After the Ahmedi and Barelvi sects, last night the terror-gamers played havoc with a mourning procession of Shias in Lahore. About 30 innocent people died and almost 200 were injured in suicide blasts outside Karbala Gamay Shah – a shrine which is the heart of Shia Ithna-Asheri Muslims in the cultural capital of Pakistan.
In the 1990s, when I was in Lahore, I used to go to the shrine along with my Shia friends. I still remember the crowd of the faithful, the humble imam, muezzin (a stout man from Baltistan who led the call for prayers), and the Muharam lectures of renowned poet Mohsin Naqvi, who was later tragically killed in a terror attack.
Very few people know that inside the shrine is also the grave of a pillar of Urdu literature—Maulana Muhammad Hussain Azad (1830-1910). I’ve always admired my Shia friends for their literary taste. From childhood, they attend the mourning processions of Hazrat Imam Hussain (which has become a major part of the faith over the centuries) where regular poetic homage is paid to the martyred grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his family members. This ritual develops their literary taste to a great extent. That is why arts especially Urdu literature in the Indian Subcontinent is deeply indebted to many geniuses who were born to Shia families but served the whole of humanity.
What would you call the terror attack on these peaceful people? Think for a moment without any traditional prejudice—don’t generalize if someone having the Shia faith had hurt you in life or you don’t agree with the Shia clergy rule in Iran or the philosophy of Hezbollah in Lebanon—I’m sure you would call it an attack on civilization!
I fear the mastermind of such attacks may now hit any Deobandi centre so that "analysts" discuss the issue in an “intellectual” way in the media—hiding the real face of the culprits!
The latest incident is not the traditional Shia-Sunni issue—rather it’s a war between peace and terror in Pakistan. Peace is blessed with pen while terror is equipped with lethal weapons!
Many of the terror-hit people have accused the government and security agencies for the terror attacks in Lahore. Besides rogue elements within secret agencies, people openly accuse some ministers having relations with terrorist groups.
Recently I got an emailed article which claims that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has been declared at the top of 10 best intelligence agencies in the world. Okay. But why it has failed to control terrorism in Pakistan? Why are people accusing it for playing double game? Why its officers are involved in crimes against humanity—cases of missing persons and the attacks on me and my family members are just few examples.
Only a fool would believe that the Pakistan Army can’t defeat the Taliban, Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups some of them it created along with the CIA. It’s time to change our bloody “jihad” strategy. Get rid of General Hamid Gul-like "warmongers" who plundered billions and still act as chief of the ISI.
Gentlemen! Enough is enough! Now let democracy work in Pakistan.
A discussion on The Terrorland Facebook edition is reproduced here. It's very interesting and needs attention of the people who have the “real” power in our country not those who are confined to the President, Prime Minister, Governors and Chief Ministers’ houses—as I’m confined to my cottage for the last five months after three attempts on my life.
THE TERRORLAND: It's time to clear the dirt of years so that Pakistan becomes a global leader! Intentions—a relative thing—intentions could be "pure" for the majority of the people who have been suffering for years but it could be "impure" for those who have been a part of the "dirt" or benefiting from it generation after generation...
GILBERT: What would help is if they stop double-side playing, and decide if they are on the side of freedom or the side of tyranny.
THE TERRORLAND: We don't need any bloody revolution or coup d'état in Pakistan as the mouth-pieces of the secret agencies are advocating for... let democracy develop as a social behavior in our terror-hit country. And the corrupt and criminal elements in politics, civil and military bureaucracy, and other pillars of the state including the media, should be brought to justice. There should be rule of law and the Constitution should be respected. We need evolution not a revolution!
GILBERT: Here! Here! or Hear! Hear! Very well said, and believe you are correct.
THE TERRORLAND: Thank you, Gilbert.
FAIZAN: The current government is claimed to be democratically elected, right? And we all know what a great job its doing. So even if democracy is sustained for another two years till the elections, we still have to pick from the same filthy pile of parties. Where's the good in this, now? If you don't consider the current government as democratic, then the first question becomes "when is true democracy reached and how will we know?" instead...
THE TERRORLAND: Wow Faizan! Very good question. Let me think about it, okay? May be anyone else answers your question correctly in the meanwhile—but, but what to do then, man? We can't select our representatives from the ranks of the military especially the ISI and MI! We have to improve the system through the process of evolution. What do you say?
FAIZAN: I have no idea. I would support democracy and evolution of society if there was a decent party in sight, but there doesn't seem to be one. And that is why my own brother is an advocate of military dictatorship. The mindlessly obvious solution would be for us - the very criticizers of the govt. and the educated elite - to form a party. But who will do it? And who will do it right? We ourselves not only have our own set of flaws but also a big disconnect from the masses. Our faction has existed along with Pakistan for 60+ years but I, at least, am not aware of any party coming out from us. All the parties seem to come from rich but uneducated, unintelligent, archaic places. So I have no idea!
THE TERRORLAND: Anyways, I think in these tumultuous times, we are living in, democracy is the only solution!