By– Shivangini Patak
Religion & philosophy are a part of life they are also art of living, the ways in which schematically we present our human form spiritually. This reflection comes sans any material or worldly spheres which instill the means of evil in it to gain worldly vested interests. Religion is individual & also a part upon the society to maintain tolerance.
Where religion brings individual identity to a human being in the same way when religion’ onus lies on society becomes the collective responsibility of societies to bind all religions for a cohesive growth of society; with tolerance germinating further harmony emancipating from the welfare of mankind. These words look good to read on paper but when the application comes these lines are blurred because of the color red….red blood which oozes when umpteen are slayed for religion & by religion then the same religion leaves us to wonder “why bloodshed when I’m wanting to profess & practice my belief? Why is my brother killed in broad daylight? Why was my son slayed for his surname?” When these questions begin hounding us we begin dodging our limits because the answers are many & denial is the prevalent theory around all of us.
When Shias are killed in broad day light, when men with names of Hussain Abbas, Ali Jaffri, Alvi Zaidi are tracked down after prayers, after completing routine office work after majlis on Moharram. After returning from Imam barghas or after dropping kids to schools one is provoked to make themselves silent at times in denial & at times their dead conscience wakes up & thinks “why are Shias killed?” And if they are killed why is collective society silent because when the flames of forest fire begin it engulfs each & every leaf of each & every tree in that forest. Forest fire & fanatic ideology is the same both run to destroy as much as they can they burn all & leave none. The forest is fired by Tehrik e Taliban Pakistan, Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamat & Sipah e Sahaba. Pakistan collaborated deeply into their nexus of mayhem with killing & a bigger agenda which is of their dominance & political power at play which shifts from a democratic government into their Talibani version of a state of sharia where the same principles of governance are applicable which were in Afghanistan when Taliban took over from Najibullah. This is when religion becomes an onus upon society where tolerance is adopted as a constitutional right where every citizen is free to go to their mosques, churches & temples – NOT go to their places of worship at their own risk & never come back.
The Taliban & Al Qaeda are looking at Pakistan’s political & militarys heart land for refuge, revenge & new alliance. Punjabi politicians court the militants for votes as in the alliance of (ASWJ) SSP with PMLN, military protects them for strategic depth. TTP & Al Qaeda are now in tandem with Punjabi terrorists & in alliance with them hence LeJ Lashkar e Jhangvi & TTP are now working closely. One example was on this year’s Moharram. Six Afghan terrorists along with 2 LeJ terrorists were caught. Along with that the emotions are manipulated & used to fuel hatred. Reactions fall out with violence and such an incidence happened in Rawalpindi on the 10th of Moharram. A sermon from a local madrassa with the maulvi giving decree against Shias & calling them kafir was met with ASWJ’s pre planned sms gathering notice on the 10th of moharram was met with pelting stones firing. It did not end with that fake photographs from Syria & Burma were used by ASWJ to fuel more emotions & finally calling for a ban on Moharram processions. Why on the earth should the Shia community sacrifice with their identity?
Azadari is a part of Shia identity just as the pillars of Islam are for a practicing muslim for Shia muslims. Azadari is part of our identity it defines us our love for our Imam Hussain & his supreme sacrifice which this mankind has never seen & shall never be able to see. The prophet’s (pbuh) beloved grandson whose family met with pain with tragedy & severe conditions where none could survive in that battle of Karbala he gave his life for worlds & civilizations to reckon that sacrifice which made truth has its triumph over the falsehood the army of Imam Hussain over the killer Yazid. Azadari is the same when our beloved family member dies we mourn we mourn the loss of life & Moharram is mourning the loss of our beloved Imam Hussain. Asking the Shia community to have their Azadari banned because a mayhem was purposely caused by preplanned plotting of a banned terrorist organization is like asking a family not to mourn the loss of their beloved but standing with the murderer of the same beloved. Choice is for umpteen of citizens to choose Yazid or Truth?
The present day Yazid’s are none but the same ASWJ/SSP & LeJ whose propaganda isn’t just a fatal one but deeply fatal which will destroy the theology of national fabric to its core it’ll also destroy the fabric which binds the Ummah together.
The major militant groups operating from Punjab Jud, LeT, Sipah e Sahaba & Lashkar e Jhangvi have deepened its ties with Al Qaeda. LeT with its sleeper cells in many states like LeT trained Al Qaeda member involved in London attacks. The terrorist roots in Punjab were nurtured by Zia ul Haq who radicalized the radical militant groups. Zia ul Haq has used these terrorist organizations to suppress the Pakistani Shia minority as he linked the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran to it, not realizing that the Shia in Pakistan are Pakistani citizens as much as any Zia ul Haq or any other person dwelling in Pakistan. Their being Shias never meant for them to be having alliances of their identity to Iran instead of Pakistan. The same mistake is used by apologists who quote the notion of Iran-Saudi proxy war on the rampant Shia Genocide happening.
Nevertheless, neither did Zia ul Haq, nor do the present day apologists of Shia Genocide ever wonder why are they holding the Pakistani Shias in accordance to Iranians or Shias of Iran because when partition took place Shias of Iran didn’t merge into Pakistan’s creation, it was from the British India. Hence when the two groups are poles apart in their nationality why did Zia confuse the radical men & why are apologists still running the figment of proxy war imagination? Zia ul Haq has failed to induct the Shias into his political mainstream & policies. Also because his internal policies were radical & radicalization is never inclusive in its approach. Zia ul Haq’s radical policies never inducted Shias into his government policies but ghettoized the branches of society with minorities being on the periphery.
The May 28 2010, Lahore assaults killing over 80 worshipers from minority Ahmadi community had shown Punjab was bearing the brunt of the same radicalism sown in by Zia Ul Haq which was later politicized by different political parties to gain majority of parliament seat dynamics. Hence the minorities became a fulcrum to the political parties & terrorist organizations to keep the beam balance of their power & terror at the focal point of dynamics of governance. The security of citizens is still a haunting task to acknowledge whether the Shia community will get the security to their identity – their “identity of being Pakistani citizens.” Being citizens does not just mean paying taxes, voting & owning a passport. It goes beyond the paradigm of government papers its identity to profess ones beliefs identity of Azadari identity of going & coming out of Imam barghas safe identity of having peaceful 9th & 10th Moharram. The identity of being Proud Shias, the identity of following the teachings of Imam Hussain proudly & with all of the above residing in an atmosphere of safety. Identity is in jeopardy when Mezhar Zahra a school girl whose father was slained & she was shot. Identity is crushed when Dr. Haider Ali along with his 12 year old school going son were killed in the most brutal attack by ASWJ. Identity becomes a point of killing when decree of Wajib ul Qatl is practiced on the roads of Quetta, when Hazara town blast killed Shia Hazaras, when killing will stop on identity & the real identity of living life comes into practice the nation comes into practice. Terrorist attacks inside Punjab have increased markedly since the army’s offensive into South Waziristan last October.
On March 8th 2010 a suicide bomber attacked the special Investigation Agency in Lahore killing & wounding over a hundred people. Both TTP & Qaeda’s Al Jihadi group in Punjab claimed responsibility “If the government does not halt military operations in the tribal area and the drone attacks continue the TTP will continue suicide bombing” TTP spokesperson Azam Tariq has warned.
The Pashtun Taliban Al Qaeda network & Punjabi militant groups have coordinated a nexus. The Punjabi Taliban is a loose conglomeration of number of banned militant groups of Punjabi origin. There are now many reasons behind the eruption of these banned terrorist hubs in Punjab.
The number of people living below poverty lines in southern & western Punjab is more than that in the 3 provinces of Sindh, Baluchistan & Khyber Pakhtunkhwa combined. This with the madrassa teachings which have induced the minds with the kafir theory that has changed the study of theology & makes them comprehend the “my way or highway” in professing religion. Hence those who are not in radical realms sects stand Kafir & hence Wajib ul Qatl decree is giving upon them. The question of “who is kafir?” is the fragmentation on the lines of sectarian affiliations.
The Punjab militant organizations pose a more serious threat to Pakistan’s stability & global security than the Pashtun Taliban as the former is more radical more fundamentalist & connected more to global terrorism. Open pandering by political parties to these terrorist hubs has broadened their resources. When PMLN’s Rana Sanaullah and then Punjab’s provincial Law Minister campaigned for the by elections in the Jhang district with Ahmed Ludhyanvi (leader of SSP a banned militant organization) the philosophy of Ahle Hadith has struck those who adhere & those who pandered, political streams & the terror streams the receiving end has been the Shia community which faces open threat from the likes of ideology of Malik Ishaq & Ahmed Ludhyanvi. Lahore saw an uprising with the demise of Dr. Haider Ali. It was assumed that the Shehbaz Sharif government may take up some effective methods to curb the ongoing rampant Shia killing but year after year those who have been brutally slain by ASWJ & SSP grow. The Shia killing isn’t confined to Gilgit, Quetta but has reached the corridors of Punjab province. With the mayhem killing caused on 10th Moharram in Rawalpindi by ASWJ’s propaganda against the Shia community has made society ask “After Shias now whose turn?” The kinds & likes of ASWJ/SSP/LeJ spare no one. First Shias, next shall be those Sunnis who don’t adhere to them & slowly all those who shall be left are the same set of apologists who call for proxy wars being the cause of Shia Genocide they won’t acknowledge the misoneism of ASWJ/SSP/LeJ. They choose to side with the Yazids & have a plush comfortable life of being living under the protection of these terrorists what they barter in return to that life is their soul conscience their being alive & their freedom.
Azadari is part of our culture & Alam is the identity of our self & Moharram is our reckoning to the mourning of our Imam Hussain. The ban means we give up our identity well that can’t happen even after we are dead because when Imam Hussain chose to give his life fighting he taught his followers to chose freedom not tyrant leaders & succumb to the dictator. He taught his followers to believe in truth & not the evil easy ways of life he taught to give life for he gave his life & chose truth & sacrifice. The day the fabric of tolerance is held that day Shias in Pakistan are free to live their identity.
Ask me to not speak & I shall the day I don’t hear my brothers being slayed by mere fatwas of Maulvis upon the decree of ASWJ/SSP/LeJ, the day another Dr. Haider Ali isn’t slayed for being a Shia, the day another Mezhar Zehra isn’t shot at, that day I await more than the day of judgment.
PS with prayers for all those families whose members have died in shia genocide.
The author is an Art Director and Clinical Psychologist