Pakistan’s Secular Sectarians and the “Anti-Establishment” Debate

silent-liberals2The most recent operation by the Pakistan military in North Waziristan has revealed both the fissures in the establishment as well as the intellectual dishonesty of much of Pakistan’s so-called “liberal intelligentsia”

In particular, the interview of former D G ISPR, Maj. Gen. (r) Athar Abbas has brought to the fore a crucial understanding of the ruling establishment in Pakistan. It is now clear that the establishment in Pakistan is neither homogenous nor entirely controlled by the military. The military, while still being the most dominat player, also has to contend with its own former creations and protégés within the politicians, Judiciary and the media.

Similarly, Pakistan is at war with itself, divided along class, ethnic and sectarian faultlines. In particular, Pakistan’s majority Sunni Barelvi populations, along with the Shias (including all the subsects such as Isnashari, Ismaili, Bohra), Ahmadis, Christians and Sikhs are all being relentlessly targeted and attacked by the powerful Deobandi terrorists from the ASWJ-LeJ and the Taliban.
In the case of Pakistan, large sections of the so-called “liberal intelligentsia” are actively obfuscating this reality.

These “secular sectarians” go apoplectic whenever the specific faith identity of Deobandi terrorists belonging to ASWJ-LeJ and TTP is openly discussed. The same Secular Sectarians regularly bash Anti Taliban Sunni Barelvi clerics but either go mute or meek in the face of hate mongering Deobandi clerics like Ludhianvi and Aurangzeb Farooqi.

The recent military operations against the Deobandi-dominated Taliban in North Waziristan and the related massacre of Sunni Barelvis by Nawaz Sharif-Shahbaz Sharif, highlights exactly where this divide lies.
The Re-Emergence of Tahir ul Qadri: A favourite punching bag for Pakistan’s liberal intelligentsia, Tahir ul Qadri has been at the forefront in clearly condemning the Taliban and their brutal tactics. He is accredited for publishing a detailed volume fatwa against suicide bombing. One might think this would endear him to Pakistan’s liberals. Quite the opposite. While Pakistan’s liberals spend disproportionate time from abusing and mocking TuQ, they are more or less either silent or obfuscatory about the role of Deobandi organizations that conduct over 90 % of the terrorism in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s secular sectarians cannot get past their tacit and subconscious support of Deobandi terror groups.



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