Tag Archives: Ashura

Why Arab States align themselves with Israel against Shias?

By Shabana Syed

On tenth day of Ashura Muslims and in particular Shias commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the Prophet Mohammed’s grandson about whom he said “Hussein is from me and I am from Hussein”.

Pictures of Shias beating themselves with hands and chains will be beamed around the world by western media, happy to perpetuate the myth that Muslims are violent.

And this year Americans in particular will be paying a closer attention, after the Oscar winning Jewish Director Oliver Stone’s son Sean Stone astonished America by articulating his conversion to being a Shia and accused Piers Morgan who tried to portray him as some nutter, ‘a warmonger’ while defending Iran.

Continue reading Why Arab States align themselves with Israel against Shias?

A new low for Pakistan

EDITORIAL: New low

One might have thought a new low for Pakistan’s reputation would have been a little difficult to achieve given the attention it gets on a daily basis for ‘strategic depth’-led support for criminal and extremist elements within and without the country, corruption, misgovernance, poverty, honour killings, state terrorism in Balochistan, energy and floods crises and what have you. However, never say never — the seemingly impossible has happened. With Afghan President Hamid Karzai accusing Pakistan’s Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), as well as the subsequent claims of responsibility by the LeJ of having carried out the massacre of over 55 Shias in Afghanistan on the 10th of Moharram, one of their holiest days, Pakistan does seem to have landed itself in very hot water.

It may be argued that the LeJ being a ‘non state actor’, flak for Pakistan is unjustified. However, it is also a known fact that the LeJ not only came into being with active support of the state years ago, but that it has enjoyed establishment patronage for creating sectarian strife in the country for decades. The flak, therefore, may not be as unjustified as it may appear superficially. With the level of impunity this virulently extremist and violent group, among others, operates at and wreaks havoc in Pakistan, complicity on the part of the state becomes implicit. This is not to insinuate that the group had the establishment’s blessings in this particular attack. That cannot be known easily. However, even if this particular act of barbarity was not supported or instigated by its backers, there is the concept of the Frankenstein’s monster. Simply by dint of the fact that the military/intelligence establishment has pursued an unrelenting policy of creating and utilising violent, criminal and extremist elements as a matter of strategy for domestic as well as foreign policy, Pakistan cannot profess innocence now that the chickens have come home to roost.

The LeJ is known to have developed links with the Taliban and al-Qaeda in recent years. And whilst it may have been involved in the senseless violence perpetrated by the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan previously, the Ashore attacks in Afghanistan were the first known incidents of sectarian violence in the country by a foreign group. The fact that the LeJ itself has claimed responsibility for the atrocity means that a well-known Pakistani outfit has for the first time been identified as resurrecting and stoking sectarian conflict on Afghan soil. This potentially adds a whole new dimension to the Afghan problem and Pakistan’s involvement in it. Now put this development in the context of the ever-deteriorating AfPak disaster, and you find yourself staring into an abyss. OBL and Shalala hardly make up a mitigating background, with a dangerously antagonistic relationship having developed between a client and a superpower. On the one hand it has seen a CIA chief’s name publicly disclosed in Pakistan, CIA operatives being literally kicked out of the country after the Raymond Davis affair, a denial of logistical support and use of Shamsi airbase to NATO and the Bonn boycott in the wake of Shalala. On the other, is the patience with Pakistan’s double game that has all but run out on the part of the west, on account of its mule-headed pursuit of strategic depth that is eating up not only Pakistan itself, but engulfing the entire region in an inferno.

Intransigence over abandoning and tackling the various strains of terrorism emanating from Pakistan are bound to cost it dearly. The country has already been publicly censured and condemned. Without meaningful and sincere efforts towards a change of trajectory, Pakistan may be set to face the music like never before. The country has withstood isolation and sanctions before — but the present state of its economy, governance, security situation and social unraveling may not be able to withstand the world’s fury this time round.

Courtesy » Daily Times

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\129\story_9-12-2011_pg3_1

Afghanistan: Pakistani Extremist Group In Focus After Unprecedented Attack On Afghan Shi’a

By Abubakar Siddique

As Afghanistan recovers from a deadly and unprecedented attack on a Shi’ite shrine in Kabul, the finger of blame is pointing directly at a Sunni extremist group with a long history of carrying out such attacks in neighboring Pakistan.

At least 55 people were killed and more than 160 wounded in the December 6 suicide attack, which occurred as Shi’ite worshippers were assembled outside the shrine to commemorate Ashura, a Shi’ite religious holiday. A separate attack near an Ashura procession in the northern city of Mazar-e Sharif killed at least four people.

Shortly after the midday attack in Kabul, a man claiming to be a spokesman for Lashkar-e Jhangvi al-Alami contacted RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal to claim responsibility on behalf of the Pakistan-based militant group.

It was impossible to independently verify the claim made by the man, who identified himself as Qari Abubakar Mansoor.

The man first contacted a Radio Mashaal correspondent in Pakistan who covers the western Kurram tribal district, where the group is believed to be headquartered. A man going by the name of Qari Abubakar had previously contacted Radio Mashaal to provide information regarding the Lashkar-e Jhangvi al-Alami. Following RFE/RL’s report tying the group to the attack in Afghanistan, various media reported receiving similar claims from the same spokesman.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who cut short a European trip and returned to the Afghan capital to deal with the crisis, appeared to accept that the attack was carried out by Lashkar-e Jhangvi al-Alami. While visiting survivors of the attack in the hospital, he was quoted as telling reporters that “we are investigating this issue and we are going to talk to the Pakistani government about it.”

Ties To Al-Qaeda, Taliban

Farzana Sheikh, a Pakistan specialist at the Chatham House think tank in London, says the group evolved from the Anjuman-e Sipahe Shaba Pakistan, an extremist political party intent on transforming Pakistan into a Sunni state. One of its splinter groups, Lashkar-e Jhangvi (LeJ) was considered the most deadly sectarian militia in the South Asian state in the 1990s.

Lashkar-e Jhangvi al-Alami is now considered a splinter group of the LeJ, which was banned in Pakistan in 2002 because of its role in the killing of thousands of Shi’a.

“Its roots really lie in southern Punjab [Province], in the district of Jhang, from where they have clearly spread to other parts of Pakistan,” Sheikh says, “but particularly the [southwestern province of] Balochistan, where they have been responsible, and indeed claimed responsibility, for a series of murderous attacks against Shi’a Hazaras.”

Sheikh says that the group once enjoyed close links to Pakistani intelligence agencies. This, she notes, enabled LeJ to maintain bases in Taliban-controlled Afghan regions because of Islamabad’s relationship with the Taliban regime. However, the LeJ’s Shi’a-killing campaign made it a prime security threat for Pakistan, according to observers.

Read more » Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty (rferl)

http://www.rferl.org/content/pakistani_extremist_group_in_focus_after_afghan_sectarian_attack/24415027.html

The virus of Taliban has spread in Pakistan to the extent that even the federal minster for interior Rehman Malik pays homage to them!

Malik thanks Taliban for ensuring peaceful Ashura

Excerpt;

…. Speaking to the media in Islamabad, he said he was thankful to everyone, including the Taliban, for their cooperation in ensuring peaceful Ashura processions throughout the country during the 9th and 10th of Muharram. ….

…. Answering a question, he said that former ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani’s name had already been put on the Exit Control List (ECL) as per the orders from Supreme Court.

Read more » DAWN.COM

More details » BBC urdu

Sindh demonstrates traditional religious harmony

Sunnis as well as Hindus in Sindh, as they have done for centuries, joined the Shia minority in their mourning processions.. the same has held true for Hindu and traditional Sindhi festivals. Centuries old reports observe how entire cities participated in celebrations such as Holi and Ddiyaarii.. one 17th century observer noted that Thatto was closed for days for Holi celebrations.

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Sindh demonstrates traditional religious harmony

By Jan Khaskheli, Karachi

People in Sindh have again shown sectarian harmony, a tradition set by their elders hundreds of years ago, taking out Muharram processions together. In all big and small cities and towns of rural Sindh, including Hyderabad, Sukkur and Khairpur, processions have been staged peacefully through marked routes.

People are keeping a close eye on any attempt to create sectarianism in the holy month of Muharram. They say that there is no visible security threat in their areas during the Ashura processions and Majalis. It is an old tradition that people of each sect visit major mosques of their villages and towns for Eid prayers while on the occasion of Ashura they gather at Imambargahs.

There are many Imambargahs in Hyderabad, Khairpur and small towns like Hala New, Matiari and Sehwan. Some of them are as old as 150 years, and hundreds of people from neighbouring areas come there to attend Majalis and take part processions, and take Niaz (food).

In Sehwan, the shrine of Qalandar Lal Shabaz is one of the most attractive places for visitors. It is on this shrine that processions from all neighbouring towns converge on Muharram 8 travel to join a big procession through fixed routes. As far as security is concerned, people say it is the government that makes such arrangements, otherwise people join the processions without any fear.

People give credit of this to Sufi saints, who played a key role in the region in teaching them to avoid spreading hatred rather and to promote peace and love. …

Read more : The News