Cross-posted from LUBP old website:
Will the Barelvi majority in Pakistan stand against terrorism? – by Tanveer Qaiser Shahid
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Shaheed Benazir Bhutto with leading Barelvi scholars of Karachi
Eight Sunni parties form alliance against Talibanisation
Saturday, May 09, 2009
By our correspondent
LAHORE: Eight parties of the Barelvi school of thought have formed an alliance under the banner of Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) to wage a joint struggle against the growing Talibanisation in the country.
The alliance has demanded of the Pakistan Army to speed up its operation to eliminate the Taliban from the NWFP and the Fata, and appealed to the nation to get united against the menace.
Addressing a press conference at the Lahore Press Club on Friday, central leaders of the SIC component parties announced the launching of the “Save Pakistan Movement” all over the country to stem the menace of Talibanisation. They said all SIC parties would fully participate in the All Pakistan Ulema and Mashaikh Convention being held in Islamabad on May 17 at the invitation of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan, while the first meeting of the SIC would be held on May 18 in Rawalpindi to chalk out its future strategy.
They termed the Taliban a product of global anti-Islam conspiracies, adding that it was the
reason the Taliban were playing in the hands of Washington to divide the Muslims and bring a bad name to Islam. They said the Taliban belonged to the same school of thought that was opposed to the creation of Pakistan and they destroyed 10 shrines of holy saints in the NWFP besides killing hundreds of Sunni leaders so far.
The press conference was addressed by Pir Afzal Qadri (Aalmi Tanzim Ahle Sunnat), Qari Zawwar Bahadur (JUP), Dr Ashraf Asif Jalali (Markazi Jamaat Ahle Sunnat), Shadab Raza Qadri (Sunni Tehrik), Mufti Mohammad Khan Qadri (Karawan-e-Islam), Sahibzada Ghulam Murtaza Shazi (Markazi JUP), Mian Khalid Habib Elahi advocate (Nizam-e-Mustafa Party) and Safdar Shah (Jamaat Ahle Sunnat).
The SIC leaders said Sunni Muftis would soon issue religious edicts (Fatwas) against the anti-Islamic practices of the Taliban, and asked the nation to publicly disown the Taliban. The SIC leaders demanded immediate halt to the military operation in Balochistan and ensure administrative rights to the province according to the 1973 Constitution. They asked the political leaders to undertake visits to Balochistan to express solidarity with the Baloch people and announced that a delegation of Ulema and Mashaikh would soon visit Balochistan.
They also demanded an immediate end to US drone attacks and withdrawal of the US army from Afghanistan and Iraq. They said the SIC would provide immediate relief, including food, clothes, shelter and other basic needs, to those who have become homeless as a result of the military operation in Swat. (The News)
Is there an Ahle Sunnat option?
Lahore was witness on Wednesday to an APC of around 20 organisations of the Ahle Sunnat “sect” convened to launch a countrywide movement against Talibanisation and US drone attacks in northern parts of the country. The rubric chosen for the APC was “Save Pakistan” by opposing the Taliban and countering US interference and stopping the conspiracy of separatism in Balochistan. The intent of the clergy that gathered under the Barelvi flag is pious if it is not “facilitated” by an intelligence agency. If it is, there will be dangers ahead.
The Barelvi school of thought is no doubt the dominant jurisprudence (fiqh) in Pakistan but it is not as well politically organised as the Deobandi school. Standing in the middle — and not present at the APC — is the Jama’at-e Islami whose leader, the charismatic Maulana Maududi, eclipsed all religious leaders after Partition with his learning while his party copiously absorbed people of the Barelvi faith. The Deobandis are organised under two JUI parties and half a dozen highly organised jihadi militias. Barelvis have only the Jamiat-e Ulema-e Pakistan (JUP) and Sunni Tehreek, both based in Karachi. The other 18 are all small fry.
The APC has demanded the arrest of Sufi Muhammad of TNSM in Swat and has vowed to hold meetings and do other media campaigns to get the Deobandi Taliban to back off from their militancy and get the US to stop using drones in the tribal areas. Both prospects look unpromising. The Barelvis will never get funding from Al Qaeda and from the Arabs in the Gulf and will remain outgunned in a region where intimidation reigns supreme and the media supports the hard “exportable” Islam that the Taliban propagate.
If it comes to counter-action, the violence of the Taliban has to be opposed by the “monopoly of violence” of the state under the Constitution. The Barelvis are a useful “background noise” that the state would need as it goes out to fight the Taliban. For the Barelvis, the dividend is more popular attraction because the people have become disgusted by the Taliban’s behaviour in Swat. (Daily Times)
Tanvir Qaiser Shahid