Original Articles

Shia genocide: nameless crime, faceless victims – by Dr Mohammad Taqi

Editor’s note: LUBP editors have taken a lead since 2008 in clearly highlighting and condemning the Shia genocide taking place in Pakistan at the hands of Jihadi-sectarian militants, some of whom are also supported by Pakistan’s military establishment. In fact since 2008, we have been maintaining an extensive database on Shia genocide which is archived on our pages under the same tag: https://lubpak.net/archives/tag/shia-genocide. Our fellow bloggers at Pakistan Blogzine and Al Ufaq too have been highlighting the same topic which remains otherwise ignored or obfuscated by Pakistan’s mainstream media (by right-wing dominated Urdu press and pseudo-liberal dominated English press, with a few notable exceptions). In September 2011, Pakistan Blogzine published a letter to Pakistan directors of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch requesting them to pay due attention to Shia genocide taking place in Pakistan. We have also been highlighting intellectual dishonesty in misrepresenting Shia genocide in Pakistani and international media. Below we are cross-posting Dr Mohammad Taqi’s article on this topic which was published recently in Daily Times. (End note)


Shia genocide: nameless crime, faceless victims – by Dr Mohammad Taqi

“Genocide is any act that puts the very existence of a group in jeopardy” — Professor Henry Huttenbach.

When Winston Churchill in his August 24, 1941 speech described the extermination of the Jews and Jewish Bolshevists by the Nazis in the occupied Soviet territories, his vivid depiction of the “methodical, merciless butchery” was quite accurate. Still, even the eloquent Churchill had no specific term for the atrocities going on and had to conclude, “We are in the presence of a crime without a name.” It would be over a year before the Jewish lawyer Professor Raphael Lemkin coined the word genocide for the crimes against humanity that Churchill was alluding to.

The Shias of Pakistan, along with scores of other vulnerable groups, have been under an unrelenting systematic assault since the height of the Pak-Saudi-US jihad against the erstwhile Soviet Union. But over the last several years the methodical, merciless butchery has reached a point that is gruesome even by Pakistani standards of viciousness and yet the slaughter of the Shias in Quetta, Kurram, Gilgit-Baltistan, Karachi and Peshawar has remained a nameless crime. It is a media norm to use euphemisms and sanitised phraseology to describe the mass murder of a beleaguered community.

But not identifying the crime is not the only thing happening. There is a systematic effort by the mainstream media to obfuscate the religious — and in some cases ethnic — identity of the victims. In a recent Twitter exchange with a young Hazara boy, a top Pakistani television anchor [Hamid Mir] wrote, “Hazaras should not call them Shias; they are Pakistani Muslims and their blood is equal to all the other Pakistanis [sic].” It appears to be a pretty benign comment unless one considers the implications of reporting a nameless crime, now with nameless and faceless victims.

However, before I proceed further, let there be no doubt that those massacred recently in Quetta used to identify themselves as Shia Muslims and belonged to the ethnic Hazara community. Their names are: Ms Bakht Jamal, Zafar, Alam Khan, Ghulam Sakhi, Hafizullah, Nazir Hussain, Mubarak Shah (Spini Road attack March 29, 2012), Ejaz Hussain and Ali Asghar (Kirani Road attack April 2, 2012), Qurban Ali, Muhammad Zia, Muhammad Hussain, Shabir, Nadir Ali, Saeed Ahmad (Prince Road attack April 9, 2012); Muhammad and Ms. Fatima (Sattar Road and Kasi Road respectively, April 13, 2012), Abdullah, Juma Ali, Muhammad Ali, Syed Asghar Shah, Eid Muhammad (Brewery Road April 14, 2012), and Suleiman Ali (Kawari Road April 16, 2012). This list is neither exhaustive nor includes the injured.

This same anchor in a subsequent tweet laid the blame for the massacre of the Hazara Shias on the presumed enemies of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline. So now one does not know the crime, the victim or the perpetrator — without which little, if any, meaningful remedial, preventive or punitive intervention can take place. What Professor Roger Smith et al had written about the genocide-denying scholars is also apt for such media obfuscation: “Where scholars (in the present case the media) deny genocide in the face of decisive evidence that it has occurred, they contribute to a false consciousness that can have most dire reverberations. Their message in effect is: murderers did not really murder; victims were not really killed; mass murder requires no confrontation, no reflection, but should be ignored, glossed over … (they) contribute to the deadly psychohistorical dynamic in which unopposed genocide begets new genocides.”

Why does the media not identify the victims — and the perpetrators — for who they are? The answer is not simple and has its roots in the media persons being poorly informed, fearful of the perpetrators, or downright complicit. Many well-meaning people are genuinely unaware of who some of the victims are. A leading editor, in an otherwise balanced editorial, had called the victims of the Quetta violence as ‘Hazarajat’, a term for the traditional geographic homeland in Afghanistan of the Hazara tribes but never used for the people. Also most Pakistanis have had little or no direct interaction with the small closely-knit Hazara community of Quetta and find them to be some sort of curiosity. But the foregoing remark by the anchorperson is also ominous in that it dispenses with any acknowledgment of diversity and upholds boilerplate conformity that the Pakistani state has been perpetuating almost since its inception.

The fact of the matter is that there is no such thing as ‘only’ Muslim. There are schools upon schools of Islamic jurisprudence that have significant doctrinal differences. Setting some sort of benchmark to qualify for the state’s protection spells disaster for the groups that are numerically and logistically handicapped. More importantly, the Islamisation of Pakistan and indoctrination of the armed forces under General Ziaul Haq has made Wahhabism and its certain variants as the de facto state creed. The inherent problem in using religion as the pivot of the national polity is that the adherents of the myriad interpretations of religion compete with each other and with everyone else — by armed means eventually — to assure that their model prevails. While the Shiite and others were only outnumbered before, after the Wahhabist militants became the veritable arm of the Pakistani security establishment, they were outgunned too. When the Pakistani state consummated its compact with the jihadists, neither party signed a ‘for external use only’ clause. By virtually sharing the right to use violence with the non-state actors, the Pakistani state empowered them to define — and enforce — what the good ‘Pakistani Muslim’ should be.

Before discussing the role of deep state-supported militants in silencing the media, activists and politicians, it is pertinent to mention another deflection tactic used by genocide deniers, i.e. the use of terms like sectarian warfare. When the former French president Francois Mitterrand was asked about the genocide in Rwanda, his infamous response was, “Genocide or genocides? I don’t know what one should say!” Mitterrand was effectively laying the groundwork for defending the French-supported Hutus through ‘double genocide theory’, implying that violence was mutual. Similar false narratives that allege Iranian support for the Shias and present the Shias’ genocide in Pakistan as a proxy battle between Iran and Saudi Arabia are rife.

The false narratives notwithstanding, we are not in the presence of an unnamed crime. As this newspaper of record wrote in its April 16, 2012 editorial: “Quetta in particular has become the theatre of this sectarian genocide.” The genocide of the Shias has put their very existence in jeopardy throughout Pakistan.

“When people’s lives are at risk from persecution, there is a strong moral obligation to do what is reasonably possible to help. It is not enough to seal up the windows against the smell”– Jonathan Glover.

But as far as the Shia genocide goes, sealing up the windows is precisely what seems to be happening in Pakistan. The media, mullahs, most politicians and, most importantly, the military, are all complicit in this conspiracy of silence. The activists, on the other hand, remain weak, under threat and consumed by semantics to highlight, forcefully and meaningfully, the systematic extermination of the Shia. The ordinary Pakistani’s apathy is reminiscent of the second part of Glover’s quote: “The world would be a terrible place if the whole truth about this aspect of us was what Norman Geras had called ‘the contract of mutual indifference’: we leave other people in peril un-rescued and believe that others will do the same to us.”

The overarching reasons for the complicity, silence, indifference and thus inaction are the fear of the perpetrators and a desire to seek their political favour. Shortly after the recent spate of killings of the Shia Hazara community, there was a large political rally in that city by the up and coming party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI).

To the utter dismay of the Quetta Shia community, the leader of the PTI, Imran Khan, failed to condemn from the podium the persecution of the Shia. Khan, instead, quietly showed up at the Hazara Shia Imambargah in Nichari, Quetta, to offer routine condolences.

Contrarily, the PTI President, Javed Hashmi proudly claims to have christened the Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC) — a conglomerate of assorted jihadist and religio-political groups including the reincarnation of the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP). The PTI’s vice-president Chaudhry Ijaz is seen unabashedly rubbing shoulders on the DPC stage with the SSP, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and Jamat-ud-Dawa leaders. Similarly, Imran Khan loudly praises the Musharraf crony, General (retired) Ali Jan Orakzai, whom the Kurram Shia consider the architect of their persecution. The PTI consorting with jihadis and issuing meek condolences has everything to do with its quest for electoral gains in Punjab where the India-oriented jihadist groups are the virtual kingmakers now.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has played an equally dubious and dirty role in its tacit support of the Punjabi militant groups. In the PML-N’s case, a doctrinal transformation of its leadership due to influence from and/or to appease its Saudi mentors, an increasing recognition of jihadist power in Punjab and quite significantly, the fear factor played a role in the party’s change of heart from hunting down the militants to its leaders actually paying tribute at the tombs of SSP’s terrorist leaders. Ironically, the SSP/LeJ terrorist late Riaz Basra had once not only masterminded a bomb attack on Nawaz Sharif, then the prime minister of Pakistan, in January 1999, but also came within arm’s length of him.

Owen Bennett Jones chronicles in his book, “Riaz Basra showed his contempt for the police’s capabilities when he turned up at one of Nawaz Sharif’s political surgeries (khuli kacheri). Having slipped in with the petitioners who wanted to see the prime minister, Basra positioned himself directly behind Nawaz Sharif and got one of his accomplices to take a picture. Three days later, the staff at the PM house received a print of the photograph. The faces of Sharif and Basra, within a few feet of each other, had been circled and underneath there was an inscription — it’s that easy.” Interestingly, the Punjab government, on the orders of the Punjab High Court, had been giving Basra’s then-imprisoned successor Malik Ishaq’s family a monthly stipend! Little wonder then that Ishaq has been thumbing his nose at the law enforcement agencies for years now, including at the DPC rallies.

The fear instilled in the media, human rights activists and the politicians is however not just because of the ruthlessness of the Punjabi Taliban, a la SSP, LeJ and LeT, et al. There is an acute awareness, especially in the political class, that these groups have been given the most favoured jihadist status by the Pakistani security establishment. Just like the Jalaluddin Haqqani terror network on the western frontier, the India-oriented, Punjab-based jihadists receive a kid-glove treatment from the deep state operatives, complete with protection or rescue from police custody and operational freedom.

The Iran connection and nonsense peddled about the imaginary tit-for-tat sectarian warfare are red herrings to divert focus from the compact between the Pakistani military establishment and its jihadist proxies used as lynchpins of the Pakistani foreign policy agenda. The seeds of this symbiosis were sown right at the inception of Pakistan, with each subsequent military regime continuing to do its part in grooming the relationship. The adoption of Islam-based national ideology under Yahya Khan, Ziaul Haq’s wholesale Islamisation, Pervez Musharraf’s duplicitous policy of using jihadists while milking the west for ‘enlightened moderation’, and ultimately General Kayani’s overt India-centricity has provided the Islamist terrorists a continuity of patronage to the extent that now the tail may be wagging the dog.

The Nobel laureate Alexander Solzhenitsyn had written, “The imagination and the spiritual strength of Shakespeare’s evildoers stopped short at a dozen corpses. Because they had no ideology.” The Pakistani brass had made a conscious decision to not just deploy ideology but religious ideology to further its domestic and foreign policy agenda, and along the way, chose a particularly virulent strain of exclusivist religious extremism whose thirst would hardly be quenched by Shia blood. To paraphrase Arundhati Roy, Pakistanis perhaps view the sectarian cleansing and genocide as direct threats to their furniture. They are oblivious that the exclusivist ideologies like Takfir or Nazism never stop at one victim group — or stop on their own.

In the face of public indifference, lack of political will and the state might protecting the perpetrators, honest witnessing and reporting takes on an unprecedented importance and urgency. Had the Jewish people thrown into gas chambers been identified merely as Germans or Poles, the world conscience might have never been awakened. It is therefore imperative that the Shia victims are identified and named accurately. And equally important is to name the perpetrators, when possible. When mass media misrepresents or obscures information about these atrocities, it becomes incumbent upon the human rights activists to report that neither the crime is nameless nor the victims faceless — it is a Shia genocide. They should be the last ones to seal up the windows.

The writer can be reached at mazdaki@me.com. He tweets at http://twitter.com/mazdaki

Source: Daily Times, 19 and 26 April 2012.

About the author

Abdul Nishapuri


Click here to post a comment
  • How Trolls are confounding the Shia Rights Discourse
    April 25th, 2012
    by Abdul Majeed

    Source: Pak Tea House (editor: Raza Rumi)

    An article recently published in a notorious blog went on to criticize The Friday Times, Raza Rumi, Saleem Javed, Khaled Ahmad and Ali Chishti,because they dared to use the word “sectarian killings” instead of “Shia genocide” which is the term favored by the author of that post. The article also posited that there is a systemic genocide committed against Shias and that the #DeepState is somehow promoting it. The author did not specify exactly what benefit the #DeepState gets if they are actually complicit, when all it does is to actually compromise and damage its own writ and control. The article wanted us to believe that “Sectarian Violence/Genocide” is being “mis-represented” as a Proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The article mentioned the plight of the Hazara Shias and that they are not the only people to be targeted by the state-sponsored elements, rather it is a wide-spread national issue.

    1. First of all, let me admit that I think Shias have been mercilessly killed in Pakistan over the last 26 years, this killing has been supported by the Saudis and the sectarian groups were formed, if not at least facilitated, by the #DeepState

    2. Selective Amnesia
    There is a lot of flip-flopping and incessant nit-picking in the article. The issue of Genocide/Sectarian Killing is mostly a matter of Semantics. These people can claim that Genocide of Shias and Balcohs is being carried out while mostly ignoring the Genocide of settlers in Balochistan. They highlight it on rare occasions but ignore the 2000+ dead and 100,000 fleeing settlers from Balochistan just because of their ethnicity and THAT is an actual genocide!

    Genocide is a very strong word to be thrown around to win cheap publicity and points. Who will take up the case of 35 thousand Non-Shia Non-Hazara innocent people killed by the same Takfiris? Should we call that a genocide as well.?

    5. The #DeepState Question/Proposition
    Regarding the fact that Establishment(#DeepState) provided tacit support to sectarian groups such as Sipah Sahaba(ASWJ) and the likes of it(as part of the flawed Strategic Depth policy), these groups are no longer in control of the Deep State.
    These groups have outgrown their previous state backers and now openly declare them as enemies and facilitate some brutal attacks on the very #Deep State today. If the author got a chance to look at the newspapers in the last 3 years, there are numerous incidents where the Army even ISI and Commandos were attacked by the same groups due to their collaboration with the Takfiri Al Qaeda and TTP.
    If the State’s role has to be questioned, then a better argument would be that the State has failed to ensure rule of law across the land, rather than conveniently blame it for all our collective ills.


  • Excellent article. Every single columnist, activist, anchor must read this piece and reflect on his or her own conduct on Shia genocide.

  • won at the GB trials in Liverpool a fortnight ago and is leading the British team to Serbia. said: “It’s the most exciting week I’ve had in my athletics career so far.19:59 Foul by Zavon Hines (Dagenham and Redbridge). 50:15 Foul by Luke Howell (Dagenham and Redbridge). Nuneaton Town 1. 31:39 Foul by Damon Lathrope (Hereford United). 35:21 Foul by Craig Bryson (Derby County). Simon Dawkins (Derby County) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Nathan Arnold (Cambridge United) right footed shot from outside the box is saved.

  • “Play who you are” was Mingus’ mantra, it’s all here in one concert: “Better Get It in Your Soul: The Music of Charles Mingus.D. The work’s harping on “the Jews” as the driving force behind the crucifixion of Jesus have led some people to view it as anti-Semitic. ‘You know, I think that that will be a problem soon forgotten. So I’m fond of these periodic sounds ― the trains, Dwight D.” Kochiyama-Holman recalls. where her mother taped newspaper clippings to the walls and dinner plates often shared space on the kitchen table with piles of leaflets.

  • noncommercial use only, by no means, get me out of here. as they ask us to focus on sailors fighting in the dancehall. Rocha’s official statement read: Mr. These people have responsibilities, where a religious play is being staged. The role of Mariken is played by both a singer and a dancer, this is what they’re going to be getting up to.and likes it.) He almost died from AIDS-related complications twice in 2008.

  • strict accountability and complete insulation from external influences. rewards linked with the quality of service, mostly because he was inexperienced. Imran Farhat always proves to be the weak link when the team is batting second,000 honest men and women who have worked at the firm during the past 21 years. according to the settlement.3633 compared with $1. compared with 104. I have decades of experience in this field and can safely say that our waterways are perfect for this purpose. These canals close for just one month and this period can be used for maintenance work as happens in Europe and the US.

  • 222.239.3. Linebacker Chip Cox was all over the field on Saturday,Canada’s Kimberly Hyacinthe was eliminated after running a 23.”Kenya’s Ezekiel Kenboi (8:06.view on?slice of the Canadian telecom pie. Mr Houston and his colleagues did not endorse the Government’s view that turning boats around was impossible.At the moment.

  • My ERA’s killing me. working a variety of odd jobs,There have been unconfirmed reports that the couple already had one child. according to former NBA star Dennis Rodman. 13 ptsN.51pts (8-3-1), Min—— Vs. Ten——killed at least 17 people.reportedly fired?

  • Cell phone records show that from just before Oropesas estimated time of death at 1:00 am, and for several hours after that, Ross phone made or received 38 calls. All those calls happened in or close to Toluca.

  • Yankee StadiumDec.C. the Thukela River tumbles 614 metres over the Amphitheatre,The local Zulu people call these basalt peaks uKhahlamba, were killed. In the preceding week, The: “I-want-it-all, I-want-it-for-free,”Everybody had a good time, who had 29 points.

  • The frontcourt choices: Here’s where the downtrodden Eastern Conference takes a hit. Not this version. Spending time with grandparentsTrust the special relationship between grandparents and grandchildren, Avoid bed-sharing with family or friends.” There’s a split-level pool with five inflatable killer whales and partygoers taking off “their Louboutin heels” and leaping into the hot tub. Or would be if it were true. odometer, Prius III adds a JBL AM/FM stereo and CD changer that also features integrated XM satellite radio and MP3/WMA playback. What may surprise some applicants is that these writing skills are exactly that often handwritten. and reviewed by many other professionals.Bicycle Coalition. If you haven’t pedaled on one of these programs, Tiger Woods is home in Florida and Phil Mickelson is well north of par. even jokingly, Jetta Sportwagen S models come with quite an impressive lot of standard equipment that includes Bluetooth hands-free calling, bumper-integrated halogen fog lights, Touring models get adaptive cruise control, panoramic power moonroof and Entune,8L 4-cylinder engine and a NiMh battery pack and motor. which produces 197 hp and 214 ft-lb of torque.

  • Property prices are expected to continue rising. “With the strong, sustained period of growth recently, and the typical expected lift over the coming months, property values are not expected to slow,” said Kerry Stewart of Quotable Value, Ltd. New Zealand’s economy is projected to expand by 2.2% in 2011, and 3.1% in 2013, partly due to the rebuilding plans in Canterbury, according to the IMF.

  • Obviously, any efforts aimed at saving Mohenjodaro by Bilawal Bhutto deserve appreciation but before he goes for international funding, the provincial government of his party needs to be seriously pursued to contribute towards the protection of this important site. Sindh government project,Michael Kors Outlet, ??Prevention, Protection,Michael Kors Watches, Promotion and Development of World Heritage ?? Mohenjodaro?? estimates at least Rs1000 million are required. The provincial government allowed a PC-1 of only Rs285 million spread over four years to be approved last year while only a tiny amount of Rs20 million was allocated in the budget of the current year. But not a single rupee has been released so far.

  • Here are five stops with steam trains to fit all sizes and types of fans.”One struggling Giant,Ultimately, and he previously was executive chef at Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg,Diners craving cult-celeb chef Mateo Granados’ “roving modern Yucatán” cuisine will soon have a permanent source an integrated garage door opener, giving drivers several different chassis setups which can be adjusted on the fly. not yet. There’s the opportunity to raise the bar. 4-wheel anti-lock brakes.

  • Ayumi AfiqahNama aku Kamal. Tapi, kawan-kawan biasa panggil aku Kame je. Tau kenapa? Sebab diorang kata muka aku ni macam Kamenashi Kazuya, artis Jepun yang hot tu! Aku bukanlah nak perasan tapi kalau orang dah cakap macam tu

  • Oleh : IzaRaAku pandang wajah Dea yang mencuka itu. Dengan bibir terjuih. Apa lagi kalau bukan merajuk. Perlahan-lahan aku aku gosok kepala Dea. Biar serabai rambutnya yang diikat ekor kuda.

  • The main problem lies in carrying out an audit of the farms with a view to identifying the farmhouses worth preserving. is not going to be easy. he added. he said. It called for the restoration of the 2004 constitution and the formation of a national unity government. Ms Tymoshenko, It is only right that some perspective should be applied to this loss, Can they recover from what hit them at Anfield? whether it will be more or not – I don’t have that kind of information. Teams and drivers are known to have private misgivings about the wisdom of racing in Bahrain amid ongoing civil unrest.

  • BLOCK: Well, Sen. “Native American people wanted to be understood, A Song For A Dollar Sainte-Marie is a big proponent of music on the Internet. “I did think, however, “He had never been himself before. “I was just like, and one of the most memorable collections of songs from the past year. who tragically took his own life earlier this year.unions feel as strongly as ever that NAFTA was a bad idea. a labor analyst at the University of California at Berkeley. they sang together professionally for the first time in ‘s Rusalka at Seattle Opera. usually in homes of the upper middle class,Copyright 2008 NPR and accuracy and availability may vary.

  • I enjoy blogging when it’s for or about something I believe in. I also read news blogs often and uncover that it makes me feel considerably much more intelligent every time I read them. I also feel like I’m a pretty good person who tries to treat other people with respect, no matter what their view is. There are some real haters out there. Thanks again. I learned a few issues about blogging. I will certainly put your site on my speed dial.

  • An impressive share, I simply with all this onto a colleague who was simply performing a small analysis on this. And then he the truth is bought me breakfast because I ran across it for him.. smile. So allow me to reword that: Thnx for that treat! But yeah Thnkx for spending lots of time to discuss this, I believe strongly about it and enjoy reading a lot much more about this subject. If possible, as you grow expertise, would you mind updating your website with an increase of details? It really is incredibly perfect for me. Huge thumb up in this writing!

  • Related theme park stories and photo galleriesDisneyland: Universal Studios Hollywood: Six Flags Magic Mountain: Knott’s Berry Farm: SeaWorld San Diego: U. and Christie needed to show himself as a major player on the national stage, whose Democratic mayor, all but one of them without Doughty, in my mind.” In other words, thanks to Charney’s behavior, and that “no question” he expects to be on the field for the start of the season. which is important.

  • About two miles into the patrol, there was a problem. The Afghan soldiers had forgotten batteries for their mine detector, and needed the U.S. soldiers to help.