February 22, 2009

Saudi-financed Sunnis Kill Shias in Divided Pakistan

Increase DecreaseFebruary 21, 2009 (LPAC)--Seven years of war on terror has brought about little change in Afghan society, but it has devastated Pakistan. A flash of how brutal this is going to be in the coming months was seen on Feb. 20 at Dera Ismail Khan, a town with some Shia population in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province (NWFP), a stone's throw from Punjab, Pakistan's most populous province. A bomb blast at a funeral procession in Pakistan's troubled NWFP killed at least 25 people and injured 60 others. Following the attack, angry mobs began rioting, shops were ransacked, and buses were set on fire. The Pakistani military then imposed a two- to three-day curfew, and security forces were given orders to shoot on sight, said Pakistan's Geo News.

No matter how many experts from Washington visit Pakistan, or wax eloquent in dime-a-dozen seminars and workshops, Pakistan has been dealt a mortal blow during these seven years of insanity, projected to the American people as "war on terror" to secure the United States.

These seven years have fragmented the Pakistani people. Let me count the ways it has been divided. The Pakistani Army has been radicalized over a longer period of time. However, observers claim that the fundamentalists have control only over the lower and middle level of army officers. On the other hand, Pakistan's para-military and police are now pretty much in control of the fundamentalists.

The second division has occurred along ethnic lines. Punjabis and Pushtooons have become more active in the jihadi activities, while the Sindhis and Baloch have remained aloof.

The third categorization would be on the basis of religious orthodoxy--as between the Deobandis and the Barelvis and the Sufis and the non-Sufis. In this mix, the Deobandi leadership has been virtually taken over by the Saudis, since Deobandis have similar Islamic views to those of the Wahabis.

The fourth categorization would be on a sectarian basis--between the Sunnis and the Shias. The Sunnis constitute about 80 percent of Pakistan's total estimated population of 150 million. But there are districts, such as Gilgit and Baltistan in Northern Areas, Dera Ismail Khan and Hangu in NWFP, and Kurrum agency in the tribal areas where Shias have a strong presence.

The fifth and last categorization would be between tribals and non-tribals. The tribal areas near the Afghan border have traditionally been the most fundamentalist in their thinking and way of life. They have also been the most prone to the influence of Wahabism and the Taliban.

What the "war on terror" did, was to widen the fissure between these divisions so that they cannot be bridged again.


sajid said...

I agree with you. This is the very good analysis. But you wrote that Pakistan's 80% population is Sunni, I disagree with that, because "Devbandi and Wahabis" are not Sunnis. Only Barelvis are the Sunnis. Although these both (Wahabis and Devbandis) are involved in the killings of Sunnis and Shias both. But they PRETEND to be Sunnis.

So I suggest whenevr we say "Sunnis", we must further explain that which Sunni. The orthodox Wahabis, their extremist right hand "Devbandis" or the moderate muslims "Bralvis" (who are >80% similiar to Shias).


Anonymous said...

This is good attempt to write about these secterian devisions in Pakistan. But when the article mentions strong holds of sheas some of the areas are missed. The shea population is also significant in Sindh province and Punjab like, Chakwal, Mianwali, Khushab, Sargodha, Jhang, Lahore, Vehari, Multan etc. They are not in majority in these areas but have very significant numbers. Furthermore Karachi and other parts of Sindh province they have reasonbale shea population. Wahabis were trained after 1980s by Zia-ul-Haq and supported by agencies after that through out even until now.