We welcome the much awaited news that finally both houses of Pakistan’s Parliament, National Assembly and Senate, have taken note of the ongoing massacres of Shia Muslims at the hands of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ, also operating as Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat ASWJ, Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan SSP, Jundullah) and Taliban. Both LeJ and Taliban are affiliated with Al Qaeda and have overlapping membership.
NA to launch fact-finding mission over sectarian killings
ISLAMABAD: Taking notice of a recent rise in targeted sectarian killings, a human rights’ committee of the Pakistani National Assembly has decided to launch a fact-finding mission to probe the murders of members of the Shia community.
The National Assembly’s Standing Committee for Human Rights held a session here at the Parliament House on Wednesday, which decided to send the fact-finding mission to Quetta, Karachi and Gilgit-Baltistan to investigate recent incidents of violence targeting members of the Shia community.
Committee chairman Riaz Fatyana said that the Babusar incident where a group of Shias were murdered was shameful. He added that it was the responsibility of the state to provide protection to its citizens.
Fatyana said that if the government is unable to provide protection to the country’s minorities, then it cannot expect other countries to provide protection to their minority Muslim groups. He added that it is wrong to assert that external powers are at work in regard to these acts of sectarianism.
A member of the committee, Jamila Gilani also said that sectarianism is an ideology within Pakistan, due to which, minority sects in the country are being targeted. Therefore, to solve the problem of sectarianism and extremism, this ideology must be eradicated.
Pakistan has been plagued by a recent growing trend of sectarian attacks targeting religious minorities. On Wednesday, three people of the Shia Hazara community were killed when gunmen opened fire on a taxi in Quetta. In another targeted incident earlier on August 16, gunmen dragged at least 20 Shia Muslim travelers off a bus, killing them at point blank range in the hills of Babusar top in Gilgil-Baltistan’s Mansehra district. The past few months have witnessed an alarming rise in incidents where the Shia community has come under attack and their members have been killed, especially in northern Pakistan where the ethnic Hazara Shia community has been the most common target for such incidents.
Senate body concerned about killing of Shiite Muslims
Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs has emphasized upon taking steps for dealing with massacre of Shiite Muslims and inexcusable treatment with minorities in Pakistan.
Meeting of Senate’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs was held Wednesday in the parliament house under the chairmanship of Senator Haji Adeel (ANP). Member of the standing committee, Senator Mustafa Kamal (MQM) said that importance should be attached with the situation of human rights in Pakistan. He said the members of Shiite community are being murdered while targeted killing of workers of some political parties is also on the rise. Senator Haji Adeel said the government has no choice other than to deal with the unwarranted treatment meted out to minorities of which the world community is taking notice. While briefing the committee about genocide of Muslims in Burma, state minister for foreign affairs, Malik Ammad Khan said Pakistan has recorded its protest over the massacre while a resolution against the brutal killings, has also been passed in the parliament. President Asif Ali Zardari has also written a letter to the Burmese President whereas the ambassador of Pakistan to Burma has visited the affected areas, the state minister added.
A senator from Pakistan’s Muttahida Qaumi Movement warned against getting involved in the issue of Burma’s treatment of Rohingya Muslims, saying it would only increase international criticism of its own handling of domestic sectarian strife. Senator Mustafa Kamal said on Wednesday that Pakistan has its own problems with killings targeting Shia Muslims.
Given that there is a lot of misrepresentation about Shia genocide in Pakistani and international media and also by the so called think tanks and civil society (Jinnah Institute, Citizens for Democracy etc), it is important that the parliamentary commission considers the following few facts:
1. Do not treat LeJ-ASWJ-SSP militants as representing Sunni Muslims. At best, they represent fringe radicalized Deobandi sectarian group which is rejected by moderate Deobandis (e.g., JUI-F) as well as by Sunni Barelvis.
2. Do not treat LeJ-ASWJ-SSP militants’ attacks on Shiite Muslims in all parts of Pakistan as Sunni vs Shia sectarian violence. The same terrorists who have killed at least 19,000 Shia Muslims in last few years have also killed thousands of Sunni Barelvi and moderate Deobandi Muslims. This is not Sunni vs Shia sectarianism, this is LeJ-ASWJ terrorism against Pakistan. Shia Genocide Database: A detailed account of Shia killings in Pakistan from 1963 to 2012
3. Instead of using the false “Sunni-Shia sectarianism” discourse, use the Takfirism and Takfiri Terrorism discourse which clearly explains that Sunnis are not responsible for killing innocent Shias. Takfirism, not sectarianism, is right construct to describe and fight Shia genocide in Pakistan
4. Do not treat LeJ-ASWJ leaders (Ahmed Ludhianvi, Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi etc) as representing Sunni Muslims. Sunni Muslims are represented by leaders of JUI-F, Sunni Tehreek etc. Leaders of JUI-F, Sunni Tehrik as well as Qazi Hussain Ahmed and others have always condemned and dissociated from LeJ-ASWJ terrorist activities. Sunni Muslims reject Sipah-e-Sahaba.
The recently-revived Milli Yakjehti Council completed its organisational structure by formally electing former Jamaat-i-Islami chief Qazi Hussain Ahmed as its president and JUI-F leader Hafiz Hussain Ahmad as its secretary general. The name of Qazi Hussain Ahmad to head the MYC was proposed by JUI-S chief Peer Abdur Rahim Naqshbandi, Islami Tehrik’s Allama Syed Sajid Ali Naqvi and JUP-C president Pir Mehfooz Mashhadi. The name for the post of secretary general was proposed by Jamaat-i-Islami secretary general Liaquat Baloch. Both the leaders were elected unopposed. A total of 19 leaders of the religious and political parties, including Hafiz Abdur Rahman Makki of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, Allama Ibtisam Elahi Zaheer of Jamiat Ahle Hadith Pakistan, Maulana Abdul Malik of Jamiat Ittehadul Ulema, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Ropri and Raoof Orakzai, attended the meeting. http://dawn.com/2012/06/05/qazi-elected-chief-of-milli-yakjehti-council/ MYC President Qazi Hussain Ahmad said that revival of the MYC was need of the hour as people feel that the religious parties should be united. “Hatred is being created among various sects under a planned conspiracy”, he added. Qazi said people fully know about those who are behind bomb blasts in the mosques and Darbars. Our media is being controlled by dubious elements, therefore the religious leaders should use the platform of Friday congregations to unite the Ummah. Qazi said that MYC will hold a big convention of Ulema and Mashaikh before Muharram in Islamabad to promote understanding and brotherhood among various sects and schools of thought and eliminate all kind of hatred / distrust in the society. He said Islam ordains us to protect life and property of the minorities, therefore we would have to strengthen our relations with minorities. http://www.brecorder.com/general-news/172/1231900/
5. Known haters of Shias including ASWJ-SSP, Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD-LeT), Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi and other members of the so called Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC) must not be allowed to participate in any dialogue between Sunnis and Shias. Sunni-Shia dialogue is already taking place in the Milli Yakjehti Council (MYC). DPC represents terrorists, not Sunnis.
6. Country-wide Shia genocide in which Shiites of all ethnic backgrounds are being systematically killed must not be misrepresented as a Hazara specific ethnic issue. Parliamentary commission must note that at least 200 non-Hazara Shias too have been killed along with 500 Hazara Shias in Quetta. Furthermore, fortunately Sunni Hazaras remain safe in Quetta. LeJ-ASWJ is a sectarian militant group, not ethnic militant group. List of non-Hazara Shia Muslims killed by ASWJ-Taliban in Balochistan
7. Parliamentary Committee must make an effort to consult with those who have a genuine understanding of Shiite genocide in Pakistan e.g., Dr. Muhammad Taqi, Farahnaz Ispahani, Saroop Ijaz, Ayesha Siddiqa, Abbas Nasir instead of giving voice to those who misrepresent Shia genocide in Sunni-Shia sectarian terms or Hazara ethnic terms.
8. The role of Pakistani State, particularly in terms of Pakistan army’ and Supreme Court’s support and protection to Jihadist militants, and its implications for Shia genocide must also be considered.