Adil Najam is an academic and writer of Pakistani origin based in Boston. He is a leading expert on issues related to developing country environmental policy, especially climate change, and also on the politics of South Asia. He is currently the Director of the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future and Professor of International Relations and of Geography & Environment, both at Boston University. He is the winner of teaching awards at MIT and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and the author of multiple books, scholarly papers and book chapters. He is also the founding editor of the blog Pakistaniat: All Things Pakistan and a highly sought public speaker.
So far so good.
Apparently there are several features which Adil Najam’s ATP shares with Mir Shakeel-ur-Rahman’s Jang. Jang is one of the oldest newspapers; ATP is one of the oldest blogs. Jang is one of the most read newspapers; ATP is one of the most visited blogs.
However, the similarities do not end here. There are certain other common features too which are rather interesting.
Jang is a populist newspaper; ATP is a populist blog. Jang always tries to tarnish the general image of politicians in Pakistan while eulogising our saviours in Pakistan army, so does ATP. Jang takes extreme care not to identify the real killers and perpetrators of jihadi and sectarian violence in Pakistan; so does ATP. Jang censors and completely ignores the ongoing Shia target killings in Pakistan by terrorists of Taliban and Sipah-e-Sahab; so does ATP. Jang never attacks the puritanical Deobandi or Wahhabi ideology which is responsible for creating religious and sectarian hatred in Pakistan; so does ATP.
Take, for example, the projection of Shias in Pakistan on ATP. To Adil Najam, Shias are a people who are worth mentioning only with respect to their affiliation with the Ashura. In other words, a PTV version of confining a vibrant community of people to only ten days of Muharram.
For example, read Adil Najam’s posts titled “10 Moharram – Ashura” posted on 30 January 2007 and on 27 December 2009. Note the following recycled paragraph in both posts in which Najam expresses his understanding of Ashura.
“Like so many others growing up in a Sunni household I grew up observing ehteram-i-Muharram and am always drawn in these days leading up to Ashura towards thinking about the meaning of religion and of faith. To me these have always been days of deep spiritual reflection; especially of intellectual enquiry into the meaning of justice (the concept of ‘adl’ holds a deep significance to me given the name I was given at birth and therefore I have always interpreted Ashura particularly as a time to reflect on what justice is).”
Does not it read like a personal press release to be issued each year on a specific event. Note how carefully Najam avoids mentioning the names of Imam Hussain (a.s.), Hazrat Zainanb (a.s.) or describing their struggle against Yazid and Muaviya’s version of the Umayyad Islam.
Now let me bring you to the key event which finally forced me to write this post (enough is enough I said to myself; no more blogger comradeship; the principles of integrity and justice must not be compromised).
Apparently the crux of this article is to condemn the show of vengeance by Pakistani Barelvis towards extremist Deobandi terrorists of Taliban and Sipah-e-Sahaba who have been consistently killing not only the Barelvi majority but also other people of minority sects and faiths for the past many years.
Is it mere coincidence that Adil Najam has not written a single article identifying and condemning terrorists of the Sipah-e-Sahaba (which in a way betrays his personal ideological affiliation with them). Now compare Najam’s condemnation of the show of vengeance by Barelvis to his lack of condemnation of hundreds (yes hundreds) of acts of terrorism committed by Deobandis of Sipah-e-Sahaba; does not it speak volumes per se.
“I had never heard of SIC (Sunni (Barelvi) Ittehad Council) before. I do not know who SIC speaks for; but is certainly does not speak for this particular Sunni.”
I wonder if “this particular Sunni” has ever heard of the Sipah-e-Sahaba? Has he ever heard of preachers of hate such as Jhangvi, Azam Tariq, Jalandhri and Ludhianvi? Do they or do they not speak for “this particular Sunni”, we are keen to know.
“I too have been grieved, and pained, and outraged by the brutality of the murders at Data Durbar, just as I had been at the murders of Ahmadi worshipers a month ago, just as I had been at the murders of Christians last August, just as I have been at murders of all Pakistanis anywhere.”
I am very impressed by this apparent show of benevolent grief by our learned blogger. Did you notice that while he named almost every victim group in Pakistan, he missed the community who has suffered most, yes the most, in Pakistan’s history at the hands of terrorists of Taliban and Sipah-e-Sahaba, i.e., Pakistani Shias.
Target killings of Shia doctors, teachers, religious scholars, activists, ordinary citizens etc is a common news in Pakistan since General Zia-ul-Haq sowed seeds of sectarian and jihadi hatred in this unfortunate country. Many bloggers including the LUBP, Pak Tea House, Grand Trunk Road, Shaheryar Ali, Sana Saleem, BBC Urdu, Dawn Blog etc have written scores of articles on this topic highlighting the target killing of Pakistani Shias. In the words of Mohammed Hanif of BBC Urdu, the number of Shias target killed in Pakistan is so enormous that even Ahmadis might be thanking God for the fact that they are the “constitutionally declared” infidels, not Shias:
ستر کی دہائی میں ہم نے نئے کافر تیار کرنے کاجو کامیاب تجربہ کیا تھا وہ وہیں نہیں رکا۔ اسی اور نوے کی دہائی میں کئی مسجدوں سے نعرے اُٹھے کافر کافر شعیہ کافر اور ملک کے طول و عرض میں شیعہ ڈاکڑ، استاد، وکیل، تاجر اور دانشور چُن چُن کر اتنی بے دردی سے قتل کیے گئے کہ احمدی بھی کہہ اُٹھے ہوں گے کہ شکر ہے ہم کافر ہیں شعیہ نہیں۔
Apparently, every one knows about Shia target killings by terrorists of Taliban and Sipah-e-Shaba except Boston University’s Adil Najam, who seems to be focused on not contaminating “his selective grief” with “their vengeance”.