Identity, Equality, Unity
Adapted Slightly from LUBP
Most important message to all pro Shia activists never lose your temper or your cool if someone disagrees with you. Never question people’s motives. Critique and question facts and actions. Shia, Sunni and other human rights activists should have clarity and consistency in their discourse and demands. This will ensure that their activism and lobbying has maximum effect. The following important guidelines and information will be helpful to activists and protesters against Shia target killings in Pakistan.
1. Who is being killed? Shia Muslims of all ethnic backgrounds, including but not limited to Shia Pashtuns, Shia Hazaras, Shia Gilgitis, Shia Punjabis, Shia Muhajirs, are being target killed in Pakistan. Shia Muslims are being killed only because of their faith identity (i.e., Shia sect). Contrary to what some ethno-fascist (probably ISI-backed) political groups claim (e.g. HDP in Quetta who due to political expediency or ISI’s influence give it an ethnic colour), Shias of all ethnicities are being target-killed across Pakistan. It is a fact that in terms of death rate per local population, non-Hazara Shias of Quetta (300 killed out of 20,000 total population) have suffered more than any other Shia community, including Shia Hazaras of Quetta (500 killed out of 500,000 total population).
2. Who is killing Shias? Takfiri Deobandi (not ‘Sunni’) militants belonging to the Sipah Sahaba Taliban (SST) are killing Shias. These Deobandi militants enjoy support and protection by Pakistan army due to their Jihadist value for cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan and Kashmir as well as potential export of mercenary Taliban to other war zones like Syria or Chechnia thereby increasing the bargaining power of the Pakistan Army. Sipah Sahaba and Taliban are two names for the same group of Deobandi militants (who are also organized under groups named Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), Lashka-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), Jundullah) who are killing Shias, Sunni Barelvis, Ahmadis and other groups in Pakistan. In the main, all these groups are inter-connected and are given multiple names to create buffers. They are in essence all the same and all of them need to be criticized by their various names and common denominator, i.e., Takfiri Deobandis.
3. Who is the mastermind behind Shia killing? The Shia genocide is being enabled by Pakistan army because it provides major infrastructural and organizational support to Takfiri Deobandi and Salafist groups in terms of their training, provision of arms, protection from arrest and courts, censorship in media etc. Currently, Pakistan army is enabling further Shia genocide by supporting the Defence of Pakistan Council (Difa-e-Pakistan Council) which is a union of vehemently anti-Shia Deobandi and Wahhabi organizations (i.e., Sipah Sahaba and Jamaat ud Dawa). The ideological and financial support to radical Deobandi and Salafist organizations (the foot soldiers) is being provided by governmental and non-governmental Salafi-Wahhabi organizations of Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries. Pakistan’s Supreme court has also released self confessed mass murderers of Shias like Malik Ishaq. They (current Judiciary) are believed to harbor sympathetic feelings for these terrorists.
4. How many Shias have been killed so far? In 2012 alone, approximately 500 Shia Muslims have been target killed in Pakistan. Since 1963, total number of Shias killed in Pakistan is estimated to be at least 20,000, most of whom have been killed since early 1980s. Refer to the Shia genocide database on LUBP
5. Why are Shias being killed? Shias are being killed because of two reasons: sectarian and political. (1) Sectarian reasons: According to Takfiri Doebandi militants (Sipah-e-Sahaba, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (?) Taliban), Shias are infidels (kafir) and a Jewish inspired deviation of Islam (Sabai Fitna). The hatred against both Shias and Jews has been fused by this group further enhance the same ideology that motivated 9/11 & 7/7. The Takfiri Deobandi organizations are in turn influenced by the anti-Shia ideology imported from Salafi (Wahhabi) clerics of Saudi Arabia.
(2) Political reasons: Shias are also being killed due to political reasons. Similar to Sunni Barelvis, Shia Muslims have refused to participate in Pakistan army sponsored Jihadi-militant activities in Afghanistan, India and other countries. Pashtoon Shias of Parachinar and Hazara Shias of Balochistan (as well as Afghanistan) have refused to surrender to Takfiri Deobandi militants sponsored by Pakistan army. Shias are being particularly targeted (e.g., by checking their identity cards, by locating them through their Shia name, rituals or other elements of identity) because Takfiri Deobandis consider Shias as Kafir (infidels) and treat Shia Islam as a Jewish (Sabai) conspiracy against Muslims. They consider Shias to be Wajibul Qatl (worthy of being killed) because of Shia faith and rituals. Simply put, serving the blood lust of their Jihadi outfits.
Given that Shias constitute 15-20% of Pakistan’s population (20-40 million Shias in Pakistan), they constitute the single major obstruction to the aspired establishment of the Taliban style Deobandi-Salafist government in Pakistan. Sectarian cleansing of Shias and Sunni Barelvis, forcing them to convert to Sunni Deobandi Islam or migrate to other countries, is a step toward complete takeover of Pakistan by Takfiri Deobandi militants of Sipah Sahaba Taliban.
6. Is Shia genocide an outcome of Sunni vs Shia sectarianism? No. This is a case of Takfiri Deobandi militants (Sipah Sahaba, Taliban, SST – spell it out) vs the rest of Pakistan. The Takfiri Deobandi terrorists who have killed at least 20,000 Shias in Pakistan have also killed thousands of Sunni Barelvis (through attacks on Sunni Sufi shrines in Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar, Pakpattan etc), dozens of moderate Deobandi and Ahle Hadith scholars and hundreds of Ahmadis, Christians and other groups. Not a single Sunni Barelvi is a part of the Sipah Sahaba Taliban. Thus, Shia genocide in Pakistan is an act of Takfiri Deobandi terrorism, not Sunni vs Shia sectarianism.
7. Is Shia genocide in Pakistan an outcome of Saudi-Iran proxy war? No. Nothing could be further from truth. The term Sunni-Shia sectarian violence gives a false neutral impression that Sunnis are indiscriminately killing Shias and Shias are indiscriminately killing Sunnis. While Takfiri Deobandi militants of Sipah Sahaba Taliban are killing both Shia and Sunni indiscriminately, in return there is no evidence of a single Shia or Sunni Barelvi killing Deobandi Muslims on a indiscriminate basis. There are very few cases of reprisal attacks on leaders and activists of Takfiri Deobandi groups (Sipah Sahaba Taliban) but they should be seen as an act of resistance to genocide and reprisal attacks on enemy combatants, like the drone attacks on Sipah Sahaba Taliban hideouts in FATA. However, there is no Iranian-sponsored Shia group killing Sunni Barelvis Deobandis etc on an indiscriminate basis in Pakistan.
8. Are Shias in Pakistan being killed by Wahhabis? No. In almost all instances of Shia target-killing, militants of Sipah Sahaba /Taliban are involved which is an almost entirely Deobandi out. Local Ahle Hadith (Salafist or Wahhabi) groups in Pakistan are not involved in Shia genocide in Pakistan. While some (not all) radical Wahhabi-Salafist groups in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries are providing some financial assistance to Sipah Sahaba Taliban, the actual field killers in Pakistan are Deobandis, not Wahhabis. In fact, on several instances in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Takfiri Deobandi militants have also attacked and killed Wahhabis, e.g., the recent murder of an Ahle Hadith prayer leader in Karachi. Therefore, it is factually inaccurate to describe the actual killers as Wahhabis. Pakistani Wahhabi (Ahle Hadith) groups have no role in Shia genocide.
Contrary to what Shia clerics and activists usually allege, Shias are not being target killed by Wahhabi or Salafi terrorists, at least not directly. Almost all of the terrorists who are practically involved in Shia killings are Takfiri Deobandis who work in one or more than one Deobandi organizations including Taliban, Sipah Sahaba, Jaish-e-Muhammad, Jundullah etc. The boundaries between these organizations are amorphous and overlapping. In other words, a radical Deobandi terrorist may kill a Shia Muslim one day in Karachi as a part of the Sipah Sahaba network, and the next week he may be busy killing Pashtun or NATO soldiers in Kandahar under the Taliban banner. (It must be noted that Takfiri Deobandi militants do not represent the majority of Deobandis who are as peaceful and moderate as are most Sunnis, Shias, Ahmadis etc.)
10. Who are the international players behind Shia genocide? Saudi Arabia is the single major international player responsible for Shia genocide in Pakistan and other countries. It is a fact that (barring Egypt) the core Middle East (i.e., the Middle East which was part of Islamic empire during the time of the Prophet and Rashidun Caliphs) comprises at least 40% Shia population, 55% Sufi and Hanafi Sunnis and only 5% Salafist-Deobandis. Salafist-Wahhabis are in majority only in one country in the world, i.e., Saudi Arabia. In fact, Saudi Arabia is surrounded by several Shia majority countries (Iran, Iraq, North Yemen, Bahrain and Eastern Saudi Arabia etc). Salafists and Hanbalis are found in significant numbers only in Saudi Arabia. In contrast, Sunni Hanafi, Shafei, Maliki and Sufi Muslims are in majority in all other Sunni majority countries in the world. Saudi Arabia wants to ease pressure on itself by creating a Salafist-Deobandi caliphate in Pakistan and Afghanistan, therefore, it supports Shia genocide and Sunni Barelvi/Sufi killings in Pakistan and other countries. Qatar, Jordan and UAE also support Saudi Arabia in its global anti-Shia campaign via finance. Along with Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and UAE were the only other countries to recognize the Taliban regime in the 1990’s while Iran nearly went to war with the Taliban then.
11. What kind of resources do we need to highlight Shia genocide? We need to be clear on discourse: (Killers = Takfiri Deobandis; Killer groups: Sipah Sahaba/ Taliban; Sponsor of killers: Saudi Arabia; Local sponsors: Pakistan army’s Jihadist generals; Total Shias killed = 20,000). In particular, activists should cite the Shia genocide database (20,000 killed), pictures of Shia children killed in Pakistan (6,000 killed), legal discussion of why Shia genocide is an appropriate word, an understanding of the Shia (non-Hazara) community in Quetta, which is the largest Shia community in Pakistan in terms of death rate per local population (the second being Hazara) [if you give death rate per population, give both], the case of 12-year old Mehzar Zehra (Pakistan’s Anne Frank [how, did she write a diary?]), solidarity with other victims of genocide and persecution (Jews, Sunni Barelvis, Ahmadis, Christians etc). Shia activists should share contact details (email, twitter Id, phone numbers, addresses) of opinion leaders (journalists, anchors, columnists, religious and political leaders, rights activists, bloggers etc), approach them with a request to pay attention to Shia genocide; share and send specimen letters to the United Nations and the government of Pakistan; sign petitions etc. However, if those approached do not feel comfortable using the word ‘genocide’ in this context, and prefer to use ‘target-killing’, that is acceptable and should not be used to try and publicly blame or shame anyone.
12. Why we use the term ‘genocide’?
The man who coined the term genocide, Raphael Lemkin, had taken great pains to note, “Generally speaking, genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation, except when accomplished by mass killings of all members of a nation. It is indented rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. The objectives of such a plan would be disintegration of the political and social institutions of culture, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of national groups, and the destruction of the personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and even the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups.” Lemkin’s work dealt predominantly with the Jewish population but subsequent scholars expanded the target populations from a nation or ethnicity to include political or religious groups and even social classes.
Article II of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide thus states: “Genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious groups as such: a) Killing members of the group; b) causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; d) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; e) forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. Article III of the same Convention goes on to list the following acts as punishable: a) Genocide; b) conspiracy to commit genocide; c) direct and public incitement to commit genocide; d) attempt to commit genocide; e) complicity in genocide.
The simple point is that to prevent and/or contain genocide, it has to be identified and named correctly. The viciousness of the atrocities against the Shia is incremental. From the inception of the first openly anti-Shia terrorist outfit in 1985 to a plethora of such gangs today, thousands of Shia have perished at their hands and scores have fled their locales and, when possible, the country. Those who live and stay behind, live in a state of constant fear. For the first time in the history of Pakistan many Shia, in areas where their numbers are smaller, have now been forced to conceal their religious identity or at the very least not announce it. In the event that their physical characteristics are a giveaway, as in the case of Quetta’s Hazara population, the ethnic dimension is an added risk that cannot be averted. Many Hazara thus face a double ethno-religious whammy in their
already ghettoised environs.
13. Pre-planning and publicity of events: Spend a lot of time in planning a protest and most importantly circulate its information via mainstream and social media. Contact Pakistan and international media as well as social media blogs and activists to advertise the event. Use appropriate hash tags and themes to promote the event. Some recommended hash tags on Twitter and facebook are: #ShiaGenocie #TakfiriDeobandis #SipahSahabaTaliban [let’s add #SSPTaliban, it’s shorter] Take ample good quality pictures from different angles of the event, make good quality videos, dedicate at least some people who can report the event live on Twitter and if possible also via video streaming. Issue a press release with clarity of discourse and aims before and after the event.
Suggested Banners and slogans for Protests against Shia Genocide
Injustice, Unjustified / Stop Shia Genocide
Mullah Military cannot hide / Stop Shia Genocide
Enemies of Pakistan / Sipah Sahaba Taliban
Evil, Devil and Satan / Sipah Sahaba Taliban
Killers of every Insaan / Sipah Sahaba Taliban
Lanat Lanat Ber Shaitan / Sipah Sahaba Taliban
Bud ter, bud ter az haiwan / Sipah Sahaba Taliban
We are Pakistan / No more Taliban
Soorat Gundi Seerat Gundi / Takfiri Deobandi
What can Pakistan’s Shias do to save themselves from further killings?
Source : LUBP