When Muhammad bin Qasim was busy becoming the first Pakistani 1,200 years before the country actually came into being, the Umayyads were busy sidelining the Shia in the hub of Islam. Abbassids, Ottomans and Mughals dutifully followed their lead as Shia oppression spread from the Middle East into South Asia.
As far as the history of the subcontinent is concerned, Mahmud Ghaznavi was the first to orchestrate Shia genocide in the region, when he butchered the Ismaeili Shia in Multan in 1,005 AD. The fact that he managed to massacre even more Hindus and destroyed temples as well, further rubberstamped his legacy as a “true Pakistani”.
During the Mughal era the 10 Taraajs – Taraj-e-Shia – between the 16th and 19th century, saw barefaced attempts to obliterate Shia habitations. The community was forced to hide its faith as village after village was being erased, leading to a massive Shia exodus. Shiaphobes like the king Aurangzaib Alamgir and scholar Shah Abdur Rahim – Shah Waliullah’s father – combined to compile the Fatwa-e-Alamgiri, ‘officially’ excommunicating the Shia and creating a takfiri template that the likes of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) – formerly Sipahe-e-Sahaba – still follow.
In Pakistan, the country’s founding father Muhammad Ali Jinnah himself a Twelver Shia following his conversion from the Ismaili sect, needed two separate funerals – one according to the Sunni rituals in the open and the other before that according to Shia norms in his home – to appease Shiaphobes in 1948.
Since then incidents like the Therih massacre in 1963, where 118 Shia were killed, and the 22 Shia killed in processions in Lahore and Karachi in the year 1978, laid the foundation for the Ziaul Haq regime to up the ante on sectarian bigotry. Zia proliferated Deobandi madrassas and injected Shiaphobia into the ideological roots of Pakistan. His era coincided with the Iranian Revolution and its aftereffects; and Zia dutifully clung onto the Sunni half of the Saudi-Iran divide, leaving behind Sipah-e-Sahaba as an emblem of his Shiaphobic legacy.
LeJ formed by Malik Ishaq in 1995, gave Shiaphobes a militant wing to organise the Shia killings. Malik Ishaq, an internationally recognised terrorist meanwhile, despite being charged over 30 times for homicide and terrorism, is still free to spread Shia hatred all over Pakistan. Ishaq along with Mahmoud Baber – on record as saying how he is a proud murderer of 14 Shia – and Ahmed Ludhianvi the president of ASWJ, form the “holy trinity” of Shiaphobia in Pakistan.
The Gilgit massacre of May 1998; Parachinar attacks in 2011 and 2012; Kohistan massacre in 2012 typify the brutality of the Shiaphobes who have collectively taken the number of targeted and killed Shia since Pakistan’s inception to well over 21,000.
Back to back blasts in Quetta in the first month and a half of 2013 that led to nearly 200 deaths; and the August 15, 2012 attack where 21 passengers were dragged out of a bus en route to Gilgit-Baltistan and killed are all examples of the recent upsurge in Shia killings. Furthermore, with the recent targeted killings of Shia scholars like Nasir Abbas in December last year, Alim-Al Musvi in January and Taqi Hadi Naqvi in February, showcase Shia genocide with all its goriness.
And so, at a time when you need someone at the helm who would show some intention of nipping Shiaphobia in the bud, and put an end to sectarianism and Shia genocide, the current ruling party, a political ally of ASWJ, is brimming with sympathisers of Shiaphobes. Furthermore, the diplomatic activity over the past couple of months, further adds fuel to the sectarian fire.
[quote]Pakistan performed similar services in 2011 in shushing up the uprising in Bahrain[/quote]
Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Secretary General of the Saudi National Security Council and Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah have collectively gifted Pakistan $2.25 billion for its services in Demascus and Manama respectively. This comes three years after Pakistan performed similar services in 2011, in shushing up the uprising in Bahrain.
2011’s Bahrain uprising, a reverberation of the Arab Spring, was all about getting rights for the Shia community that is suffering from what the Centre for Human Rights has dubbed downright religious “apartheid”. Just like the “liberal, secular and non-partisan” Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government helped the Bahraini monarch force the Shia population into submission by sending around 2,500 troops in 2011, the current government looks set to go “one better”. By supporting Bahraini National Guard in suppressing the local Shia in Manama, and toeing Saudi line in Demascus, not only is Pakistan set to alienate Iran as a friendly neighbour, and partner in commerce, it is also giving its local Shia community – over 20 percent of the overall population – a damning message.
By accommodating anti-Shia groups in local politics, and openly opting for the Saudi/Bahraini-half of the Middle Eastern divide, the government looks set to continue a millennium-long tradition of Shia persecution in this region. Shiaphobia has usurped the ideological foundation, politics and foreign policy of the Deobandi Republic of Pakistan. It’s Taraj-e-Shia, all over again…
I think in India at least Shias are safe. We don’t hear of violence between the two sects though they may harbor ill will and prejudice against the other in private.
Unity through Islamic brotherhood as their guide, Muslims usually don’t fight among themselves as long as there are infidels to fight with. Advantage Indian Shia population. Pakistan quickly reached to a stage where infidels were virtually wipe out, kept only for some indispensable usability. Then Bengalis and then Ahmediyas kept Shia-Sunny united for sometime. Now that all “others” are decimated, it’s only a natural evolution that majority (Sunnites in Pakistan’s case) turned on to the minority – Shia that is.
this is pro shia article which shows only one side of the pic. It is now evident how Iran support shia groups in pakistan,Iraq, Bahrain, Syria, Lebenon. Iran’s involvement in Syrian civil war and killing of more than 100,000 sunni civilians is the prime example of Iran’s support. And for your comment, Neither shia nor sunni are save in India.cos during riots hindu extemist kill them regardless of their shia or sunni faith.
Before commenting on the article, I want to clarify that I am against the persecution of minorities in Pakistan and ashamed of how Pakistani state has collaborated with militant groups involved in the harassment and oppression of minorities, including Shias. So, I share author’s concern about the recent upturn in horrible incidents against Shias.
However, as a budding historian, I feel it necessary to point out that (as senator Moynihan said) author is entitled to have his own opinion but not his own facts. I suppose author does not like creating long narratives by picking and choosing facts as he starts his article with the phrase, ‘When Muhammad bin Qasim was busy becoming the first Pakistani 1,200 years before the country actually came into being’, however, he commits the same mistake.
Let’s start with Mahmud of Ghazni. In his history of Mahmud’s reign, Persian Shia historian Mahmud Qasim Hindu Shah Ferishte, while giving account of Mahmud’s one of the earlier attack on Multan, writes that Mahmud decided to attack Multan’s Ismaili ruler Abul Fateh because he failed to pay tribute as Abul Fateh’s father and grandfather used to do. Later, when Mahmud was about to defeat Abul Fateh, Abul Fateh pleaded and Mahmud went back to Ghanzi with the promise of twenty thousand gold mohurs, enforcement of sharia and renouncement of Ismaili faith. It was only in a later expedition that he captured Multan and killed Ismailis. Sultan Mahmud also fought with other Sunni Muslims rulers during his lifetime and killed many Muslims, so it is difficult to prove that he was killing people because of their religion or because he wanted power and gold. The account by Ferishte shows loss of tribute was certainly a big part of what Mahmud was doing. So, author’s claim that it was a pre-mediated Shia genocide seems to be somewhat exaggerated.
Again claim that Shias were persecuted from 16th to 19th century is difficult to accept. Except for Aurangzeb, there is not much evidence that other Great Mughals (1526-1707) were trying to systematically persecute Shias. As Humayun was helped by Iranian Shias regain his throne, it is difficult to think he would persecute Shias and Akbar was certainly not persecuting any major religion.
After Aurangzeb, Mughals generally lost their power and were unable to pursue any policy in the whole of their empire as provincial governors became the main decision-makers in their own areas. So, claim for systematic persecution is improbable in the later Mughal period (1707-1856), although some individual rulers/governors might be doing it.
I also find it difficult to believe that there was a campaign against Shias during the 1950s to 1970s. There were some incidents but the proof of a campaign is not there. I personally think most of the groups that later on led the anti-Shia front were busy against Ahmedis. However, if author has more evidence to prove his theory, everyone would be happy to consider it.
Since 1980s, I agree that Shia phobia has increased in strength in both state and society and this is reprehensible. Moreover, involvement of Pakistan in Syria would be disastrous for country to say the least. We have enough troubles already. We should return the few billion dollars and say, ‘Thanks, but no thanks’.
However, there is not much evidence of ‘millennium-long tradition of Shia persecution in this region’.
You may be an historian, but it would be disingenuous and insulting to your profession to claim that Mehmud Ghazanvi did not kill people for their religion.
If you read the contemporary historians u will very well find out that the multiple times he invaded India, he killed the Hindus and destroyed & looted their temples because of their religion. U may be a fan of the brutal muslim rulers & invaders, but cannot rewrite the history, sir.
Why Sunnis Generally Hate Shia and their Beliefs ? Have you ever ponder why?
1. Imam Ali never cursed BB Aisha and Abu Bakar Siddique and Omer Farooq and Othman Ghani and Amir Muavia (rizwan ullah aliahim) so how in the world Imam Ali’s followers can do that ? and ignite riots because of these most highly respected personalities in ISLAM. You stop Tauheenay Sahaba and there would be no repercussions.
2. Shittes have always supported Kuffars agains Muslims. For example Mir Jafer and Mir Sadiq supporting Englishmen, Noor al Malki Bashar ul Asad, hizbollah and Iran mercilessly killing muslims in Syria and Iraq.
So avoid these two things and there would be no SHIAPHOBIA