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An example of how a Deobandi blogger obfuscates Shia genocide in Pakistan – by Ada Khakwani

Shahid Saeed, a pro-army (fake) liberal obfuscates Shia genocide in Pakistan
Shahid Saeed, a “commercial liberal” blogger  obfuscates Shia genocide in Pakistan

On a relatively unknown pro-establishment blog (Five Rupees), a Deobandi Pashtun blogger (a graduate of a military academy and an under-training establishment mouthpiece) known as an emering commercial iberal along with Samad Khurram and Mohsin Hijazee, has published a dishonest analysis titled “What’s up with the LeJ” in which he has grossly obfuscated the genocide of Shia and Sunni Sufi/Barelvi Muslims in Pakistan at the hands of Deobandi takfiri terrorists. His post serves as a great example of the dishonesty and obfuscation that currently surrounds Shia and Sunni-Sufi genocide in the pro-establishment commerical liberals and Deobandi activists of Pakistan.

Not once in his post, does this man acknowledge the countrywide systematic Shia Genocide by a coherent group of Takfiri Deobandis supported by a tiny pro-Deobandi takfiri section in Pakistan security establishemnt. Not once he acknowledges that in adddition to 22,000 Shia Muslims, Deobandi takfiri ASWJ terrorists have also killed more than 10,000 Sunni Sufi Barelvis in Pakistan through attacks on Data Darbar, Abdullah Shah Ghazi, Rehman Baba and the target killing of Sunni Barelvi clerics and activists.

Not unlike Ali K. Chishti (‘Ludhianvi is a prophet of peace’ fame Deobandi blogger from Karachi) and other Deobandi activists, Shahid Saeed too claims that LeJ and ASWJ are two separate entities. This tactic is consistent with ISI’s discourse on distinction between bad Taliban and good Taliban. He describes the minor power struggle between Ishaq and Ludhianvi (if the news is not based on Noora Kushti) as “SSP-LeJ tensions: So even if there’s a positively reinforcing relationship between the two, there are internal tensions obviously, just like any other place.”

He also claims that TTP, JeM, LeJ, ASWJ, Jundullah are separate entities. He further claims that Iranian Jundullah is different from Pakistani Jundullah.

He claims that LeJ in Balochistan is an almost entirely different entity from the LeJ in Punjab. According to him: “the SSP in Punjab no longer uses gun, even though scruffy large bodyguards for their leaders can be seen totting them all the time”.

He claims that Shia terrorists of Sipah-e-Muhammad, Lashkar-e-Mehdi etc are responsible for Sunni genocide in Karachi. This is the only occasion that he uses this word ‘genocide’ in an article supposedly on Shia killings in Pakistan! According to him ” The Sipah-e-Muhammad, Mehdi Force etc are all but dead in Punjab. In Karachi, they have carried out attacks even though SSP-SM battles are less common than SSP-Random Gang battles.” Did you notice how he reduces Shia genocide by SSP (ASWJ) to random gang battles?

He presents Balochs including Baloch chiefs (Sardars) as callous, inhuman individuals. According to him: “there is deliberate overlooking if not connivance of local sardars in Hazara attacks for petty political power. This is old-old Baloch politics, bitter rivalries and inhumane disregard for tactics used to clear path to power.”

According to him, LeJ does not carry out suicide attacks. “One thing that I would like to clarify at the very start is that there are assertions during every discussion about the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi that it carries out suicide attacks too (see Ejaz Haider doing it only yesterday eg). This is not LeJ’s modus operandi. They do not do suicide bombings.”

Clearly he treats LeJ and TTP as two separate entities and ignores the fact the Takfiri Deobandi ideology and subservience to Mullah Omar as common thread in both and other groups.

According to him, Shia Ulama Council (SUC) of Sajid Naqvi and ISO were absent from Shia Genocide protests in support of Shia Hazaras. He claims: “I would like to point out one last thing. Conspicuously absent from the Hazara protests are the more Iran linked groups amongst the Shias. Notorious online trolls are of the habit of making any reference to Iran allied Shias groups seem as if the writer is saying that all Pakistani Shias are in the servitude of Iran. I am specifically referring to some leading Shia aalims and organizations that are known for their Iran links (Allama Sajid Ali Naqvi et al), and the very active Imamia Student Organization (ISO) even.” This man does not know that SUC and ISO were the main, not peripheral, players in country-wide protests in support of Shia Hazaras of Quetta.

Not once does he acknowledge the fact that Pakistan army, ISI in particular, played a key role in formation, nurturing and operation to date of Deobandi Jihadist militants including those belonging to LeJ, ASWJ, TTP, JeM, Jundullah and other allied groups.

Given that he is a Punjabi-ized blogger of pro-military background, Shahid Saeed completely obfuscates incidents of Shia genocide in Punjab including three major massacres in Khanpur (South Punjab), Chakwal and Rawalpindi, target killings of Shia professionals in Lahore (Professor Shabih Hasnain, Lawyer Shakir Rizvi and now Dr. Ali Haider, all three killed in Lahore in a span of few months) and writes the following lines: “The Punjab faction of the LeJ, which I have tried to hypothesize here is the ‘original LeJ’, is pretty much silent – even the hotbeds of Jhang, Khanewal and Khairpur Tamewali are peaceful. The recent assassination of an eye surgeon in Lahore is an outlier really – Punjab has seen negligible sectarian militancy* in the last years.”

Given that this man (Shahid Saeed) happens to be a ShiaPhobe and also ZardariPhobe, he is to be soft on Shahbaz Sharif (key sponsor of ASWJ-LeJ), therefore, he offers a great theory: “the SSP-ASWJ-LeJ nexus has been kept under check in Punjab – the fourth schedule regulating movement of leaders and their foot-soldiers known to the administration.”

Next he claims to be an expert on KP and FATA too and writes this: “The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi in FATA, and the al-Alami offshoot are the Al-Qaeda linked factions, anti-Shia violence not being their primary goal anymore.” Of course, this man ignores the systematic Shia genocide that has been taking place in Kurram Agency, Hangu, D.I.Khan, Peshwar and other areas of KP and FATA in the last several years.

Next, once again, he is out there to provide a clean chit to the Punjab government. He claims “Some useless commentary tries to create a correlation between Malik Ishaq’s release (September 11, 2012) and increase in attacks on Hazaras/Shias in Karachi.”. Clearly he does not see any rise in Shia genocide after Malik Ishaq was released by Shahbaz Sharif and Rana Sanaullah under the watchful eyes of Chief Justice Iftikhar M. Chaudhry.

By the way Shahid Saeed is the same person who along with other fake liberals blamed prosecution for the release of Malik Ishaq: http://pakistanblogzine.wordpress.com/2011/07/21/lets-blame-the-prosecution-on-urban-liberals-reaction-to-malik-ishaqs-release/

He tries to discount the news reports that the chemical used in Quetta Hazara Town massacre was bought and transported from Lahore. He writes: “The PUNJAB-SUPPORT-LEJ card is now further used because some ‘material’ and ‘chemicals’ in the explosive mixture used were obtained in Lahore….My point is, even though Pakistan has tried at some level to control the availability of CAN (not technically, but declared a controlled substance, DCOs to check sales done with CNICs only, transfer to Balochistan and KPK controlled etc) but it’s a very uncontrollable thing. ”

Then, this man implicitly tries to rationalize PMLN’s alliance with LeJ-ASWJ and writes: “The SSP’s political power in Punjab can be gauged by the fact that going against it has become impossible.”

He claims that “Sheikh Waqas Akram is the only vocally anti-SSP politician”. For the writer, Nadeem Afzal Chan, Faisal Raza Abdi, Farahnaz Ispahani, Rehman Malik, Altaf Hussain etc simply do not exist!

Next this PMLN-ISI inclined writer acts as a spokesperson of ASWJ-LeJ to malign PPP and writes the following lines: “The ASWJ twitter account just yesterday ran the names of 20+ PPP politicians who allegedly had an electoral alliance/understanding with the it. Ishaq was released with the specific intent to draw him “away from attacking the state”, having been unsuccessfully used in negotiating with the GHQ attackers few years back. This is real political power.” He carefully deletes the fact that the ASWJ Twitter account issues the fake list on behest of PML-N, and in fact particularly tagged PML-N’s Ahsan Iqbal and Mariyam Nawaz Sharif before issuing the list on Twitter.

This man then asks some innocent questions: “A big question is why the Hazaras? I do not have an answer to it. I similarly have no idea why Shia doctors specifically are targeted. The hypothesis that the militants want to go after educated Shias is a bit weak. I know Deobandis (and of course upwardly progressive angry groups) believe in the ‘Shia Power’ theory (white collar Shia power specifically), but targeting doctors seems like a very curious case.”

Did you notice how he simply discounts the fact that a large number of Shia professional have been systematically target killed by Takfiri Deobandi terrorists (LeJ-ASWJ) in Karachi, Quetta, Peshawar, Lahore and other areas. Also, he can’t find an answer to why Shia Hazaras are being particularly targetted in Quetta. Similarly he can’t explain why Shias were killed in Gilgit or Parachinar. He does not lack intellect, he lacks integrity.

On Twitter and other social media, this man continues to peddle the ISI-PMLN-LeJ propaganda by under-reporting the nature and extent of Shia genocide. For example in reaction to the murder of Dr. Ali Haider and his 11-yr old son in Lahore and target killing of other Shias, this man says:

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Next he justifies why army/ISI has been unable to take action against LeJ. Of course he ignores that LeJ is an imaginary group but its reality and actual culprits are right in front of us in the shape of ASWJ. He writes: “This brings me to how do you handle the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. As I said before, it was and still is a very spread organization. It’s not like you go into Lyari and kill all the People’s Amn Committee. It works by being in the shadows and militant members not being active political participants. It does not need a coherent structure. Dis-assembling such an organization obviously requires infiltration, which is very dangerous and not the modus operandi of Pakistani forces”

The only argument that we agree with in Shahid Saeed’s article is the following:

“A lot of commentary on the Hazara persecution and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi’s fangs in Balochistan is just plain horseshit – you can tell that the people writing it have no idea of what, who and how but just shooting bullets in the air.”

Of course, his own article is a new addition to the long list of crap that is being written by fake liberals to obfuscate Shia genocide.

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Pro-Deobandi-Army style obfuscation of #ShiaGenocide brought to you by a junior version of Ejaz Haider

What’s Up With The LeJ
by Shahid Saeed

http://fiverupees.com/2013/02/20/whats-up-with-the-lej/

I would start by stating on the onset that there is a lot that I don’t know. I won’t claim to know what I don’t know, or be certain that my hypothesis or a theory is correct. I similarly do not want to waste time re-hashing a ‘history of the LeJ’. You can read that hereherehere and here.

I am going to deal with multiple issue here, in a non-coherent way.

  • Much noise is made about the escape of Usman ‘Saifullah’ Kurd from jail. This is justified. He is after all supposed to be the leader of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi in Balochistan. The fact that he and some accomplices escaped from a high security prison which was inside the very high security Quetta Cantonment is nothing but shocking. Suspicions are justified too. The story from the day of their ‘escape’ goes that they were released in an underhand deal with the MI, supposedly for use against Baloch militant elements. A point about the security of Quetta Cantonment: Around 3-4 years back, a poor AMC Captain was coming back into the cantonment on foot, after supposedly some shopping, ear-plugs and iPod. He somehow got in from the gate and the guard detail did not note him (perhaps he assumed his identity was clear/officer ego/and went straight in while guards were busy elsewhere). When the soldiers at the guard detail called for him, he did not hear them through the headphones and kept walking. A warning shot towards the feet and he panicked, running into the cantonment, fearing a possible attack from militants clearly. The guards took him for a suicide bomber gaining access into the cantonment and had a clear headshot. It is a very safe place. Nothing goes in or out. Escaping from the jail and the cantonment walls both sounds like a big task.
  • Hazara activists allege that Usman Kurd has served as a bodyguard for PPP provincial ministers and that the operating base for this faction being Mastung, Nawab Aslam Raisani’s territory, there is deliberate overlooking if not connivance of local sardars in Hazara attacks for petty political power. This is old-old Baloch politics, bitter rivalries and inhumane disregard for tactics used to clear path to power.
  • Then there are allegations about the newly appointed IG Balochistan. Mushtaq Sukhera was the AIG heading the new Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) in Punjab. According to news reports, he brokered the deal between PML-N and SSP/ASWJ and he’s on push-to-talk with Ahmed Ludhianvi, for if any of their men are arrested, he arranges their release. Apparently, Najam Sethi bolstered these allegations in his show as well (I have no patience to watch talk shows anymore). Hence, the suggestion is that he’s going to be easy on the LeJ anyways.
  • One thing that I would like to clarify at the very start is that there are assertions during every discussion about the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi that it carries out suicide attacks too (see Ejaz Haider doing it only yesterday eg). This is not LeJ’s modus operandi. They do not do suicide bombings. In the ’90s, assassinations were more often than large attacks. The former most oftenly drive-by shootings/hit-and-run and the latter were burst-into-Imambargah style attacks. They did plant bombs then, and that is their most common method today. A few suicide attacks have been attributed to them, a June 2012 attack on a pilgrim bus and an April 2010 one on a Quetta hospital (the former might as well have been Jundullah, not the Iranian one). There is a BUIT suicide attack claim too, though I’m not certain about it. Suicide bombings against Shias and in KP-FATA have been claimed by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al-Alami, their ‘international franchise’. A lot of commentary on the Hazara persecution and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi’s fangs in Balochistan is just plain horseshit – you can tell that the people writing it have no idea of what, who and how but just shooting bullets in the air. There must be people within the security apparatus who have more knowledge and possibly a better understanding of the issue, but the commentators clearly are not informed. It’s just like DC based Afghan commentary: know nothing, claim everything.
  • Then there is the ethn-linguistic element. I deal with the military’s divide-and-conquer and use-one-against-the-other policy later, but it is necessary to mention here that the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi’s footsoldiers in Balochistan are primarily Brahvi/Brahui speakers. This fissure is used by the military in raising ‘pro-Pakistan’ groups where Baloch speakers are the suspicious while Pashto speakers are the state loyalists and the Brahuis treated somewhere in between.  Nusrat Javed and Waj S Khan raised this point recently too.
  • Furthermore, I want to add that the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi in Balochistan is very much a local group. There is constant hammering that it’s all Punjab based/Punjaz-iz-Evilz but a quick look at the LeJ leadership will give you an idea: Usman ‘Saifullah’ Kurd, Ramzan Mengal, Shafiq Rind, Dawood Badini, Jaleel Ahmed ‘Abubakar’ Ababakki (the Ababakki are a Brahui speaking Mengal sub-tribe). The ‘old guard’ is represented by the LeJ’s Asif ‘Chotu’ Baloch Group. Not from Punjab.
  • The LeJ is still present in Punjab, very much so in South Punjab but my hypothesis is that the Balochistan and Punjab ‘chapters’, so to say, should be treated as near separate groups, if with some shared history and common elements (like you’d say the Lashkar-e-Islam is different from the Tehreek-e-Taliban or Jaish-e-Muhammad was different from Harkat-ul-Ansar). You cannot transport militant groups to another area – it requires connection with local criminal elements, knowledge of the territory and ability to melt into the public when things get hot. An entire organization of Punjabi migrants cannot just plant themselves in Balochistan or even that Malik Ishaq is remote controlling an organization in Quetta and Mastung through middlemen. It is a local organization and that should be accepted. Laying blame on ‘Punjab training camps’ is not rational. Leaders and leading fighters might, nay must, have been trained in the Afghan and South Punjab training camps that the LeJ had and foot-soldiers raised in SSP linked madrassahs. Some friends suggested bomb-making expertise means it’s old and seasoned players – well, it’s a flourishing business in Pakistan and even in the ’90s, this was at times an outsourced business where expert bomb-makers worked for multiple groups.
  • The Punjab faction of the LeJ, which I have tried to hypothesize here is the ‘original LeJ’, is pretty much silent – even the hotbeds of Jhang, Khanewal and Khairpur Tamewali are peaceful. The recent assassination of an eye surgeon in Lahore is an outlier really – Punjab has seen negligible sectarian militancy* in the last years. This is very much so due to political deals between the administration and militant group’s leaders where their concerns are taken into consideration, they’re allowed to move free and address people, and pursue their political power, in exchange for the administration not imprisoning them or going after their organizations. I am by no means saying accommodating militant and hate groups is a viable peace strategy, but this is the present condition. A contributing factor is that the SSP-ASWJ-LeJ nexus has been kept under check in Punjab – the fourth schedule regulating movement of leaders and their foot-soldiers known to the administration. The Balochistan groups came into existence later, their elements not being known. An unknown entity in the shadows is impossible to fight.
  • The old hierarchy of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is represented by the jailed Muhammad Ajmal alias ‘Akram Lahori’, dead Saleem Fauji etc. The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi in FATA, and the al-Alami offshoot are the Al-Qaeda linked factions, anti-Shia violence not being their primary goal anymore. This is represented by the fluid members who were in HuJI and LeJ both: Mati-ur-Rehman, Amanullah Afridi. The FATA elements were led by a ‘Qari Zafar Group’. He was killed in a drone strike in 2010. Since then, the group has been less visible, with splinter Brigade 313 being more prominent, and Mufti Abuzar Khanjari al-Burmi being more of a spiritual leader to multiple terrorist groups in the region: IMU, LeJ al-Alami, TTP etc. An old top LeJ militant Qari Ata-ur-Rehman alias ‘Naeem Bukhari’ was involved in the Daniel Pearl murder and was released from jail in 2010. He is believed to be in Karachi. Targeting of Shias in Karachi is attributed to both the LeJ and Jundullah.
  • Some useless commentary tries to create a correlation between Malik Ishaq’s release (September 11, 2012) and increase in attacks on Hazaras/Shias in Karachi. Increased attacks on Hazras started in 2009, picked up pace in 2010, escalated in late 2011 and by early 2012 had become insane (Timeline here). Usman Kurd and accomplices escaped from jail on January 18, 2008. Their assimilation back into militant life has a more direct correlation with attack on Hazaras than Malik Ishaq’s release. This should be clear to anyone with a functioning brain.
  • The PUNJAB-SUPPORT-LEJ card is now further used because some ‘material’ and ‘chemicals’ in the explosive mixture used were obtained in Lahore. Earlier reports suggested that the large blast was caused by an amplifier used in the usual explosive mix: Ammonium Nitrate. This is largely obtained from Fatima Fertilizer’s ‘Sarsabz’ brand which is CAN (Calcium Ammonium Nitrate) and the US has long complained that this is smuggled to Afghanistan and causes huge IED losses for them. They’ve worked with Fatima Fertilizer to try and control the product, but it’s been difficult and the company’s plans for a plant in Indiana are being thwarted because of the IED issue. My point is, even though Pakistan has tried at some level to control the availability of CAN (not technically, but declared a controlled substance, DCOs to check sales done with CNICs only, transfer to Balochistan and KPK controlled etc) but it’s a very uncontrollable thing. Fertilizer is widely available and will be so. Explosives on their own are smuggled easily all the time, like this batch just caught recently and counter IED plans and tactics will help only in operational areas where they are causing huge losses. Factories, mining operations and the Department of Explosives are under pressure to keep a check  on their detonators and explosive stock, but fudging figures is easy and a mining operation in Kohat lost a truck worth of TNT but did not report it a few years back.
  • The SSP’s political power in Punjab can be gauged by the fact that going against it has become impossible. When sectarian terrorism was at its peak in the late 90s, it was a top campaign priority. Nobody side stepped the issue. In one case, Shahbaz accused the Taliban government of supporting LeJ and was rebuked by the Foreign Office. Nawaz almost got assassinated and his escape was lucky (bomb triggered by VHF radio accidentally) and Riaz Basra did the photo-op stunt then. Must have scared the shit out of Nawaz and everybody. Today, however, nobody dare being vocally anti-SSP. Sheikh Waqas Akram is the only vocally anti-SSP politician, and his Jhang constituency is the home of the SSP and LeJ. He draws his power from an alliance with the Tehreek-e-Jafria, but his family members having being assassinated by the SSP earlier, it must be really difficult to do it. The ASWJ twitter account just yesterday ran the names of 20+ PPP politicians who allegedly had an electoral alliance/understanding with the it. Ishaq was released with the specific intent to draw him “away from attacking the state”, having been unsuccessfully used in negotiating with the GHQ attackers few years back. This is real political power.
  • SSP-LeJ tensions: So even if there’s a positively reinforcing relationship between the two, there are internal tensions obviously, just like any other place. Malik Ishaq might have held sway and remote controlled some things from jail, but not everything and his release diminished the status of Ludhianvi, Farooqi and other SSP leaders. For SSP rank and file, who might carry the political-workers-not-killers card, Ishaq still is a hero, a headlining speaker everywhere and his star status affects the status of others. This obviously has led to, as reported, friction between Ishaq and Ludhianvi. It should be kept in mind that this is not a monolithic group of people. Malik Ishaq’s name was removed from the ECL sometime ago and he was allowed to proceed for Umra. I’m skeptical on the funding alerts on these things. SSP-ASWJ-LeJ nexus identify themselves as ‘Sunni’, they have a wide array of theological opposition to Wahabis and Salafis, but there is always the overriding anti-Iran factor, so you never know.
  • The thing is that the Army still has not learnt that divide-and-conquer is a bad strategy, especially with the poisonous religious pill. Baitullah and Mangal Bagh should have reinforced older lessons, but they’re still sticking to their old ways. Besides trying to create multiple ‘pro-Pakistan’ militant groups in Balochistan (Tehreek-e-Nefaz-e-Aman Balochistan, Baloch Defayee Tanzaim, Sipah-e-Shuhuda-e-Balochistan etc – some being just fronts for intelligence agencies to claim assassinations), they’ve tried to neutralize the social factor of joining BLA etc by promoting the Tableeghi Jamaat eg. They got the TJ allocated a large chunk of area for a markaz in Panjgur. The Baloch are a secular people. You are Baloch before all and this is visible in the high integration of Hindus in Baloch society. If Zikris were based in central Punjab, they’d be dead by now (If you don’t know who the Zikris are, it’s another example of Balochistan’s ‘remoteness’ and the lack of mainstream knowledge about it).
  • A sidenote on the difference between the Sipah-e-Sahaba’s activities in Punjab and Karachi. In Karachi, the use of guns and violence is not any organization’s unique prerogative or technique. It is basic necessity in a turf war. So if the SSP in Punjab no longer uses gun, even though scruffy large bodyguards for their leaders can be seen totting them all the time, and by their mosques, in Karachi the use of guns to establish territory is just gang beahviour. Besides, there still is actual sectarian battle in Karachi. The Sipah-e-Muhammad, Mehdi Force etc are all but dead in Punjab. In Karachi, they have carried out attacks even though SSP-SM battles are less common than SSP-Random Gang battles. The SSP had it’s Karachi HQ come under fire from the Rangers a couple of years back. A fierce battle took place with the Rangers pushed back to the exterior and firing from across the road. ASWJ suffers losses in Karachi (a look at Ummat/Islam will suffice) and overall they have their own narrative of victimization too (Sunni Killing, Sunni Genocide, Yeh Zulm Kab Tak social media pages). Furthermore, the SSP has put effort into becoming a Seraiki-South Punjabi representation group as well. Migrants from these areas do not have representation in the Karachi pool and the SSP has carved itself a role here.
  • A big question is why the Hazaras? I do not have an answer to it. Conspicuous/easy to identify/close proximity of Hazaras are just but factors that can aid attackers, it cannot be the primary reason for targeting them. Economic reasons are similarly weak to be primary factors. I similarly have no idea why Shia doctors specifically are targeted. The hypothesis that the militants want to go after educated Shias is a bit weak. I know Deobandis (and of course upwardly progressive angry groups) believe in the ‘Shia Power’ theory (white collar Shia power specifically), but targeting doctors seems like a very curious case.
  • And the Lashkar just warned of attacking the Quetta Jail. We’ve seen this episode before: Kohat Jail. LeJ leaders in Gilgit-Baltistan escaped from jail just recently too.

This brings me to how do you handle the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. As I said before, it was and still is a very spread organization. It’s not like you go into Lyari and kill all the People’s Amn Committee. It works by being in the shadows and militant members not being active political participants. It does not need a coherent structure. Dis-assembling such an organization obviously requires infiltration, which is very dangerous and not the modus operandi of Pakistani forces, which rely on arresting a foot soldier or sympathizer, electrifying his balls/elaborate torture methods to force the name of person in the N-3 hierarchy, who then gives you N-2 hierarchy and up you go. Punjab’s experience with counter-sectarian terror in the late ’90s gave us a few lessons:

  1. trials can be successful, but acquittal in the long term is a high possibility
  2. threats to judges, prosecutors and witnesses are real. Witnesses have been killed right, left and center.
    • In Ishaq’s cases, some judges had been so scared that they offered tea and biscuits to him themselves in court and one judge trying to hide his face had his children’s name and address read by Ishaq during trial. Witnesses were killed like cannon-fodder.
    • SSP Ashraf Marth led the investigation into the attack on the Iranian Cultural Center in Multan, he was then transferred to Gujranwala and shot in broad daylight in his official vehicle. He was the brother-in-law of then Interior Minister Chaudhary Shujaat Hussain. Thirteen years after his murder, the accused were acquitted.
    • Back then, the accused were killed off by rival groups during trial as well. This is not a possibility anymore.
  3. the quick solution was the preferred police method: encounter – the extra judicial murder of middle to higher hierarchy.

Punjab has encounter specialists in its ranks still (Zulfiqar Cheema, Umar Virk) with SHO level officers the ones carrying out the real dirty deed (old Inspector Naveed Saeed types). My point is, multiple people assert that extra judicial assassination might be the real short term solution to this menace. I’m usually soft on murder-for-peace, not very pacifist. I don’t find the idea utterly horrible.

I would like to point out one last thing. Conspicuously absent from the Hazara protests are the more Iran linked groups amongst the Shias. Notorious online trolls are of the habit of making any reference to Iran allied Shias groups seem as if the writer is saying that all Pakistani Shias are in the servitude of Iran. I am specifically referring to some leading Shia aalims and organizations that are known for their Iran links (Allama Sajid Ali Naqvi et al), and the very active Imamia Student Organization (ISO) even. These groups are very prominent at Iran sponsored events like the Palestine Day/Hamas support things, and even though ISO might be banned or such, it is active in Karachi and participates in Palestine Day and such. Someone brought a Hezbollah flag to a rally at D-Chowk protesting the attacks against Hazaras and a picture of that is reaping profit for SSP/ASWJ/LeJ social media teams as well. For those interested in Shia politics in Pakistan, this good essay on Iran and the current plight of Pakistan’s Shia should be a definite read.

*That even I have to put it here is a salute to the psychological power of troll harassment. Anon ‘human right defender’ trolls try to make you sound like a SSP sympathizer if you use the term sectarian militancy/violence instead of their preferred terms. It does not imply equal violence. It implies that the nature of the terrorism is sectarian, not ethnic, not eco, not narco, but sectarian.

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Jehangir Hafsi

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  • “Sunni Genocide”. Stupid is short of English vocabulary, so he is retrofitting Kuffar’s Jargon.

  • Pakistan’s ‘strategic’ backwaters
    By Ayesha SiddiqaPublished: February 20, 2013

    The writer is an independent social scientist and author of Military Inc.
    It seems that Balochistan is no one’s responsibility when it comes to dealing with crisis but everyone else’s responsibility when it is a matter of taking critical decisions. Thus, no one wants to deal with the law and order problem but the province’s natural resources are just another matter. Eventually, no one does anything meaningful for the province. One of the biggest examples of the above-cited attitude is the federal government’s signing of a deal with China to develop and run Gwadar port or the MoU signed with Iran for the gas pipeline through Balochistan. Both the projects are great and will hopefully bring some level of prosperity to the region. However, it is the manner in which both actions have been taken, which must be questioned; the federal government signed off control of the port without any major involvement of the provincial government.
    Was it that the provincial government was too absorbed in dealing with the Hazara killings of last month and thus it could not attend to such an important matter? Or is it that the federal government thought it was in a better position to negotiate interests? Such behaviour is odd especially after the much-propagated Eighteenth Amendment to the 1973 Constitution, under which major ports and shipping falls under the list of subjects that are shared responsibility of the federal and provincial governments. This means that the Balochistan government should have been included in the negotiations and part of the signing process. Surely, there are many who would draw attention towards the capacity issue. They would argue that a government that cannot protect its citizens, like the Hazaras, does not have the capacity, hence the right, to be part of the process. However, capacities don’t grow on trees and unless people are made to take responsibility, they will never learn. Pakistan’s 66-year history has also been that of crowding out of regions and institutions by the more powerful ones, so in the end things remain where they are because those who are supposed to do the work don’t know how to do it. In any case, there shouldn’t have been any fear of opposition from a fairly pliant provincial government. According to an expert, who works on devolution of power from the centre to the provinces, with a pliable government in Quetta, there was no likelihood of anyone raising any question, so why not include the province just for the sake of appearance. Indubitably, the provincial government’s capacity to protect its Hazara population should not be used to take away its right to decide the use of its resources.
    Intriguingly, no federal institution is ready to take responsibility for securing law and order in the province for which everyone, including the highest courts, would like to blame the inept provincial government or the prime minister who does not really control various forms of the security establishment in the country, especially those operating in Balochistan. Raja Pervaiz Ashraf has a lot to answer for but he certainly does not control the various militant outfits like the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) operating in the province. The LeJ operates in Karachi in its various forms — it is running wild in Balochistan and is expanding happily in Punjab and Sindh without anyone stopping such proliferation. Malik Ishaq, who is one of the leaders of the LeJ, sits happily in Punjab with full knowledge that nothing serious can happen against him except for being jailed under the MPO. He knows fully well that the only case in which he was caught was of the murder of an Iranian diplomat in Multan in 1997, and this case was closed by the Supreme Court in 2011. The SC not only released Ishaq but overturned his death sentence by the anti-terrorism court (ATC). Sadly, the case dragged on until the time that the ATC judge giving the sentence escaped the country and the LeJ walked around merrily shooting down each of the about a dozen eyewitnesses who had given evidence in the case, including a senior police officer from Gujranwala, Ashraf Marth.
    Now, the security agencies happily hide behind the artificial classification of ‘controlled’ versus ‘uncontrolled’ LeJ. The narrative being popularised is that there is a good LeJ headed by Ishaq that sits in Punjab and is friendly to the Pakistani state versus the LeJ International (al-Alami) that is stationed in North Waziristan and attacks the state and its citizens. However, it is also very odd that the intelligence agencies and the security establishment has not done a thing in using Ishaq to negotiate with the bad LeJ as was done during the attack on the GHQ in 2009. Ishaq was flown in to buy time from the assailants to secure senior army officers stuck in the headquarters. The larger argument is that the good militants are used to negotiate with the bad militants. Intriguingly, this is the same formula suggested for Afghanistan in some of the papers written and supervised by the establishment types and sold to the public as consensus document.
    Those buying into the ‘good’ versus ‘bad’ militant argument forget that the LeJ and other militants have always been and remain conduits of state actors. Pakistani scholar and former police officer Hassan Abbas’s book Pakistan’s Drift into Extremism (M E Sharpe, 2005) is essential reading to understanding some of the connections. The author lays out the connection between our prime intelligence agency, America’s CIA and the LeJ in the killing of an Iranian diplomat in 1997. There was a money trail from the US to the LeJ’s Riaz Basra responsible for the killing. Leafing through the book, one is forced to think if the same logic or relationship prevails now. The LeJ in Balochistan could happily take cover of the shared suspicion of Iran by Islamabad and Washington to kill the Hazaras that many in the Pakistan establishment consider as being close to Iran or (even trained by the neighbour). A similar suspicion of the above linkage in the 1980s had resulted in a Shia massacre in early 1988 in Gilgit-Baltistan, which was then suspected of becoming too autonomous of the state and going under Iranian influence.
    Sadly, with no one taking responsibility of security and foreign policymaking, the Hazaras and Shias or other minorities may continue to be killed.
    Published in The Express Tribune, February 21st, 2013
    http://tribune.com.pk/story/510087/pakistans-strategic-backwaters/

  • The writer is a Pathan.

    He is a graduate of a school which has nothing to do with the military anymore.

    Check your facts.

  • Punjabi or no Punjabi, this man (Shahid Said) is surely an Ejaz Haider / Hamid Mir to be, an under training establishment mouth piece.

  • On Twitter, the following newborn (Fake Liberal) champions of the Shia cause of celebrating this post. Note these names:

    3 hrs Five Rupees ‏@FiveRupees
    New post: What’s up with the LeJ?, by @shahidsaeed http://fiverupees.com/2013/02/20/whats-up-with-the-lej/

    2 hrs omar ali ‏@omarali50
    What’s up with the LeJ? http://fiverupees.com/2013/02/20/whats-up-with-the-lej/ … via @fiverupees @shahidsaeed is always reliable about facts. Bookmark/follow/read
    Retweeted by Anwar A Durrani

    1 hr Feisal H. Naqvi ‏@laalshah
    This post by @shahidsaeed is utterly, utterly brilliant. Necessary reading http://fiverupees.com/2013/02/20/whats-up-with-the-lej/ …”

    Iftikhar Firdous ‏@IftikharFirdous
    Great read What’s up with the LeJ? by @shahidsaeed http://fiverupees.com/2013/02/20/whats-up-with-the-lej/ … – one thing- the jail was broken in Bannu not Kohat.

    49 mins Hafsa ‏@hafsaq
    “@abidhussayn: RT @ahsanib Absolute monster of a post on LeJ by @shahidsaeed http://bit.ly/UM2DFg Read and learn stuff.”
    Retweeted by Nadir El-Edroos

    Mansoor Ali Khan ‏@MansoorGeoNews
    What’s up with the LeJ? by Shahid Saeed http://fiverupees.com/2013/02/20/whats-up-with-the-lej/ … via @fiverupees – Worth Reading

    2 hrs Abdul Majeed ‏@abdulmajeedabid
    so LUBP does a whole post(with a cute pic) of my friend @shahidsaeed Welcome to the Hall of Fame friend, with other more illustrious ppl

  • From his blog, Comment by a reader:

    M Baloch:

    In last two of months Lahore has seen murder of prof. Sibt Hassan, lawyer Shakir Rizvi, now Dr. haider and his son?

    Then come to Gamay Shah blast, Chakwal Majlis, Rahim yar khan blast, Pindi (OK that’s Taliban) and in Punjab they are silent?

    Saeed sb. I myself am a Baloch and let me correct you on your narrative of secular Baloch narrative which you yourself contradict with when discussing Brohis. Baloch were secular in the sense that they didn’t care much about religion but situation has changed. Now see the nationalist women; even in missing persons’ protest Baloch women come with Niqab, which was never a Baloch phenomenon. This was not the case some ten years ago. Brahvi are relatively more Deobandi extremists and all of them have SSP have found roots there. Even the pilgrims who visit Noorani from Qalandar by foot using Sindh-Balochistan root are not allowed for “NAARA HAIDRI”. it is true that in Mastung Malik Ishaq does not manage micro details but same is true for Gilgat, he is ideological supporting and making commanding decisions.

    Second, you completly ignored the case that in Jafferbad, Nasirabad, Murad Jamali and Sibi that have significant Shia Baloch population were on the rise of attacks. Moulana ad Maikho was killed in Murad Jamali some two years back. Imam bargahs in GandaWah and Jafferabad were attacked, Moulana Maqsood Domki (a Baloch Shia leader of Derra Allah yar, Jafferbad) was forced to leave the area and he now lives in Quetta and Jacobabad. So you hypothesis that this is Hazara specific something is completly Ejaz Haider style, sorry to say. Also Balochistan has much changed, I don’t know when did you visit it last time, but If you visit Hub (one corner, near karachi)

    Regarding Zikris or what you are saying about integration of Hindus, it tells me you don’t know iota about how they are integrated. I would suggest you a visit to Balochistan. You are most welcome in Dera Murad, I am not there but certainly friends and family will be happy to recieve you and every Baloch doesn’t kill every Punjabi.

  • Blatant obfuscation, Ejaz Haider, Zaid Hamid, Najam Sethi style.

    This man has bright career ahead in the land of the pure.

  • Cell phone which was used to coordinate attacks on Justice Baqar was recovered in Atiq Ur Rehman of Jandullah in Central Jail karachi , according to this brilliant writer jundallah / ssp/aswj are separate entities ..

    if so then why would jundallah would take interest in killing justice baqar who is hearing cases against SSP ?