away houses, killed scores and left thousands stranded. Slideshow
Q+A - Why are militants attacking Pakistan now ?
REUTERS - Suspected Islamist militants exploded three bombs at a Shi'ite procession in the Pakistani city of Lahore on Wednesday, killing 33 people and piling pressure on the government already overwhelmed by floods.
Here are some questions and answers on implications of the attacks which came after a lull in violence during floods.
WHAT MILITANTS ARE UPTO?
Militants bent upon destabilising Pakistan are likely to intensify their violent attacks to pressure a government that has been put off balance by the floods, one of the country's worst disasters.
The floods have complicated the fight against militants. Islamic charities, some with suspected links to militants, were quicker to deliver relief to flood victims.
That raised fears among Pakistani and U.S. officials that Islamists would gain more followers. In the past the Taliban recruited young men disillusioned with the state.
More worrying, the U.S. charged its chief, Hakimullah Mehsud, in the plot that killed seven CIA employees at an American base in Afghanistan in late December, reflecting how the group has extended its reach overseas.
The al Qaeda-backed Taliban are likely to press on with a campaign of suicide bombings and attacks on security forces and police, which have rattled the country and scared away foreign investors.
WHY MILITANTS TARGET SHI'ITES?
Sectarian violence between militants from Pakistan's majority Sunni and minority Shi'ite Muslim sects is not new.
However, security analysts say sectarian attacks by Sunni militants have become a strategic, integral part of a campaign backed by the Taliban and by al Qaeda to destabilise Pakistan after it joined Washington's war on militancy following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.
Though most Sunni sectarian groups have their roots in the central province of Punjab, of which Lahore is the capital, they have forged strong ties with Taliban militants operating in the tribal areas in the northwest on the border with Afghanistan.
That network is most worrying for the government, which has been accused of ignoring those alliances.
Commonly known as "Punjabi Taliban", the militants from Punjab orchestrate plots from new sanctuaries in the northwest and execute them in Punjab with the help of intermediaries, security officials say.
The recent wave of bomb and suicide attacks are seen as revenge for Pakistani military offensives against their strongholds in the northwest over the past one year.
The Lahore attack came hours after officials said up to 62 militants were killed in airstrikes in the northwest.
HOW IS THE GOVERNMENT HANDLING THE PROBLEM?
Many sectarian groups have been outlawed but they have re-emerged under new names, making tham difficult to track.
Punjab is ruled by the party of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and critics say it is shirking any confrontation with militants as it could undermine its standing with powerful influential religious groups whose backing is critical.
Security analysts say some Punjabi Taliban groups were also involved in militant campaigns against Indian rule in the disputed Kashmir region therefore Pakistan's powerful army is reluctant to crack down on them.
The government is unlikely to mount any major crackdown on these militants now as it is overstretched in its fight against militants in the northwest and is busy with flood relief work.
(Editing by Michael Georgy and Sanjeev Miglani)
(For more Reuters coverage of Afghanistan and Pakistan, see: here)
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