Identity, Equality, Unity
Shia Public Affairs Committee is a community organisation based in New York City. ShiaPac would like to recognise the efforts of the Let Us Build Pakistan portal in highlighting the systematic and tragic targeting of vulnerable communities of faith that include Sunni Barelvis, Sufis, Shias, Ahmadis and Christians in Pakistan. LUBP bloggers have undertaken this task at great risk to their lives and the lives of their loved ones. They have already lost a prominent supporter, Ali Khudi Ali who was martyred in the Alamdar Road blasts in Quetta in 2013.
The Ashura massacre in Karachi in December 2009 was one of the instances when the LUBP (Let Us Build Pakistan) blog founded by Abdul Nishapuri came into prominence as one of the most vocal voices protesting the outrage.
Abdul, along with other co-bloggers of LUBP, painstakingly wrote a series of evidence-based articles, collected and published empirical data and cited legal and political documents to argue that Shia genocide was an appropriate descriptor for the ongoing massacres of Shia Muslims of Pakistan at the hands of Deobandi Takfiri terrorists. He also documented and insisted on clear identification of common Deobandi ideological identity and ASWJ, TTP organizational identity of terrorists responsible for Shia genocide and violence against other faith groups.
An example is the widely shared Shia Genocide Database which documents the wide scale of targeted Shia killings and massacres in Pakistan and which methodology provides a template for our fellow bloggers from Iraq.
This database was painstakingly compiled by Abdul and regularly updated by him.
Between 2009 and 2013, Abdul was clearly one of the most active handles on social media (Twitter, Faceboook, Blog) who spoke bluntly on this topic. His discourse was a clear departure from the previously apologetic and obfuscatory tone on what is clearly an ongoing Shia Genocide in Pakistan.
Abdul Nishapuri has been threatened and abused precisely because he calls it as it is. In spite of his criticism of Iranian influenced Shia clerics, he is mocked as “Ayatullah Nishapuri” by his detractors including those who stabbed him in the back for reposing his trust in them.
These are the elitist and careerist liberals of Pakistan of routinely obfuscate this issue and who continue to promote vicious anti Ahmadi and anti Shia hate mongers like Tahir Ashrafi – the head of the Deobandi Ulema Council – as “progressives”.
These are the for-hire liberals who continue to obfuscate Shia genocide in false “Sunni vs Shia” or “Saudi-Iran” binaries which is a complete contradiction of the facts in Pakistan. In Pakistan, ISIS-affiliated Deobandi groups like ASWJ-LeJ and their various other Deobandi avatars are not only killing Shias but Sunni Barelvis, Sufis, Christians and Ahmadis as well. Refer to LUBP’s archive of articles that highlight common Deobandi identity of those terrorists who target both Sunnis and Shias in Pakistan
Abdul was the one who coined the term Shia genocide. He was the one to call out everyone involved in dilution, justification or obfuscation of this phenomenon. He and the LUBP team worked tirelessly to develop this narrative and have been acknowledged by others. Before LUBP, it was common to misrepresent this phenomenon.
The fake or elitist liberals of Pakistan often use vague terminologies like “Islamists”, “Takfiris”, “terrorists” or sweeping terminology like “Sunni” to deliberately obfuscate the specific Deobandi identity of terrorists groups that are involved in 90+% of terrorism in Pakistan that has claimed close to 65,000 lives as per some estimates including close to 20,000 Shias.
After years of suffering abuse and threats from those who championed themselves as liberals, Abdul finally had to resign as LUBP editor in 2013 after the threats intensified against him and anyone else alleged to be his family and friends in Pakistan.
The primary reason for these threats was the refusal by LUBP and Abdul to know tow to the various lies and obfuscations on this issue. Before Abdul and LUBP, Shia genocide was blatantly misrepresented as a “Shia vs Sunni” “sectarian conflict
Abdul would often tirelessly tag budding activists and request them to use the #ShiaGenocide hash tag. Well-known Pakistani journalist Nasim Zehra and film-maker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy publicly denied Shia genocide. Military-establishment friendly journalists such as Ejaz Haider blamed Shias for liking Iranian cake too much and others like him tried to create a the distinction between Hazara Shias and the rest of the Shias. As per this distinction, the reason for the massacre of Hazara Shias was not their shared common Shia faith but their ethnicity – a dishonest portrayal that is in direct contradiction to the various ASWJ-LeJ public proclamations and pamphlets.
Jang Group’s Beena Sarwar used one of her wannabes as a moles to infiltrate LUBP to secure her NGO business interests. Then Abdul started using Takfiri Deobandi and a section of Pakistan’s opportunist liberals started labelling LUBP as “sectarian hate blog”. This includes Shahzad Raza The Friday Times, Capital TV) and Pak Tea House. Not to forget Yasser Latif Hamdani of Pak Tea House who has used every abuse imaginable for LUBP and Abdul. One former LUBP contributor mocked him as “Ayatullah Abdul” only to look foolish when LUBP was critical, on multiple occasions, with Iran-centric politics of Shia clerics.
Now the activism started by Abdul has become a movement while Tahir Ashrafi has become (in)famous for his drunken public tirades on television . Those “liberals” who continue to promote Tahir Ashrafi as “progressive” need to realise that he is now fully exposed for his anti Ahmadi and anti Shia hate speech and is also being questioned for his incitement to violence against the late Federal Minorities minister, Shaheed Shahbaz Bhatti just days before the minister was murdered by the Deobandi Taliban. In the same video, whose link is provided here, Tahir Ashrafi shows his support for Mullah Omar.
Today, the accurate and clear terminologies developed by Abdul and his co-bloggers at LUBP such as “Takfiri Deobandi”, “Shia genocide”, “Sunni Sufi genocide”, “Deobandi terrorism” have increasingly become part of the narrative. A few days back, Global Voices web site reiterated Abdul’s contribution to this discourse
Since 2013, the discourse of Shia genocide, Sunni Sufi genocide and Takfiri Deobandi terrorism has been taken even further by the LUBP’s new editor-in-chief, Ali Abbas Taj, who along with a new team of Urdu and English writers, artwork designers, satirists and bloggers has been able to spread this discourse from Pakistan to North America and from Australia to Europe. Today, there is a plethora of articles in Pakistani and international media on Deobandi terrorism and Shia genocide.
In Pakistan’s mainstream media, now it is very hard for columnists and anchors to obfuscate Shia genocide in false Sunni-Shia binary and escape tough questions by independent critics and observers.