In Pakistan, a pro-Taliban cleric files law suit against a pro-rights blog #LUBP

Chairman of Pakistan Clerics Council, a conglomerate of pro-Taliban Deobandi clerics, has filed a law suit against LUBP (Let Us Build Pakistan, a liberal blog which is known for human rights advocacy and media watch in the military-mullah dominated Islamic republic.

The episode has been covered by local media including Express Tribune. However, in covering the ongoing conflict between military establishment backed Taliban apologist Maulana Tahir Ashrafi and the human rights advocacy blog, LUBP, Express Tribune has made some crucial omissions. It has not highlighted the slander and hate speech by Tahir Ashrafi Deobandi against LUBP founder-editor, Mr. Abdul Nishapuri.

In one exchange Tahir Ashrafi uses an incendiary sectarian pejorative to take a nasty personal dig at Mr. Nishapuri. The Maulana’s bigotry against all those communities (Shia, Sunni Barelvi, Ahmadi, Christian etc) who are being targeted by Deobandi militants of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (led by Malik Ishaq Deobandi) has been documented and here are some samples of the Maulana’s anti-Ahmadi bigotry.

For Tahir Ashrafi to accuse LUBP of fomenting sectarianism is pathetic. LUBP has been at the forefront in being critical of the false binary of describing Shia Genocide in vague terms. It has requested both foreign and local journalists to not use broad and sweeping terminology like “Sunni militants” to label those committing Shia Genocide in Pakistan.  It has actually provided analysts a comprehensive and specific framework of isolating only those who are responsible, i.e., the  Takfiri Deobandi militants of Taliban and Sipah Sahaba (aka LeJ-ASWJ).  The Deobandi militants are targeting not only Shias but also Barelvi Sunnis, moderate/anti-Taliban Deobandis, Ahmadis, Christains, Hindus. Far from creating hatred like Maulana Ashrafi’s friends from ASWJ/Sipah Sahaba, LUBP has highlighted only those who are responsible for terrorism and religious hatred in Pakistan.

Tahir Ashrafi harms the credibility of his accusations even further when he accuses LUBP of being an Iranian agent – a tactic that is used by both Deobandi militants and pseudo liberals and fake progressives to demonize Shia Muslims, Pakistan’s largest target killed community with more than 21,000 slaughtered by the Deobandi militants. While a Shia Genocide is ongoing in Pakistan, this baiting tactic is used to misrepresent Shias as Iranian Fifth columnists, paint a target on their backs and dilute the extant of their suffering.

What Maulana Ashrafi does not realize or is trying to obfuscate is that LUBP has written extensively against those few Shia clerics who play Iranian politics in Pakistan and who are known to be close to the Pakistan army.  We request the readers to see for themselves the full list of LUBP articles, available here that criticize precisely this trend.

Readers may note that previously in 2009, known Taliban-apologist journalist Hamid Mir too tried to harass and ban LUBP on Geo TV’s Capital Talk:

It will be interesting to see where the Liberal Champions of Pakistan will stand in LUBP’s harassment by Tahir Ashrafi Deobandi and Deobandi militants.

Will they stand with LUBP or with a Taliban apologist, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi affiliated and military establishment backed Maulana Tahir Ashrafi. The silence of most of these liberals speaks volumes.

Some of them have been promoting Ashrafi as a “moderate”, so connect the dots. In order to assess how moderate Tahir Ashrafi is, read the script of his speech (English translation provided) in which he used most provocative language against the only Christian Minister in Pakistan cabinet, Shahbaz Bhatti, who was subsequently killed by Deobandi militants of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

Here is an evidence that an NGO-style liberal Marvi Sirmed (a personal friend of Taliban-apologist Hamid Mir and Pakistan-army-mouthpiece Ejaz Haider etc) stands united with Tahir Ashrafi:

marvi aswj0

marvi aswj

marvi aswj2

Ironically, recently Ms Sirmed alleged that “LUBP is only there to divide the people who’re antiestablishment”, while using the most abusive language against LUBP bloggers.

On a slightly different note, Express Tribune too has been criticized recently by LUBP for allegedly misrepresenting moderate Sunni Sufi cleric Maulana Tahir ul Qadri’s immigration application to Canada so it is not surprising to see that it is LUBP that is being presented as the perpetrator of slander and not the other way around as per reality.

Today, LUBP is under fire from an anti-Ahmadi/anti-Shia bigot and his (fake)-liberal promoters on social media.  Deobandi militant and Taliban-affiliated group ASWJ has assured its support to Maulana Tahir Ashrafi who is also receiving the support of Pakistan’s celebrity (urban-elite) human rights activists on twitter.  Both (fake) liberals and Talibanists are united in their hatred for LUBP’s blunt criticism of religious extremism.  If LUBP gets banned, will other forums for open debate like Facebook and Twitter be far behind?

Further reading: Express Tribune’s article on Tahir Ashrafi’s law suit against LUBP



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