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Shia killing: If we tolerate this, our children will be next – by Absar Ul Hasan

The author is an engineering graduate who works in the telecommunication industry. He tweets @intrepidparadox and blogs at

Related posts: Dr. Jafar Mohsin, yet another Shia doctor, target killed in Karachi

Dr Jaffer Mohsin Rizvi, Shia doctor in Karachi, becomes new target of sectarian violence – by Hassan Naqvi

Last week, I heard the news of the targeted sectarian killing of Jaffer Mohsin. The name didn’t ring a bell at the time, but later that day, when a friend told me that a fellow schoolmate’s father had been shot dead, it jogged my memory. I then realised that doctor Jaffer Mohsin was our friend’s father. That’s when the memories came flooding back.

Back when I used to live near my school building, Dr Mohsin’s family lived in the lane next to mine. Like regular Pakistani youths who bond over a common love for cricket, his sons and I played the sport we loved in our neighbourhood. They were good cricketers, and the younger son was jovially termed “mirchi” because of his short height and amazing leg break bowling.

Although I didn’t interact much with Dr Mohsin, two incidents are still as fresh in my memory as if they happened yesterday

One day, when we were en route to school, we saw him pushing his car on the road by himself. As kids, we loved to go to school on foot, so when we saw him struggling with the car, we stopped and pushed it with all our might. In the third attempt, the car started and despite the fact that he was in a hurry, he dropped us home.

Another time, when I went out to the neighbourhood shop at the end of our lane to buy bread, I ran into Dr Mohsin. I remember that he was laughing uncontrollably. Then I heard him crack a joke about a comment made about Shias being “bed bugs” and Sunnis being “mosquitoes”:

Aray Khurshid bhaimachhar ho ya khatmal, donon he khoon choostay hain!”

“Oh Khurshid bhai, bed bugs and mosquitoes are the same – they both suck blood!”

Dr Mohsin’s take on the matter reflected his cool-mindedness – he was not one to react aggressively at the mention of anything that is even remotely sectarian.

These memories may be vague, but from the little I knew of him, he was a composed and moderate man.

It’s been almost 13 years since I left that neighbourhood, but Dr Mohsin stayed there – and was shot right in front of his house while reading a newspaper.

Who can justify the killing of any human being?

It does not matter that I do not belong to the Shia sect; it does not matter that I may not agree with many of the ideologies that Dr Mohsin had; it does not matter that he is not my relative or even my neighbour anymore.

What matters is that he was a Pakistani, a Muslim – as Muslim as we all think we are.

Despite the sectarian debate that this might attract, I felt the need to write about Dr Mohsin because of the association that supersedes any difference of sect – it does not matter what sect he belonged to, what matters is that he was a human being.

I am dejected. I am helpless. I am ashamed that I cannot do anything to stop this.

Source: Express Tribune

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  • Readers Comments (52)
    ReplySana Iqbal Feb 1, 2012 – 3:14PM
    First Ahmedis, then Shias. Here’s my message to all those who consider themselves among the ‘saved ones.’ One of you are going to be the next target. The thirst to hunt for a ‘Kafir’s Blood’ is never going to quench. After every declared and eliminated Kafir, they will look for a new Kafir and who knows it might be one of us. Its our choice whether we want to show solidarity with each other above our religious differences, or remain silent spectators to someone’s tragedy until its our own turn.

    ReplyAnthony Permal Feb 1, 2012 – 3:21PM
    I’m sorry but it doesn’t matter that he was a Muslim or a Pakistani or ‘as Muslim as we all are’. It simply matters that he was human.
    That is all that ever matters. Any label of any kind, and we automatically build the walls around us.

    Replyantony Feb 1, 2012 – 3:33PM
    With this sectarian violence and threat to life for minorities ,pakistanis have the gall to talk about India about issues in orissa and in gujrat (2002) . No sane christian will have trouble in choosing between Hindus vs muslim on who is more tolerant.

    ReplyDanali Dahraj Feb 1, 2012 – 3:43PM
    Life is sacred, does not matter what religion, sect, ethnicity or gender it is; If the blogger believes so, and says it does not matter, the then title should have reflected that too.

    ReplyShane Hussain Naqvi Feb 1, 2012 – 3:47PM
    I think he meant it sarcastically. his point is same as yours. Like he said earlier “Who can justify the killing of any human being?”. Nothing justifies killing another human being.

    ReplyKafka Feb 1, 2012 – 4:00PM
    Indeed, we should not tolerate the killing of anybody, for any reason. Killing of professionals is not only a crime against that particular sect but also against the whole nation. I am sure that this good doctor did not only serve the Shias but sunnies and others too. Being a puritan suni, I disassociate myself from all of such killings.

    ReplySana Durvesh Feb 1, 2012 – 4:03PM
    I agree with Danali.Why do we even talk about shia was killed or sunni?Dont we all know it is not about that.

    ReplyDanali Dahraj Feb 1, 2012 – 4:06PM
    @Shane Hussain Naqvi: Nothing justifies killing an ‘innocent’ human being.

    ReplyAamir Feb 1, 2012 – 4:24PM
    Get to the root cause..
    Hate preaching in all sects and religions is reaching to its extreme. These paid clerics brainwash even educated onese to legalize killing of opponents. First we need to eliminate these businessmen who are earning well on our blood be it Shia or Sunni or otherwise.
    Unless we get rid of these culprits, we will keep on killing each other. Divide and rule is their policy, and their bread and butter. Wake up and open your eyes, there is enough in Quran to convince a Muslim. Whoever is directly violating Quran cannot be a true cleric.
    If we want to save our next generation, we need to get rid or hide all those man made material meant for fueling hate among muslims.

    ReplyTribune Reader Feb 1, 2012 – 4:30PM
    I agree with what Sana Iqbal above has said, our bloodthirst for assigning blame and finding excuses for hatered will never end, we can already see a chain developing, first Ahmedis, then shias, the next will be the non religious Pakistani’s, we the latter already live in the shadow and fear of being labeled Kafirs.

    Replysars Feb 1, 2012 – 4:43PM
    Ask not for whom the bell tolls for ; it tolls for thee.
    The untimely death of anyone should be an outrage for us all. He was a fellow human, ,pakistani , father, brother, son, neighbour , friend, employee . We all probably have a lot in common with him on all levels. Religion and sect come much behind these basics.
    I hope doctor sahib rests in peace and his family are granted sabr.

    ReplyBee Feb 1, 2012 – 5:46PM
    So how to play our role? Do u think that these peaceful marches and protests would stop these killings?

    ReplyMultan Feb 1, 2012 – 6:44PM
    Insha’Allah, Soon these (So-called) Ulema belongs to a specific sect will be shown their end by Allah, May Allah curse those, who goes hard on innocent humanity, Halaako Khan of Pakistan!!!

    ReplyAbbas, ZA Feb 1, 2012 – 6:58PM
    Sorry Absar,
    Your country has been tolerating this for looong time!!!!
    What makes you think that if muslims cannot live with hindus and christians, THAT they can live peacefully among themselves? That destiny is already written. Just prepare for it. Is it not hypocrisy to teach kids that WE MUSLIMS on every useless aspect and vilify other religions. Naturally these kids grow up and identify their “version” of religion as the best.
    Now you ask about what can be done with Shias as if it was ok with what was done with Ahmadis, Hindus and Christians. Shame!

    ReplyMMK Feb 1, 2012 – 7:19PM
    Yesterday and even today killing of innocent people was continued in Karachi. Now why such killings are not being termed as sectarian??? why there is not a headline ” three sunni muslims killed in karachi” ??

    ReplyDanali Dahraj Feb 1, 2012 – 7:23PM
    ALLAH (SWT) in The Holy Qu’ran (30:31-32) forbids Muslims to divide into sects.

    ReplySaima Feb 1, 2012 – 7:36PM
    I love the line …..a Muslim – as Muslim as we all think we are…. because normally ppl can actually bet their life on shias being kafir!!

    ReplySana Iqbal Feb 1, 2012 – 7:55PM
    Don’t worry dear. Lets first get rid of the Shias. In few years you will also find headlines that will read ‘Five barailvi muslims killed’, ‘Three deobandi muslims killed’, ‘Seven wahabi muslims’, ‘Four salafi muslims killed.’ But for that day to come, first we need to get rid of all other ‘species of muslims’ (read: Kafirs). Cheers!

    ReplyAli Tanoli Feb 1, 2012 – 8:19PM
    Why no one want to mention the names of recent killed in old city our problem is we condenm
    pakistan Madrassahs but dont wanna say any thing about our pakistanis goes to Qum iran for
    Education and come back with more hate..

    Replyaq Feb 1, 2012 – 8:53PM
    Shias leaders supported muslim extremist in 1974 to declare ahmadis as non muslims and now paying the price. The only solution to this crisis is to follow dictates of Quaid Azam in August 11 speech to the contituent assembly and make pakistan secular.

    Replynarayana murthy Feb 1, 2012 – 10:17PM
    “Dr Mohsin’s take on the matter reflected his cool-mindedness – he was not one to react aggressively at the mention of anything that is even remotely sectarian.”
    Author, are you kidding me? Do you think the minorities in Pakistan have a right to even object, let alone react aggressively?!!! He would have been killed the same day, had he reacted aggressively.
    People like you should read Taslima Nasreen’s Lajja. It will be like looking at your faces in a mirror for the first time in your lives!!!

    ReplyMilestogo Feb 1, 2012 – 10:28PM
    Disbelievers are a problem, be of any kind.

    ReplyJohnny Feb 1, 2012 – 10:28PM
    Close all madrasas, ban all religious preaching in public places and schools and kick out all mullahs and then wait 5-10 years and enjoy the results of a peaceful society.

    ReplyJohnny Feb 1, 2012 – 10:36PM
    @Danali Dahraj:
    Who cares what is written in the book. This is all talk to most.

    Replynarayana murthy Feb 1, 2012 – 10:36PM
    @aq who says “Shias leaders supported muslim extremist in 1974 to declare ahmadis as non muslims and now paying the price.”
    Now that’s a very very interesting and important point.
    All Shia muslims must answer this, before playing the victim card!!!
    Recommend10 Feb 1, 2012 – 11:34PM
    @Author – I am sure your intentions are good and humane. But you may have got this wrong – “What matters is that he was a Pakistani, a Muslim – as Muslim as we all think we are.”
    Rather what should matter first is that he was a human and deserve to coexist with all other humans irrespective of his religious/political ideology(obviously peaceful) and national affiliation

    ReplyParvez 23 hours ago
    Sunni’s don’t kill Shia’s nor do Shia’s kill Sunni’s unless there is a motive. In these instances religion is being used as it is the easiest weapon and most effective. To stop this madness you have to find the political will and capacity to disable the motive.

    ReplySajid 23 hours ago
    So you say what matters is that he was a Muslim Pakistani? What if he was a Christian Afghani living in Karachi? Would his murder have been “ok”? You see, you too have a subtle bigotry hidden in your beliefs, albeit at another level and of another magnitude. The people you despise look at people in categories of Sunni, Shia etc, and you apparently look at people in categories of Muslim, Pakistani, Non-Muslim etc…..

    ReplyAbid P. Khan 22 hours ago
    Shias leaders supported muslim extremist in 1974 to declare ahmadis as non muslims and now paying the price.
    Very very true. Political opportunism is paying off. Who was the force behind this? Some one who declared, “Thanks God Pakistan is saved” after the eastern wing the country was lost. Even after having secured a comfortable number of seats, the power hungry leader of a supposedly secular party, pushed through the bill that declared Ahmadis as non Muslims. Was he the Mufti of Garhi Khuda Bux?
    These are undeniable facts of history. Complacent politics results in, you reap as you sow. One has to find a way out of this living hell and stop being myopic.

    ReplyAdnan 22 hours ago
    “What matters is that he was a Pakistani, a Muslim – as Muslim as we all think we are.”
    Killing is not justifiable even if he’s not a Pakistani, a Muslim or anyone whom we know. To kill a human-being is unjustifiable. That’s all and moreover, who are us to declare who is muslim and who is not. That’s the problem which was started by declaring Ahmadi muslims as Non-muslims by our very own National Assembly. It’s a pity that no one objected to that and now the time has come that every other sect will be declared the same by the Mullahs of the other sects.

    ReplyHina Fan 21 hours ago
    Discrimination based on religion, caste, race, color, creed, gender, economic strata, nepotism happens everywhere. Even inside of families you have the favorite child and the overlooked child. Sunni Muslims are not the only ones who discriminate.
    Discrimination leading to denial of opportunities, advancements etc etc are painful and unjust but you can live to fight another day / another battle or change the venue.
    Discrimination leading to ‘killing’ – that ends the game.

    Replyhadi 20 hours ago
    @Sana Durvesh:
    it is about that…saying it isnt is turning a blind eye and running away…its like just saying oh that person is sick…doesnt matter if it is a common cold or cancer…and this is u think these people will be satisfied after shias or ahmedis leave pakistan? NO next they will come after boys who play cricket in their colony telling them thts haram…and women who step outside their house …they will be shot next…then it will be people who listen to music…the article is about shias being killed…because they are being killed..and so are ahmedis and baloch..i agree people in pakistan of all sects are being killed in suicide attacks..but there is a MIGHTY DIFFERENCE HERE shias, ahmedis and even baloch are being TARGETED that means there are people out there who have an agenda to kill them! open ur eyes people! this is no longer a common cold..but a cancer running through the veins of pakistan!

    ReplyHamid Siddiqui 20 hours ago
    Br.Absar, I find your column very irresponsible, and serving the purpose of those so called religious flag holders or political leaders who care nothing but only to get fame, they look for a topic that can touch the hearts and try to misguide the mass, and most of them are paid radicals , and they are financed by another country, or financed by a looser who do not know the value of an independent country.
    I was born and brought up in Pakistan, I have childhood friends belonging to any and every sect and religion, having different ethnic backgrounds, we respected our elders, and values, we attended each other’s religious or social activities, we shared in good or bad.
    If anything went wrong every one condemned it with one voice, and at the same time appreciated the good deed or act without caring who has done it, as long as he/she was Pakistani.
    I wonder why we are changed so much in such a little time, it is so sad, I read your whole column, I also knew Dr.Mohsin very well, as very gentle and caring person, and I think if we come across we would be knowing each other, as I remember “Mirchi” too.
    It made me sad to see a person writing the word SHIA KILLING, the person who was also brought up on the same land, where there was never a topic like such discussed, where every elder was KHALO, KHALA,, BHAI, or BEHN, a land where everyone has a right to correct any one doing wrong, without fearing to know his cast, religion or language.
    It would have been much better and you could earn more respect if it was against the KILLING only.

    Replykhawaja sajjad 19 hours ago
    sorry if i luk like a biased SHIA but i want to put few things that we are facing/thinking nowadays……First I want to mention IN BOLD THAT I M A SOCIALIST BY THOUGHT n Prefers a MULTI SECTARIAN SOCIETY….Absar and me are good friends and Dr jaffar mohsin was father of my classmate/gathering mate but it doesn’t matter …matter really is a life…a father/a brother etc….gone gone gone….
    now come to my point please tell me HOW many sects are KAFIRS by FATWA in Pakistan or in world or you can say by killing them you can earn a HAJ????? I think this is the reason for SHIA killing SORRY for being specific but this is reality 2 near 1 die in a span of 4 days in a crowded city like Karachi mean something is wrong with shia cummunity (by friends brother taseer abbas also targeted next day to Dr jaffar mohsin) ……..O’ Moulla’s/religious care takers Please stop giving heaven, hoors , jannat fot such terrorist act….sorry but this is reality….

    ReplyHumanity 15 hours ago
    Pandora’s box was opened in 1974 by the Sunni, Shia alliance when they banded against the Ahmadi Muslims.
    Intolerance is deadlier than a pandemic. It deprives a human of humanity. The peddlers of religion in Pakistan tainted the soul of Islam with the evil of hatred. The Sunnis and Shias jointly promoted and nurtured the ideology of intolerance and violence. They colluded to create a brain washed, blood thirsty, ever burgeoning Frankenstein that is now devouring its creators.
    Today the multitude of Sunni and Shia sects stand dagger drawn at each other’s throats. Deobandis lay claim to the Braveli mosques. Shias get massacred by the Sunnis. Christians are burned alive. Hindus are raped and converted forcibly. Women are paraded naked in the streets and killed in the name of false honor. And yet the self-righteous saviors of Islam stay perpetually bogged down with the Ahmadi issue.
    People who judge others should not be surprised when they themselves are judged. Indeed, such people are deaf, dumb and blind who practice rituals for display while they in reality murder the spirit of Islam.
    The prevalent mindset depraved of humanity seems to be beyond human intervention. The holy scripture teaches us that such a morally depraved society is either utterly destroyed or rehabilitated through divine intervention.
    May God help this unfortunate nation choose salvation and redemption through the practice of love for humanity. Just remember as you sow, so shall you reap.

    ReplyBaqar 15 hours ago
    @Ali Tanoli
    This means you have real problem with QOM than sectarian killings. Atleast call spade a spade, a moderate doctor gets killed coz he belonged to particular sect, condemn his killing rather than divulging in unrelated debate. What you are saying is subjective and based on heresay and stereotypes.
    @narayana murthy
    You have not been appointed judge by ET so please dont act like one. You wont be the one whom shias answer. Ponder over India’s problems rather than taking interest in Pakistan. Period.

    Replykaalchakra 14 hours ago
    Please, let’s not confuse the differences between Shias and Sunnis with the issue of Ahmadis. The matter of Ahmadis concerns not only Muslim ‘extremists’ but anyone who takes time to learn about Islam. Islam is not like Hinduism where practically anyone who claims to be a Hindu can prefectly well assert being a Hindu. In Islam there are some clear dos and don’ts. You simply cant be a Musim if you don’t do certain things or if you do certain other things.
    Ahmadis do certain things and don’t do certain other things that make them non-Muslims in the eyes of a large number of people, not just extremist Muslims.

    ReplyLord 13 hours ago
    For a shia dying is not the end. Dying is start of eternal life therefore its not an issue for hussainis.We are always oppressed and we are ready to take more.The issue is why innocent shias die like Dr.Jaffer.he didnt had any anti-sunni affiliation,no one can proof that.Another example is blasts at shia processions and masajid like masjid e haidry ,masjid ali raza in which innocent peace loving people die paying the price for the love of household of prophet(PBUH).Even after that if there is any revenge attacks no innocent sunni gets killed.Only those who are involved anti-shia activity are targeted.For those who discriminate thank us that you dont have to go through multiple check points for daily prayers.Thank us we dont hit your religious gathering because we know innocent will be killed.

    ReplyMehroz Ali 11 hours ago
    very sad.

    ReplyMustafa Moiz 11 hours ago
    I agree with your main argument. However, I disagree with you when you said that he was a Pakistani, a Muslim – as Muslim as we all think we are. Firstly, there is varying opinion among different people on who is a Muslim and who isn’t, and a person’s religion cannot be the basis to judge him by, for two reasons. Firstly, in that case, you say he was a Muslim, and someone says he wasn’t, then by the argument you give there, he has the right to kill him. And secondly, even if a Shia is accepted as Muslim, does it then justify killing of Christians or Hindus or other minorities, but not any Muslims? So, I strongly disagree with what you have said over there.

    ReplyAli-wali 11 hours ago
    Shia who follow the concept of Ijtehad should be religiously bound to carry arms to protect themselves, banking on corrupt and coward law enforcers for life protection is biggest ‘self deception’.

    ReplyAli-wali 11 hours ago
    @Ali Tanoli: How many people who went to Qom and came back filled with ‘hate’, you ever met? Sir Jamati hypocrisy makes one look gullible.

    ReplyAli-wali 11 hours ago
    @Ali Tanoli: And i can tell you how my school fellow who sadly had impaired vision went to Deobandi madressa, and later on was kicked from a mosque because of alleged pedofilia. Did that guy faced any criminal court! NO. He just moved to a mosque in another village.

    ReplySana Iqbal 10 hours ago
    “Disbelievers are a problem, be of any kind.”
    Oh really? FYI, for the muslims in Pakistan, anyone who does not call himself a muslim is a disbeliever, for all Shias and Sunnis combined an Ahmedi is a disbeliever, for many sunnis, shias are disbelievers, for all barailvis deobandis are disbelievers and for deobandis, barailvis are disbelievers. Then how do you plan to deal with that massive problem of disbelievers? Any solution?

    ReplyHassan Shah 10 hours ago
    @Ali Tanoli:
    dude if we belame Qum then other argument will be Saudi Arabia funding madrassah’s in Pakistan and also brain-washing Muslims in their own kingdom and the debate will continue forever. Being a Pakistani, I think we should make ourself clear that we should not fight for others cause, but for own country. Either we are propagating stance of Saudia or Iran, we are neglecting our own cause that is Pakistan. we shouldn’t become thaikaidaar of every other country.
    I just want to supplement above article with one quote of Hazrat Ali he stated, If you are not my brother in Islam, then you are my brother in Humanity.
    For instance, we call them Kafir, infidel or what ever word we have in our dictionary, we can not strip away their rights which possess being a Human being.

    ReplyHK 9 hours ago
    I may be disconnected as I have been living out of Pakistan for some time now except for regular visits but isnt this as much an issue of law and order breakdown than a society being divided on sectarian lives. I say this because when i move around and talk to people I dont see shia – sunni – christian being a dividing line in day to day interactions between common persons. Arent the killers any thing more than paid killers working for sectarian (but largely fringe) extremist parties trying to carve out their niche. If the police was independent and the first paid killer was arrested and punished wouldnt that have deterred many more. It is the impunity with which all killers escape whether related to ethnic, sectarian, language etc hatred that seems to give the impression that they are represenative of common man which, I like to think at least, is not the case.

    Replyabhi 9 hours ago
    Similarly there are many things as per sunni islam which are required for a muslim and shia don’t fulfill all the criteria!

    ReplySyed Fahim Hassan 8 hours ago
    Nothing justifies killing of Dr Mohsin. But, I will tell you something. Somebody is encouraging the Shia minority youth in Pakistan to make their differences with the Sunni majority prominent at every opportunity possible. I do not understand the reason behind it !
    Recently, while traveling on a flight from Karachi to Bahrain, I suddenly heard loud slogans from the back of the plane. When I checked, it was a group of shia going to Iraq or Syria for holy pilgrimage. I was not sure it was such a wise idea since most of the passengers looked perplexed.
    Last month, arriving on a flight from Bahrain to Karachi, a group of young Shia males started raising loud slogans within the baggage claim area , followed by the same outside the gates. I had never seen anything like this ! They were surrounded by a shocked Sunni majority at 5 am in the morning. I have yet to understand the wisdom of such an act ! Is it mere exercise of their religious freedom, or an assertion to push their differences into the faces of the majority?
    Can someone help me understand ?

    ReplyBaqar 7 hours ago
    Similarly there are many things as per shia islam which are required for a muslim and sunni don’t fulfill all the criteria!….
    diversity is no excuse to cause anarchy

    ReplyHussain Najam 7 hours ago
    Very nicely written ! U opposed the oppressor and supported the oppressed, u did your bit by spreading your word. May Allah bless u !

  • You the nonsense Absar Ul Hassan it is not for the Shia or sunni matter it is the matter of the justice and having lack of the Islamic knowledge which you also have very short knowledge of the islam . And those who really want to kill the any Shia or sunni for your kind information in our Quran Allah call him as the hypocrite and the Kafir etce etc but never a muslim . So the killer of the not say Shia but if you are Muslim then say the killer of the Muslim . If yo just say the killer of the Shia then you acutally dividing the Muslim umma which is already divided but by you words more separation can be possible so think before you write that who is right and who is wrong and say Pakistan zindabd

  • Those who are talking about the Shia and sunni matter they are also don’t know that our Imam Mahdi will come to solve that problem till the arrival of the Imam Mahdi our Prophet commanded us that never fight with each other and wait for the Mahdi so that you division will be solve . Thank you and don’t write like that way it is not the act of the Muslim people hope you all understand me as will .