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.
The deep state’s obsession with tripping democracy even in the last quarter of an elected government, using a charlatan speaking with forked tongue and twisting the MQM’s arm to join him, leaves little doubt that the security establishment is not about to mend its ways. The gruesome slaughter of the 21 levies personnel near Peshawar and the Mastung car bombing killing 20 Shia pilgrims by Pakistan’s jihadist proxies is virtually business as usual. As the news of these brutal inland attacks poured in the Army Chief was harping on how a strong navy was important for Pakistan!
The three-pronged Afghan jihadist conglomerate viz. Taliban proper, the Haqqani network and the Hizb-e-Islami (Hekmatyar) is what Pakistan continues to bet on
This week will mark the second death anniversary of the founder-owner of this newspaper. Salmaan Taseer was martyred in cold blood for the crime of speaking up for a just cause. Last week was the fifth anniversary of Benazir Bhutto’s martyrdom. Days prior to that, Bashir Bilour was martyred in a suicide bombing. He is the senior most Pashtun nationalist leader this side of the Durand Line to have been assassinated since Khan Shaheed Abdus Samad Khan Achakzai. Glowing tributes were and will continue to be paid to all of them. All these leaders died not just for their words but actions and resolute stand against bigotry and terrorism. Unfortunately, Pakistan and its military and many political leaders commemorate their ultimate sacrifice with inaction and paralysis.
After the assassination of the Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa’s senior minister Bashir Bilour, his party the Awami National Party (ANP) did take a very clear stance on confronting the terrorist menace. Last week, the ANP’s consultative committee released a policy statement, which not only recommended clear action but also laments the party being left high and dry by rest of the country. The communiqué notes:
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.
Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamaat-ud-Dawa reject ban on murderers of Shias, Sunnis, Ahmadis and Christians
According to news reports, Pakistan government has banned extremist Deobandi Jihadi-sectarian organization Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ: Previous names: Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan SSP and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi LeJ). According to Interior Ministry’s notification, the ASWJ was suspected to have been involved in terrorism related activities involving massacres and target killings of Shias, Sunni Barelvis, Ahmadis, Christians and other groups in various parts of Pakistan.
ASWJ is a main member organization of the (ISI-sponsored) Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC), which has been organising Jihadi-sectarian rallies across the country. The Multan DPC rally was hosted by the ASWJ and was also attended by Malik Ishaq, the co-founder of banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.
Jamaat-e-Islami’s Information Secretary Anwar Niazi says they will condemn any attempt by the authorities to ban ASWJ. ….
Read more » Pakistan Blogzine
Shia massacre in Gilgit: Media apathy and misrepresentation of Shia genocide in Pakistan
Today’s massacre of at least 20 Shia Muslims in Gilgit brings the tally of murdered and injured Shias close to 250 since the beginning of 2012 and aside from two dedicated articles, both in the Daily Times, and both by two honourable Pashtuns, Pakistan’s “progressive”, “liberal” and “secular” media remains defeaningly silent on this topic. While Pakistan’s social media networks have been abuzz with Oscar awards, cricket matches, Maya Khan and Veena Malik, aside from the token tweet and sentence, Pakistan’s liberal media continues to ignore the ongoing Shia Genocide in Pakistan.
The PPP-led government remains both clueless and helpless to stop this ongoing genocide – while some of its elected representatives have spoken out against this but the world knows that it is not the elected Government in Pakistan that has enabled Shia Genocide – it is the military establishment. The ISI’s partnership with the nexus of interconnected extremist … groups (TTP, Jundullah, SSP-ASWJ-LeJ, JM, LeT) responsible for this has been formalized via Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC). Furthermore, alternate political groups like Imran Khan’s PTI are also complicit as evidenced by their open support for DPC. ….
Read more » LUBP
By Huma Yusuf
THERE has already been adequate kerfuffle around the appearance of PTI senior vice-president Ejaz Chaudhry at the Difaa-i-Pakistan Council’s rally in Karachi.
This is the latest demonstration of PTI’s tendency to cavort with the religious right and extremist groups. Imran Khan himself delivered a message via his envoy at the DPC’s Lahore rally in December. Previously, Chaudhry has attended rallies with Jamaatud Dawa’s Hafiz Saeed. And flags of the banned SSP have been raised at many a PTI rally. The further right the Great Khan and his party stray, the more defensive his supporters become. It is high time that defence was analysed. ….
Read more » DAWN.COM
And this is how the so-called Jihad strikes in Pakistan – Taliban releases video of DHA bomb attack – The Express Tribune
Taliban releases video of DHA bomb attack
On the morning of September 19, 2011, as the people in Defence Housing Authority phase VIII left for work, and students started classes at the nearby CAS School, the ground suddenly shook, windows shattered, and a deafening roar was heard. At least 300 kilogrammes of explosives had just detonated outside. A new video released on Tuesday, claims that the attack was the work of Fidayeens of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
A double-cabin vehicle had detonated outside Central Investigation Department Senior Superintendent (CID SSP) Chaudhry Aslam’s residence destroying his house. This, according to the video, was a step in fighting against a “tyranny in which Pakistan is first and foremost.”
The attack, which killed eight people, including a school teacher and her son, was for long believed to have been a suicide car bomb carried out by militants linked to the deadly TTP who have attacked law enforcement agencies in similar attacks in other parts of the country.
The video released by the Taliban on Tuesday shows a man, claiming to be the suicide bomber sitting next to a laptop computer under a banner reading “Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Karachi Chapter”. He claims in the video that that the attack was a premeditated assault.
The alleged suicide bomber says that Pakistan, which was intended to be a country for the ‘pure’, is now ruled by those who are ‘impure’. That the rulers of Pakistan are foremost in spreading tyranny of the Kuffar (disbelievers).
“The name Pakistan has ‘Paak‘ (clean/pure) in it but its ‘napaak’ (impure) rulers actions have even stunned the Kuffar,” he says in Urdu with the Taliban poster on his back, a laptop, a pistol and what seems to be a copy of the Quran on a small table sitting next to him.
– Shikarpur was to the old Sindh what Karachi is today to Pakistan. Having trade links with Central Asia, from Qandahar to Uzbekistan to Moscow, Shikarpur was the gateway of Sindh to the world
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan saw yet another moment of national shame right on the day of Eid-ul-Azha when four Hindus, including three doctors, were brutally killed in broad daylight. Conflicting media messages and false claims about the motive are but an ugly attempt to justify the crime. According to the story given out to the media, the murders took place after a boy from the Hindu community sexually assaulted a girl from the Muslim Bhayo tribe. Bhayo is the third most influential tribes of Shikarpur after the Jatois and Mahars in Chak town of Shikarpur. Hindus make around 6,000 out of the total 40,000 people in Chak town and are the predominant contributors to Sindh’s economy through trade and other professions. In the local politics of the area, the Hindu community has never been as muted as it is now, after the advent of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), working openly through their unmarked offices and representatives since at least a decade.
One was appalled listening to the people of the town about the immunity with which the Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP) operates in Shikarpur in cahoots with the Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan-Fazl (JUI-F) and with the support of local tribal chiefs and state machinery, especially the police. The accused Bhayo tribe has its members in not only the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (the main accused Babul Khan Bhayo is district head of the PPP), but also in pro-Taliban Ulema-e-Pakistan-Fazl (JUI-F) and proscribed militant extremist organisation, the SSP.
According to the details gathered from the local communities, a young girl from Bhayo community went to see her Hindu friend on Diwali night. The girl was seen entering the autaq (sitting area used by males), which was unusual in the local culture. Discovering the boy and the girl together, community elders (Hindus) reportedly beat the boy and sent the girl back to her home. The event triggered the ‘honour’ of the Bhayo tribe. What made things worse was the boy’s religion. The Bhayos felt doubly humiliated.
The Bhayo members of the Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP) and the pro-Taliban Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan-Fazl (JUI-F) started threatening the entire Hindu community since that day. The community requested the police for security after which the police established a small picket near the Hindu neighbourhood. But two hours before the incident, policemen vanished from the scene only to come back half an hour after the ambush. Just when the police pretended to start searching for the culprits, SSP and JUI-F workers gathered around the police station and amid the slogans of Allah-o-Akbar (God is Great) and Jihad Fi Sabilillah (war in the cause of God), they intimidated the police staff and asked to close the case. Resultantly, the FIR could only be registered around 36 hours after the crime. The victims’ family does not agree with the facts described in the state-registered complaint.
Noteworthy is the fact that the victims were not even remotely related to the Hindu boy accused by the Bhayo tribes of being ‘karo’ (accused boy). According to a much-criticised tradition, when an unmarried couple is caught together, they are murdered after the Panchayat is informed. The accused girl (kari) is usually murdered before or with the accused boy (karo). According to the tribal code, karo can only be the one directly involved in the ‘illicit’ relations with the kari. In this case, even the principles of this tradition (unapproved by educated Sindhis), karo-kari (honour killing), were not followed. It is a case of simple and direct targeting of the Hindu community, which remains an endangered one after the religious extremists were installed in the area for running the madrassas.
Madrassa tradition in Shikarpur is almost 40 years old, which is the age of the oldest madrassa here. According to the locals, Pashto speaking Niazis from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjabis from south Punjab were brought in over a decade ago. Totally alien to the local culture and traditions, they tried to impose strict Islamic code, which initially did not work. But after more than a decade, an entire generation has been out of these madrassas in the social life of Shikarpur. When I spoke to over a dozen people from the local Muslim community, I found them extremely opposed to and fearful of the Islamisation being brought to Sindh, which they saw as a part of the larger design of ruining the Sindhi culture.
The fact that the common people still value local pluralistic culture is evident from the fact that over the last few days, people — mainly Muslims — are coming out in the streets every day in almost 500-600 villages and towns of rural Sindh against this incident. It was heartening to know that not only thousands (6,000 according to a conservative estimate by a member of the local Press Club) of Muslims participated in the funeral of their four fellow citizens; hundreds of them have taken upon themselves to ensure the security of the frightened Hindu community. They stay day and night at the entrance of the Hindu neighbourhood. These common people, one Hindu resident of the area said, are not only from the influential Mahar and Jatoi communities but also some Bhayos are seen among them.
When asked how the pro-Taliban Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan-Fazl (JUI-F) guys got such an influence in an otherwise sufi and secular culture of this city, the people proudly said that the fact that these extremists need political backing, support of the tribal influentials and police machinery, is enough evidence of their weakness. Had they had a popular support, they would not have needed any of these tactics. A local rights’ activist (Muslim), who is a key organiser of a protest rally today (Monday) at 12 noon in Hyderabad, wanted me to tell the world that Pakistanis would fight extremism till the last drop of their blood.
This is Pakistan! Those in the charge of things must realise that the people of Pakistan are committed to their pluralistic values ingrained in their sufi culture. Any effort to dismantle plural and secular social base would be met with fierce resistance. The ones who believe that we, the ‘liberal fascists’, are few in number and are irrelevant, should see how this battle is being fought by a common citizen in Sindh, original home to a wonderful Hindu community who made Shikarpur mercantile hub of Sindh before the Talpurs came in. Shikarpur was to the old Sindh what Karachi is today to Pakistan. Having trade links with Central Asia, from Qandahar to Uzbekistan to Moscow, Shikarpur was the gateway of Sindh to the world. And in Shikarpur, it was our Hindu trader community that started the system of payments through cheques. Home to poets like Sheikh Ayaz, this city has produced seers and litterateurs alongside professionals of the highest quality. Today Shikarpur is determined to fight extremism more than ever.
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.