Lessons of the Rawalpindi Ashura Tragedy – by Abbas Zaidi

Immediately after the ‘burning down’ of the Deobandi mosque, three Shia mosques were totally burnt down in Rawalpindi alone (let’s not talk about dozen others in the rest of the country). The media did not report it

The very first lesson of the Rawalpindi tragedy is that if you trust media and official reports, you are on the side of Takfiri Deobandis who have been killing Shias, Brelvi Sufis, Christians, Hindus, and Ahmadis with complete impunity. The impression given by the media and government was that the Shia mourners burnt down an old mosque-cum-seminary. It looked like that the media and the government were acting like propaganda minions of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi/Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamat (LeJ/ASWJ) when they obliquely but unmistakably referred to the Shia mourners as “miscreants”.

The Sharif Brothers, Chaudhry Nisar, and Rana Sanaullah jumped onto the national scene making claims to give “exemplary” punishment to the “miscreants”. The media cheered them up for their thundering pronouncements. Why did these men suddenly grab the opportunity and ‘promise’ the nation to deal with the “miscreants”? There is only one answer: The Shias will be dealt with an iron hand officially this time.

And they made good on their promise. Shia households were raided in the middle of the night. Shia women, men, and children harassed, assaulted and insulted as “suspects” were arrested. Never in Pakistan’s history were ‘miscreants’ identified and nabbed so fast. The mullah of the Deobandi mosque who eulogized Yazeed and incited the Shia mourners is as free and secure as ever. After all, his LeJ/ASWJ is an ally of the ruling PML-N.

The second lesson is that the mainstream media of Pakistan has found the man of ‘peace’ in the person of Mullah Ahmad Ludhianvi, the head of the banned Sipa-e-Sihaba, now operating as ASWJ. Led by Geo-Con, Ludhianvi was the star of all the major talk shows in which he preached his version of peace by demanding that the Shia processions should be banned in Pakistan. Some programs invited Shia mullahs too for the sake of ‘balance’. But these Shia mullahs were phenomenally incompetent and inarticulate. And the choice of such Shia mullahs seems to have been deliberate. If you ask someone like Dr Pervaiz Hoodhbhai to compete with Deobandi seminary mullahs in a Koranic recitation competition, he will for sure ‘lose’. Any sensible Shia will refuse to sit with Ludhianvi who is at the forefront of the Shia genocide in Pakistan. Lesson: Do not be lured by the anchors who propmote Takfiri mullahs.

That a media-mullah-government alliance is in full swing in Pakistan is another lesson from Rawalpindi. Immediately after the ‘burning down’ of the Deobandi mosque, three Shia mosques were totally burnt down in Rawalpindi alone (let’s not talk about dozen others in the rest of the country). The media did not report it. This time the media did not flash the pictures of the copies of the Koran burnt down by Deobandi mullahs.

Pakistan’s civil society is as fake as Pakistan’s social media users. Very few ‘educated’ people came out in support of the truth that the Shia mourners were fired upon from inside the Deobandi mosque. Very few people on the social media identified the fake photos of kids ‘slaughtered’ by the Shia mourners. These photos were those of Myanmar kids and have been in circulation for the past few months.

Whereas Imran Khan and the people of his ilk kept mum about the Takfiri Deobandis’ assault on the Shia mourners, people like Ahmad Noorani and Shiekh Rashid surprised many by speaking the truth. Unlike in the past, their stance on the Rawalpindi assault on the Shia mourners was clear: It was a pre-planned assault by the Takfiri Deobandis. Lesson: Truth can come from any source.

Another lesson: A principled and sustained stand from the weak can defeat the combined Goliath of the formidable machinery of the government, power of Islamofascism, and the complicity of the mainstream media. The likes of Roshni, Let Us Build Pakistan, and Viewpoint Online despite being non-mainstream publications were able to expose deceits and falsehoods churned out to demonize the Shias and glorify the Takfiri Deobanids.

The last lesson: The Brelvis, Shias, Ahmadis, Hindus, and Christians should get united to defeat the Takfiri Deobanids. Or else, they will be cut down one by one. Deobandis are like 10 percent of Pakistan’s population. The rest of the 90 percent can defeat them if they can figure out that the problems of Pakistan are not of religious nature, but those of socio-economic ones. Anyone claiming otherwise is a wolf in a sheep’s guise.

Abbas Zaidi is the author of Two and half words and other stories, published by Savvy Press, New York, and Language shift; Sociolinguistics lives of two Punjabi generations in Brunei Darussalam, published by Classic Books Lahore

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