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A critical analysis of the MWM resolution at the Karachi Shia rally

Related post: MWM must not act as a Shia version of Difa-e-Pakistan Council

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.

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Jehangir Hafsi

16 Comments

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  • Good post.

    What is the relevance of posting MWM leaders having sumptuous dinner?

  • @Rehman

    Like everyone else, Shia mullahs too need to eat. They too have financial needs, which are met by IRI, and security needs, which are met by ISI.

  • Good article..but what the hell is this – ISI is sympathetic to Shias? What a joke./!!!
    ISI is equally involved in the genocide of Shia Muslims in Pakistan.

  • Collective suicide that what they are preaching. What they are suggesting will make us more isolated, seggregated, and vulnarable, it will ultimately play in hands of ISI n SSP who want us to become a locked, isolated community like Ahmedis, The decision by Ahmedi caliphate to become “communiterrian” and ” reject politics” boycotting political parties etc played a fundamental role in fate of Ahmedis today. we never raise this issue because of severly persecuted nature of Ahmedi brother dont want to encourse dominant hate based discourse about their religious leadership. But their “community centric” view and their rejection of political activism and rejection of political resistance and mainstream political parties is a major cause of “invisibility” and “alination” which Ahmedi feels making them an easy pray to be killed and lied about.
    Thats the fate this religious leadeship wants us to be. Today Shia are in political parties, workplaces, universities, colleges , visible and open bout their religion. Its this ease which must be preserved at every cost. Its imp that we dont appear as a “closed community”.

  • “The decision by Ahmedi caliphate to become “communiterrian” and ” reject politics” boycotting political parties etc played a fundamental role in fate of Ahmedis today. we never raise this issue because of severly persecuted nature of Ahmedi brother dont want to encourse dominant hate based discourse about their religious leadership.”

    You are pretty ignorant to say that. Jamaat Ahmadiyya is a spiritual jamaat, always were, it is NOT a political party. Individual Ahmadis are free to participate in politics if there is no other hurdle in the way such as the requirement for them to accept themselves as non-Muslim these days before they can participate so they do not participate. So it’s the national policies based on hatred from other sects including Shias that are holding Ahmadis back politically and not the other way round. Ahmadi Khalifas have always taught Ahmadis to be tolerant and peaceful that is why there is no Ahmadis terrorists in contrast to numerous Brelvi, Deobandi and Shia terrorists killing each other and Ahmadis as well.

  • “But their “community centric” view and their rejection of political activism and rejection of political resistance and mainstream political parties is a major cause of “invisibility” and “alination” which Ahmedi feels making them an easy pray to be killed and lied about.”

    Nothing like that. Ahmadis trust in God not in politics or anything else for their protection. Others are free to put their trust where they want. The results of both approaches will be eventually visible for all to see.

    Even if there were no legal restrictions on Ahmadis to participate in Pakistani politics, like there are at present, the current political climate is not suitable for any honest person to join in; among other things there is interference, pressure and blackmailing by the establishment. So it’s not really something to miss too much at the moment.

  • “Today Shia are in political parties, workplaces, universities, colleges , visible and open bout their religion. Its this ease which must be preserved at every cost. Its imp that we dont appear as a “closed community”.”

    A lot of good that has brought to Shias; Shias are dying in numbers (I suspect a lot more than Ahmadis) and none of these “open society” Shias can do anything about it. Compared to that the Ahmadi Khalifa based system takes care of its own and keeps them on straight path of peaceful co-existence.

  • I am referring that just confirmed what i said. its exactly the attitude which i criticized. The diachotomy of “spiritual” and “political”.
    You are not right when you say that Jamat e Ahmedia havnt stopped any one from politics! They have practically led to boycott of All Pakistani politics . Because Ahmedis are unfairly declared non muslims, but this was a political decision and could only be reversed politically.
    This has not been done, the khalifate has run the community in more religious way, that good i dont object to it, but they have ignored political struggle, they have made wrong political choices and they have continue to do so. Their opinion about solution of Ahmedi question is purely religious, which you and they have all the right to adopt, but with all due respect is not a solution that will work.
    Ahmmedis apart from their religious affiliations have to embark upon a political path. They have to re enter political parties and parliment, in civil society groups, in social organizations, despite them being considered non muslims and work for a secular constitution in Pakistan that will ultimately annul that stupid anti ahmedi legislation. But thinking that spirituality and religion and piety is what will grant Ahmedies their rights , i would say its very naive
    Moreover , Ahmedies have become a very close community due to obvious threats, legal restriction but also from a degree of self image of being the chosen people whose patience, piety and sacrifice will ultimately led to their deliverance like that of Jews from Egypt . In religious perspective its your right, but these are worldly affairs and it needs political sense and solution

  • The Shias are being murdered because our establishment want them to be exactly like Ahmedia, totally dependent upon eachother with their own system which u praise. But this very system my brother is nothing but seggregation. Ghettos have been created and on top of its many Ahmedis are made to bleive that this isolation and sufferring is a spiritual experiance!
    There is no peaceful co existance. Ahmedies have been brutully cut away from society, left to status of non entity by state.Its the process of taking away “ownership” , process of dispossession! The religious leadership instrad of challanging this aparthed has just done welfare and creation of a closed community who are ready to be “sacrificial lambs”. No sir! We dont need sacrifical lambs, we need brave people who say No to these injustices, we need people who are not content that are living in seggregation. we need ppl who break seggregation. Shias are being murdered because they refuse to give up their lives, they refuse to become alien in their own home.
    What Islamic Republic of Pakistan has done to Ahmedies is one of the worse crimes in history but Ahmedi people have to take a critical look on their policies of dealing with these attrocities!

    Jin ke sur Muntazir e Taig e Jafa hein unko
    Dast e Qatil ko jhatak dene ki tofeeq mille!

  • Shaheryar Ali, you are either a complete idiot or a bigot. Such shallow and away from facts arguments can leave one with only above conclusion.

    Are you trying to cover up or water down the Shia persecution of Ahmadis and therefore must blame the victim to create a false equivalence? With statements like ‘Ahmadis persecution is bad BUT…’ Aren’t you one of those fake liberals that LUBP talks so much about? I’m sure readers can see the flimsiness of arguments but here is one advice to you in relation to your this advise;

    “Ahmedi people have to take a critical look on their policies of dealing with these attrocities!”

    Fix problems facing Shia community, be an example; show everyone what you mean as the correct way of dealing with the atrocities and then there would be no doubt over your intensions and sensibilities. How is that for a reasonable expectation from someone who makes a lot of judgments on others? You have political backing of Iran and its funding too so you already have a good start.

  • Mr Malik i think you are trying to be judgemental here. Asking Ahmedi people to have a critical look at themselves is not bigotry, Its rather a friendly gesture!
    I ask this to Shia, liberals, PPP and myself too , to have critical look at one self! Only stupid people claim they dont make mistakes and only idiots dont look back and correct their mistakes! i think u dont know what is the meaning of “critical”.
    I think stupidity is evident from your comment, because if u have read my comment i have not blamed the victim. i am very clearly blamed Pakistani state for attrocities and crimes against Ahmedi and Shia communities both.
    This is exactly the studpid religious mindset which result in prosecuted communties fighting eachother, i consider Iranian regime as evil as Pakistani establishmnt and Saudi regime. unlike you i have no double standards. i recognize every innocent victim regardless of his caste, creed and religion.
    regarding your advice to me if u had any rationality u would have seen that i am exactly doing the same. My first criticism was for the religious leadership of Shias! unlike you i m not a blind follower of anyone!
    The day persecuted communities of Pakistan realize that they have a common enemy and the solution is not divide and isolate and seggregate but join hands and once n for change this theocratic system and embrace universal values of humanism , the day they will bring a dawn of freedom to them!