Hazaras:”Nero Fiddles as the Rome Burns?”

By Brig Mehboob Qadir (R)

Shias in Pakistan are a sizeable religious minority who have lived among Sunni main mass in perfect harmony since centuries. One Processionwould not really know or bother to find out who was a Shia or a Sunni till Muharrum, the month of Shia mourning arrived. Shias would wear black clothes and move about with a sense of grief and loss commemorating the great martyrdom of Imam Hussain and his companions at the hands of an absolute despot. It used to be over as the month ended, more or less and then normal business of life resumed in the neighborhood. As Sunnis we would respect and empathize with Shia mourners in many local but graceful ways.We would attend their majlis ( a recitation of tragic events ) , consume post majlis food  distributed in the venue  and set up drinking water stalls en route the mourning processions. Similarly for at least the ten days of Ashur(end of the month) we would not play music, buy new clothings or any major new thing, hold any festive event like weddings etc and avoid wearing  freshly tailored or showy bright clothes.

All this and much more was done naturally and not under any special instructions by any lofty Allama or a Shaikh ul Islam. We would be deferential to the Shia sentiments because we were taught it was decent, humane and expected. None hated or disliked anyone for the shade of his belief ,particularly Islamic faith. There were many subsects and schools of fiqah that were subsisting together with the main ones without any difficulty. Ahmadis were very well adjusted and so were Ismailis and the like. Wahabis were few and far between and generally distanced from  socially because of their unsettling kind of belief. Hindus, Sikhs,Christians, Parsis and a tiny number of  Jews were handled tenderly lest their sensibilities are touched. It used to be such a wonderful sight to see local  Sikh businessmen sitting side by side among the fierce Afridi traders in theTorkham bazaars.

Most regrettably perceptions have moved away from realities in case of Pakistan and that is our real and abiding loss. There were no fatwas for beheadings, no faith charged processions and least of all sectarian or communal murders.The best and most well behaved class fellow in my class in Loralai was a handsome Hindu boy call Ramesh whom I understand rose to heights in the Civil Service of the country.During college days my best friends and  brighter students were mostly Ahmadi boys with whom  a life long relationship remains. Their sense of duty,integrity and dependability  used to be amazing.

Then came the  notorious and ,in the hindsight, catastrophic anti Ahmadi riots of 1953 in Lahore particularly.These were archestrated mainly by the Jamaat e Islami’s Maududi and The Majlis e Ahrar e Islam‘s firebrand Deobandi mullahs.Ahraris were typically opposd to Pakistan like Maududi and hated Ahmadis.The army quickly and effectively put them down and sentenced these characters to death that was later commuted to jail term. Sorrowfully more than 200 Ahmadis were killed and huge property gutted in that madness.As an evil consequence all such bigoted religious elements began to band together first as opposition to Ahmadis but eventually expanded to other shades of belief less their doctrinal gurus, the Wahabis. Shias were the natural next minority as it irked the unforgiving breed of mullahs with in the Sunni main mass and who better than the Deobandis and their chief patrons and ideologues ,the nettlesome Wahabis. This toxic lava began to simmer but was controllable till two demons of destruction swept down upon the region in general and Pakistan in particular. As if coordinated, the Soviets invaded Afghanistanin 1979 and nearly simultaneously Ayatullah Khomeini descended upon Iran.This was the beginning of a mutually reinforcing and assured destruction of  broad and beautiful balance in faith in Pakistan.Late General Zia espoused the cause of Afghan resistance and repainted it as Jihad under the twin persuasion of Saudis followed by the US.That stratagem also assured flow of dollars and relifing of his faltering regime against the rising popular opposition to his  disgusting medieval style rule. On his beck and call was again the abrasive Deobandi-Wahabi  combine, unfortunately. These wicked twains were to later bring Pakistan and its people to tremendous harm and grief. That is what happens when one feeds vipers like these in the back yard.

Khominite take over of Iran enthused Shias to their dream of Mahdavi world dominance while Soviet invasion helped Saudis realize their dream of universal jihad albeit not in their land but safely in Afghanistan-Pakistan. There could have been nothing more auspicious for them, than having a tin pot dictator ruling Pakistan and looking for some kind of legitimacy .In this lava crater of regional upheavals the Hazaras of Afghanistan and Quetta were caught in a vice not of their making but thrown around them by the tragic twists and turns of history.Pakistan was already seething with sectarian divide, Ahmadis had been declared as non muslims by late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto under pressure from religious lobby in 1976.Time was ripe for a Wahabit- Deobandi ascent in Pakistan just as the petro dollars began to flow in while Late Zia was already teetering over the sectarian edge.

Afghan war of freedom from Soviets and concomitant Khominite revolution in neighboring Iran helped to pitch Sunnis against Shias in strange ways. Khominite zeal scared and startled the Sunni Peninsular Arabs. Soviet invasion provided Saudis a golden chance to paly out their Wahabist fantasy of jihad against an atheist super power.Eventually the two mutually repulsive fantasies pitched Shias against Sunnis in our region and the bolt actually fell upon Shia Hazaras in Afghanistan, in Quetta and elsewhere inside Pakistan. In a short while we will see how, but before that a bit of historic perspective is in order.

Hazaras had been truly the proverbial children of a lesser God in our region. Anywhere else in the world they could have been a power house of industry, culture, education and great civic sense.In other words they are a potential engine of tremendous social uplift.They are descendents of Mongol warriors who were accompanied by their Eurasian households when Chengiz Khan laid siege to Bamyan in 1221.After its capture they settled down and proliferated . Their robust resistance to assimilation into Afghan melting pot of races has turned out to be their biggest but unintended  fatal fault.

Babur,the Mughal Emperor had noted Hazaras inhabiting Hazarajat west of Kabul as far as Ghor, Ghazni and Quetta in 16th century. That was just about the time when under Safavid influence they converted to Shiism, a leap which unfolded dreadfully three centuries later.It was 1890 and fierce Amir Abdur Rehman ruled over Afghanistan. Hazaras decided to side with the King’s rebel cousin. They were routed .Their men were imprisoned, , many were brutally executed and properties confiscated arbitrarily. The atrocities continued forcing Hazaras to revolt again in 1892 and yet again in 1893.Amir’s retribution was swift, barbaric and bloody. Thousands of Hazara men, women and children were sold off as slaves in the markets of Kabul and Qandhar.

Amir Abdur Rahman’s relentless repression firmly sowed the seed of abiding hatred between Hazaras and Afghans for all times to come.Thirty five thousand families fled to Northern Afghanistan, Mashad and Quetta displacing almost 60 % of the whole ethnic population. Short of Partition , this should be the most horrific exodus of an entire people in the region’s history. Hazaras had finally and decisively become unwelcome among Afghans, particularly  Pushtuns on three counts. They came as conquerors and settled down on prime lands in Hazarajat .Much against the Sunni mass preference they converted to Shiism thus permanently creating a pro Iran enclave dangerously close to the Pushtun seat of power in Kabul. Lastly they kept their distinct identity and never assimilated. As a rule history does not forget nor forgives collective mistakes made by the races or nations which confront them eventually and draws retribution, often horrible.

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When Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979, the society quickly disintegrated into a number of resistance groups, disjointed and disparate. While most of the Pushtun resistance regrouped in Pakistan for a guerilla war ,Hazaras reached out to Iran which effectively disentitled them to material and financial help from US-Saudi- Pakistani troika. However by 1984 determined Hazaras liberated Hazarajat with Iranian help much before the displaced Pushtuns could reclaim any significant territory inside Afghanistan. They went on to align themselves with what came to be later known as Northern Alliance. Thus got  planted in a hostile politico-military camp against Taliban/Pushtuns. Taliban extracted their gory revenge by butchering Hazaras in Hazarajat and Mazar e Sharif when they came to power in 1994.More migrated to Quetta. Tragic but bound errors were piling up in a conspiracy of manslaughter against hazaras.

Meanwhile in Pakistan late Zia sponsored vile Shia-Sunni divide had become bloody and militant. Sipah e Sahaba( Lashkar e Jhangvi’s mother root) and Sipah e Mohammad had already arrayed against each other country wide and were contaminating the whole society. As a result persecuted and hunted Hazaras were not to have safety in Pakistan too.

Taliban were defeated and dispersed by US forces in 2002 with the help of Northern Alliance and forced to seek refuge in their old haunts in FATA and Quetta Valley. That united the deadly ire of Afghan Taliban with that of hostility to Shias by Lashkar e Jhangvi.Hazaras in Quetta were an easy and  hapless prey in their miserable  and isolated refuge with no where to go from there. This was a very unfortunate coincidence of circumstances and utter oppression of history against Hazaras, completely and criminally missed by the governments in Pakistan. Simultaneously Hazaras were unable to apply course corrections to their centuries old ethnic orientation. Meanwhile for the successive civil and military federal governments in Islamabad, Balochistan had become a political and administrative back water unworthy of any serious,long term attention. For this national myopia and culpable neglect we are going to pay a horrendous price as much more is still to come .Sorrowfully no lessons seem to have been learnt. Of this  extensive national criminality, abandoning Hazaras to  defend themselves against the unholy alliance of blood thirsty Taliban and the  sectarian blind bats  is but one element .Thus it seems the stage was set for a fresh round of Hazara persecution, this time in Pakistan.

Deobandi militants and sectarian killers began to infiltrate into Balochistan setting up bases at strategic locations while the weak kneed administrations , both at federal and provincial levels either acquiesced or simply colluded. Another unfortunate factor that added to the deadly brew has been that these sectarian barbarians were able to prevail upon secular minded Brahvis to join their evil fold and began to operate from their areas with an unprecedented liberty of action. There is reported to be a Middle East funded Madrassa of radicals right at the mouth of the Mastung valley just as one exits Lak Pass.This  sectarian rattle snake pit is most likely responsible for  firing squad like repeated executions of Hazara pilgrims travelling in buses through Mastung plain, to and from Iran in the recent past.

Continued Afghan war glued US and West’s focus to Afghanistan.That naturally drew their attention , among other things, to the sad plight of Hazaras in and around Afghanistan. They were quick to realize that Hazaras were not only hunted for their ethnicity and religion but  were also geographically  locked in.That meant their extermination was almost guaranteed. Pakistan ,their foster country had already achieved the dubious distinction of being minority intolerant as a result of  venom spewed by Zia’s  mad mullahs. Hindus were slowly migrating to India and Ahmadis to Canada and US, but Hazaras had practically nowhere to go. This must have caused a powerful pull on the West’s collective conscience and mercifully they opened their doors to this  talented but threatened race. Today Hazara diaspora is found in US, UK, Australia, Iran, New Zealand, Sweden and Norway.

While travelling to Malaysia in 2011 I touched down at Bangkok airport. There in the departure lounge I found a bunch of Hazara families awaiting flight to Australia. All ages of men ,women and children huddled together in a palpable suppression .They sat there with a sense of relief but their faces were still distressed . Their body language was that of disbelief, apprehension and caution. Their glances betrayed the pain and pangs of years of persecution, killings and displacement. But also a longing for a secure future in an alien land. I could well be imagining too much but that is how I sensed what they must have felt. Quietly I bade them farewel and a safe journey into an uncertain future in a kindly Australia. Once there ,they are not going to be the same ever, but will surely enrich the Australian society.

With the exodus of this hardy, neat and sociable people will also depart our already bankrupt constitutional, moral and human responsibility to protect and help our fellow citizens regardless of their race and creed. Our unpardonable insensitivity and acute lack of courage to stand up against the sectarian monsters and Taliban demagogues is chronic and sickening. These daisy cutters will soon turn inwards and then fence sitters like us and those feeling  otherwise cozy will also be cut down as mercilessly as Hazaras today. These wild beasts  have got used to spectacular massacres like the ones they perpetrated against Hazaras at Alamdar Road last month and in Hazara Town on 17th Februry.They would sadistically like to re enact where possible.

In this  hugely sorry state of affairs , conduct most unbecoming had been that  of the provincial government and in that its insane looking ex Chief Minister whose brain seemed as incoherent as was his speech. This man had been a patently deplorable character who had literally thrown the whole province to the wolves. He seemed to have no love lost for Hazaras and non locals and made no visible attempt to protect either. There could be nothing more heartless than his infamous remark when asked why wouldn’t he return to Quetta from London when bereaved Hazaras in Quetta were sitting in protest under the open skies along with close to a hundred dead bodies slain in a terrorist attack at Alamdar Road. The going temperature in Quetta then was nearly sub zero and weather bone soaking rainy. He replied ‘I can only send them tissue papers to wipe their tears’ or such words. This awfully ridiculous man epitomizes our own pathological national insensitivity.

Has anyone ever bothered to listen to the very strong hum in the crowd  which seems to say that for every other kidnap for ransom and forcible occupation of property in Quetta the trail invariably leads to Raisanis. It was also a common knowledge that the CM’s kinsmen were running Kangaroo courts to settle ,for a hefty sum, disputes of property, inter family feuds and shady business transactions in and around Quetta. The crowd  also disdainfully  questions how the palatial houses  came up with in last five years inside the otherwise humble Raisani compound? Who in his right mind could expect these robber barons to protect life and property of already besieged Hazaras?? ThePakistani  State had lost its moral authority to rule long ago when it abdicated her constitutional responsibilities to the likes of Raisanis and knelt before the Lashkar e Jhangvi  barbarians.

 

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Comments

  • Mehboob Qadir  On March 7, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    The tragic plight of Shia Hazaras in Pakistan in particular and in the region in general is extremely troubling.Half of my folks being Pushtuns, I had an idea of how low an esteem they are held in, by the Pustun majority.I used to ascribe it to their usual arrogance but there is much more to it historically and in contemporary times.That is what I have tried to capture in this longish article which was published in two parts by The Daily Times on 27th February and today .You may like to see.
    Regards, Sincerely, Mehboob Qadir

  • Nazir Lone  On March 7, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    The only thing I can add to this wonderful piece of writing is that we the Muslims converts of the subcontinent are trying to be more Arabs than the Arabs.Historically the Arab tribal disputes have translated into tribal wars and then into ideological schismatic Shia/Sunni wars.
    Arab history should be separated from Islam(ideology).
    I have Hindu,Sikh, Christian friends besides different factions of Muslims.I feel a sense of hurt when anyone of them is harmed.
    Our intellectual giants like Madudi and political stalwarts like Zia ul Haq must take the blame for poisoning the minds of the masses.It is our duty as individuals to draw a line between our Faith and blind slavery to Arab culture and Arab history.Regards

  • Atiq  On March 7, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    Nazir Sb,

    U are absolutely right. Historically and even now Arabs are extremely racist and have a closed intellectual mindset.
    Pakistanis should try to get away from this collective Muslim Ummah concept. Our energies should be more focused on retaining our own South Asian history and culture rather than glorifying arab heroes/history and culture.

    Regards,
    Atiq

  • Hafiz Malik  On March 7, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    As usual, Brig Mehoob Qadir Sahib has done an in depth analysis of the situation. His conclusions are straightforward to come to a decision point. How long would we be ruled by a few thousands “Ulmas” who declare anyone ‘kaffir’ not agree with them.

    I do not know much about Hazaras but certainly about Ahmedi. They were concentrating on two areas before 1971: Industry and Armed forces. Through their strong brother-hood, they were helping their followers to get into industry as well as army. If their march was not stopped, perhaps they would have been ruling Pakistan like PPP today.

    Other minorities like Ismailies, Parsees are living in low profile and would survive but not those who come head-on to gain their objectives. If one goes through the conditions before 1971, one would observe that virtually all industrial units in Punjab were owned by Ahmedies who also were holding top-posts in armed forces.(some said 14 general and an Air-Force Chief). (Of course, there were lot of voluntary conversion of wealthy Ahmedi mostly into Shia Sect. I was at that time in a development bank and knew all of them personally.

    My apologies if I have hurt someone. At this forum, everyone should have a right to express himself or herself and that is the attention of Brig. Mehboob Qadir Sahib.

  • Shermeen  On March 8, 2013 at 2:09 am

    Brigadier sahib

    One refreshing aspect of your excellent piece on the plight of the Hazaras is that it steers clear of apportioning blame on the other; a pastime we tend to indulge in perhaps a little too much. You focused on self-reflection which is something we are fast forgetting. Surely, in the global village that we inhabit almost nothing happens in any part of the world without encroaching external powers having a stake in it. Unfortunately, it is almost a given and you refrained from saying the obvious; a master stroke.

    It is also courageous of you to not only have an unbiased view of the other personae non grata, Ahmadis, but also acknowledge their humanity graciously. As an Ahmadi Muslim I am grateful to you for adhering to the correct term Ahmadi in your piece and eschewing the various negative labels that are perfectly acceptable in ‘polite’ society. Thank you for setting the precedent at least here on this thread!

    I also thank Shams Abbas sahib for his kind comment.

  • SHOMU BHATTACHARYA  On March 8, 2013 at 2:10 am

    WHETHER IT WAS A AHMEDIYA, A SHIA OR A SUNNI THEY HAD ALL CONTRIBUTED HANDSOMELY FOR THE GROWTH AND PROSPERITY OF PAKISTAN–AND ONE OF THE GREATEST AHMEDIYA WAS NONE OTHER THAN SIR ZAFFARULLAH KHAN–IT IS INDEED A PITY THAT A SEGMENT OF SELFISH SELF CENTRED PEOPLE ARE CREATING THIS UNFORTUNATE DIVIDE. AFTER THE UNFORTUNATE AHMEDIA MASSACRES IN 1953 IT WAS LT GEN AZAM KHAN WHO HANDLED THE SITUATION SO VERY MAGNIFICENTLY AND IN THE BARGAIN ALSO GAVE LAHORE A NEW LOOK

  • Sagheer Ahmed  On March 8, 2013 at 2:12 am

    My Dears,
    As usual my dear friend and course mate Brig.Mehboob Qadir pen down the bitter truth of the history which indeed a courageous and bold step to do so. May Allah protect him from all the evils and give him strength to continue his mission which is need of the day. As a matter of fact what he says is the voice of the silent majority of the society.In the article what he says there is no second view of it and while endorsing the same I have the following to say;

    Off and on I repeat a slogan which I heard a lot during my visits to Canada and it has sunk deep into my mind and is;
    “We may be of different faith , we may be of different race , we may speak different languages but we remain ONE as Canadian.”
    The above slogan was given by the elders of Canada to their next generation and it has been followed religiously rather more than one’s religion.I wish such a slogan ever was given to the people of Pakistan with a strong implementation of the same in all walk of life . On the contrary we started digging our own grave since the inception of Pakistan in one way or the other.To day I realise the first blunder was not making Bengali as another national language which culminated as separation of East Pakistan.
    The second blunder was when the Feudal Lords who were the member of the Parliament on the stress of the so called religious custodians of Pakistan declared the AHMEDIS as non Muslim.The so called the then leaders did not have a vision that what drastic impact it shall have in the future.The result is to day each religious school of thought declaring the other religious school of thought as non Muslim. Today the status in Pakistan is that people are divided on the basis of racism , regionalism , languages , different religious school of thoughts. In such a situation , I doubt if we qualify to be called a Nation in the light of the definition of a nation , the definition which in the form of Slogan is given to the Canadian as mentioned above.
    Well, I did not look forward to the so called leaders who by hook or by crook reached national assembly to give me the said slogan. I as elder of my family have given the same to my family members and thanks to Allah my whole family members believe in the same. Because I believer other than the said slogan , I may not be a Pakistani first and Muslim latter.May be if we all do the same ,we become as good Nation as Canadian.
    This is what a humble person can do at my end. May Allah bless us with a Leader who could inculcate the same definition of Nation as the Canada did.Aameen.
    Sagheer Ahmed
    =======================================================
    NOTE
    Just about 03 days ago under the caption “Nero Fiddled While Rome Burned” on the tragic incident of Abbas Town in Karachi, I expressed my views with some of my friends which is as under ;

    sagheer ahmed
    4 Mar (3 days ago)
    bcc: Yasmeen
    “Nero Fiddled While Rome Burned”. This is what I read in the history and I always used to think that how cruel the emperor of Rome was. I could never think that history shall be repeated here in Pakistan. In Quetta bomb blast more than 80 innocent people killed and the local Nero was enjoying in U.A.E and said that he will send a truck of tissue papers so that the families of the victims could wipe their tears. On 3rd March, 2013 another powerful bomb blast incident happened near Abbas Town, Karachi, buildings are raised to ground, more than 45 peoples are killed, more than 150 people are seriously injured, blood of the victim is floating in the streets, and people are crying for help, in short a Dooms Day in the area. No law enforcing agencies reached at the spot for many hours because all the police of Karachi was employed for the protocol and safety of the local NEROS who were enjoying an engagement ceremony of a political figure in Mahata Palace in a posh locality of Karachi.The local Neros were busy in Fiddling. It is now 04.45 a.m, 4th March.2013.I , just could not sleep, my conscious does not allowing me to sleep when I am seeing history repeating itself and making me to see the Nero fiddling while KARACHI is burning (It was in Quetta and it is in Khyber Parkton Khawa).I am not feeling sleeping because the heat of the flames just does not making me to sleep. Before the flames burn me away and it becomes too late, I thought of sharing my mind with all of you.

    Major (R ) Sagheer Ahmed

  • Tahir Sher Mohammad  On March 8, 2013 at 2:12 am

    How many Neeros do we have and for how long?

  • Ardsher Alavia  On March 8, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Brig. Qadir as usual is accurate and moving in his analysis of the mayhen that has engulfed Pakistan. Jinnah’s Pakistan is dead, it seems now the last rites are being performed. Democracy is a hollow word which has`no meaning when so called defenders of Islam have unleashed their venom and their murderous beasts who have wrecked havoc on the innocent and the helpless, and more so on all those whom they consider “Wjab Ul Qatal”. The country is hostage to the unwashed and the ignorant, this cancer of religiosity has to be rooted out otherwise it will embrace all that we hold sacred.

    The corrupt civilian government has no interest in the welfare of Pakistan or it’s people they are busy plundering and looting the country to their hearts content they are “bae d However, what is heart rending is to see the benighted Army leadership being so supine and using democracy as a shield for paralysis of action, this the people of Pakistan cannot forgive and should not. They have truly failed democracy and Pakistan by their timidity. There comes a time for leaders to lead but then those who have forgotten the oath taken on the hallowed parade ground of PMA can only hang their heads in shame.

    To be silent is to be complicit.

    Ardeshir.

  • Javed Ashraf  On March 8, 2013 at 9:44 am

    It is an excellent analysis of the self created mess by all of us as Pakistanis. We all sat quietly and only sympathized with each minority as these wild sectarian beasts butchered them one by one. Quaid,s vision of Pakistan was a liberal,tolerant and progressive Pakistan where all sects and religions would live side by side in peace. The reversal started after his death with the objectives resolution which now has been made operative part of our constitution by Gen Munafiq( Zia) ul Haq. Quaid,s speech of 11 August 47 promising equal treatment to all and keeping religion separate from state affairs was purged from books and to mislead the future generations falsehood was resorted to. Children were taught that pakisan was created through slogan of ” Pakistan ka matlab Kia La ila ha il lalah” . This slogan was created in 1948 by Jamat I Islami. Those of us who saw Pakistan being created never heard of it during the. Independence movement. The slogan by the crowds used to be” Le ke rahain ge Pakistan But ke rahe ga Hinustan””.
    The very Maulvis who opposed Pakistan cleverly became it’s Thekedars after it had been created despite their opposition. The minorities ie Shias , Ahmadis, Ismailis and others have made valuable contribution in creation of Pakistan and later in it’s preservation against external threats as well it’s internal affairs including social sector. Can we forget some of our brilliant Generals like Gens Abdullah Saeed, Akhter Malik, Iftikhar Janjua, Abdul Ali Malik and so many others in various ranks. Shias till these horrible massacres were considered main stream despite sectarian differences because ours was a tolerant society. If we remain silent spectators to this Hazara carnage, they will next victimize Shias in other cities perhaps it has already started in Karachi. Hindus are suffering and Ismailis followed by Bohras will follow. Finally if not checked now, it will be turn of Barelvis and any one else who does not follow this extreme,violent, intolerant and regressive form of Islam being espoused by Sipah I Sahaba and the Jamat I Islami in less obvious ways.
    What is now required is the remedy to this madness. You need to follow it up with another article suggesting actions required to not only control this mad dog but to wipe it out of our Pakistan before it eliminates all others and establishes a Govt worse then the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. There is no such thing as Muslim Ummah. It exists only in the minds of some Zia,s cronies otherwise the Arabs laugh at us when we talk about it. In their minds they are Arabs first and last. We are Ajmis and second class Muslims for them. Let us stop dreaming. Our democratic Govts have been terrified into silence and inaction. The only way to deal with a mad dog about to bite you is to kill it. The Army can not sit on the sidelines and watch the society being ripped apart. It is a shame to see characters like Raisanis as Chief Ministers for 5 long years. No doubt democracy is the best revenge but could they at least spare the country and limit their revenge. This Govt has been very reluctant to call the Army in aid to civil power which is done in all countries and was practiced frequently in Sindh during Nineties but now the PPP feels that it would be exploited as their failure to govern. Hence they have let Karachi burn and Hazaras massacred rather then calling in the Army.
    I look forward to your analysis of the solution because that is the crucial aspect still to be discussed. We have to all join our efforts to provide protection to all our citizens before we all have to migrate from Pakistan . Let the Army and our politicians think seriously about it for we all have faith in our Army which we love and believe it to be the bedrock of security from all threats external as well as INTERNL.
    Gen Javed Ashraf

    Sent from my iPad

  • Zaffar Iqbal Durrani  On March 8, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    Thank you for sharing such beautiful thoughts with me, and I appreciate the concern shown.
    After going through all, I am re-energized. Though I never left the hope and is always of the view that things in Pakistan are not that bad as projected. I would like to share with you all the recent experience/knowledge.
    The recent incident of Abbas town is reportedly does not fall in the category of “Shia genocide”, as projected by the Pakistani media. Reports are that this area is a strong hold of MQM & they used to store ammunition here. On that unfortunate day, some explosives were being transported which exploded resulting into this devastation. After the explosion, the entire area was cordoned off by MQM volunteers, and they did not allow anybody, including the government agencies, to enter that cordon due to the reasons. Then all the Khidmat-e-Khalq Ambulances at Karachi were employed to shift the stored arms/ammunition to another safer place. Till it was completed nobody was allowed access.
    The numbers of deaths were 50 individuals and out of those 35 were Sunnis. I do not understand as to why our Media is trying to prove it as Shia killings.
    This is one part.
    The current is that the people of Karachi have voluntarily come for the rescue of the area and they have arranged settlement of the affected people. All the affected families are readjusted into rental flats and houses irrespective of the religion, Cast or Sect and three months advance rent has been paid to the land lords of the flats/ houses. The entire families of the affected people have been provided with three months of Rations as per their family members. There rations are dumped in their houses. People from all over Karachi/Pakistan are visiting the area and providing all sorts of help/donations. Even a man came with a briefcase full of Rs. 5000/- notes and gave it to the committee and requested not to disclose his identity. The amount that briefcase contained I leave it to your imaginations.

    • Khalid Khan (@khalidkhan787)  On March 9, 2013 at 3:38 pm

      Nice to see that someone on this planet knows what exactly is going on in Karachi, and how political cover ups are given to hide the facts

  • Zaffar Iqbal Durrani  On March 8, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    The committee has told the government to start the renovation/ rebuilding work of the damaged buildings immediately otherwise after a week the committee will do it themselves.
    This is my Pakistan. Don’t leave the hope. Come forward and contribute in solving the issues and make Pakistan a better place to live.

  • Afzaal Hazir  On March 8, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    Brig Mehboob has done a very fine job of writing this piece. He deserve full praise for incisive, analytical writing, high lighting the menace of fanaticism & deep divide of this nation. He has correctly brought out the bizarre scenario where innocent citizens of this country are being subjected to mass murder & terrorism. Government seems aloof as a pass by without any physical or moral authority to enforce the law. In fact, in Baluchistan Raisani’s government showed complete “ BEGARETI “ & irresponsibility on the killing of Hazara’s community. Have we not become insensitive to the suffering of hapless citizens much they belong to any faith? If we allow this carnage to grow than time is not far where Barelvi will kill Ahle Hadis etc etc.

    While I was in prison after 71 debacle, the first time I came to know the menace of religious proliferation. I was warned by so called “Thekedars” of Muslims in our camp not to mingle with Ahmedi’s who were just two in numbers. In fact, I was told they are different. I found them to be better Human Beings than these fundamentalist muslims.

    Religious factions have been for long conditioned as narrow minded, bigoted and religious single track fanatics ready to kill any person who do not believe their belief. We have been for long adhering to the Saudi Brand Of Islam where our own national cohesion and integrity is being undermined & compromised. All of us now has to stand up and become Pakistani’s without compromising one’s own faith, traditions and culture

  • syed salam  On March 8, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    In my opinion,i strongly feel that we should never have been a theocratic state based on Islam.We must admit that this has been an utterly failed experiment.Unfortunately our founders failed to be visionaries like truly great statesman.They spoke of both secularism and Islam in various speeches, leaving everyone confused. No clear cut verdict was given leaving GREY AREAS in our body politic.The gory results are in front of us today. The words of MULALANA KALAM AZAD ring true like never before. Now talking of ahmedis , baralvis, deobandis ,shias is utter nonsense! We created this genie and now to put it back is a near impossibility,it needs a PROPHET and as per fundamentals of our faith no other PROPHET will appear after PROPHET MOHAMMED(pbuh).Please refer to PROPHET MOHAMMAD(pbuh) last sermon. Zia did the worst damage by creating and encouraging mushroom growth of Madrassahs for what ends and at whose behest and agendas ? Carry out in depth research on him pl, to unravel the whole truth… Regrds

  • Khan Zia  On March 8, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    This does not detract in any way what Ardeshir has put so aptly and succinctly.

    Intolerance is not something we are born with. It is learnt both at home and in the institutions. A way has to be found to reverse this process. This is not something that can be entrusted to a few politicians, Imams and preachers who are in many cases causing the problem in the first place. The issue is basically one of education —- not only of the pupils but also of parents and teachers themselves.

    The Muslim community in the sub-continent was confronted with a somewhat similar situation in the aftermath of British take over. Fortunately there were plenty of informed and respected religious scholars among all the sects whose opinions carried weight and influence among the masses. At a meeting of scholars from all the major sects sometime in the 1860s they unanimously rejected the Wahabi interpretation of Islam and all forms of extremism. They asserted that Islam in the sub-continent had been traditionally inclusive, tolerant and accepted the right of Muslims to differ as long as it did not compromise the basic principles of Islam. In this context please also see Maulana Maudoodi’s introduction to his Tafhim-ul-Koran.

    The problem we are faced with today is that our educated classes have shied away from religion and left it to mostly ignoramuses to interpret as they deem fit. It has given rise to a class of self-appointed priesthood that has no basis in the Koran or validity in Islam. Sadly, many of them are using the position to enrich themselves and gain political influence if not power as yet.

    Money and unchecked influence eventually lead to corruption and scruples take to the wings. Religion is turned into a commodity that is up for sale. This makes room for interested outside parties to move in with money and other support to further their own political and economic aims. What we are witnessing in many of the troubled Muslim countries is a manifestation of this phenomenon more than anything else. Through our own weaknesses we have allowed a few rogue outfits to try and destabilise our nation using religion at the behest of those who do not wish us well.

    The society by and large is neither intolerant nor given to extremes. Shias, Sunnies, Ismailis and Ahmedis still live peacefully in integrated communities. They don’t have walls like those that separate Protestants from Catholics in Northern Ireland. There are no pogroms and no orgies of communal riots as they have next door. They often inter-marry and have extensive social interactions not only among themselves but also with members of other religions.

    The incidents we are witnessing are an entirely different phenomenon. It needs to be recognised as such and not taken out of context to create the impression of divisions where none exist. The most effective way to do this is for those of us who know better to assume responsibility and take back our religion from the clutches of corrupt, ignorant and unscrupulous elements who are trying to turn it into a money making and power grab concern regardless of the consequences for us all.

    Regards. Zia.

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