By Farahnaz Ispahani
After each act of violence against religious minorities, the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi or Sipah-e-Sahaba proudly own up to it without fear of punishment
The recent mob attack on Christians in Lahore, resulting in the burning down of over one hundred Christian homes while the police stood by, is a reminder of how unsafe Pakistan has become for religious minorities. The attacks on Christians follows a rising tide of attacks on Pakistan’s Shia Muslims, sometimes mischaracterised in the media as the product of sectarian conflict. In reality, these increasingly ferocious attacks reflect the ambitious project of Islamists to purify Pakistan, making it a bastion of a narrow version of Islam Sunni. Pakistan literally translates as “the land of the pure”. But, what started in an imperceptible way as early as the 1940s, picking up momentum in the 1990s, is a drive to transform Pakistan into a land of religious purification.
Muslim groups such as the Shias that account for possibly 20-25% of Pakistan’s Muslim population and Non-Muslim minorities such as Christians, Hindus and Sikhs have been target-killed, forcibly converted, kidnapped and had their religious places bombed and vandalised with alarming regularity. At the time of partition in 1947, Pakistan had a healthy 23% of its population comprise non-Muslim citizens. Today, the proportion of non-Muslims has declined to approximately three per cent. The distinctions among Muslim denominations have also become far more accentuated over the years.
By Anwar Iqbal
Drown, O people, drown. Do not try to escape. You cannot. Feel the burden of your sins. It will not let you swim. You never lived peacefully. So at least die peacefully. Let the water rise above your head and pull you down,” said the monster.
“I am no Noah. I have no boat. I cannot save any, man or animal. You followed me. Now pay the price,” the monster roared.
“But before you disappear, let me tell you a story. It is your story. Your indictment. You must hear it so that you know why you are dying.”
Once upon a time, there was a town with four neighbourhoods. Each had its own chief. They also had a chief protector to fight their real and perceived enemies.
All five knew magic. They could walk on water, eat fire and charm beasts. They could take a rabbit out of a hat and a hat out of a rabbit.
They could do many tricks, nothing useful though. I mean nothing that was useful for their people although whatever they did always benefitted them.
Everything they touched became theirs. They also seized what they did not touch. When they owned all there was to own in their town, they ventured out to seek more. They looted and plundered wherever they went.
They were smart, some would say cunning. Yet they had one drawback: they had no common sense. Common sense is for the common people, not for their chiefs.
So one day, while they were crossing a dense forest, they saw a heap of bones lying under a tree. They had never seen such bones. Some of the bones were larger than those of an elephant. Others were smaller than that of a rabbit. Some resembled a dragon’s teeth, others the backbone of a snake.
Some were sharp and pointed. Others were dull and heavy.
“Never saw such bones,” they said to one another. They inspected all the bones. Tested them with whatever tools they had in their magic bags. Argued over them for hours but could not decide what recent or prehistoric beast it was that died under the tree.
So they decided to try their magic.
“Let us bring it to life using our magic,” one of them said.
“Good, I will use my skills to assemble the bones into a skeleton,” said the other.
Then he chanted some incantation and charmed the bones into a skeleton.
All five inspected the skeleton but could not decide what it was.
So the second chief came forward and recited his mantra. When he snapped his fingers, flesh and skin grew on the skeleton.
The four chiefs and their protector inspected the skeleton again but failed to determine what it was.
The third chief tried his magic and caused the unknown beast’s heart to beat and pump blood. It was half alive.
This time they inspected the beast from every angle but could not solve the mystery.
So the fourth chief offered to try his charm. But before he could proceed, the chief protector said: “Let’s take some precautionary measure. How do we know it will not eat us when it comes to life?”
He climbed a large tree and hid behind its dense foliage. Aiming his weapon at the beast, he said: “I am ready.”
So the fourth chief took out a little box from his magic bag and put some powder into the beast’s nostrils.
First it moved its head, wagged its tail and then with a roar, it sprang to life. They had expected it to stand on its four feet, like most beasts do. But it was standing on its hind legs while his front legs stretched out like two huge and ugly hands.
How a virulent Pakistani terrorist group is trying to annihilate an ethnic rival–and why we should be worried
Abdul Amir (as we’ll call him), a chemistry teacher in Quetta, Pakistan, was taking an afternoon nap on Feb. 16 when his house began to shake and the earth let out an almighty roar. His mother and sisters started screaming and ran out of the house, but by the time they gathered in the street, the noise had already stopped. He climbed to the roof to get a better view of what happened and saw a thick cloud of bright white smoke, a mile south, suspended above the market place where his students would be buying snacks after their weekend English classes. He rushed back down to the ground, started his motorcycle and took off toward ground zero, knowing all the while that this was foolish – during a bombing five weeks before, the people who came to help were killed by a second explosion.
Still he raced through the streets, swerving around people running away from the bomb, finally arriving at a scene even worse even than he’d feared. The blast had been so powerful that the market hadn’t been destroyed so much as it had been deleted, as had the people shopping there and those in buildings nearby. Everything within 100 meters was simply flattened, and all that remained were the metal skeletons of a few flaming vehicles and the chemical smell of synthetic materials burning. Abdul would find more than fifty of his students were injured. One of his favorite students would die from her wounds six days later.
By: Asad Munir
Until the late 1970s Shias and Sunnis lived in complete harmony in this country. There were sporadic, minor incidents of Shia-Sunni violence but generally there was no hostility between the two sects. Muharram was sacred for Sunnis as well. Many attended Shia majalis, and on the tenth of Muharram cooked special foods, participated in Shia processions and revered the Zuljinah.
These good times were changed by three major events that took place in the late 1970s: Zia’s martial law, Khomeini’s revolution and the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviets. Pakistan was no more the same moderate and tolerant country. Zia, after hanging an elected prime minister, wanted to use religion as a tool to prolong his rule. He tried to introduce Islamic laws as per the concept of the Islamic state envisioned by Maulana Maudoodi.
By Ejaz Haider
Let me make it simple: if you are a Shia in Pakistan, you are on your own. This fact I state for the benefit of all those citizens of this country, Shia and Sunni, who are grieving the slow demise of Mr Jinnah’s Pakistan and expecting that the tide could be reversed through state action.
Now for the longer answer.
There is no doubt about who is killing the Shia. The Lashkar-e Jhangvi (LeJ) has repeatedly taken responsibility for it. Its captured terrorists have often stated before courts that they have killed Shias and, given the opportunity, will do it again. The identity of the killers is a settled issue.
Nota Bene: The issue of the proxy war between Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states and Iran, the funding to Sunni extremist groups and whatever is left of Shia extremists, and circumstantial evidence of indirect involvement of hostile agencies is important but peripheral to the main issue, i.e., the terrorists are Pakistanis and killing on the basis of centuries-old denominational differences. The current murderous spree, of course, has a modern political and geopolitical context.
A more relevant question is: if the group that is involved in these killings has not only been ID-ed but IDs itself, what is stopping the state from acting against it, and effectively?
This is where the problem begins.
The LeJ was begotten from the dark womb of the Sipah-e Sahaba Pakistan (SSP). The SSP, banned by Pervez Musharraf, has reincarnated itself as the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat. It has a certain political presence. It is technically not the LeJ, even as de facto it is. LeJ terrorists, along with the hardline splinter group of Jaish-e Mohammad (JeM), have over the last five years, come to form the backbone of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) conglomerate. The TTP is an entity that political parties now — the ANP included (in desperation) — want to talk to, even as the state considers the LeJ a terrorist entity.
So while the LeJ is a terrorist organisation providing manpower to the TTP, the state is being pressured to talk to the latter and give it the legitimacy of an insurgent group.
But this is not all. In Punjab, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz is in talks over seat adjustment with the ASWJ, the Dr Jekyll to its Edward Hyde, the LeJ. Leaving aside the PML-N’s petty lying about the issue, it is a fact that it wants to placate the LeJ through a dangerous liaison with the ASWJ. The general impression is that this is being done to win votes. That’s only partially true. The primary reason is that the PML-N doesn’t want mayhem in Punjab, its central vote bank, where it wants to win and win big through a lot of development work (even if lopsided) by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.
Dr Siddiqa’s 2007 masterpiece Military Inc: Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy clearly did not win her any friends amongst Lieven’s friends
There is no indication that the dark night of Takfiri terrorism is about to lift its heinous shadow from Quetta’s Shia Hazara. Are 40 days enough of a respite for the Hazara to be digging mass graves for their loved ones again? The terrorists of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) appear to think so. Just as the Hazara Shia were about to commemorate the Chehlum — the 40th day of mourning — of those killed in the January 10 Alamdar Road bombing, death rained again on Hazara Town this past weekend. Over 110 Hazaras — about half of them women and children — perished. Toothless condemnations from spineless politicians have already poured in. But those really running the show in Balochistan are quiet. For them the Shia genocide in Pakistan is simply the cost of doing business, a price that has to be paid for the ‘greater good’.
In the past, this ‘greater good’ was merely wars in Afghanistan and Kashmir but over the last few years the same formula is being applied in Balochistan. We have previously noted here that the LeJ was inducted into Balochistan by its khaki patrons to undermine the Baloch movement just like Gulbudin Hikmatyar and the Taliban’s ilk were used to undercut the Pashtun nationalist movement. The idea is to neutralize the Baloch nationalist struggle and keep the Baloch people and their resources under the praetorian thumb. If these jihadi terrorists take out a few ‘heretic’ Shia along the way, the patrons look the other way. If such ‘collateral damage’ happens to be in Quetta city, better yet. From the security establishment’s perspective nothing throws a spanner in the Baloch liberation struggle better than a war in and over Quetta. A free-for-all between the LeJ Balochistan — now largely manned by ethnic Baloch/Brahuis — the Hazaras and the Pashtuns, provides a reason for increasing the military’s presence in Balochistan to hunt down the nationalists while protecting the jihadist assets.
Malik Ishaq is today the symbol of the state’s surrender to terrorists.
The scourge of Pakistan’s Shia community, Malik Ishaq of the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) — an offshoot of ‘renamed’ Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), which is in a legal penumbra of state ban — has been arrested upon his return from Saudi Arabia, where he could have gone to perform a religious ritual but could also have touched base there with the ‘donors’ who finance the massacre of the Shia in Pakistan. The charges against him of hate speech followed by sectarian killings are quite serious. He was acquitted of the same category last year and let out of jail after remaining there for 14 years.
The enemy lies within
The attack on Pakistan’s Kamra air force base, for which the Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility, is one more sign — as if more were still required — that the country’s enemy lurks within its boundaries. Militants wearing air force uniforms infiltrated the base that is rumoured to house a part of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, in a manner reminiscent of the May 2011 raid at PNS Mehran, and at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi two years earlier. Armed with RPGs and automatic rifles, and wearing suicide vests, they damaged one aircraft at the base and killed at least one air man. Though the militants were eventually eliminated, the question Pakistan should be asking is why no lessons were learnt from the earlier attacks. Only two days ago, in an address at the Kakul Military Academy on Pakistan’s Independence Day, Army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani said the country needs to fight terrorism and militancy for its own sake. But it is unclear how far the military has addressed the spread of radicalism within its ranks, or if it even sees this as a problem. After the PNS Mehran incident, a journalist who wrote that militants had developed extensive links within the Navy paid with his life; the Pakistani media openly blamed the country’s Inter-Services Intelligence for the killing. In the latest instance too, the attackers seemed to have insider knowledge of the sprawling air base located at Attock in the Punjab province. A Pakistani newspaper had only a few days ago warned that the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan was planning a raid on a PAF base, giving August 16 as a possible date, but even with such specific information, the military was caught unawares.
The language of the discussion is urdu (Hindi).
Via – Twitter
Ayesha Siddiqua on the connection between Shia killings and the deep state. Here she speaks it all ! [ ہر حادثے پر گماں ہوتا ہے کہ شاید اب ہوش آ جائے انٹرویو ڈاکٹر عائشہ صدیقہ ] The Mullah Military Nexus is the mother of all evil. [ شاید اب ہوش آجائے‘ فرقہ وارانہ واقعات پر بی بی سی اردو میں دفاعی امور کی ماہر ڈاکٹر عائشہ صدیقہ سے بات کی]The language of the interview is urdu (Hindi).
Courtesy: BBC urdu
JuD chief appreciates freedom in Pakistan
By Rana Tanveer
LAHORE: Jamaatud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed has appreciated the freedom in Pakistan to spread the message of Islam.
“No other territory in the world can match Pakistan. The country is a blessing from Allah Almighty and we should understand conspiracies [against it] by non-Muslims,” Saeed said in a statement issued on Sunday.
He said that the JuD did not believe in modern nationalism. “Pakistan’s security is based on the Kalma Tayyaba only,” he asserted. “The internal and external threats that Pakistan is facing can only be tackled through the methodology of the State of Madina.”
Reiterating the JuD’s stringent anti-India and anti-America stance, he said that the people of Pakistan were not ready to accept the Most Favoured Nation trading status for India and the terrorist attacks of Nato. “It is a matter of great regret that our rulers are afraid of severing their relationships with Europe and America.”
Saeed said that American forces are facing a humiliating defeat in Afghanistan. “Islam will emerge as a great power in the near future,” he said.
Criticising the government, he said that the rulers are trying to avert the war instead of taking counter-measures on conspiracies against Pakistan. “They must take national solidarity and sovereignty seriously and bravely defend Pakistan.”
Read more about : jamaatuddawa
Courtesy: The Express Tribune
The National Front Party on Thursday asked the UN to investigate the Kabul suicide attack which took place on Tuesday at Abul Fazl Shrine.
The National Front Leader Ahmad Zia Massoud said he welcomed and supported the decision made by Afghan government. He also stressed that investigation about the incident would be in the interest of Afghanistan.
“If the Afghan president is really intending to investigate about the issue and discuss it with Pakistan, a UN delegation should be assigned to investigate certain parts of the incident. The outcomes would be good, I think because Afghans have always had defensive strategy and have been silent towards all such incidents. This has caused Pakistani Generals to do whatever they want inside Afghanistan,” Mr Massoud said.
On Wednesday President Karzai said that he will investigate about the issue with the help of international community.
“Jhangvi is based in Pakistan. So, the Afghan government, with the support of the international community, will follow up on the issue. Afghanistan will never forgive the wounding of innocent children,” Mr Karzai said.
The deadly suicide attack at Abul Fazl Shrine in Kabul took the lives of more than 59 people and nearly 200 people were wounded in the incident.
Lashkari Jhangvi which is based in Pakistan has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Courtesy » ToloNews
A Pakistan-based insurgent group has claimed responsibility for twin attacks which caused carnage at two shrines belonging to Afghanistan’s minority Shiite Muslims yesterday.
The suicide attacks in Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif killed at least 59 people and forced president Hamid Karzai to cut short his visit to Europe and the UK. …
Read more » ABC News
by Ansar Abbasi ↔ THE NEWS
ISLAMABAD: One of the most dangerous alleged target killers, who confessed to have killed many, including police officers in Karachi, has reportedly claimed his association with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s “militant wing”, and has named Dr Imran Farooq as the contact person for many party militants. He further said that Ajmal Pahari was one of the MQM’s men.
Arrested and interrogated in 2010 before the murder of Dr Imran Farooq, the accused target killer, Muhammad Ishtiaq, alias Salman, alias Police Wala, confessed before the Joint Interrogation Team comprising representatives of the ISI, IB, Rangers, CID, Sindh Police and Special Branch, as reported in an official document, that Ajmal Pahari (who was arrested recently in Karachi and is alleged to have been involved in the killing of 100 people) also belongs to the MQM.