Sep 23, 2011

Mastung carnage

Harris Khalique After the Mastung carnage the other day when people were dismounted from the bus, lined up and shot, followed by attacks on the attendants of the injured and mourners of the deceased in Quetta, I am really worried about the safety and security of Quaid-e-Azam’s mausoleum and Allama Iqbal’s tomb. Twenty-nine Shia Muslims belonging to the Hazara community of Balochistan lost their lives. Many are wounded. This was not the first time. Shia Muslims in the length and breadth of Pakistan, from Gilgit to Karachi, are being targeted in general. But those belonging to the Hazara community have taken the brunt in the last few years. They are continuously threatened, attacked and killed. Some say that the cause of this violence against the Dari-speaking Hazaras is rooted in the conflict between the Taliban and the protégé of the erstwhile northern alliance in today’s Afghanistan. Others blame it on the proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran being waged in our country for years unending. Some also say it is the Jundullah, the separatists from Iranian Balochistan who have adopted a certain religious hue. Then the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, ingrained in the interior of Punjab but now spread all over, takes the blame. Without a doubt no one is spared in the killing fields of Pakistan. Sunni Muslims of different denominations are killed in their mosques, Christian churches and neighbourhoods are torched, Hindus are hounded out of Muslim areas if their children drink water from the same tap, Ahmadis are killed while saying their prayers, Pakhtuns, Baloch, Sindhis, Punjabis, Mohajirs, Seraikis, Hazarawals of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, all fight each other under the banner of different political outfits. School buses are attacked, houses and hotels are blown up, offices are ransacked, markets are bombed. However, Shias are being identified and killed indiscriminately for many years by no one else but their own countrymen. Be they doctors in Karachi, worshippers in Quetta, processionists in Hangu, passengers in Talagang, bystanders in Gilgit-Baltistan, they are all targeted. There is a newly found passion among a certain segment of Pakistanis for correcting the path our ancestors treaded and purifying our customs and rituals of any adulteration brought about by the spreading of Islam in the non-Arab world. That path is no other than the Saudi path. But something that always intrigues me is that it took the Arabs 1300 years to raze the graveyard of the family and companions of the Prophet (PBUH) in Medina to cleanse the faith from impurities. I would just want to come back to where I started. Why is the Quaid-e-Azam’s mausoleum in danger? Because Mohammed Ali Jinnah was born into a predominantly Ismaili family, got married the Shia Isna Ashri way and offered his prayers with Sunni Muslims. And something that I have shared once before about Shorish Kashmiri asking him if he was a Shia or a Sunni, to which he responded, “Was our Prophet Shia or Sunni?” Likewise, Iqbal says about himself in his poem Zuhd Aur Rindi (Piety and Profanity), “Suntey hain keh uss mein haiy tashayyo bhi zara sa... Tafzeel-i-Ali hum ney suni uss ki zabani (People say that there is a Shia tinge in his beliefs... He speaks of the primacy of Hazrat Ali). Iqbal’s son Justice (retired) Javed Iqbal quoted his father once, “I belong to the Ahl-i-Sunnat-Wal-Jama’at (Sunni sect) but in my view those who do not love and revere the Ahl-i-Bait (the members of the house of the Prophet) cannot be true Muslims.” So what do you think readers, are the resting places of the Quaid and Iqbal safe?

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