Time for Shias to leave Pakistan

Sun Online Desk

21st May, 2021

Time for Shias to leave Pakistan

It is a massacre alright. Sunni extremists, aligned with Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, are killing Shias by the dozens in Pakistan.

I was yet to compile the list of the 106 (mostly Shias) killed in the twin bomb blasts in Quetta last month, that the news of another bomb blast killing yet another 84 (mostly Shias) in Quetta came over the wire. As the Shia massacres in Pakistan gain momentum, the State, including the Superior Courts, appear completely impotent.In such troubling times some Shias may have a choice. They may sit and wait for a messiah or relocate to a Shia-exclusive enclave elsewhere, or to escape from Pakistan altogether. It may sound harsh, but it is an inescapable truth that Pakistan has been run over by the extremists and life is going to be even tougher for the minorities and moderate Sunnis in the near future.

In the two consecutive months this year, bomb blasts have killed hundreds of Shia Hazaras in Quetta, a Garrison town where each and every street is manned by intelligence operatives. Still, the militants operate with impunity. Saturday’s bomb blast, which has killed over 80 and injured hundreds, occurred almost within a month of the last bomb blast that delivered even a higher death toll.

Space is fast running out in Shia graveyards in Quetta. It may be the time for Shias to relocate to protect their next generation.

Many naively believe that peace will prevail in Pakistan and Afghanistan after the scheduled withdrawal of Nato troops from Afghanistan in 2014. While I vehemently oppose prolonging the stay of the Nato forces in the region, still I believe this would spell even a bigger disaster for the minorities in Pakistan. The battle-hardened veterans of the Afghan war will return to Pakistan to target Shias, Ahmadis, and other religious minorities. Even Barelvis may not escape the wrath of the mostly Deobandi-led militancy.

There are reasons for my pessimism. I saw the same happen in the late nineties when the Afghan war veterans were pushed into Indian-administered Kashmir. The resulting militancy left over 70,000 dead in Kashmir but failed to make any tangible progress towards the resolution of the dispute that has pitched India, Pakistan, and Kashmiris in a deadly decades old conflict.

What looked like a gory beginning of a new millennium in Indian-administered Kashmir, the security landscape however suddenly transformed in 2002 when the militants started to relocate to Pakistan and Afghanistan to join the Pashtun Taliban. The result was a decline in militancy which is evident from the graph below that shows the drop in the number of news reports about militancy in Srinagar starting after 2002.A spike in militancy in Pakistan however is observed at the same time when militancy subsided in Indian-administered Kashmir. See the graph below that documents the number of civilians and security force personnel who became victims of terrorist violence in Pakistan. Since 2003, Pakistan has been the target of terrorism orchestrated by the very agents who once afforded the state its strategic depth.

Shias and other religious minorities are the most targeted in Pakistan. No city is safe anymore. The past few weeks saw the targeted killing of Shia lawyers, doctors, and other professionals in Peshawar. Shia legislators were shot dead in Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi. While the State is struggling to suppress violence against Shias, the deep-rooted support for militants in society and the inadequate judicial system in Pakistan has created the situation where hardly any terrorist has been convicted of sectarian or other terrorism in Pakistan. In the past few years, several known militants have been set free by the courts because of the archaic judicial system that is incapable of convicting those involved in the modern-day guerilla warfare.

Some, not all, Shias have a choice. They can abandon the death traps in Quetta and Peshawar by relocating to the Shia majority areas in Karachi, Lahore, and other cities. A better option is to plead with the embassies in Islamabad for asylum for the Shia, especially the Hazara, youth.

Seeking asylum abroad may not win the approval of Pakistan’s superior courts, who have recently mocked those who held dual citizenship. However, it is better to be alive in exile than to be splattered on a wall in Pakistan.

Source: Dawn, Pakistan

source Time for Shias to leave Pakistan-553767 (daily-sun.com)

3 replies

  1. Was Jinnah a Shia or Sunni?
    Which sect of Islam did Mohammad Ali Jinnah belong to, Shia or Sunni?

    Though it is commonly believed he was a Shia, Khaled Akhtar, a Communist, has evidence that the Quaid-e-Azam converted and became a Sunni later.

    After Jinnah’s death in September 1948, his sister Fatima and then prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan had jointly filed a petition in the Karachi high court describing Jinnah as a ”Shia Khoja Mohammedan” and sought that his will may be executed under the Shia inheritance law. Again, when Fatima died in 1967, another sister Shirin Bai claimed her property under the Shia law.

    But this claim was contested in 1970 by Hussain Ali Ganji Walji in the high court. He maintained that both Jinnah and his sister were Sunnis and hence the property be disposed of in accordance with the Sunni inheritance law.

    Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada, who appeared as a witness in the case, said that in 1901 Jinnah broke from the Ismaili Shia faith and became a Sunni when his sisters married Sunnis. This may have been a result of the disapprobation expressed by the Ismaili community.

    In February 1970, the court rejected the joint affidavit of Fatima Jinnah and Liaquat Ali Khan which claimed Jinnah was a Shia. By then Fatima Jinnah had already died.

    But in December 1976, the court rejected Ganji Walji’s plea against Shirin Bai’s claim on Fatima’s property under the Shia law. Which effectively meant the court had accepted the Jinnah family as Shia.

    A high court bench reversed this verdict in December 1984. Now the court maintained that ”while the Quaid (Jinnah) was definitely not a Shia, the issue whether Fatima Jinnah was a Shia or not was also now open to for further inquiry”. Which suggested that Jinnah was a Sunni.

    In the 1965 presidential election, Fatima Jinnah, who was pitted against President Ayub Khan, used the Shia card in Shia majority areas.


  2. Shias account for 15-20% of the Muslim population in Pakistan. The country is home to the second largest Shia population after Iran. Shias in Pakistan are geographically spread across the country. The highest numbers are found in the Gilgit-Baltistan province in the northern region, where they form the majority.

    Thus it is silly talk to say that Shias should leave Pakistan.

    What about living together peacefully?

  3. Jinnah’s family was from a Gujarati Khoja Shi’a Muslim background, though Jinnah later followed the Twelver Shi’a teachings. After his death, his relatives and other witnesses claimed that he had converted in later life to the Sunni sect of Islam.

    amazing that even after his death still there are arguments about it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.