Attacking Sufi shrines in Pakistan

October 14, 2010

sufi shrineAmil Khan has a post up at Abu Muqawama about last week’s bombing at a Sufi shrine in Karachi and its implications for intra-Sunni conflict between Deobandi Taliban militants and people of the majority Barelvi sect:

“There are all sorts of studies written by people much cleverer than me that will tell you violence in this type of conflict aims to do a lot more than just kill its immediate victims. In Pakistan, right now, it also aims to push people into ideological camps (for or against) so that the perpetrators can claim they defend a constituency and create an ideological cover for their actions. In that sense, the attacks were aimed at forcing people to think about the ‘who is Muslim and who is not’ argument.” he writes.

“I would add just raising this argument where once it wouldn’t be entertained at all is an achievement for extremists because, well.. if you are arguing about whether Muslims are really Muslims, whether people agree or not, you have already radicalised on the sly the discourse concerning non-Muslims, or Shia.”

There’s a troublesome pattern here.  In May,  militants killed more than 80 people from the minority Ahmadi sect in Lahore.

In September, Interior Minister Rehman Malik accused militants of trying to create a Sunni-Shi’ite rift after bomb attacks on Shi’ite rallies in the cities of Lahore and Quetta.

And now the Karachi attack – the latest attack on Sufis whose mystical faith is condemned by hardline militants seeking a return to what they see as a purer form of Islam.

At a superficial level, the wave of bombings and gun attacks which have hit Pakistan over the last few years can be seen as an attempt to sow chaos - revenge for the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan, and for Pakistan Army operations against militants in its own tribal areas.

But when you look at the details, what you see is something much more sinister for the future of Pakistan – a systematic attempt to undercut all sources of opposition and all movements which are likely to disagree with the particular religious and political views of the militants.

Journalist Amir Mir has more in an article in Outlook magazine asking  “Just Who is Not A Kafir?”

14 comments

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“Just who is not a kaafir”…great article…20% people (minority with extreme views) claiming to be true muslims and making the rest 80% (majority whose emotions are exploited) suffer.

If Pakistan does not want to learn formulae of co-existence from India then fine, don’t learn from India as it hurts your egos. But why not learn co-existence from Turkey and Indonesia. Even Suadi (recently a Christian group was let off after they were caught ‘celebrating’ their religion in a hotel room which according to Saudi laws should have resulted in death penalty as celebrating any religion other than Islam in public invites death penalty in Saudi) and Iran are learning the co-existence, when will Pakistan learn?? Why so much killing, death and destruction? Why your government and so called professional PA and ISI still harbour these monsters in name of strategic depth and keep on feeding them with the Pakistani people’s blood. When will your government agencies learn that these extremists are vampires who just suck blood without any discrimination of caste, creed, religion and nationality?? Why do Mullah’s have more power than government in Pakistan?? Why is it always mullah and militant in Pakistan?? Why can any mullah call anyone an infidel and order to behead the guy?? Why is this chaos?? And in end you people go on blaming everyone else for your worsening conditions but not your PA and ISI. This current news is far far more sad than Drone attacks.

P.S. And now don’t start complaining that Myra MacDonald is 5th columnist Indians with no loyalty to Pakistan.

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive

@Myra,

What is to be done here? Damn if you do, damn if you don’t. I recently read an article in the economist of Shia’s living in fear in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, moderate Kuwait and other smaller Arab countries even.

The focus is Pakistan here, so I won’t even bother with the other countries that are working hard to suppress other Islamic minorities and all of this, just to monopolize the perceived legitimacy of God’s love.

What is lacking here is a lack of basic respect for human rights. The need to fulfill the legacy and legitimacy of the creed is being carried out at the expense of basic human rights and infringing on the rights of others. One must question themself, do they consider their political position so weak that they have to crush other ones by force?

In almost every country with Sunni’s and Shias, there appears to be some level of tyrannical suppression of the minority, by various methods. What is worrying is that this political religious war to maintain a pure culture may lead to a larger sectarian conflict in the middle east.

Given the protracted war between Iraq and Iran and huge loss of life, he war on terror by the west, will seem fleeting in the face of a regional sectarian conflict and that could prove to be far worse than the excesses and overreactions created by the global war on “terror”.

It is therefore time for religious leaders to build consensus on religious and political issues and spend more energy on acknowledging similiarities, rather than exploiting differences for power gains, because at the end of the day, average people will lose and families suffer and men drunk on religious power, keep the people blind and angry, protract the suffering of the average people for personal gain.

This is exactly why democracy is needed, it would stop the large scale politicization of religions and bring secularity and equality between different religions and factions and bring greater peace and prosperity for most people.

Posted by G-W | Report as abusive

Tolerance & moderation are not something that can be turned on a dime by a nation or learned from someone else. It takes a long time to build these attributes in a society. Unfortunately, Pakistan has been moving in the wrong direction for quite some time now. Today’s Pakistan is a result of the seeds of radicalization & intolerance sown by Zia-ul-haq three decades ago. Since then, the extremist Deobandi/wahabi ideology has been gaining a steady momentum in Pakistan & since 9/11, it has risen quite rapidly, not only in the traditional NWFP/FATA belt but also across the heart-land of Punjab. This is a very troubling scenario for Pakistan as the Deobandis will increasingly target the barelvis/shias/minorities etc. & create a civil war like situation (if not already). The only way, I see out of this is education, education & education. Pakistani leadership has to seriously pass the necessary reforms & allocate the resources, required to educate it’s masses. It will take a lot of courage, perserverence & hard work to stem this tide & I sincerely hope that the Pakistani leadership is upto task.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

@Myra
Oups, you crossed the RED LINE, perhaps unintentionaly. Do you believe this is the topic for the 21st century? Have we not witnessed the violent clashes between monarchs, head of churches in christinity? Todays christianity is as divide as centures ago, but peaceful as much as possible. the cathloic divide with the anglicans and the protestent is today as real as it was , and the separation of the orthodox whose God is Allah in aramaesh language as for the muslims and the cathloics whose Pope has been protecting the Priests who abused the minors and the women until now.
Islam has lived and overcame the divide within their midsts and overcame same centuries ago. What we are witnessing in Pakistan is the destabilisation within the civil society instigated by no other than the CIA.
Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

“whose Pope has been protecting the Priests who abused the minors and the women until now.
Islam has lived and overcame the divide within their midsts and overcame same centuries ago. What we are witnessing in Pakistan is the destabilisation within the civil society instigated by no other than the CIA.
Rex Minor”

@rex minor,

Religious zealots in every religious institution have always abused minors in every religion, in this regards, most organized religions, the formal institutional make up of them, that is the people who run it, are as godless as ever, many of them.

Just look in Saudi, a top cleric was advocating a marital union between old men and girls who are pre-teen or just teen agers, in the west, we call this pedophilia, you may call it otherwise, but I just wanted to point this out, since you are making some points, all are guilty in this account.

Islam is as divided as ever, don’t kid yourself. Sunnis hate Shias, because they recognize lineage as being the legitimate link to the prophet mohammed and what about the murders against the Shia’s and Ahmadiya,s did the CIA make those sunni militants make those devices to kill innocent shias? Quit blaming outside sources for sectarian infighting in Islam, there is so much heretical anger within Islam against Ismaili’s Ahmadiya, other Sunni Sects and the greater Shiite world at large.

If the fiery sermons given in the Sunni world against Shias by firebrand Sunni Clerics is any indicator of the love for Shias, then the butchering of Shia’s and non-muslim minorities obviously follows instructions carried out by followers of the wahhabi and deobandi groups.

So please quit showering the CIA/RAW/MoSSAID nexus, they really don’t need the flattery. It is thick skulled short mindedness like yours, unwilling to look within and face the internal rot that propagates this behavior.

Oh…BTW….pakistan was already destabilized by Pakistani Army itself. The continued relentless consumption of national funds to fight a fictitious boogeyman next door and rampant corruption and the complacent media in pakistan are all guilty of the death on minorities.

So, in your own admission, you actually wiped the blood off your hands and cleaned the knife off on the clothes of outsiders. Your extremists are homemade and purifying your country for wahhabi-deobandi sunni empire expansion.

We all read and are quite aware of this and this little fact is going to evade the light anymore.

Nice try, but you can’t blame anybody on outsiders but the deobandi and wahhabi’s, nobody put the gun in their hand and made them pull the trigger. These men are far from saints, in the way they tyrannically deal with women, non-muslims and other islamic sects. Their loving and gentle nature is duely noted.

The sad thing is, since there is a god, and I believe there is, I don’t think God had this plan in mind where people would be endlessly butchering each other to compete for his love, I don’t think it was supposed to be this way.

Posted by G-W | Report as abusive

Rex said: “What we are witnessing in Pakistan is the destabilisation within the civil society instigated by no other than the CIA”

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
So what was, in your words, highly professional ISI who has double agents in CIA, again your words, doing when CIA planned all this. Sleeping (professionally)???

Islam is as divided as it could be or for that fact any religion on earth is as divided as it can be. Because religions are great tools to divide innocent people for fulfilling mean and selfish political goals of some. So stop fooling around in name of Islam. Shia vs Sunni is an open truth and no one has forced Muslims to be thirsty for other sect’s blood. Muslims leaders have been as sinister as those representing any other religion. Nothing new in it. Umair, Rehmat, or any other Muslim from either side of the border, can you guys please confirm how many sects are there in Islamic world?

But it has become a habit of Pakistan to blame outsiders for every single ill and evil in their society. Until and unless someone accepts his/her/its faults and flaws, he/she/it cannot improve. To find solution one has to understand the problem. To do improvement one has to ACCEPT faults. But fault acceptance is a hush hush thing in Pakistan because it is very convenient to blame outsiders rather than look inside. All religions teach us to conquer oneself before trying to conquer others. Self realisation is the greatest spiritual achievement on can achieve. But ALAS stress of late has been to DO the religion rather than LIVE the religion. And that is why we are filled with “superficially-religious” people all around us. God help us all out of this mess. As we say in India, “sabko sanmati de bhagwaan”. (May god give everyone good sense).

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive

[...] attack on a shrine in Karachi is the latest in a series of sectarian attacks in Pakistan Pakistan: Now or Never? This entry was posted in Global News and tagged Attacking, Pakistan, shrines, Sufi. Bookmark the [...]

@Myra
Perhaps you need to remove this article from the Blog.
Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

PS
I am sure the experienced journalist Myra Mcdonald did not post this article to invite the members of the saffron Brigade for subjective commentry?
Rex Minr

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

@Rex
Since the dark side of Islamic world came to front so u start blaming so called saffron brigade (u watch too much of idiot box). And showing your back to difficult questions put up by G-W and me only signifies your frustration and denial of reality. And as a matter of fact neither of us questioned Islam but instead the Islamic world (meaning followers of Islam). Only thing I said about religion was that religions are great tools to divide innocent people for fulfilling mean and selfish political goals of some because often there are vast number of interpretations of same text in religion and hence large number of sects inside every religion.

By the way was it CIA that forced Pakistan parliament to formally declare Ahmadis as non-muslims??

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive

All these news about Pakistan internal disturbances and all these discussions of Pakistan are just so repetitive and nothing new or positive is happening inside Pakistan. Just the negative news pouring in every now and then. Even the opinions expressed in these blogs are becoming so repetitive, right or wrong though is a different matter. Only reason I log in is to c Umair’s comments, I like his innocent opinions (however sometimes it does get very weird like “Kashmir banega Pakistan”) and his hopes for a better and sensible and more friendlier (yes once he even said that in his opinion India should not give Kashmir to Pakistan on a platter just like that) future of Pakistan. Lets just hope that his hopes for a better future does come true and Pakistan learns formulae of co-existence and love for all (including so called Kaafirs) just like Turkey.

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive

@three7
u are a strange guy with strange unrelated questions. CIA by own admission of the USA admin.is engaged in what is regarded to be illegal activities in most countries. The USA is not prepared to accept the international criminal court jurisdictions against the American citizens. The torture practiced against foreign citizens, setting up special prisons outside their country borders etc. Does it surprise you when people suspect number one in the world happens to be the C I A, and perhaps it must also surprise you when the Mossad name is mentioned, a criminal organisation involved in the assasination of the Palestinians within and outside Palestine, or for that matter even the KGB who still go after the disloyal Russian citizens living outside Russia. You guys appear to be too much occupied with the activities of the Pakistan ISI against India. To your question now,
Mr Bhutto was the great leader of Pakistan who took over the role of the pope in Islam and in his naive way tried to protect the ahmedis by this act. This in my view, and I repeat my view, is the red line one should not dare to cross in Islam. He was later murdered by his fellow country men.
The roles of Popes in Christianity is recognised officialy, whereas, the roles of popes in Islam is not recognised! and if you do not understand this sentence, then I can not clarify further. Neither the saudis nor the iranians are the popes of Sunnis and shias for muslims. The dark forces which use religion as an instrument to influence and mobilise the masses for their political aims are present all over the world and in every community. I am sure the subject article was talking about the secterian strifes. I still believe that these strifes are caused by the Americans(CIA) who are professionaly engaged in destabilisation process, first in Sudan, then in Afghanistan followed by Iraq,Iran, Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan and so on. I am sure you do not agree with this thesis. So let us agree to disagree, you re apparently too much involed with Pakistan ISI activities against india.
Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

@Rex
When Pakistan parliament passed law that Ahmadis are not muslims then it became very easy for criminals to commit human crimes against Ahmadis in name of Islam. Ahmadis became victims of sectarian violence instigated by whoever you want to blame. Had Ahmadis not been ‘declared’ non-muslims then I believe the they would have been spared from sectarian violence. And now you cannot claim that CIA/Mossad/KGB forced Pakistan parliament to declare Ahmadis as non-muslims. So do you see the relation now between declaring Ahmadis as non-muslims and sectarian violence against them.

Anyway it is you who has very little understanding of English and not me and Rehmat. So no wonder our answers go over your head. And I can’t and will not change my writing style just to make u understand. If dumb head like you doesn’t understand its your problem. See my reply to you in another article: “Taliban talks: “an iffy, high-level treaty”” and check yourself who has got bad bad English.

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive

@three 7
O’k, your english is very good and you are equally good at connecting the dots…,in your own Indian style and it is o’k with me. I am not here to give lectures on your analytical methodology. But one thing I must say, it does not matter where you were educated, try to make less use of rude words in your english and avoid personal attacks. Your use of abbreviation is very typical as well, no one in the world would think of using AQ for an entity which is not an entity but an ideology!
rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

@Rex
“But one thing I must say, it does not matter where you were educated, try to make less use of rude words in your english and avoid personal attacks”

Look who’s saying this. You call people by all names in the rudest forms as fools, war mongers, hopeless, confused and what not. Why did you add comments on my education above? Is it some form of sweet wording or is that not a personal attack? And now when someone calls you a dumb head for misinterpreting an abbreviation then your ego is hurt so much. Calm down and come down.

“no one in the world would think of using AQ for an entity which is not an entity but an ideology!”

Well then how come G-W and KP (or anyone else) did not misinterpret the abbreviation just like you? Are you proposing that you represent the whole world?

By the way it is much easier to type ‘@777′ than ‘@three 7′ but I am sure there is nothing personal in it…correct?

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive