Barelvi Muslims constitute the majority of population in Pakistan. According to an estimate, Sunni Muslims in Pakistan are divided into 60% Barelvis, 30% Deobandis and 10% Ahle Hadith.
It is a fact that, in Pakistan, Taliban and Sipah-e-Sahaba are a Deobandi phenomenon. While the majority of Deobandis (similar to the majority of all other sects and faiths) are peace loving citizens, a powerful minority within Deobandi sect has made Pakistan and the entire region a hostage to its puritanical sectarian and violent jihadi agenda.
Several extremist Deobandi (sectarian and jihadi) organisations were created, trained and supported by General Zia-ul-Haq and his cronies in 1970s-80s, a practice that continues till today as a permanent feature of Pakistan Army’s strategic depth and jihadi philosophy.
In the following op-ed (Express, 3 July 2010), Tanveer Qaiser Shahid mourns the blood bath given to Lahore’s Data Darbar by extremist Deobandis (operating as Taliban and Sipah-e-Sahaba). The author suggests that it is high time that silent Barelvi majority and their leadership should take a firm stand against those who are spreading mischief and violence in the land of the pure in the name of Islam. (Abdul Nishapuri)