Rescuers stand near a child injured by a firing, at a local hospital in Dera Ismail, Pakistan on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010. According to police official unidentified gunmen opened fire on a procession celebrate anniversary of the birth of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.(AP photo/Ishtiaq Mehsud)
I know that Pakistani media as well as most of Pakistani bloggers have either ignored or censored these two news items. But the LUBP will not.
The 12 Rabi-ul-Awwal is celebrated by Muslims in Pakistan as the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad (peace by upon him and his progeny). In particular, Sunni Barelvi Muslims organize large public meetings and rallies on that day in the memory of the Prophet.
It is however a known fact that certain Muslim sects (e.g. Wahhabi and Deobandi) term such ceremonies of the Eid Mila-un-Nabi as shirk (polytheism) and biddat (innovation in religion).
Everyone is entitled to their own interpretation and practice of religion as long as it does not lead to violence or hate speech. However, the situation gets ugly when some extremist element within one sect try to superimpose their interpretation of Islam and Quran on other sects through the use of violence.
This is exactly what happened in D.I. Khan and Faisalabad on the most sacred day of the birthday of the Prophet, when extremist Deobandis and Wahhabis belonging to Taliban and Sipah-e-Sahaba attacked peaceful public rallies of Barelvi Muslims. Scores of Barelvi Muslims were killed or injured in these two separate (but ideologically interconnected) incidents.
The question is, why are these news items being censored or misrepresented in Pakistani media?
Here is a plain answer. The pro-Taliban (extremist Deobandi-Wahhabi) lobby, funded and supported by Saudi Arabia (through the ISI and mullahs) is extremely influential in Pakistani media. The pro-Taliban jihadi and sectarian youth serve to act as a proxy army for the ISI’s operations in Afghanistan and Kashmir.
Hence, they would not allow an exposure of the real face of their evil ideology and its proponents to the Pakistani nation, the majority of whom follow a peaceful Barelvi, Sufi tradition of Islam. Therefore, they are misrepresenting the horrible incidents of D.I.Khan and Faisalabad as sectarian violence.
It is not sectarian violence. It is not a fight between Deobandis and Barelvis. It is a fight between extremism and multiculturalism. It is a fight between tolerance and intolerance. It is a fight between the followers of Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Mullah Omar.
It is not sectarianism. It is terrorism. The state must use its full force to protect peaceful Barelvis (and other vulnerable groups) from violence by well trained and well equipped terrorists of Taliban and Sipah-e-Sahaba.
Here are a couple of news reports:
Sydney Morning Herald
Sectarian clashes kill seven in Pakistan
February 28, 2010
Pakistani authorities slapped a curfew on a restive northwestern district on Sunday after clashes and gun fights left at least seven people dead at a religious procession, officials said.
Sectarian violence erupted on Saturday in the town of Paharpur in Dera Ismail Khan district, as hundreds of Muslims rallied to celebrate Eid Milad-un-Nabi, which marks Prophet Mohammed’s birthday.
Gunmen opened fire on a parade by the Barelvi sect of Sunni Muslims, killing one person on the spot and prompting the angry crowd to retaliate by attacking a seminary of the local Deobandi Sunni sect.
“Seven people were killed and 38 others have been injured in these incidents. All the dead are Sunni, there are some Shi’ites among the injured,” district police chief Gul Afzal Afridi told AFP.
Dera Ismail Khan district has in the past been troubled by unrest between followers of the Sunni [Deobandi] and Shi’ite branches of Islam, but clashes between Sunni factions are relatively rare.
An official in the hospital Dera Ismail Khan hospital confirmed the death toll and said that the 38 people wounded were still being treated.
Authorities early on Sunday ordered people to remain in their houses night and day in the main city, also called Dera Ismail Khan, and other parts of the district including Paharpur town. Security forces patrolled the streets.
“We have arrested more than 20 suspects and are carrying out more raids. There is a curfew in the main city and some of the outskirts,” Afridi said.
Afridi had refused to comment on Saturday on who might be responsible for the initial shooting, saying the area was troubled by both sectarian unrest and attacks by Islamist militant groups.
Shi’ites account for about 20 per cent of Pakistan’s Sunni-dominated population. The two communities usually coexist peacefully, but more than 4000 people have died in outbreaks of sectarian violence since the late 1980s.
Attacks by Islamist extremists, meanwhile, have killed more than 3000 people since July 2007. Most attacks are blamed on the Pakistani Taliban. Source: SMH
Also Saturday, at least one person died and several others were wounded when gunmen opened fire on a procession in the northwestern town of Dera Ismail Khan, said Dr. Qutbuddin Khan, who works at a local hospital.
The participants, later, attacked a mosque, said police official Bashar Khan, adding that it triggered a clash between Barelvi and Deobandi Sunni sects, killing three more people. Some 26 more suffered wounds, he said.
Khan said troops imposed a curfew in the area. He added it was not clear who had attacked the procession.
The procession was marking Mulid an-Nabi, the anniversary of the birth of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. Source: AFP
Dawn’s report on the Faislabad attack
More than 25 people arrested after Faisalabad clashes
28 Feb, 2010
Pakistani protesters riot after gunmen opened fire on a religious procession marking Mulid an-Nabi in Faisalabad, Pakistan on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010. – AP
FAISALABAD: Six people were injured on Sunday and more than two dozen have been taken into custody in the past 24 hours following clashes in Faisalabad.
Three people were injured in incidents of firing in Ghulam Muhammadabad area of Faisalabad and three motorcycles were set ablaze this morning.
Given the situation, the DCO of Faisalabad said that Section 144 has been imposed in the city. Later, RPO Faisalabad Muhammad Tahir, Commissioner Tahir Hussain, DCO Saeed Iqbal and SSP Operations Sarfaraz Falki held a meeting with the representatives of various religious organisations to restore normalcy in the area.
Despite being in Faisalabad, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah and Home Secretary Nadeem Hassan Asif did not attend the meeting.
On Saturday, protestors set ablaze a police station and dozens of vehicles in the area following a clash between two groups, during an Eid Milad-un-Nabi procession.
The clash erupted after one of the groups opened fire on an Eid Milad-un-Nabi procession, leaving three people injured. Police had arrested around 15 people including the Khateeb of Goal Masjid, Zahid Mehmood Qasmi, on the charges of instigating people for rioting. Source: Dawn
Clash enters 2nd day; section-144 imposed in Faisalabad
Updated at: 1305 PST, Sunday, February 28, 2010
FAISALABAD: Two warring factions once again Sunday entered clashes in Faisalabad, Geo News reported Sunday.
According to the initial reports, the exchange of fire between the two groups is in progress in Usmanabad area on Millat Road here.
Also, the infuriated people are going on rampage in the area.
Heavy contingents of police have been called in the area in view of tense situation in the area.
Also, the Section-144 has been imposed in the city. Source: The News