Farhat Taj’s rebuttal to LUBP’s posts on terrorism, Deobandi Islam and Bacha Khan

Farhat Taj’s rebuttal to LUBP’s posts on terrorism, Deobandi Islam and Bacha Khan


Related post: مدیر ویو پوائنٹ اور فرحت تاج کے نام: کیا یہ صحافتی، علمی اخلاقیات کے مطابق ہے؟ – See more at: https://lubpak.com/archives/307361

Pashtun scholar Farhat Taj sahiba has posted a rebuttal to LUBP posts in which a critical assessment of Deobandi ideology and Bacha Khan was offered. Her rebuttal is reproduced below along with our response.

Farhat Taj writes:

These are my comments on the views expressed by Abdul Nishpuri [and other LUBP authors] on Terrorism, Dewbandi Islam, Pashtun history and Bacha Khan. Key points of his views:

1) Dewbandi Islam has essentailly intrinsic capacity to foster extremism and terrorism. Other versions of Islam, especially Barelvi and the multiple Shia versions of Islam essentially lack this capacity.
2) Dewbandi Islam is the key reason for terrorism in Pakistan and Afghanistan and especially responsible for Shia killing in the region.
3) Ahmad Shah Abdali was a Dewbandi fanatic whose invasions and conquests were mainly motivated by his Dewbandi fanaticism.
4) Pashtun nationalists cannot tolerate criticism of Bacha Khan.
5) Bacha Khan was a Dewbandi fanatic, hand in gloves with fanatic Dewbandi ulama and hence is God father of the of the Pashtun Taliban today.

1) This is a wrong assumption, even an early college level student of religious study would know. There is a enough inspiration for violence and extremism in all sources of Islam in which all versions of the religion are rooted. The only requirement is the material provisions and appropriate state-driven context to exploit the inspiration. To essentially attribute violence and extremism to some specific versions of Islam and absolve other of them is, at best, ridiculous and at worst sectarian bigatory and narrow-mindedness.

2) Any serious observer of the socio-political and geo-political landscape in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India would regard this view superficial at best and intellectual dishonesty at the worst. US-USSR war in Afghanistan, Pakistan prostituting itself to Saudi Arabia, Arab-Ijam war on our this, Strategic Depth, fear of Pashtun nationalism, Fear of India, identity crisis of Pakistani state are key factors responsible for the violence and terrorism in Pakistan, including the Shia killings.

3) This gives the view that Ahmad Shah raised army in the service of Dewbandi Islam. It looks as if he had no territorial, political or geopolitical ambitions. He was totally unlike the rulers and invaders of his time. He lived, attacked, massacred, conqured to eradicate Shia version of Islam from the faec of earth and in pursuit of his Dewbandi faith. Bravo!

4) The fact is that Pashtun nationalists are very, very used to reading and listening to criticism of Bacha Khan. First, it were the Brits who criticised him and then the Pakistani state did so. Not only criticism , he was actually demonised by these two states. So, it is factually wrong that Pashtun nationalists cannot tolerate or do not allow criticism of Bacha Khan.

5) This underscore complete lack of knowledge and the audacity to make malicious claims: the linking of the struggle of Bacha Khan (against the British and for his social reformation movement for education and for the modification or abolishment of harmful cultural norms, such as revenge) and his followers, including some Dewbandi Ulama in his movemnet with fanaticism and the Taliban of today. As a start up one would like to suggest good history book written by non-Pashtun writers to learn something about the movemnet. By the way, this claim also has an interesting angle: it may also imply that Ghandhi was also inspired by Dewbandi fanacticm since he was so close to Bacha Khan and other Dewbandi Ulama who struggled along with GHandhi for freedom of India against the British! So then Ghandhi is also God father of the Taliban?
Also the assumption of this Nishapuri, is that Bacha was anti-Shai and his movement was against Shias. Nothing could be far from the truth than this. The reality is that Pashtun Shias were in the forefront of Bacha Khan movement and they continue their attachment with the ANP today. How come Shias were and are in Bacha Khan’s movement, if the movement was or is anti-SHia or promoting Dewbandi ideology at the expens of the Shia sects. Before projecting such a view it would have been better that Mr. Nishapuri had a discussion with Pashtun Shias on this issue.

6) True that most militant groups have Dewbandi connections but the main reasons for this are political, geo-political and strategic rooted in the national (Pakistani) and international context. I understand that Pashtun nationalists have no problem that the Dewbandi identity of the militants is mentioned. Actually (I understand) they want that life histories of all miliamts and all their victims be documents. The documenation must include ethnic, class, gender, sectarian, regional identities and also family backgrounds of them. This will make the analysis of the terrorism-elated issues much more informative. Unfortunately, we do not have this information.

7) Informed debate on any issue under the sun is good. In the context of the terrorism in Pakistan an informed debate have to be objective and holistic, i.e. it must be rooted in the relevant history, politics, geo-politics, religion and socio-cultural context and it must not be driven by the agenda or desire to single out one ethnic group or their dominant faith as the source of evil

8) It simply does not look that Mr. Nishapuri is objective or rational. All his views has a racist undertone and reflects the desire to Pashtunize the terrorism, to regard Pashtun history, their heroes, culture and their dominant sectarian faith as the source of terrorism, especially anti-SHia terrorism all over Pakistan. There is no shortage of those who demonise Pashtun, Javed GHamdi is the latex example, but at least they have the courage to show their real identity. Nishapuri does not even have that.

Discussion with a faceless individual apparently driven by anti-Pashtun agenda is a waste of time and helping none of those who wish to see terrorism eliminated in Pakistan and at worst, it is damaging peaceful Pakistanis, including Shias, because his apolitical, ahistorical, purposely selected information or mis-information, out of context rants and rehtorics distract attention from the real causes of the terrorism in Pakistan.

So, I am not going to engage in any more discussions with Mr. Nishapuri, till the time he showed his real identity and learnt how to do rational, informative debate. Also, I am done with LUBP, the blog Mr. Nishapuri is linked with, as long as it is run by faceless persons with sectarian and racist designs.







LUBP’s Response

1. Instead of ad hominem attacks on LUBP’s authors, Farhat Taj sahiba may wish to focus on the content of our posts. Personal attacks on authors and shooting the messenger tactics serve to compromise the objectivity and content of her own post. We hope she will consider this humble request.

2. We are surprised to see that instead of highlighting and confronting the radical (takfiri) Deobandi ideology responsible for massacres of not only Sunni Barelvis/Sufis, Shias, Christians and secular people, Pashtuns and non-Pashtuns included, and indiscriminate attacks on other members of the society including ordinary Deobandi folks, Farhat Taj is actually defending the Deobandi sect because it is “dominant sectarian faith of Pashtuns”. She alleges that LUBP’s critical post on Deobandi terrorism “has a racist undertone and reflects the desire to Pashtunize the terrorism, to regard Pashtun history, their heroes, culture and their dominant sectarian faith as the source of terrorism”.

Does Farhat Taj’s statement not have an undertone of sectarian and racist bias? Is Farhat Taj now also a champion of Deobandi sect becuase it is the dominant sectarian faith of Pashtuns? We assume that Shia Pashtuns and Sunni Barelvis, particularly those of Parachinar, Hangu and Kohat, who have buried thousands of their dear and near ones in recent years killed by Deobandi terrorists may not agree with Farhat Taj’s analysis.

In fact, by highlighting the Deobandi identity of terrorists, we are actually de-Pashtunising terrorism because Deobandi terrorists are found in all ethnic groups including Pashtuns, Punjabis, Muhajirs and Balochs etc.

3. Farhat Taj says that “True that most militant groups have Dewbandi connections but the main reasons for this are political, geo-political and strategic rooted in the national (Pakistani) and international context.”

Here she fails to acknowledge the idological and historical intolerance embedded in the Salafi/Wahabi sect and its Pakistani/Afghan/Indian surrogate, i.e., Deobandi sect and its tafkiri mutation. What else would explain the Salafi/Wahabi and Deobandi terrorism across the Muslim world (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Iraq etc) if not the intolerant and deeply puritical ideology inherent in these sects? From Ahmed Shah Durrani to Syed Ahmed Shaheed to Shah Ismail, Maulana Sami-ul-Haq and Mullah Omar to Baitullah Mahsud to Mullah Fazlullah, Deobandi or semi-Salafi ideology has played a key role in sectarian, violent movements against Sikhs, Hindus, Christians and now Sunni Barelivs and Shias. Historical events are a witness to the violent nature of Deobandi and Salafi ideologies.

4. Farhat Taj resorts to false neutrality when she writes that “There is a enough inspiration for violence and extremism in all sources of Islam in which all versions of the religion are rooted. The only requirement is the material provisions and appropriate state-driven context to exploit the inspiration. To essentially attribute violence and extremism to some specific versions of Islam and absolve other of them is, at best, ridiculous and at worst sectarian bigatory and narrow-mindedness.”

This is a classical case of strawman and false neutrality. Nowhere did we absolve non-Deobandi religions and sects from extremist tendencies. However, we only pointed out the high-intensity of intolerant, pro-violence and puritancial undercurrents in the Salafi/Wahabi and Deobandi ideologies which cannot and must not be equated with the generally peaceful nature of other sects and faiths including Sunni Sufis/Barelvis, Shias, Ahmadis and Christians. Any student of international terrorism can witness that Salafis/Wahabis and Deobandis (semi-Salafis), despite their numerical minority in the world of Islam, have dominant, almost exclusive, share of terrorism and violence in Muslim and non-Muslim countries. In Pakistan, Deobandis of all ethnic backgrounds (Pashtun, Punjabi, Baloch etc) are involved in acts of terrorism in all areas and provinces. This statistical fact can neither be hidden nor ignored.

Ironically, when Pashtun friends bash the Punjabi roots of LeJ-ASWJ terrorists, they almost always remove the Deobandi identity of the LeJ-ASWJ. They ignore the fact that ethnicity (Pashtun or Punjabi) is not the issue, the Deobandi sect is!

5. By holding the external factors (material provisions, state-driven context etc) responsible for extremism, violence and intolerance commonly found in Deobandi and Salafi/Wahabi clerics and fanatics, Farhat Taj clearly absolves the Salafi/Wahabi and Deobandi sects from the inherent intolerant, violent and puritanical tendencies embedded in these very ideologies (books, curricula, fatwas, Salafist approach to Islam, actual Jihadist and violent history etc). In other words, Farhat Taj absolves not only (some extremist) Pashtuns but also all Deobandis from all wrongdoings because she considers them passive recipients of ‘material provisions’. Where is Deobandi ulema’s and people’s agency and preference? She ignores the willing role of Deobandi clerics as well as progressive Pashtun leaders such as Bacha Khan (inadvertently) in spreading the Deobandi ideology in Pashtun areas, which was a misjudgement and wrong choice on their part, as was proven in subsequent decades. Of course, Saudi Salafis/Wahabis would never invest in madrassas and mosques owned by Sunni Barelvi/Sufi, Shia or Ahmadi sects. Deobandis, by virture of their very ideology, are ideal partners and surrogates of Salafis/Wahabis, and have gained a lot in term osf power, money, resources due to generous Saudi-ISI-CIA patronage. This important aspect is completely ignored by Farhat Taj in her analysis.

6. Frahat Taj alleges that LUBP post said that “Bacha Khan was a Dewbandi fanatic, hand in gloves with fanatic Dewbandi ulama and hence is God father of the of the Pashtun Taliban today.”

This is yet another case of strawman and false attribution. We only wrote about Bacha Khan’s misjudgement when he decided to spread Deobandi, not Sunni Barelvi/Sufi, madrassas in Pashtun areas. Does that warrant the kind of interpretation that Taj sahiba is attributing to us?

Readers are invited to read our full post on Bacha Khan which includes many references inclding from books/literature available on the ANP’s Bacha Khan Markaz and Darul Uloom Deoband: https://lubpak.com/archives/306211

We reiterate that from the Banu Umayya tribe of the Arabian peninsula to the Pashtun tribes of Pakistan and Afghanistan, it is not the Arab or Pashtun ethnicity which is to be blamed. It is the violent, intolerant ideology (Sufyanism of Umayyads, Takfirism of Khawarij, Salafism of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab and takfiri Deobandism of Pakistan/India) that is responsible for brutal beheadings, organ-eatings and graphic inhumanities against non-Deobandi, non-Salafi Muslims and non-Muslims. Those who are ignoring the inherent violent nature of the Salafi and Deobandi ideologies are missing the whole point. Of course, the US, Saudi and Pakistani intelligence agencies played a key role in prostituting the Deobandi and Salafi ideologies and clerics for their strategic agendas but the very selection of these prostitutes was not a coincidence.

On LUBP web site, if we can criticize Jinnah, Bhutto, Khamenei, Zardari, Imran Khan, Munawar Hasan, Shaheedi etc (as we have in the past), why can’t we critically evaluate Bacha Khan, Ahmad Shah Durrani and Shah Waliullah? And why do we have to be called racist or sectarian if some nationalist friends happen to disagree with our analysis? In our view, history is more sacred than our personal political, ethnic and/or religious affiliations or heroes. Academic and historical inquiries and debates should not be discouraged or feared from.

We suggest that while Pashtun nationalist friends legitimately bash Punjabi establishment and Saudi Salafi ideology, they may also wish to reflect on their silence, or worse, defence of Deobandi roots of terrorism.

10 responses to “Farhat Taj’s rebuttal to LUBP’s posts on terrorism, Deobandi Islam and Bacha Khan”

  1. I am amazed at the reluctance on the part of many “liberals” including Pashtun nationalists to clearly condemn Deobandi roots of TTP, ASWJ terrorism against Sunni, Shia, Pashtun, Baloch etc.

  2. Instead of supporting the Shia victims including Shia Pashtun victims of Deobandi terrorism, Farhat Taj along with Uncle Toms is bashing the victim community and activists? Baravo!

  3. The fact will remain that whatever is the objective of puppet masters. Foot soldiers of terrorism remain mostly deobandi and among them vast majority is that from tribal and KPK region.

  4. Deobandi Taliban are nothing new but a continuation of the Farqir of Ipi.

    In 1936, a man named Mirza Ali Khan aka Faqir of Ipi launched an armed anti-colonial rebellion in British India in the tribal areas of the N.W.F.P. The Faqir of Ipi, had a reputation for saintliness but that was soon overshadowed by his exploits as an insurgent. That year, a 15-year-old Hindu girl married a considerably older Pakhtun man in an alleged love affair. Since the girl, who had the moniker Islam Bibi bestowed on her was a minor, her mothers approached the British for help and she was returned to her family. Khan (the Faqi of Ipi), who was from Waziristan, took this as an incitement against Islam and the Pakhtun tribes and launched a revolt that was able to withstand British military expeditions thanks to unorthodox guerrilla tactics. On April 14, 1936, a jirga held near Mir Ali declared jihad against the British. It decided to raise a tribal lashkar, with the Faqir of Ipi as its chief. He travelled to South Waziristan to gain support of the Mehsud tribe. Not unlike Deobandi Mujahideen or Taliban supported by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, the Faqir of Ipi too received support from both the Germans and the Italians providing him with weapons and funding during the WWII.
    At the time, Khan was a legend for his military exploits; now he barely exists in the general consciousness. Sure, he was an anti-colonial figure on a par with any other, but his movement was spurred by a marriage that would now be seen as illegitimate. He preached a version of Islam that would be disdained as distinctly Deobandi Taliban-ian and had no hesitations in allying with the Afghan government or the Axis powers during the Second World War. Not unlike a few Deobandis (now becoming extinct) who revere Pirs, he too followed a Pir but was very puritanical in his approach to Islam, just like modern day takfiri Deobandis. Faqir of Ipi Khan is said to be the grandfather of senior Deobandi Taliban cleric Jalaluddin Haqqani known for terrorism operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Hafiz Gul Bahadur is also a descendent of Faqir of Ipi. Khan never reconciled himself to the idea of Pakistan and even declared himself president of the territory he inhabited after Partition. Simply put, being right on the central question of his time — the presence of the colonial British in the subcontinent — was not enough to make him an undisputed hero.
    This brings us to the various Deobandi militant factions fighting under the Taliban rubric (TTP, LeJ, ASWJ, JeM etc). Stipulating from the start that the inhuman tactics of the Taliban are not to be condoned, it is instructive to compare it with the Faqir of Ipi for the way it fuses anti-imperial ideology with its depiction of itself as a religious vanguard.
    Our need to instantly label the Taliban as a uniquely reactionary force that has no roots in history is undercut by the existence of past Pakhtun movements, like that of Mirza Ali Khan, the Faqir of Ipi. Just as the Taliban use suicide bombings as a weapon, Khan’s men were accused of castrating those they fought; both saw themselves as the last, best hope of saving Islam; and the British colonisers have been replaced by the imperialistic Americans and their predator drones.
    We need to acknowledge the strain of religious nationalism that exists in both Faqir of Ipi and Taliban’s violent movements.
    It is, therefore, important to dispel the ahistorical impression that the Taliban are an unprecedented evil, an externally crafted phenomenon with no basis and space in local history and Deobandi ideology. The natural human tendency to egotistically believe that what is happening right now is so very unique as to render history as a mere prologue leads to support measures, like military operations and US drone strikes that we would not consider otherwise. Unles the Deobandi and Salafi roots of the violent ideology are cut down, it will not be possible to tackle the menace of terrorism from FATA, KP and other areas of Pakistan.

    As written elsewhere, Taliban are historical heirs to Mullah Pawindah and Faqir of Ipi. The Deobandi Pashtun flirtation with puritanical Deobandi and Salafi/Wahabi Islam and violent resistance itself is historically linked to the Syed Ahmed’s Salafist “jihad” against Ranjit Singh’s Government in Lahore. Pawindah extended it against British Raj and Faqir of Ipi also attacked Pakistan as “unIslamic bastion of qadianism”. Bacha Khan supported the Faqir wholeheartedly which is where Pushtun nationalism amalgamates with Deobandi or Salafi ideology. And finally – the current leader of TTP – Gul Bahadur- is Faqir of Ipi’s grandson.


  5. Efforts at crafting narratives of foreign involvement as sole problem afflicting Afghanistan and the region (Soviets attacked, USA attacked, Punjabi establishment, Saudi Salafis etc) cannot hide the historical and ideological undercurrent of the Pashtun areas.

    Faqir of Ipi had close relationship with Bacha Khan and it was Bacha Khan who kind of convinced him to stop his jihad against Pakistan. He died in 1960 and by the time he was not an active warrior. I don’t have the source now but I believe Bacha Khan also helped him get medical attention in Peshawar too.

    Is Non-violence Bacha Khan’s legacy? While he took to non-violence as a creed, Zalmai Pakhtoon – a militant organization and wing of Red Shirts- was a decidedly violent organization founded by Ghani Khan, Bacha Khan’s son and which continued to operate way into the 1970s – with some blaming it for the famous assassination of Hayat Khan Sherpao. That Bacha Khan encouraged Fakir of Ipi’s militancy against Pakistan is a well known fact.
    He stood for the continuation of the tribal traditions and way of life which accorded him and his family their sardari status. His philosophy was essentially a sort of tolerant Islamic Puritanism blended with Pushtun Nationalism, another not so tolerant variant of which was his friend Faqir of Ipi’s Islamically charged Pushtun Nationalism and that strain is still represented by Behtullah Mehsud and the like.

    Faqir of Ipi (the forerunner of Behtullah Masood) was a staunch ally of Bacha Khan… Bacha Khan was releasing funds to Faqir of Ipi and his terrorist movement
    On the reality of Bacha Khan’s non-violence and “tolerant” version of Islam please note that somehow Faqir of Ipi’s jehad against British, Hindus, Muslim League (which he called the bastion of Qadianism) doesn’t strike me as “non-violent” or “tolerant”. Bacha Khan was his biggest backer in NWFP.

    Bacha Khan supported the Kashmir freedom struggle and supported the export of Waziri Mahsud and other tribal lashkars for freedom of Azad Kashmir.

  6. An interesting chapter in the period immediately before the partition of India is of the association of Khan brothers with the insurgency mounted by Faqir of Ipi. The history of NWFP’s tribal areas is replete with a charismatic Pushtun horseman with Quran in one hand and sword in the other. The valiant Pushtuns had been fighting against the British for more than half a century and Faqir of Ipi was the latest of these great Jihadist Deobandi/Salafi/Wahabi warriors to raise the banner of Pushtun nationalism with its dangerous blend of Islamic Puritanism. The Frontier Congress had – perhaps without any knowledge of Nehru who would have shot down an idea of this kind- long backed Faqir of Ipi. Col. Shah Pasand Khan, former ADC to Amir Amanullah Khan of Afghanistan and a member of the Muslim League national guards, wrote to Jinnah on 8th July stating “firstly a few days ago I heard of Abdul Ghani, son of Abdul Ghaffar Khan, who came to see the Faqir of Ipi in connection with the resolution passed at Bannu by the Congress in support of Pathanistan. Mr. Abdul Ghani crossed the border of British territory to meet Faqir of Ipi. Government authorities supported this move… I myself investigated the matter and found out that Faqir of Ipi was given 7 lakhs of rupees by Mr. Ghani to propagate for the Pathanistan… (Document 68 Jinnah Papers Volume III Pages 164-165).

    In July Faqir of Ipi made his pronouncement. This announcement was reported by S M Rashid, a young Muslim Leaguer, in his letter dated 17th July as “Nobody is to participate in either Congress or Muslim League. Nobody is to violate the peace of the Hindus because have consented to pay the poll tax to me. Muslim Leaguers in this area (according to Shariat of Waziristan) are to be devoured by ..wolves. A reward of Rs. 4000 (Kabulis) for killing Habibullah Khan (a Leaguer) and special protection for the family of his killer”. Rashid went onto talk of about the Mullahs from Deoband on a special mission : “All these Mullahs are the true disciples of Maulana Hussain Ahmed Madani Deobandi… the second selves of Abul Kalam Azad and Hussain Ahmed Madani. The majority amongst them are the originators of the crusade of Waziristan… Khalifa-tul-Muslimeen Mir Hazar Deobandi… Maulvi Khanmir Khan Deobandi, Maulvi Qameruzzaman Deobandi, Maulvi Sardar, Maulvi Mohd Zaman, Maulvi Mohd Rahim, Maulvi Mohd Din, Maulvi Abdul Razzaq Maulvi Raz Mohammad, Maulvi Mohd Din Shah, Maulvi Khawaja Mir and Maulvi Fazl Din.” (Enclosure No.1 to No. 181, Jinnah Papers Volume III, Pages 465-467). These Ulema were reinforcements from the Jamiat-Ulema Hind and Darul-uloom- Deoband to create insidious propaganda against Pakistan and the Muslim League.

    Maulvi Abu Sulaiman, an 80 year old veteran spiritual leader from Waziristan wrote to Zafar Ahmad Ansari “While I was in Delhi, I received a call from the Frontier that Congress agents were touring Waziristan, doing propaganda against the Muslim League, had succeeded in converting the Faqir of Ipi to their point of view … I learnt that a deputation of the Frontier Jamiyaat-e-Ulama had already met the Faqir who thereupon became a staunch enemy of Pakistan taking the Muslim League to be the agents of the British, he now considers war against Pakistan as the greatest service of Islam. The government of Afghanistan is also a party to this conspiracy. Its Minister of Interior, Sardar Muhammad Farooq, called a special meeting of tribal representatives and persuaded them to support Pathanistan in combination with Afghanistan, Khan Brothers and the Faqir of Ipi. He even directed them to kill any opponent of Pathanistan. It was after the meeting of the Deobandi Jamiyyat-e-Ulama deputation with Ipi that the latter ordered his general, Abdul Latif Khan, to attack Miran Shah.” ( No. 183, Jinnah Papers, Volume III, Page 471).
    Reinforcing what he had written earlier, Sulaiman wrote again a week later informing Ansari of the activities of Faqir of Ipi and the Congress Party “On the night of 29th of Shabaan, the Faqir Sahib of Ipi without informing anyone left for Mount Shawal so as to pass the month of Ramadan in some secret place. It is his habit to remain hidden from his people for several months in a year. This creates an impression of piety… After Id, he intends to call a meeting of tribal representatives at Makin, a central town in the territory of the Mahsud tribe (centre of Deobandi ideology). His object at the meeting would be to convert Prince Fazluddin and his party to his own point of view- either by persuasion or by force… Prince Fazluddin is an old sympathizer of our party- Jamiat-e-Mujahidin Hind. He has great influence over the Mehsuds. But a large part of Mehsud tribes still belongs to Faqir of Ipi… The Agents of Afghanistan and the Congress are very busy here propagating the idea of Pathanistan… to fight Pathanistan we must take some precaution. We must not appoint to the Governorship of the Frontier any person belonging to this province. Some such person should be appointed Governor who can successfully fight the propaganda that the League is un-Islamic, agents of the English and centre of Qadianis, and that to fight it is the greatest service of Islam… to fight the propaganda of the Congress and its agents, a declaration of Islamic government is not so essential as the proclamation for the suppression of prostitution, gambling, and use of wine and other corrupt activities”. ( Note 229, Jinnah Papers Volume III Page 670-671).
    There are several things to be noted here. One – Faqir of Ipi’s insurgency sounds remarkably similar to the insurgency mounted today by Baitullah Mehsud Deobandi, Hakimullah Mahsud Deobandi and Fazlullah Panjpiri Deobandi etc. Bach Khan family allied themselves with the Ipi insurgency because to them the cause of Pushtun nationalism was supreme and it did not matter to them that the mix of Pashtun nationalism with Deobandi semi-Salafi firebrand Islamic Puritanism was a dangerous mix (and a mix that even Pakistan’s military employed to its advantage in the first Kashmir war in 1948, the Afghan War and the Kashmir insurgency in the 1990s). Pakistani state’s diversion (partially supported by the US and the CIA) of the Islamically charged Deobandi Pushtun tribal nationalism to Godless Soviets and Hindu India is now drying out.

    Taliban roots in political and religious movements on Pashtun lands can be traced to the Salafi/Wahhabi-influenced movement of Syed Ahmed of Bareli (not to be confused with Barelvi/Sufi sect, but a father figure of Deobandis), who sought political control by declaring himself the vanguard of Islam, imposed centralised Sharia Laws, changing Pashtun traditions and norms with their version of Islam and challenging the traditional authority of Pashtun elders as well as the religious clergy by assigning themselves the authorities to arbitrate disputes and collect religious tax, as Zakat and Ushr. These steps by Syed Ahmed and his disciples from across India and among Pashtuns were rejected by the traditional Pashtun leadership as well as clergy. The alien movement ensued in an utter failure. However, thanks to Bach Khan and traditional Deobandi clerics investment in spread of Deobandi ideology, today KP and FATA is dominated by Deobandi and semi-Salafi ideology and madrassas.

  7. Book Review: The Pashtun Question by Abubakar Siddique


    In his book, Siddique includes an interview with a former Taliban foreign minister Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil. Through Muttawakil’s story, Siddique demonstrates how many impoverished Pashtuns living in Pakistan’s western borderlands ended up in Pakistan’s Deobandi madrasas and became militants in the 1980s.