Khaled Ahmed in TFT offers a classical example of flawed analysis on religious extremism and violence in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Given Mr. Ahmed’s past sterling scholarship on this topic, the present article is a disappointment. The author presents a number of false binaries, for example, when he writes: “[Hazaras] are more elevated in intellect than their Pashtun tormentors”. This is akin to Tariq Ali and Imran Khan’s logic: Pashtun = Taliban.
According to Khaled Ahmed: Hazaras and Tooris “are bearing the brunt of Sunni-Pashtun reprisal.” That’s exactly what General Pasha would like to hear, i.e., projection of Taliban as legitimate representatives of Sunnis and Pashtuns. In our view, anyone who treats TTP-LeJ as equivalent to Sunni-Pashtun not only does a great disservice to Sunnis and Pashtuns but also enables future Shia massacres.
Two false binaries in the present piece are: Sunni vs Shia, & Hazara vs Pashtun. Of course the author failed to note that LeJ was founded and is currently led not by Pashtuns, but by Punjabis. Further, it is the military state backed LeJ-TTP terrorists who are killing Shia Muslims in Parachinar, Quetta and elsewhere. Such terrorist represent neither Sunnis nor Pashtuns.
We consider it intellectually and factually inaccurate to treat LeJ-SSP as a representative of Sunnis or Pashtuns. Given that moderate Sunnis, including moderate Barelvis and Deobandis, have been killed by LeJ-SSP terrorists and given that LeJ-SSP remains an organizations still led and dominated by Punjabi speaking terrorists, the proposed equation of LeJ = Sunni Pashtun is problematic. Of course, the organization which has claimed almost all the attacks on Shia Muslims in Balochistan is the Lahskar-e-Jhangvi, Jhang is not located in Peshawar or Quetta, nor is Malik Ishaq, the head of LeJ, a Pashtun.