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Don’t ignore Sunni Barelvis and non-Hazara Shias: An open letter to Rubab Mehdi Rizvi and Saleem Javed Hazara – by Ayesha Qadri

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Post in Urdu: https://lubpak.net/archives/308489

As a Sunni Muslim based in Quetta, I am indebted to all Sunni, Shia and other activists who are honestly and boldly highlighting the faith-based target killings of Shias, Sunni Barevis, Christians and other communities in Pakistan by the takfiri Deobandi terrorists (variously operating as ASWJ, LeJ, TTP, JeM, Jundullah etc). It may be recalled that Deobandi terror outfits LeJ-ASWJ-SSP and TTP are officially banned in Pakistan, UK, US and other countries.

As a follower of inclusive Sunni Sufi/Barelvi traditions of the Subcontinent, and consistent with the Sunni-Shia unity calls of my leaders Sahibzada Hamid Raza and Sarwat Ijaz Qadri, I support equal human rights of Sunni, Shia, Christian and all other faiths and sects, without any regard to their ethnic backgrounds.

I recently happened to read a newspaper report about a side event at the 25th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on the topic of ‘The Rise of Religious Intolerance’. (http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-237834-Pakistan-accused-of-ignoring-sectarian-terror-outfits)

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I appreciate brother Dr Muhamamd Saleem Javed Hazara (Sweden-based activist, sympathetic to Hazara Democratic Party HDP) and sister Rubab Mehdi Rizvi (UK-based Shia activist, chairlady of International Imam Hussain Council IIHC) on their efforts for human rights.

However, as a concerned Pakistani citizen, I am worried that both of these persons, in their generic and vague discourse and activism including their representation at the UNHRC side event, miss out on four important aspects:

1. They fail to clearly mention the fact that LeJ, ASWJ, TTP are exclusively Deobandi militant outfits supported by a majority of Deobandi clerics and seminaries. Not a single Sunni Sufi/Barelvi, Shia or Ahmadi is a part of the LeJ, ASWJ or TTP. It may be noted that Deobandi is a semi-Salafi sect, followed by no more than 15% of all Muslims, found in Pakistan, Afghanistan and India. It receives generous financial, logistical and political support from Salafi officials and clerics in Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries. By describing LeJ, ASWJ, TTP as Sunni extremists or using vague terms such as takfiri, Islamists, extremists, terrorists, Saleem Hazara and Rubab Rizvi serve to obstruct the correct presecription of the problem, the root cause of the Sunni Barelvi genocide and Shia genocide in Pakistan, i.e., takfiri Deobandi hate ideology and clerics. While not all Deobandis are terrorists, it is a fact that all terrorists operating in LeJ, ASWJ, TTP happen to be Deobadis who are in turn supported by a majority of Deobandi clerics and seminaries. In fact, takfiri Deobandi terrorists have also killed a few Deobandi clerics, not due to their faith or sect, but due to the fact that they opposed their violent Jihad against Pakistan army and State. This fact must not be neglected.

2. It is important to highlight the historical and present role played by Pakistan’s military estabishment along with Saudi Arabia in creating, nuturing and protecting Deobandi militants as Jihadi proxies for strategic gains in Kashmir and Afghanistan. Supported, trained and protected by Pakistan’s military establishment, many of these Deobandi terrorists (eg of JeM, LeJ) find it more urgent and convenient to slaughter innocent Shias and Sunni Barelvis in Pakistan.

3. I am concerned that the genocide of Sunni Barelvis/Sufis at the hands of takfiri Deobandi terrorists remains ignored or neglected. In the last three decades, tens of thousands of Sunni Barelvis/Sufis have been massacred by systematic attacks on Sufi shrines, Eid Milad (Mawlid) processions, religous meetings and mosques, target killing of Barelvi clerics etc. Therefore, it is important that in addition to Shia genocide, Sunni Barelvi genocide is also highlighted by human rights activists.

4. Both Rubab Rizvi and Saleem Javed Hazara present Shia genocide in Balochistan in Hazara specific ethnic terms while wiping out the identity of non-Hazara Shia victims and identity of takfiri Deobandi terrorists. Many of my friends in Quetta belong to non-Hazara Shia backgrounds, such as those from Balochi, Punjabi, Urdu, Pashto speaking backgrounds. Hundreds of non-Hazara Shias have been killed in Quetta and other parts of Balochistan by the same ASWJ-LeJ terrorists who are also killing Hazara Shias and Sunni Barelvis. In fact, in terms of the population ratio, a higher percentage of non-Hazara Shias has been massacred in Balochistan than the Hazara Shias. Non-Hazara Shias face double jeporady because they do not have the social and tribal links with a big community or tribe in Quetta. It is a fact that sole motivation for Shia genocide and Sunni Barelvi genocide is sectarian, not ethnic. This aspect must not be ignored or diluted.

Sadly, in the last few months and years, I have never seen Rubab Mehdi Rizvi and Saleem Javed Hazara CLEARLY highlilghting the plight of Sunni Barelvis and non-Hazara Shias of Balochistan at the hands of takfiri Deobandi terrorists. I ask them: Are Sunni Barelvis and non-Hazara Shias less human or less equal?

I hope that brother Saleem Javed Hazara and sister Rubab Mehdi Rizvi will sympathetically consider the contents of this letter. I apologize if any part of this letter is in any way offensive but we, in Quetta, are collecting deadbodies and sometimes it is difficult to control emotions when certain vital facts are either ignored or diluted.

Your mazloom sister,

Ayesha Qadri

Quetta

Comment by Senge Hasnan Sering

Before pointing fingers at others, [Pakistani Shias] needs to confront Shia activists like Ms. Rubab Rizvi who, during a presentation at the United Nations Human Rights Council, in Geneva, insisted that Pakistani military and para-military has no role in Shia killings and there is no evidence against them to hold them responsible….

Shias of Pakistan want to condemn the creation while protecting and absolving the creator and militant-trainers of their role and then expect the world to take the issue seriously? Every training camp, that exists in Balochistan and produces Shia killers, is run under the supervision of military officials but the Shias refuse to see that. Civilian governments including that of Asif Zardari and Nawaz Sharif are helpless when it comes to establishment and management of these camps. Unless military shuts down these camps, nothing good can come out….

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Appendix: Examples of problematic and diluting discourse by Saleem Javed Hazara and Rubab Mehdi Rizvi

Saleem Javed Hazara

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Rubab Mehdi Rizvi

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