Original Articles

Plot thickens: ISI strikes back by killing non-compliant Deobandis – by Sheherzade Adil

Editor’s note: On the most recent tragedy in Quetta, Sheherzade Adil’s article goes beyond the superficial analysis that is being peddled by Pakistan’s media.  In analysing the violence, Pakistan’s media carefully deflects attention away from the main cause of such horrific violence against innocent civilians.  The main cause is the continued support to the Jihadi-sectarian groups (ASWJ/SSP, LeT, LeJ, TTP) by the military establishment. The media deliberately obfuscates and confuses this by giving it vague terminology like “sectarian violence” and “ethnic violence”.  The same discourse is disseminated from the (pseudo)-liberals and the right-wing hardliners. Actually this in itself is a false binary as the media has only cosmetic differences on the surface. It is mostly united in protecting each others corporate and NGO interests.  LUBP has always mantained that aside from the Jihadi assets of the military establishment, all other Pakistanis whether they are muslim or Christain, Sunni or Shia- they  have all suffered.


While Shia Muslims in Pakistan are generally facing a State-backed genocide by the hands of ISI sponsored Jihadi outfits (like SSP, LeJ, ASWJ), members of Shia Hazara community in Balochistan and Pashtun (Toori) Shia community in Parachinar have faced the worst during the last decade. The violence against Shia Muslims has escalated significantly in the last few years.

The situation in Quetta took an ugly turn with a couple of incidents in the last two weeks. First incident was the murder of the son of JUI Kalat’s head and second time when an IED explosion occurred near a Deobandi madressa Jamia Miftahul Uloom situated at Saryab Link Road eventually killing seventeen people mostly students.

Amidst the news update, some people on the social networks were very irresponsibly connecting the incident to the Sunni-Shia feud. While in the decade old history of anti-Shia violence in Balochistan, not a single time the Shia population living there has retaliated with similar acts of violence against the Sunni-deobandi population.

The blast today is a signature TTP-LeJ attack, as nature of the blasts, type of IED explosives, ball bearings and nails used in it are hinting towards them.

JUI: a target?

It must be remembered that JUI-F for once hasn’t shown the courage to openly condemn the anti-Shia outfits like SSP/LeJ although they have not endorsed their tactics, and their leaderships has grave disagreements on various issues, as SSP deceased head Azam Tariq in 2002 preferred to cast a decisive vote in favor of Mir Zafrullah Jamali while Fazlur Rehman was running for the slot.

During the last elections, JUI-F Balochistan chapter split between Jihadis supporters, JUI-Nazriyati  and ‘Munkareen-e-Jihad’ (as graffiti against Maulana Sherani appeared during elections), when Maulana Asmatullah of JUI-Ideological contested elections against provincial head Maulana Sherani and defeated him. While Asmatullah is part of the ISI backed Difae Pak Council (DPC) and very close to anti-Shia SSP/ASWJ leadership.

JUI-F has refused to be part of the ISI backed Difae Pakistan Council (DPC), also its head (Fazlur Rehman) apart from his typical hullabaloo has started criticizing Army and issues related to it. Also it was not the first time when Jihadis have targeted JUI leaders. Maulana Hasan Jan of Peshawar killed by TTP, rockets were fired at Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s residence before February 2008 elections. Last year he was attacked couple of times. Maulana Sherani was attacked twice, first time via a bomb blast and second time with a suicide attack. The deceased Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Dadullah Kherkhwa was directly held responsible for the first attack.

In the near past, Deobandi madressas (barring few exceptions) have always been recruitment centers for ISI sponsored jihadi projects with full backing of Deobandi ulemas of political and non-political background. It also provides workers and activists to religio-political parties as well as anti-Shia outfits. Though in Balochistan, most of the deobandi madressas are owned by JUI-F affiliated ulemas.  The anti-Shia SSP/LeJ has no significant influence in those Madressas. Violent incidents like this will help SSP/LeJ in creating and extending support to the anti-Shia monsters. In JUI-Nazriyati, SSP/LeJ has found a formidable ally to increase their influence and fulfill the assigned tasks.

LeJ in Balochistan

While Taliban’s strong presence in Balochistan cannot be ruled out, also their association and links with these anti-Shia outfits are widely known. Just like Taliban, LeJ activities in Balochistan are part of the Intelligence agencies operations. When Nawab Akbar Bugti’s daughter in law, Barhamdagh Bugti’s sister and Mir Bakhtiar Domki’s wife was shot down in Karachi along with her daughter, soon graffiti by the LeJ appeared in District Lasbella Balochistan saying, “Domki, hum arahey hein”(Domki, we are coming to you). LeJ has sent threatening letters to people affiliated to Zikri sect and warned them against supporting Baloch resistance groups like BSO-Azad etc. It is needless to say that its none other than LeJ complicit in violence against Hazara and non-Hazara Shias of Balochistan.

The way main stream media and career journalists have misinterpreted violence against Shias by calling it a sectarian war, the sponsors of anti-Shia outfits have aimed to fuel the anti-shia violence by attacking a deobandi madressah, while these outfits don’t need a provocation to commit their genocidal practices against Shias, Ahmadis, Christians and other minorities, but incidents like today provide their enablers enough evidence to misinterpret such events.

Fears of escalation of violence

While the PPP government generally and their provincial government specifically has miserably failed to protect oppressed groups and to put a halt on violence against Shias, security institutions have planned a sinister plan to continue their practices, and eliminate all those who are obstacles in their perceived ideological and strategic interests, all the efforts should be made to highlight the misery of Shias and all the other groups who are victims of that practices.

Last but not least those who are presenting Shia genocide and also sporadic attacks on Sunnis Barelvis and Deobandis as sectarian violence must be confronted. It is not Sunnis or Shias killing each other, it is the ISI-backed Jihadi-sectarian monsters who are killing both Shias and Sunni in pursuit of the Deep State’s dangerous agendas.

About the author

Sheherzade Adil


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  • If JUI could wage religious war against others, it was inevitable that others, even its former fellow travelers would wage religious war against JUI. Violence is a 2-edged weapon.

  • Why can’t we see such unbiased and objective analysis in mainstream media (Geo, Jang) or think tanks (Jinnah Institute)?

    Well done, Mr. Adil.

  • Excellent Write up , Adil .

    “When Nawab Akbar Bugti’s daughter in law, Barhamdagh Bugti’s sister and Mir Bakhtiar Domki’s wife was shot down in Karachi along with her daughter, soon graffiti by the LeJ appeared in District Lasbella Balochistan saying, “Domki, hum arahey hein”(Domki, we are coming to you). LeJ has sent threatening letters to people affiliated to Zikri sect and warned them against supporting Baloch resistance groups like BSO-Azad etc. It is needless to say that its none other than LeJ complicit in violence against Shia Hazaras.”

  • It is important to differentiate JUI F Fazal ur Rehman from Deobandi secterian outfit . Maulana Fazal ur Rehman use religious card to his advantage but who doesn’t in our country ?

    The fact IS JUI supported Benazir Bhutto over Hamid Gul’s IJI project and today he made a conscious decision of not to join Hamid Gul another ambitious project ‘ Difae Pakistan ‘ .

    You got to give Fazal ur Rehman some credit on grounds of his vocal opposition on judicial lynching which some generous souls calls it ‘judicial activism ‘ and his stance on peace & co existence with India .

  • JUI has a long history of alliance with PPP and facing criticism and ridicule.
    Fazal was part of MRD also, its indeed very unfortunate how they consumed to saudization/salafisation, when fazal’s father joins rabta alam islami in 74, and expelled the moderate elements with socialist leanings from the party. It needs a separate post

  • In an even imperfect world, Twitter shouldn’t have been too much of an influential medium. However, worryingly, it’s become too powerful a platform to overlook. With regards to some people ‘connecting the ongoing target-killing of some non-Shia individuals in Quetta’, yes, there were a few ‘Baloch nationalists (those who claim to be genuine representatives of them)’ who said they spoke to their ‘friends’ on ‘phone’ and ‘chatted on fb’, and found out that ‘it’s getting an ugly war between Shias and Sunnis’. I understand their desperation to portray it as a Sunni VS Shia or vice versa because that is how they think they will attract the worldwide attention. But their deliberate obscurity or naivety must be boldly confronted and exposed least they put the endangered Shia community in more peril.

  • @sheherzadey

    I commend you on writing this very balanced article on a sensitive topic which remains most misrepresented by Pakistani mainstream media as well as bloggers and activists, who want to portray Shia genocide and the killing of non-conforming Sunnis as a part of Sunni Shias sectarian violence. Nothing could be further from truth, but then what else could we expect from sold out Shias such as Ejaz Haider and sold out Sunnis such as Hamid Mir.

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