Two-nation theory 2.0: It is Sunni vs Shia this time around – by Kunwar Khuldune Shahid (Pakistan Today)


The writer is a financial journalist and a cultural critic. Twitter: @khuldune, Email:

Source: Pakistan Today, 22 Feb 2013

It is Sunni vs Shia this time around.

Even though the original two-nation theory drowned in the Bay of Bengal, some of the most illustrious seamen and fishermen still hog the coastline vying to unearth the theory from underneath the water. It is said of the theory that it didn’t even border on being watertight, and hence sunk with ease amidst the tsunami of 1971. And so after 41 years of staring at a gaping two-nation theory shaped hole with closed eyes, we now have its updated version that is significantly more impermeable than the original, which, if one were to be honest, would’ve drowned in a bathtub if one left the tap open for more than a minute.

The original two-nation theory threw all the commonalities between Hindus and Muslims of the Indian subcontinent out of the proverbial window, and showcased the fact that Muslims and Hindus are ostensibly two different nations and can’t for the love of god, live together. Two-nation theory 2.0 not only makes a scathing mockery of that assertion, but unlike the first version it actually underscores two veritably separate nations who despite having the aforementioned commonalties, and more, are as distinct as a pack of hyenas and a flock of lambs.

Unlike the Hindu-Muslim division, the Shia-Sunni divide is lopsided butchery. When juxtaposed with the genocide and massacre of Shias in Pakistan, the Hindu-Muslim differences in India seem like brotherly disagreements. And the Shia community in Pakistan can only envy the discrimination that Muslims face in India. Furthermore, while Muslims can – and do – live safely in India, it is quite obvious that Shias can no longer feel secure in Pakistan.

When one community is being targeted, in what is barefaced ethnic cleansing, and the other community remains shushed about it at best and endorses it at worst, you know the division between the groups is unbridgeable. Those that coined the original two-nation theory overlooked the fact that believing in the same god and the same prophet might not suffice in uniting you into one nation, and that is the raison d’etre behind two-nation theory 2.0.

Just like Muhammad bin Qasim’s imperialistic surge towards India in 712 AD is touted as the foundation of the Hindu-Muslim two nation theory, the Shia-Sunni two nation theory traces its origin back to the same epoch when Umayyads were busy sidelining the Shias in the hub of Islam. Their lead was followed appositely by the Abbassids, Ottomans and then the Mughals for the next millennium or so, as the Sunni hierarchies violently tightened screws on the Shias inhabiting their region.

In the context of the Indian subcontinent, it was the Fatwa-e-Alamgiri compiled by Aurangzeb “the great Mughal emperor” Alamgir and Shah “the spiritual light” Wali Ullah, who should be dubbed the founding fathers of two-nation theory 2.0 in our neck of the woods – that brought together some of the most renowned kafirometres in the world to declare the infidelity of the Shias. Recent fatwas by the likes of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) and Darul Uloom Deoband are the offshoots of the aforementioned compilation of fatwas.

The next father figure of two-nation theory in the Indian subcontinent is General Ziaul Haq, who hoarded Saudi riyals in exchange for granting the godfathers of Islam a playground to stage the two-nation theory 2.0 in all its blood and goriness. From the annihilation of 118 Shias in Therih in 1963 to the 22 massacred in Lahore and Karachi in 1978, Shia killings were witnessed before Zia became the caretaker of Islam as well. But it was under Zia that the two-nation theory 2.0 became ubiquitous in madrassas, Islamic Republic of Pakistan transmuted into Takfiri Deobandi Republic of Pakistan and Shia discrimination metamorphosed into Shia genocide.

Modern day leading proponents of the ideology, like Malik Ishaq – acquitted more than 30 times over charges of homicide and terrorism – , Mahmoud Baber – “proud” murderer of 14 and Ahmed Ludhianvi – SSP chief and the embodiment of paranoia with regards to Shia – are the Jinnah, Sir Syed and Iqbal of two-nation theory 2.0. And these ideological guardians are hell bent upon creating a separate homeland for the Shias in graveyards all across Pakistan, which would rubberstamp their entry into heaven where God and his promised luxuries await them with arms wide open.

More than 20,000 Shias have been killed in Pakistan ever since the country’s inception, with more than 500 being executed in 2012 alone. The back-to-back blasts in Quetta over the past two months, killing over 200 Shias prove the verisimilitude of two-nation theory 2.0, as reaction from majority of the other half of the community – more than 50 percent of which endorse the theory by declaring Shias as non-Muslims according to a PEW study – ran the whole gamut from indifference to complaints over traffic blockade.

In a country where volcanoes of protests erupt over the killings of “Muslim brothers” in Palestine, Kashmir, Syria and Myanmar, the deafening silence from the Sunni half of the two-nation divide vindicates that Shias can no longer feel at home in Pakistan – the country whose founding father was an Ismaeli Shia himself.

As two-nation theory 2.0 widens the gaping cracks between the two communities and lays the foundation of a Shia exodus, it won’t be long before Takfiri Deobandi heavyweights find another target in the Islamic Royal Rumble of Pakistan. Two-nation theory 3.0 could see the Barelvis under the gun, followed by other sects, as the religion of ‘piece’ keeps on throwing constituent pieces out of its anatomy.

Related post: Sunni and Shia are two different nations: We demand Hussainistan for Pakistan’s 30 million Shia Muslims

After yet another massacre in Quetta, this is time for Shias to leave Pakistan – by Dr Murtaza Haider



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