Mr. Khadim Hussain is a Pashtun scholar and activist. In response to LUBP’s critical posts on the takfiri Deobandi roots of terrorism that currently engulfs not only Pashtuns but also Punjabis, Baloch and other ethnicities, and also in response to our comments on Bacha Khan’s misjudgement in supporting Deobandi ideology and madrassahs in Pashtun areas, Mr. Khadim Hussain made the following remark in a public forum:
Abdul Nishapuri seems to be an offshoot of the mainstream colonial discourse who constructed Pashtuns to be ‘ungovernable’, uncivilized’, ‘militant race’, and ‘ghairatmand’.
By the way:
1- Did Darul Uloom Deoband come into being in 1740s when Ahmad Shah Abdali became the king (Deoband website says the Darul Uloom came into being in 1866 when Abdali had already died in 1772)?
2- If the violent extremist movement is a Deobandi fanatic movement, then what about the Salafis and Akhwans?
3- What about the Shia extremist outfit of Sipah-e-Mohammad?
We ignore the unwarranted ad hominem attack on LUBP authors. Here is our point by point response:
1- This is a case of strawman. Nowhere in our posts did we claim that Ahmad Shah Abdali was a Deobandi. We only said that he is uncritically revered by many Deobandi Pashtuns who tend to ignore that he was a (semi-Salafi) sectarian bigot who mercilessly massacred Shia Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs during his invasion of India and Kashmir. In fact, in his letter to Abdali inviting him to invade India, semi-Salafi cleric Shah Waliullah categorically asked him to deal with the Hindu and Shia menace.
2. We have already satated that extremist or takfiri Deobandi movement in Pakistan and Afghanistan is nothing more than a willing and compatible surrogate of extremist Salafi movement. In this respect, the takfiri Deobandi movement may be described as semi-Salafi.
3. This is a classical case of false neutrality. Pakistan today is not plagued by Shia terrorism or some imaginary or long-extinct Shia militant group. As a matter of fact, it is not Shias or Sunni Barelvis who are indiscriminately killing Pakistanis of diverse faiths, sects, and ethnic backgrounds. Indeed, Pakistani Salafis (aka Wahhabis or Ahle Hadith) too are not involved in country-wide terrorism. It is the takfiri Deobandi militant outfits, such as TTP, LeJ, ASWJ, JeM and their Deobandi hate cleric patrons who are responsible for terrorism. Instead of exposing and confronting the Deobandi roots of terrorism, Mr. Khadim Hussain chose to attack Shias, Pakistan’s most target killed faith group. This is disappointing and disturbing.
False neutrality is often used by Deobandi terrorists and their apologists including certain liberals when they equate systematic Deobandi terrorism with rare and isolated incidents of violence by Sunni Barelvi or Shia Muslims. For example, the isolated case of Mumtaz Qadri, a brainwashed Sunni Barelvi bigot who killed Salmaan Taseer is oft cited ignoring the fact that Sunni Barelvi violence is an outlier, not a norm in Pakistani society. Similarly, isolated cases in which a relative of a slain Shia killed an an LeJ-ASWJ-TTP hate cleric or terrorist or when establishment itself chose to get rid of one of its rogue assets must not be presented as organized Shia or Barelvi violence, and must not be equated with indisciminate violence by Deobandi terrorists against Sunni Barelvis, Shias, Christians, Ahmadis, Hindus etc.
The Sipah-e-Muhammad Pakistan (SMP) is a phantom organization which was created by Pakistani establishment to get rid of some rogue Jihadist Deobandi militants and was soon annihiliated by the same establishment in mid 1990s. The orgnaization no longer exists and its only leader Ghulam Raza Naqvi is languishing in a jail in Punjab for more than 20 years without being given a fiar hearing in a court of law. Of course, no such organization (SMP) exists today. If a Shia extremist group existed today, then surely in addition to 22,000 Shia Muslims killed so far, we would also have witnessed deadbodies of 22,000 takfiri Deobandi terrorists and hate clerics.
Last, but not least, we find it quite disappointing that instead of being reflective about the spread of takfiri Deobandi hate ideology that currently plagues all Pakistanis including Pashtuns, and instead of critical and historical analysis of this issue, some Pashtun scholars have receded into a reactionary mode, shooting the messengers, describing LUBP authors as Punjabi racists, colonialists, Shia Taliban etc. This approach may not augur well for the much needed cultural and religious reforms in Pashtun society. Transition to progressive Pakhtunkhwa will never be possible if we only keep blaming the extrenal players (Punjabis, Saudis, Americans, Russians etc) but refuse to reflect on important indigenous issues historically plaguing the Pashtun society. Takfiri Deobandism is surely one such issue.