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A candid conversation with two Pashtun nationalists on Deobandi terrorism

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Recently I had a candid conversation with two Pashtun nationalist friends, both of them supporters of Bacha Khan and ANP, on the issue of the Salafi-inspired Deobandi terrorism in Pakistan and also its export to Syria under the auspices of Saudi-backed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

One of the Pashtun nationalists is a Deobandi while the other is a Shia.

The conversation with the Deobandi Pashtun friend started when I published a facebook status in which Pakistan government’s decision to help the Saudi-backed Salafi and Deobandi infiltrators fighting in Syria was highlighted and criticized. The Deobandi Pashtun nationalist friend was of the view that Shias are non-Muslims and that it is a good decision by Pakistan government to export arms and Jihadi (Deobandi and Salafi/Wahabi) terrorists to Syria to fight with Assad regime. He also seemed to belittle incidents of Shia genocide and Sunni Barelvi genocide in Pakistan by also blaming Iran and Pakistani Shias for terrorism in Pakistan. At that point, I invited the Shia Pashtun nationalist friend (a supporter of ANP) to offer his views. While the Shia Pashtun nationalist disagreed with some of his Deobandi Pashtun friend’s views, he indirectly tried to compare Shia genocide by takfiri Deobandi terrorists with the hatred of Shia Pashtuns by Shias of Karachi. He also refused to take into account the historical context of the increasing Deobandization of Pashtun areas in the last 200 years and considered such deliberations irrelevant and counter-productive. He also couldn’t satisfactorily explain why ANP and other progressive parties remain vague or absent in their clear condmenation of the ASWJ, the Deobandi terror group that serves as a front of the TTP, and is responsible not only for Shias genocide and Sunni Barelvi genocide but also for massacres of secualr and progressive Pashtuns.

It is a matter of fact that ANP and other parties (including PPP, PKMAP, PTI, PMLN etc) have never clearly named and condemned the hate ideology (takfiri Deobandism) or hate group (Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan aka ASWJ) that is responsible for faith-based target killings of Shias, Sunni Barelvis, Christians and other communities in Pakistan. Also it is a sad fact that ANP’s own founder Bacha Khan, despite his noble and progressive credentials, inadvertently played a role in setting up Deobandi seminaries in Pashtun areas of KP and FATA. Moreover, ANP, the most powerful progressive party in KP has never mobilized an awareness and political movement to highlight the systematic Shia genocide in Hangu, Kohat and Kurram Agency at the hands of the alliance between the Haqqani Network and the ASWJ-SSP. We agree with ANP and Pashtun nationalist’s criticism of Saudi Arabia, Punjabi establishment and USA but what we don’t understand is their silence on takfiri Deobandi hate ideology (alien to Pashtun culture, imported in last 200 years only) and the Deobandi terror group ASWJ.

Here is a transcript of the conversation:

Abdul Nishapuri’s Facebook status: 3000 retired soldiers of Pakistan army (all of them Deobandis or Salafis) being sent to Syria via Jordan: Source: Shafaqna News Agency

Conversation with Deobandi Pashtun nationalist friend

DrRiz Khan Yousafzai great news…Bashar al asad is butcher…

Abdul Nishapuri You are a Pashtun supporter of ANP and you are happy that these Deobandi and Salafi terrorists are being exported to Syria? Bravo!

DrRiz Khan Yousafzai yes i am against the killings of children, women and innocents by Assad ,s Barrel bombs.. i am also against the killings of hazara community..and also against the Iran trained target killers of sipah e Mohammad..

Abdul Nishapuri Munafiqeen like you show the real face of Deobandi terrorists. Pakistan is suffering from Deobandi terrorism and you are talking about imaginary Shia terrorists in Pakistan?

Ghulam Sabir (a Shia activist)
ایران کو اب پاکستانی شیعوں کی تربیت کر کے ستر ہزار لوگوں کے قتل کا جواب دینے کے قابل بنانا چاہئیے، یہ الزام تو لگتا ہی ہے

DrRiz Khan Yousafzai peshawar tablighi markaz mai dhamaka kis ne kiya?

Abdul Nishapuri Dawn’s report: An intelligence official, however, said the bomb had been brought in a sleeping-bag, and was “meant to be planted somewhere else but exploded.” http://www.dawn.com/news/1080731/blast-at-peshawar-tablighi-centre-kills-ten-injures-more-than-60 Deobandi terrorists find refuge in Deobandi tablighi jamaat, mosques and madrassahs to kill Sunni Barelvis, Shias and ANP leaders.

DrRiz Khan Yousafzai 10 muharram ki Dance party ko bho na bhoolen..

Abdul Nishapuri Your comments about 10 Muharram confirm that many Deobandi Pashtuns who pose as progressive supporters of ANP are anti-Shia and anti-Barelvi bigots.

DrRiz Khan Yousafzai what chaudry nisar said?

Abdul Nishapuri Chaudhry Nisar and Rana Sanaullah are no lesser Deobandi bigots than you!

DrRiz Khan Yousafzai hahaha….wah kya soch hai teri.. shia sab farishtay hai…hahaha…chaudry nisar aur rana sb k elawa aur kon deobandi hai? jo tumhe aina dikhayega woh deobandi ..wah..

Abdul Nishapuri You can either be a Deobandi bigot or a secular activist. You are hanging in the middle, just like some other supporters of ANP. The more you speak, the more I understand why Deobandi thugs worship Ahmad Shah Durrani Abdali, the barbarian and sectarian invader.

DrRiz Khan Yousafzai Ahmad shah baba is forefather of pushtoons..he was a great warrior …

Abdul Nishapuri Show me a single Shia Pashtun or Sikh Pashtun or Hindu Pashtun who respects that thug who you call Baba! Ahmad Shah Durrani was a barbarian in the league of Yazid, Hitler and Mussolini.

DrRiz Khan Yousafzai your mentioned are all non muslims…we don’t care what they think.. ok enough..i cant do more bhans k aagay been bajana..bye bye

Conversation with Shia Pashtun nationalist friend

Abdul Nishapuri Sadiq Ali, This Bacha Khan loving, Ahmad Shah loving Pashtun progressive activist of ANP thinks that Shias are non-Muslims and that he doesn’t care about non-Muslim Pashtuns’ views. I hope there are not many Deobandi Pashtuns like him in the ANP. At least they need to be better camouflaged than him!

Sadiq Ali Abdul Nishapuri, I dont known Mr DrRizKhan. His comment about 10 Muharram is unacceptable. I cannot agree with him in majority his comments. I also agree with you that Many Pashtuns are following Deoband School. I have mentioned in my all previous comments that you do not need to drag people like Bacha Khan / Ahmad Shah Abdali just to prove that TTP/LEJ type groups are from deoband. Why we have to connect so many isolated dots in history just to prove this simple modern day fact?.

But before commenting any thing about Shia-Pashtuns and their living in KPK, one should consider all factors. Shia-pashtuns have to live here. They cannot migrate. Majority of my friends are deobandi but they are not hostile towards Shia. They do not appreciate Taliban and their activities. So why I have to attack on their sect? I have to say that TTP/LEJ are monsters and unfortunately they belong to Deoband school.

Abdul Nishapuri Sadiq, Those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it. I have seen many Uncle Tom Shias who remain more loyal to Khomeini or Bacha Khan or Jinnah or Bhutto than they should be loyal to the mazloomiat of Shia Muslims, and I have nothing but utmost disrespect for such Uncle Toms!

Your very notion that Pashtun = Deobanism is flawed and ahistorical. Deobandi and Salafi/Wahabi ideology was imported in Pashtun areas in last 200 years. It is alien to Pashtun cluture.

Sadiq Ali We need to be objective…if we dig all of the history then we may come across many crossovers.

Abdul Nishapuri What else do Shias do in Muharram other than “digging history” to borrow your words. One can either be objective or an apologist!

Sadiq Ali Objectivity matters!

Sadiq Ali I do not want to go into history. I want to find way …How to live peacefully with Deobandi Pashtuns or Hindu Pashtuns. I am from Kurram Agency. Shia population is surrounded by majority Suni Pashtuns. I cannot migrate…as I know how my Shia in Karachi has feelings for Shia Pashtuns.

I fought with TTP/LEJ but I also want to make friends.

Abdul Nishapuri Shia in Karachi are killing Shia Pashtuns? Million of Shias who protested across Pakistan for Shia Hazaras of Quetta were Hazaras? You are comparing Shias of Karachi with Deobandi terrorists? Speak a bit more….

Abdul Nishapuri You don’t have guts to condemn this Deobandi Pashtun thug who is calling you a Kafir (infidel) and you have guts to challenge Shias? Shabash!

Sadiq Ali But less than 10% Deobandi are killing me. These killers are in Lahore, these killers are in Quettta, these killers are in Karachi too.

Abdul Nishapuri These killers have nothing to do with ethnicity. These killers have to do with Deobandi and Salafi/Wahhabi ideology. Why are you complicating the issue?

As long as Deobandi hate ideology is not clearly exposed and challenged, Shias will continue to die! This is a fact!

Sadiq Ali I have told you but again asking you…. have you lived or visited Hangu/Parachinar/Orakzai Agency?

Abdul Nishapuri Yes! I don’t wnat to give any further details.

Sadiq Ali I am not asking for further details. But it is also not easy to discuss with a person that is not known…

Abdul Nishapuri Speak to the logic and the cnotent, not the person. Don’t you know the Ahadith of Imam Jafar Sadiq and Imam Ali on this matter?

Sadiq Ali You are doing this with fake name. I am telling and convincing my well learned Deobandi Pashtuns on streets of Peshawar, Kohat and hangu that their hate for Shia is not right.

Abdul Nishapuri What fake name? It’s a pen name and much better than a fake discourse of those whose love of Bacha Khan and Ahmad Shah Durrani is more profound than the cuase of Shia genocide!

In your false neutrality, you equated Shias of Karachi with Deobandi terrorists. And you talk about objectivity?

Sadiq Ali Nope…I cannot equate Terrorist with those people that do not like me.

Sadiq Ali I have to pick the people rather migrate. For me the people from Bacha Khan followers are well accepted. So please do not hurt feeling of those who like Bacha Khan.

Abdul Nishapuri Decent criticism of Bacha Khan, Jinnah, Khomeini and all others is much needed. Only Nazis and fascists are afraid of decent criticism. Or the insecure minds!

Sadiq Ali In Pashtu we says that “Hagha Zai ma Kharawa ..che kam zai na Garegii” “Do not scratch that parts of body which do not itch” I am sorry but your efforts are creating destruction rather serving the cause.

Abdul Nishapuri Do you agree that Deobandi and Salafi ideologies are alien to Pashtun cluture and must be eradicated or reformed? Let’s be objective now.

And if they must be eradicated or reformed, first we need to clearly expose and identify them. That’s our major concern with ANP and other secualr friends. In fact some of them including Bacha Khan contributed to the spread of Deobandi madrassas. Prove me wrong!

Nowhere I am saying that all Deobandis or Salafis are terrorists. All I am saying is that almost all takfiri terrorists in Pakistan including in KP and FATA are takfiri Deobandis. They are openly operating in the shape of ASWJ. I have never seen ANP or other parties condemning them by their label (ASWJ or SSP) or ideology (takfiri Deobandi). Is it not problematic?

Sadiq Ali Do you know that my father was Shia and he was free to travel from Parachinar to Wana…from Zhob to Khost and Paktia and even to Kabul with his Wazeers friends. Do you know that the mess in my region is created by one group of Deobandi that is called SSP.

Abdul Nishapuri You cannot ignore the historical trajectory and pattern of Deobandi-ization and Salafi-izatin of Pashtun areas in last 200 years.

Sadiq Ali I was not Muslim before Prophet…So then I should start my history from that time.

Abdul Nishapuri SSP is a symptom, not the cause. Syed Ahmed, Shah Ismail, Ahmad Shah Durrani and Faqir of Ipi were not SSP!

Sadiq Ali But why Faqir Ipi follower was not killing me before 1979?

Abdul Nishapuri Ahmad Shah Durrani did, much before the Ipi thug! So did the Syed Ahmad and Shah Ismail types!

Abdul Nishapuri Your understanding of the present is ahistorical, and you insist on that?

Sadiq Ali I need to find solutions based on facts and real life rather bashing and connecting isolated nodes in history.

Abdul Nishapuri They are not isolated dots. They are neatly connected in history. The Deobandization of Pashtun areas has happened in a smooth flow in last 200 years. Denial won’t help!

Sadiq Ali I have no problem with Deobandization, they have headquarter in India….I have Problem with terrorist groups like SSP/TTP/LEJ.

Abdul Nishapuri Shias of KP and FATA will continue to die unless there is a clear movement by secular and nationalist parties to reform or eradicate the takfiri Deobandi culture and ideology. Hiding head in sand will not help anyone!

You have problems with the symptom, not the cause. SSP was gone, replaced by ASWJ, replaced by Jundallah, replaced by abc, xyz. It’s the ideology, not the label!

Sadiq Ali I agree that Takfiriate / extremism should be eradicated. Thats why I am holding and looking towards ANP type groups, Bacha Khan followers.

Abdul Nishapuri The moment they started doing it, you will see my friends and I will be on their side. But sadly I don’t see any hope. They are adamant at hiding or rationalising the takfiri deobandi ideological side of the problem.

Sadiq Ali So the cause will be eliminated by your type of discussion and bashing every one comes in your way…..I cannot agree as I am raised there and I know dynamics very well.

Abdul Nishapuri Stop focusing on my person please! What exactly have Uncle Tom Shias achieved by sticking to ANP types? Even today a Shia was killed in Hangu and I did not see a single ANP leader condemning the takfiri Deobandis who killed him!

Sadiq Ali Please if one Shia is killed then there must be 5 suni killed in another place as well. So no condemn doesn’t mean they appreciate the killers.

Abdul Nishapuri Once again false neutrality! That one Shia Pashtun is killed due to his faith whereas others are NOT killed due to their faith or ethnicity. And in both cases, the killers are takfiri Deobandis!

Sadiq Ali These are facts. If I condemn one Shia killed by Takfiries then why not I condemn killing of 5 suni killed by another group of Takfiries.

Abdul Nishapuri Why not? We must condemn Sunni genocide as well as Shia genocide by takfiri Deobandi terrorists. https://lubpak.net/archives/tag/sunni-barelvi-genocide By the way, it is not takfiri, it is Takfiri Deobandi! https://lubpak.net/archives/293377

Abdul Nishapuri The emphasis is on clear identification of who was killed, why he/she/they were killed and who killed them! ANP fails on this issue as do PPP, PTI and JUI etc.

Sadiq Ali Difference between Deobandi and Shia exists since long time. But at-least in my region, the hate and then killing increased after 1979. Who exploited this hate? Who widen these gapes? Where American stand? Where KSA stands? …I am sorry I cannot deny these dynamics. I have to sign out… As Hazrat Ali (AS) said “Making one friend also means loosing one enemy”

Abdul Nishapuri Takfiris (including takfiri Deobandis) do not represent Sunnis. Takfiri or Khawarij are enemies of both Shias and Sunni Barelvis/Sufis. KSA or Americans or Punjabi are not blameless but the blame also must be placed on the intolerant Deobandi and semi-Salafi/Wahabi ideology that has plagued the local Pashtun population.

Abdul Nishapuri We make friends and enemies based on principles and truth. Our only friend is truth and justice.

Comments by Aamir Hussaini (a rights activist)

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Abdul Nishapuri

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  • From another relevant thread on facebook:

    Abdul Nishapuri: This non-reflective, self-exonerating, ahistorical attitude of placing all the blame on external factors, Americans, Punjabis, Saudis, Iranians etc, may also be seen as an attmpt to hide the fact that many within us were willing partners, due to ideological, economic or/and political reasons, in the Deobandi Salafi Jihadist mess. Yes, the foreign factors did play an important role but we can’t completely absolve our own society, history, leaders, clerics, madrassahs, liberals, politicians and media persons on their collusion or neligence in the radicalization of our own society.

    Not everyone who critically assesses Ahmad Shah Abdali Durrani or Bacha Khan on their indirect role in the spread of Deobandi or Salafi ideology is an anti-Pashtun racist. But, this happens when arguments are scarce and emotions are high.

    Jim Pivonka Agreed. At the same time, while the historical roots of institutions, and in the case of the Faqir of Ipi, families, are significant to the understanding of the problem, too great a focus on a single institution, such as the schools at Deoband, can result in misunderstanding of motives and misdirection of energies.

    Deobandi and Wahabbi/Salafi theology and ideology have contributed to radicalization. They are intolerant and very conservative influences within Islam. But pressing that point so strenuously that the distinction between their conservatism and violent forms of radicalism known as Kharijite, Takfiri, Qutbist, etc. is lost risks losing focus on the real source of the problem affecting Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the world today.

    That problem is is not a school in India, or a large religious tradition from the Middle East. Rather it is a perversion, or distillation, or exaggeration of these beliefs. And Takfiri seems a more specific, historical, and accurate description of the real nature of the problem than “Deobandi”. As commenters in other threads have noted there are Deobandi believers who reject takfiri attitudes, and there are takfiri who have as little hesitation in murdering their anti takfiri Deobandi fellow believers as they do in murdering Shia, Barelvi Sunni, and people of other traditions.

    As you have implied in other places, the problem is not Deobandi believers as such, it is those Deobandi believers who are takfiri jihaddis. Salafis have made the same point to me – attempting to deny that Salafism was the source of jihaddi violence and attributing it instead to Qutbism.

    As you very properly insist, a call for recognition that not all Deobandi are Takfiri, does not absolve conservative traditions of the need to reform, to purge the sources of this evil from the teachings and practice of the school at Deoband, and to separate themselves from those parts of their history which have given takfiris sanction and support. In practice that reform is even more necessary among those religious authorities away from the school, but who claim to draw on the traditions of Deoband for their authority. These men must be especially conscientious in their condemnation of takfiri radicalism. At least as much as the Salafit anti Takfiri site “Takfiris.com”, which I have commended to you in the past.

    Abdul Nishapuri Jim, Currently there is a deliberate attempt by Deobandi and Salafi Islamists as well as many liberal and progressive activists and parties to hide or obfuscate the Deobandi identity of almost all terrorists (TTP, ASWJ etc) that are currently killing not only Sunni Barelvis, Shias, Christians etc but also liberals and ordinary folks including moderate Deobandis.

    There are many reasons for this Nazi style silence. Some of them have a sectarian bias due to their own Deobandi (or Salafi) identity. This is particularly true for many Deobandi Pashtun friends including those in progressive parties, but is also applicable to other ethnic groups. Some people have no knowledge of history and they are adamant a their ignorance and ahistorical stance. Some know the facts but are hypocritically silent because they don’t want to lose friends or material benefits (populism and avarice). Some simply lack spine or intellectual capacity etc etc.

    There are currently not many voices in Pakistan other than LUBP and a few others who are calling out the Deobandi identity of terrorists. Those people who do not agree with our discourse or methods have consistently failed to offer a better or more effective discourse or method. Shias, Sunni Barelvis etc continue to be target killed on a regular basis and the killers freely operate in our cities, in front of us, because the bigoted Deobandi don’t want to name them and the spineless Shias are too coward or populist.

    Ibn Taymiyya, Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahab, Sayyid Qutb are not the only ones or relevant. In the Indian subcontinent, the chain is found in the shape of Ahmad Sirhindi (the fake Mujaddid), Shah Waliullah, Syed Ahmed, Shah Ismail, Manzoor Nomani, Haqnawaz Jhangvi, Nizamuddin Shamezai etc. In other words, Deobandi movement is itself a Salafist mutation of the peaceufl Sunni Hanafi Islam which is currently preserved in the shape of Sunni Barelvi/Sufi sect in India and Pakistan, the majority of Sunni Muslims in this part of the world.

    Nowhere do we insist that all Deobandis are takfiris nor do we insist that all Salafis are takfiris. We only insist that all takfiris in Pakistan happen to be Deobandis (and a few Salafis) and that it is not accidental, the evil of intolerance resides in these very ideologies.

    Jim Pivonka Abdul Nishapuri, thank you for this additional information, clarification, and emphasis. We have very similar, though not nearly so out of control problems in Anglo American neo Christian theology – represented chiefly in “Christian Zionism”, the “New Apostolic Reformation” and “Reform Theology”. We face the same difficulty in addressing the nature of these movements and the extent to which they have, and continue to distort our society and our public policy. It is a hard thing to get straight in my own mind, and nearly impossible to communicate to my fellow citizens. I can barely imagine, based on this, the frustration you face and feel in your work.