A coffin bearing Benazir Bhutto in Rawalpindi on 27 December 2007
Part 1 of this article can be read here: How would Benazir Bhutto view Shia genocide today? – by Rusty Walker
Where were the promised security forces for protection of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed upon her triumphant return from America to Pakistan? Where is the state-security protection for outspoken Muslims today? The petite 15 year old, Malala Yousafzai, shot by Taliban over her education and women’s rights activism in the Swat Valley will be a chance for authorities to redeem themselves by assuring her safety, one hopes. The Taliban has voiced its intent to kill Malala and her father, Ziauddin. Will there be state-sponsored protection for this globally-renowned hero of Pakistan to assure her safety and the safety of her family?
We have problems with security in the United States as well. Although the circumstances are different, I do not mean to suggest Pakistan is alone in the need to protect its citizens at risk, or that it isn’t complex. I understand that protection is never full-proof. But, we must make an effort. In the U.S., for example, we need more protection in schools. At Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Sally Hills Elementary School insane shooters attacked children. In each of these massacres, some advoctes say we would have had fewer fatalities had the teachers been trained and armed, and had there been armed guards at the schools, and yet Virginia Tech had armed guards, and there were two armed law enforcement officers at that Columbine that failed in their efforts. Police made mistakes at Columbine in not immediately going in to the school; they corrected that at Sandy Hills by entering immediately to confront the insane killer: and, bad as it was (tragically, 27 dead, 20 of them were children) thus lowered possible fatalities. Many believe we need to allow teachers to be trained and carry weapons to protect American youth from such lunatics. We don’t have he answer yet. So, Pakistan is not alone in the need to increase measures for “protection.” But, for authorities to deny “protection” is an egregious mistake. We must learn from our errors. In the case of terrorists, and known people at risk we must make an extreme effort to protect the targets of these Jihadists.
Where were the Peshawar security forces for protection for the outspoken Senior Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Shaheed Bashir Ahmed Bilour? http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-76917- Bashir-Bilour-condemns-DI-Khan-blast- Bashir Ahmed Bilour was a supporter of Sunni /Shia unity, a member of the Awami National Party (ANP), secular party, was opposed to violent enforcement of Islam by Takfiri Deobandi militants of Sipah Sahaba Taliban (SST). Was not the “Lion of Pakhtunkhwa” at risk? The state authorities with indifference to logic or common sense resist any stepped up precautions to protect the outspoken vanguards of our Pakistani society. These fearless people stand up for what is right in the face of danger. Leaders of this mettle are rare, but, “caring about personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free…” states, Jon Stuart Mill. Will anyone dare speak out against the Takfiri Deobandis if sure death to one’s self or family will follow?
Pakistani Shia Muslims carry the coffins of bomb blast victims for funeral prayers in Rawalpindi on November 22, 2012
Where is the protection for Shia’s public celebrations during Moharram processons? Has any state-protection plan been implemented for Baluchs and Shias, based on the past ISI-supported extrajudicial killings and “kill and dump” program in Quetta and Balochistan?
The counter-intuitive answer appears to be that those sworn to protect Pakistan and its people are mired in their own political survival, or aligned with the enemies of the state. Is it possible that the authorities of Law and Order, the city police, Frontier Rangers, security agencies and military are supporting the Takfiri Deobandis, LeT, and Haqqani Network, among others, out of self-preservation or loss of control or, perhaps an outmoded fear of India and allegiance to Strategic Depth? Internal militancy and insurgency were obstacles to Benazir Bhutto’s government and little has changed; the military continues to assert greater control, due to weak government involvement. Civilian authorities have missed numerous opportunities to assert control over security agencies. Miscalculation in the past by the current civilian government in its attempt to exert control over the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate turned civil-military relations into a potential flashpoint of antagonism, and rumors of a coup.
Indeed, since then, the military’s interests are expanding to newer sectors, including economic policymaking, despite a weakened economy that could compromise military interests and their wealthy lifestyles. USAID gave a boost to Musharaff’s economy when in power, but it was an artificial one, as real production decreased; the same occurred under General Kayani, as funds were diverted. Nothing seems to have changed since BB. The emerging threat to Pakistan still emanates not from its traditional adversary India, but from homegrown insurgency and Takfiri Deobandi militancy that are allowed to kill with impunity and escape justice due to a compromised court system.
Pakistani Shiite Muslims carry the coffins of blast victims during their funeral on the outskirts of Quetta in June 2012.
Mian Iftikhar Hussain’s son was killed by extremists; Mian Iftikhar Hussain from Pabbi, is a provincial information minister of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan. A senior party activist of the Awami National Party(ANP) and a strong opponent of the Taliban; predictably, in July 2010 extremists murdered his only son. Where is the protection of families of the outspoken? The atrocities against Shia are not sectarian, not a battle for supremacy between Iran and Saudi Arabia. There are no organized killer groups funded by Iran in Pakistan or any other country that indiscriminately kill Sunni Muslims or others; so, this is no excuse for lack of interest of the state to attempt to protect the innocent Shias, as the state-protects and support TTP, Haqqani Network, Takfiri Deobandis, al Qada, et. al.
It is unfathomable today that we witness nearly the same lack of protection for those at risk, and the same demonization of the party in power, and the same dark forces within the Pakistan Army and ISI and their terrorist-supported organizations that killed Benazir Bhutto, today, continue to murder with impunity with no justice forthcoming. This year alone in Pakistan, more than 580 Shia Muslims have been murdered by Takfiri Deobandi/SST. The toll has reached 20,300 Shias exterminated in the last several decades by the same Takfiri Deobandi terrorists who also murder innocent Sunni Barelvis, Ahmadis, Christians, and even moderate Deobandis. As LUBP and #ShiaGenocide campaign by other activists increases information, journalists and activists in Pakistan and internationally increasingly assent to the term, “genocide.”
The different embodiments of Islamist terrorist groups converged then and now on one point in Pakistan: hostility to the U.S., India and Israel. Included now is the effort to connect Shia with the U.S. and Israel, and Iran as a convenient method of mobilizing much larger numbers of Sunnis to sympathize with the cause of the Salafists and their Pakistani Islamist Caliphate/nationalistic agenda. Counter-intuitively the Army/ISI-supported terrorists still attack GHQ and Pak Air bases and attempt to breach nuclear sites, as they curse the establishment that supports them. In Pakistan, politics and military, most people are your friends only as long as you can do something for them or something to them. Therefore ISI and Pak Army ignore FATA turmoil, but, support Haqqani Network in its usefulness across the Durand Line; and the establishment press sides with the ISI and Pak Army, demonstrating its ability to construct its own reality, denying facts, and supporting those that will keep them safe and alive. And, now denying the well documented Shia Genocide by Takfiri Deobandi militants of Sipah Sahaba Taliban.
The outspoken can be killed, but also can be censored. One might conjecture by now, as I read in a recent Twitter post, that it is time for a petition to be filed with the United Nations a “Stop the Pakistan Shia Genocide” Petition. Still, it may not be so easy. The United Nations is constrained as Benazir Bhutto once claimed, “by the universality of its membership. When violators of human rights can sit on the U.N. human rights commissions, the work of such bodies has no authority or legitimacy.” (p. 309, Reconciliation, B. Bhutto, 2008). So the question remains, can and should a leader of the Shia Community present a “Genocide Petition” before U.N. Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) and appeal to the United Nations for action?
In fact, on the positive side, there is the opportunity to approach the UN from the US, by the International Human Rights Association for American Minorities, an organization that helps groups present their issues to the United Nations.
But, who represents the UN? Are they sympathetic to Shia causes, or Muslims in general? Are they sympathetic to even the basics of human rights, such as freedom of speech? Not when the majority vote comes from the dominant voices in the U.N,. that are the oppressive countries of China and Russia, nor the tyrannical Nigeria, Cuba, Algeria, and Saudi Arabia who recently voted for censorship of the Internet.
Benzir Bhutto was a supporter of Freedom of Speech and the Internet to communicate oppression such as Saudi Arabian oppression of Minorities and women- Salafist/Wahabbism then and now oppose free speech. In 2007 Benazir urged that the Internet should be used “creatively and in ways that young people will access and relate to.” The “great product of the West” she urged was, “the power of ‘we the people,’ ” and said humorously, that “Google is an American verb.” (p.313, Bhutto). In our era, the Pakistani government saw fit to shut down the main Shia Websites for information on Shia genocide. Evil fears freedom of speech, then and now. The pro-Shia web sites shut down by the Pakistani government is a bad omen. See my post: “Pakistan bans Shia genocide watch website too close to the truth” – by Rusty Walker:
ShiaKilling.com, a website that monitored incidents of persecution and target killing of Shia Muslims was closed down; Interior Minister Rehman Malik, President Zardari and Army Chief General Kayani gave no explanation of why Shia Muslims’ ShiaKilling.com and Ahmadiyya Muslims’ AlIslam.com were controversial.
However, even the United Nations, the very organization we might expect to be able to appeal our grievances at home, including the Shia Genocide occurrences, is interested in shutting off free Internet communications. December 12, 2012, at the U.N. summit in Dubai, delegates from Nigeria, Cuba, Algeria, and Saudi Arabia persuaded a majority of the summit delegates to support a United Nations agency a more “active” role in Internet governance- a code for controlling free speech.
I have noticed a wide resistance to calling the consistent murder of innocent Shias, “Genocide,” not just among the press, or, with the West, but, even some cases, Shiites themselves. Remember that to be a “genocide” numbers need not be in the millions (still, 20,000 Shia men, women and children is enough already) as they were in the Holocaust, Darfur, or Rwanda, or, not yet approximating Bosnia; But the time is now to speak out, not later. For example, in San Francisco, California, October 22, 2012, Sikhs are decrying denial of justice going back to 1984. SFJ announced to file a “Genocide Petition” before U.N. Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) in November 2013. The Shia community should not be appealing to the U.N. some 30 years from now after the fact, the time is now!
Still, just as in Bosnia, where the intent was to exterminate Muslims, in KP/FATA today, and from Karachi to Peshawar to Quetta, the intent of the Takfiri Deobandi Jihadists / SST is to rid the region and world of Shias. All Shias must pay close attention to subtle diversions from the term “Shia Genocide,” by the establishment media’s prevarication of facts insisting that the Shia Genocide be dismissed as sectarian conflict. Shia Genocide is the expressed intentions of the Takfiri Deobandis in their quest of extermination of “Kafirs” as they call Shias. Arabs call Shias, “Sur Al-Kafiroon” disbelievers. They are all explicit in their intentions. If you listen to your enemies, they are very clear on what they want.
Since the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, we remain living in denial; that is, the absence of the expected outrage from the civil society of Pakistan that leads to change. In this forest of terrorist organizations, often banned, they simply branch off into newly formed species of the same tree. At the root, is a corrupt justice system -The Islamist-sympathizer, Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry often has released confessed Salafist murders – without this impediment to justice, terrorists would be tried, jailed and sentenced to death; And, everywhere a forest of the limbs of which hold up the Takfiri Deobandis and support the Punjabi military brass, branching off into apologists such as Imran Khan, Hamid Mir, Munawar Hasan, Nawaz Sharif and the infamous, Ahmed Ludhianvi.
“There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.” – Henry David Thoreau.
We need a government willing to attack the root causes. Ultimately, due to Benazir Bhutto’s popularity, she would have been a force of good and progress but for one thing- not unlike Muhammad Ali Jinnah, a man who probably could have quelled the ego of Zulfi Bhutto, and made him a less opportunistic leader; none of these greats survived to carry out long-term plans. I believe both those losses, though at different stages of development, were the chances Pakistan needed. Pakistan needs a leader today like Benazir Bhutto.
Perhaps it will be Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the Chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party that emerges as a leader. Or, perhaps not. Maybe someone new arises. But, with Bilawal, and the insights born of the death of his father and mother, he, or someone of equal potential, could encourage a new identity for Pakistan where people of all faith and cultures within the rich history of Pakistan could bond together; where the civil government prevails over military; and thus, contains the military industrial complex; harnesses the generals, and rid the ISI of radicals, so that the government can do what they are under elected official guidance to do: manage security forces effectively, generate economical growth and benefits, including quality education, funds to ensure adequate water and electricity to tribal lands and neglected regions; provide funds and profit incentives to Provinces, KP/FATA and agencies that contain valuable natural gas and minerals on their lands, and ultimately provide electricity, natural gas, and minerals, agriculture and other productive resources, when now they are at times and in some regions, confiscated by the government or military. Expand business: while Pakistan and India are on “Most Favored Nation” status, it will take a strong leader to fix the issues holding Pakistan back: To negotiate with India to remove their multiple non-tariff barriers (NTBs) on Pakistani imports to India, and stubbornly insist on a change on India’s refusal to include Pakistani citrus penetration into the Indian markets; Subsidize Pakistanis agricultural sector to enable lower cost exports to India, all of which currently are benefiting only India; and get the Pak military out of the lucrative business world; create entrepreneurial incentives, to create job training and jobs and chance for advancement; to raise the lower income, up to middle class.
The weakest development in Pakistan remains things that a government for the people could provide: the slow moving social indicators of neglect: low literacy, malnutrition, poor health, lack of consistency of electricity, or availability of potable water, poor sanitation and sewerage, mostly in the rural areas, and crowded cities. Social and political instability starts with worsening living conditions that are not addressed by government; only cautionary rhetoric considered “low human development,” by UN Reports, while military expenditures as a percentage of GDP has consistently gone up, and been one of the higher nations.
As Bilawil matures into an enlightened rationality built on maturing, time in service and political savvy, he will earn his namesake, “one without equal.” The Bhutto family legacy could be compared to the U.S. Kennedys- a line of leaders; brave, evolved, all made mistakes, some assassinated, but some survived to service in political might; all were intelligent and educated and committed to improving the lot of the underprivileged. Bilawil, might not be a JFK yet, but he is young and is emotionally self-contained with his mother’s sense of self-efficacy. Perhaps he will develop the vitality and charisma of his mother, with less political guile and opportunism, narcissism and self-delusion than his bigger-than-life father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who nonetheless was a powerful and sometimes positive influence in Pakistan’s history. Even among errors, there are insights. To be fair, Zulfi was in one of the most incendiary of times. Benazir was a person of vision- the next leader needs three factors to survive politically and physically: vision, support of the people and protection.
Benazir Bhutto was a person of vision- Bilawil will have much to live up to if he is to emerge as that courageous leader Pakistan needs to confront Takfiri Deobandis/SST, LeT, LeJ, al Qaeda, Haqqani Network, reverse the Strategic Depth program and reach out to India and impede Taleban from re-claiming Afghanistan, find common goals with the Western world, yet preserve the Muslim community as a true Ummah, capable of Shia and Sunni uniting together to cast out the Takfiri Deobandis/SST, and rid, the remaining radical, Saudi-funded Maddrassas. For all this, he, and if not a Bhutto, then, another, but the rise of a pluralistic, democratic, leader of Pakistan must be protected from its own military, security agency and militants, or harm from within will mirror the Kennedys. For protection Pakistanis must stand together as one, Sunnis and Shias and all religious minorities together with the secular in solidarity, he or she who leads Pakistan out of the cycle of violence, will need courageous advocates. And, they will need a government committed to protection of its citizens from extremists!
About the author: Rusty Walker is an educator, author, political analyst, ex-military, from a military family, retired college professor, former Provost (Collins College, U.S.A.), artist, musician and family man. Rusty Walker is an ardent supporter of Pakistan. Here is a link to Mr. Walker’s other articles published on LUBP: https://lubpak.com/archives/author/rusty-walker