Shiites comprise of about 17-25% of Pakistani population and have an immense role in shaping our religion, society, economy and politics for centuries. They have always been a vital source of inspiration of love, harmony , mutual respect and peaceful coexistence. They have been part and parcel of our national society through thick and thin of our times. They have served our great nation in all fields. They played a pivotal role in defeating an Imperialist Empire and the creation of Pakistan. Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalander who is consider as our national patron Saint is a prime example of indigenous, diverse and pluralistic saint who is not just holy and sacred to Shiites but to all other sects and faiths. I some times feel that if Shiites would not have been here we would have been a stagnant and unipolar society.
Shiites are distributed almost all across the Pakistan and don’t have any specific geographic, ethnic or cultural boundaries with in Pakistan. We can see Shiites who are ethnically Pakhtun, Sindhi, Punjabi and Bloch.
Shiites are also the most persecuted population of Pakistan. They have suffered more human loss than any body else In Pakistan. I feel that Shiites had more people killed on religious grounds than all others combine together. The attacks on Shiites have sharply risen since 1985 when Sipah-e-Sahabah [whom I call Sipah-e-yazid] was created by the establishment. We saw the worst attack on Shiites in late 1980s and beyond. Its worth mentioning that Lashker-e-Jhangvi and Jaish-e-Mohammad are the off shoot of SSP.
I remember 1990s when Shiite intellectuals, doctors, Lawyers, businessmen and religious scholars were targeted and ruthlessly killed by the SSP terrorists. Their Majlises, Imam Bargahs’ and processions were bombed. Even today Shiites in parachnar are under Siege, in the same way as the people of Gaza.
When we look into the politics of the Shiites leadership we realise that they have utterly failed to comprehend and grab hold of the politics of Pakistan. Shiites generally vote en block in elections and we all can imagine that 15-20% votes going on either side en block can make a huge difference. But they never used it tactically and their leaders had made fatal mistakes politically. Because of confusion of their leadership their youth has also become so confused that they had no idea which side of the argument they stand. They oppose the militancy by the Taliban and jehadi outfits in Pakistan but in a same breath they support the militancy by the Hezbollah.
They oppose Bin Laden and Mullah Omer but support Mr Nasrullah. I feel that they have not been able to come out of the religious bindings yet. I was surprised to see that ISO [Imamia Student Organization] was protesting against attack on Turkish Flotilla but they had criminal silence when Ahmedies were attacked by the same forces who are worst enemies of the Shiites.
Their leadership has aways played in the hands of the rightists [the religo-political establishment] they supported PML in 1990s against PPP and then been part of MMA. They legitimised General Musharraf , by the way who also had support of Azam tariq [then SSP head] as well. They are so confused that they oppose US and its drone attack on Abu-Yazid and also oppose the Taliban.
To my surprise they simultaneously were protesting for Taliban [ie Afia Siddique, Lal masjid] and against Taliban. They were against Taliban but were sitting with MMA [the mentors of Taliban]. They have supported PML, religious organizations and establishment who are the soul creators and mentors of the forces which were and are worst enemies of the Shiites. They don’t have a consistent and unified stand against terrorism. So in a way the message which we get from their leadership is that; terrorism is crime if its against Shiites but is ok if its against Jews, Ahmedies, Baha’ies, Americans and the Sunnis. Which is wrong totally and utterly wrong.
I think they will have to come out of this denial and stand with the people who stand for their rights not with the bloody forces who are solely responsible for the atrocities commentated on the Shiites. Its a difficult road/journey but then the Shiites will have to realise that terrorism is wrong no matter its committed against Shiites, Ahmadis, Jews, American, Baha’ies, Sunnis or anybody . They will have to join the forces which stand for equality of human irrespective of caste creed and religion. They simply cannot continue sitting with the religo-political establishment of Pakistan and keep crying that they are being oppressed and persecuted.
میر کیا سادہ ہیں بیمار ہوے جس کے سبب
اسی عطا ر کے لونڈے سے دوا لیتے ہیں
Dr Khawaja Muhammad Awais Khalil