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Monsters of the extremist Deobandi ideology have struck the innocent people of Pakistan once against. This time Taliban / Sipah-e-Sahaba’s target was the holy shrine of Baba Farid Ganj Shakar in Pakpattan.
A bomb exploded outside the Baba Farid shrine in Pakpattan early Monday morning, killing at least five people, including two women and injuring several others. The explosion occurred during Fajr prayers near the eastern gate of the shrine in Pakpattan, 190 kilometres from Lahore.
The bomb was planted in a milk container on a motorcycle, city police chief Mohammad Kashif told Reuters. “According to initial reports, two unidentified men dressed in shalwar kameez came on the motorcycle and parked it near the gate minutes before the blast,” he said. The explosive device was remote-controlled.
At least a 100 people have been reported to be present at the time of the blast. The injured were taken to the District Headquarters hospital in Pakpattan. At least eight injured people were said to be in critical condition. According to the Regional Police Officer, the shrine was shut down following the blast and security forces had cordoned off the area.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the latest attack but Taliban militants have in the past attacked Sufi shrines.
The chairman of the Ruet-i-Hilal Committee, Mufti Muneebur Rehman said the government had failed to provide adequate security to shrines in Pakistan.
In one of the deadliest strikes, a bomb blast in July at the Data Darbar in Lahore killed more than 40 people. Eight people, including two children, were killed in an attack at the Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine in Karachi on October 8. (Source)
After the attack, a top Sufi scholar, Mufti Muneebur Rehman, criticized the government for not doing enough to protect the Sufi population. Pakistan is 95 percent Muslim, and the majority practice Sufi-influenced Islam. Mufti Muneebur Rehman said extremists had launched a “campaign” to impose their austere (Deobandi / Wahhabi) ideology on other people. Deobandi and Wahhabi extremists, including the Taliban and Sipah-e-Sahaba, are vehemently opposed to the Sufi strand of Islam and consider their shrines idolatrous. “They are systematically targeting our sacred places across the country and the government is doing nothing,” said Rehman. (Source 1, Source 2)
Deobandi militants linked with Taliban, Sipah-e-Sahaba and al—Qaeda have intensified strikes on the followers of the moderate Sufi (Barelvi) version of Islam in recent months, On July 1, two suicide bombers detonated explosives as thousands of worshippers were gathered for prayers at the mausoleum of 11th-century saint Abul Hassan Ali Hajvery, commonly known as Data Ganj Baksh, in Punjab’s provincial capital Lahore. Forty people were killed.
Eight people died and dozens were wounded early this month when twin suicide bombings targeted the mausoleum of 8th—century saint Abdullah Shah Ghazi in the southern port city of Karachi. (Source)
Patterns of violence
Some of the recent terrorist attacks on various targets in Pakistan by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP, or the Movement of Pakistani Taliban) reveal an ideological pattern. The Taliban, who owe their allegiance to the Deobandi school of Islamic thought, are not only targeting Pakistani state institutions but are also attacking other Islamic sects in the country.
Pakistan is a predominant Sunni country. The Deobandis, who account for only 15%of all the Sunni Muslims, are well organized, while the Barelvis, who constitute the bulk of the Sunni population, are seen as being close to the Pakistani state. The Deobandi interpretation of Islam doesn’t approve of the Barelvi practices of visiting shrines of Sufi mystics and singing and dancing there, and therefore considers them as infidels.
Similarly, the Deobandis do not consider the Shi’ite Muslims as Muslims. Various Deobandi groups have demanded that Shi’ites be declared by the Pakistani government as religious minorities like Christians and Hindus, i.e. as infidels. A similar demand against Ahmadi Muslims succeeded in 1974, when the government of the then Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto declared them as non-Muslims.
These ideological considerations can be seen in the recent attacks by the Taliban-Deobandi militants in Pakistan. In April 2006, a conference of Barelvi clerics organized to mark Prophet Muhammad’s birthday was attacked in Karachi. On May 28, 2010, two Ahmadi Muslim mosques were attacked by suicide bombers in Lahore. In March 2009, shrine of the 17th century Sufi mystic Rehman Baba was attacked in Lahore. On July 1, 2010, the famous shrine of 11th century Sufi mystic Syed Ali Hajveri was attacked by Taliban suicide bombers. In December 2009, a Shi’ite religious procession was bombed in Karachi. In August 2010, two Shi’ite religious processions in Lahore and Quetta were attacked. All these attacks are blamed on Taliban-Deobandi attackers.
These attacks show that Deobandis, who comprise about 15% of the population, consider the rest of the Pakistani people – Barelvis, Shi’ite Muslims, Ahmadi Muslims, Christians, Hindus and others – as infidels. In a recent article, titled “Just Who is Not a Kafir?” prominent Pakistani journalist and author Amir Mir examined the ideological pattern of violence in Pakistan. (Source)
The root cause of sectarian violence lies in the ISI’s strategic depth doctrine
Columnist Imtiaz Alam: “As Long as… the [Pakistani Army] Establishment Persists with Their Goal of Bringing the Pashtun Taliban Back to Power in Kabul, They will Continue Digging the Grave of a Democratic Pakistan”
“Perhaps the complicity between the state and the Deobandis deterred the latter from targeting the Barelvis till now. Lawyer and columnist Yasser Latif Hamdani says, ‘There is this potent mixture of Pashtun nationalism and Deobandi Islam. Somehow, there is something intrinsic to the very nature of Deobandi doctrine which the Pakistani military establishment is promoting to advance its so-called geostrategic agenda.’ Yet, simultaneously, under U.S. pressure, the state had to crack down on the TTP, which, in pique, has taken to wreaking vengeance on the hapless Barelvis.
“‘Columnist Imtiaz Alam says, ‘As long as powerful sections in the [Pakistani military] establishment persist with their goal of bringing the Pashtun Taliban back to power in Kabul, they will continue digging the grave of a democratic Pakistan.’ ‘Sectarianism and jihadi terrorism will be its consequent wages,” he insists…” (Source)