In the absence of any support from the government and secular-progressive lobbies, civil society activists, human rights groups; and in the presence of active and tacit involvement by the security establishment, judiciary and media regarding Shia genocide in Pakistan, MWM (Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen, an emerging party of Shia Muslims, led by Shia religious scholars) has taken the center stage. We are concerned that the absence of the former groups may push at least some Shias into the arms of ISI-IRI backed clerics – the only group currently speaking out against Shia genocide. [(Inter Service Intelligence (ISI, Pakistan), Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI)].
Recently we came across an interesting debate on the increasing wave of awareness and concern in Pakistan’s Shia Muslims particularly in view of their ongoing genocide at the hands of ASWJ-SSP militants – militants who are also publically aligned with the Taliban and Al Qaeda. This awareness was amply reflected in the mammoth Shia rally in Karachi on 25 March 2012 in which hundreds of thousands of Shias from Sindh and other parts of the country participated.
The debate on facebook revolved around the Xenophobic discourse of at least some Shia speakers at the Quran-o-AhleBait Rally in Karachi, e.g., their insistence that Pakistan must keep blocking NATO supplies and also condemnation of the US-Israel imperialist role in Shia genocide. There was also a discussion of MWM’s emphasis on the notion of political ascendancy of religious scholars (Vilayat-e-Faqih – VF).
With due respect, MWM leaders and Shia intelligentsia must focus on the urgent issue. There is a Shia genocide going on in Pakistan and the perpetrators do not distinguish as to whether their next Shia victim does Taqleed/believes in VF/is secular/is abusive of Shia beliefs etc. Don’t have to look far back as it was just Kohistan where Shias were simply separated on the basis of name and sect, and then butchered.
Furthermore, those who are killing Shias are also killing Ahmadiyya Muslims, Christians and Sunni Barelvis. MWM did not go far enough in reaching out to fellow sufferers. Also, limiting criticism to the US and Israel and providing token critique to the security establishment including judiciary, and their Saudi financiers, that developed Strategic Depth and enabled Jihadis (who are doing this mass killing) is intellectual dishonesty. This will only harm the otherwise commendable effort of gathering close to half a million Shias in Karachi. As can be witnessed from mainstream and social media, the so called liberal elites who are non-Shia and in some cases Shia are unmoved by this tragedy; their references to humanity notwithstanding.
Also, we can understand the disenchantment with the two main parties in Sindh, one local and one federal, that were expected to watch out for Shias. Aside from Faisal Raza Abidi, Shehla Raza, Nadeem Afzal Gondal and one vague statement by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, PPP has been spineless in stopping the Shia genocide. The MQM is alleged to be playing an even more counterproductive role where informal reports have emerged that they instructed their members to NOT attend this rally as well as their utter failure and misdirection (shifting the blame of Sipah-e-Sahaba on Pashtuns in slain Shia MPA’s case).
The Shias need to be smarter and wiser. For starters, they need to combine their efforts with Sunni Barelvis, Balochs, Pashtuns, Ahmadis and Christains. The MWM did not go far enough. They need to make PPP realize that simply by boycotting the next general elections they could make PPP inconsequential across Pakistan and especially In Northern Pakistan and Sindh. They need to clearly spell out that far from protecting Shias, MQM is obfuscating and ignoring Shia genocide in Karachi by giving it ethnic colour. Another important element that is clearly lost on much of the clerical Shia lobby is that the hate propaganda espoused by ASWJ-SSP-LeJ-Taliban-Al Qaeda against Shias is based on hateful and spiteful Anti-Semitic references.
MWM needs to understood that their ISI-esque resolution (particularly its stance on NATO supplies, silence on ISI’s plan to bring Taliban back in Kabul etc) will be used against them. The Jejune liberals, who were mostly unmoved by the Shia genocide, will use this resolution as an “I told you so” for their theory that the MWM is not very different from the ISI-sponsored Mullah project, Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC). The global community will see this as a “Manufactured in Tehran” resolution and chuck it in the bin. And the Ejaz Haiders (ISI-esque liberals of Pakistani media) will gloat that this resolution vindicates their theory that any Shia who is mindful of her/his identity is simply an Iranian fifth columnist.