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جمعرات، 21 فروری، 2013

Lashker Jhangvi Who are they?

Who does not know that the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is killing Shias? This criminal fundamentalist outfit was created during Zia’s rule allegedy under the agencies’ patronag? How can we be sure that it does not continue to be supported by some elements?

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), a ''Sunni''-Deobandi terrorist outfit was formed in 1996 by a break away group of radical sectarian extremists of the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), a ''Sunni'' extremist outfit, which accused the parent organisation of deviating from the ideals of its slain co- founder, Maulana Haq Nawaz Jhangvi. It is from Maulana Jhangvi that the LeJ derives its name. It was formed under the leadership of Akram Lahori and Riaz Basra. The LeJ is one of the two sectarian terrorist outfits proscribed on August 14, 2001, by former President Pervez Musharraf.

The LeJ aims to transform Pakistan into a ''Sunni'' state, primarily through violent means. The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is part of the broader Deoband movement.

Let us for once admit it openly that amongst South Asian nations Pakistan is an oddity as far as sectarian and religious violence is concerned.  Every once in a while we read in the Internet or in the print media news that describe in nauseating details the account of a carnage in which Muslim minorities, most likely Shiites, are killed in cold blood.    

It is quite clear that the minority Shiites in Pakistan are paying the price of Jihadism with their blood.  The Deobandi Doctrine, which emanates from strict Wahhabi teachings, is fueling the fire of a puritanical movement.  Therefore, some ''Sunni'' men are hell-bent on wiping the Shiites in Pakistan.  In one sense, it is a puritanical movement to wipe out Sufism (Folk Islam), Shiites, and other minor offshoots of Islam from South Asian nations.  The Deobandi Mullahs have spawned a Wahhabi revivalism in South Asia, which dates back to 1940s.  The Tablig Al-Jamaat, which organizes marathon-preaching session in the dry winter season during December through February calling it Ijtema (congregation), is asking the faithfuls to revert to the teachings of Islam’s holy book.  It shuns the ‘Folk Islam,’ which had borrowed heavily from other religions and folklore of Persia, India, etc.  The most ordinary Muslims of South Asia were never perturbed by the presence of myriads of Sufi shrines those dot the rural landscape starting from Sind in the West where they are called Mazars of Kalandars to Eastern part of Bangladesh where they are called Dargah of Awlias.  The Deobandi teachings would like to annihilate the Dargah or Mazar cultures of South Asia.  This monolithic view of Deobandi (read Wahhabi Islam) is in clash with South Asia’s ‘Folk Islam.’  Thus, the killing of 90 plus innocent Hazara community in Quetta is a chilling reminder that things could go out of hand if Wahhabi Doctrine is allowed to flourish in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India.  

The problem is not that difficult to comprehend. The culprits have been admitting their claim of killing Hazara Shias and are living among us freely. Malik Ishaq, the leader of the LeJ, moves around without fear of retribution. Those who say that Quetta should be handed over to the military are perhaps naive enough not to know that it is already the military calling the shots there through the Frontier Corps (FC). Nothing, not even a leaf can stir without the consent of the military in Balochistan. The FC having been given police powers after Governor’s rule was imposed, has clearly failed to deliver anything positive. This is the very force responsible for the brutal elimination of nationalists in the province; an accusation proved beyond an iota of doubt by even the SC. This being the lay of the land, why is the military not taking the onus? Why is it silent, seeing the government taking all the heat of the protest staged across the country over the repeated killing of Hazara Shias in Quetta? Even if the entire police force were removed, as the Inspector General of Balochistan is replaced along with other officers, Quetta would still reverberate with death tolls, because of trying to solve the problem in the wrong way. It is tantamount to helping the FC evade its responsibilities. The removal of the incompetent previous government of Balochistan after the Alamdar Road massacre last month has brought little if any change in the government’s inability to control the deteriorating situation in Quetta. The dark night has already descended on the Hazara. The message could not have been clearer. Eight hundred kilograms of explosive was used, making Saturday’s bombing the biggest attack in Quetta’s history. If this is not enough, what are we waiting for before getting down to the business of purging this country of the jihadi monsters we used in yesteryears as proxies?

Does this view surprise anyone that Pakistan has become an extremely violent nation where throwing hand grenades, bombs, suicide bombing, etc., a routine affair? The government does not perform a thorough investigation to figure out who are behind the sectarian violence.  The former president of Pakistan, General Musharraf, is used to the news of these kinds of jihadi activities in Pakistan.  The Islamists also tried to kill Musharraf during 2003-2004.  After hearing the news of the blast, Musharraf expressed “shock and profound grief” and ordered an inquiry to track down the killers.  However, if past is any clue, the investigation will not unearth who are behind the sectarian violence.  The planners of the suicide bombing will again receive impunity as before.  It seems as if Pakistan is paying heavily for Islamization brought on by Gen. Zia ul-Haq in late 1970s and early 1990s.    

Suicide bombing has become a controversial subject in Pakistan.  The archconservative Mullahs who are devotees of Wahhabi Islam condone killing of deviant minority sects all in the name of jihad against impure Islam.  The same bunch won’t mind blasting of Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Murtads (apostates), etc.  However, a group of senior Pakistani Muslim clerics  declared suicide bombings and attacks on ordinary citizens and places of worship as un-Islamic.  Perhaps the government to make such characterization of suicide bombings goaded these clerics to offer their fatwa or religious edicts.  The practice of suicide bombing became very popular in certain places in Islamic world.  The late president of Palestine, Yasser Arafat, condoned suicide bombing as he launched Intifada II Movement in early 2000s.   

The Saturday attack on Hazara Town in Quetta is another sign of the failure and inefficiency of the agencies and the provincial as well as federal government. The murder of 90 plus innocent Hazara community people and wounding of almost two hundred for which LeJ has claimed responsibility despite the fact that Balochistan was under governor’s rule is a clear message of incompetence and negligence. Within something like a month the Hazaras of Quetta have lost over 200 members of their community. We all remember the heart breaking sights of them sitting in the streets with the bodies of their unburied loved ones in the arms demanding security of life for peaceful citizen. Only a couple of weeks later the same thing has happened again and more people died. Now we will be facing the same situation with the bodies of the slain displayed in the streets of Quetta.

And what is the government doing? Instead of taking action to tackle the Balochistan crisis president of Pakistan was found doing business as usual and demanding on Sunday that Israel should not construct any new settlements in the Palestinian territory - so much for responsibility for a province under governor’s rule. That is why frustrated and frightened Hazaras and the TNFJ are demanding the imposition of army’s rule in Quetta - a logical conclusion in the absence of civilian rule and state power. Army’s rule and the implementation of martial law and martial law courts seem to be the only alternative to a failing and self-indulgent government. Ore of this kind of ‘democracy’ is unacceptable not only to Hazaras but to Pakistanis at large.

Who can know how best to handle its creation than the creator? It is the military, and none else, who can suppress this jihadi phenomenon. Thanks to our negligence or complacency, the extremists are equipped with the latest weaponry. The silence in certain quarters is feeding into the conspiracy theory that things are being allowed deliberately to deteriorate. Are we into some sort of systematic eradication of minorities in the country, more so Shias? This is what the killing of Shias in Karachi and Lahore too depicts. As far as Balochistan is concerned, the military establishment first, and then the government, owes an explanation to the people of the country.

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