December 24, 2010

End of sectarianism: Shia leader makes historic statement

Gilgit-Baltistan has been facing sectarian terrorism since 1988, when military dictator, Gen Zia, sent "Afghan jihadists" to the region for ethnic cleansing of Shia Muslims. The 72,000 sq/km area, with a population of over 2 million, borders with China and India. Over the years hundreds of thousands of innocent people have been killed mercilessly especially the educated lot from Shia and Sunni sects of Islam.

Today I read this historic statement of a topmost Shia Muslim leader, saying that he was ready to offer prayers with his Sunni Muslim brothers. The mainstream media of Pakistan ignores such statements and only follows the spy agencies' given statements! What a deplorable sate! 

However, a regional website, Pamir Times, run by a team of devoted young people from the region, has published the heroic Shia leader's statement. This can bring an end to the years of sectarian violence, not only in Giglit-Baltistan region but also in other terror-hit parts of Pakistan, especially in Jhang (Punjab) and Parachinar (Pakhtunkhwa). 

Allama Agha Rahat Al-Hussaini, prayer leader of the Central Imamia (Shia) Mosque Gilgit, said that he was ready to say prayers behind a Sunni prayer leader (the major source of conflict for centuries between the two sects). He proposed that on one Friday Shias could pray behind a Sunni Imam (prayer leader) and on another Friday the Sunnis could pray behind a Shia Imam as a symbol of Islamic brotherhood.

“If Shias and Sunnis can say their prayers behind one Imam in Saudi Arabia, why can’t they do so in Gilgit,” Mr. Hussaini said while addressing a religious gathering in the Napura locality of Gilgit, the capital city of the "de facto" province of Pakistan.

Personally, I think this statement should be appreciated at every level. If the government wants to end terrorism, then such religious leaders should be encouraged. This year was a unique one that during the recent Muharram processions, no incident of terrorism occured in the region. And now this statement from a Shia leader will help to bring normalcy in the terrorized region. 

After the 9/11 tragedy, tourism, the main source of income in the region has been reduced and young people are jobless. The end of sectarian violence will lead to economic stability in the region. It would also bring an end to the 63-year long ambiguity regarding the Constitutional status of Gilgit-Baltistan within Pakistan.
Related blogs:
1- Gilgit-Baltistan – The Orphaned Land of Pakistan
2- Tribalism — Aga Khan’s pluralism under threat in Gilgit-Baltistan


  1. I am a sunni and beleive that some hidden hands with vested interests are creating conflict between Sunnis & Shias and all other different sects and groups in Pakistan, only and only to destabilize Pakistan and defame Islam, othewise there is no such dispute if Shia & Sunni(& all other conflicting groups as well)start mutually respecting one another, one another's belief, faith, and leaders and spiritual leaders. At last, we all are to co-exist togather in this country. I strongly appreciate the message of brotherhood by Shia leader and every Pakistani shd think in the same way in the larger interest of Pakistan, Islam and our own.

  2. I am sorry, Anonymous, your off-the-cuff remarks are not supported by the Book that all Muslims believe in. There is no mention in the Book of 'Sunni' or 'Shia' or 'all other different sects'. What is wrong with just being Muslim?

    Allah will judge us by our actions, not by the weird beliefs and rituals we indulge in. Do you follow the Qur'an or do you follow what you refer to as "leaders and spiritual leaders"? Actually, the Qur'an tells you to steer clear of such people and places ALL the responsibility for your actions on YOU alone.

  3. Yes, this is a most welcome declaration from Shia leader. Pak government should take initiative so that Sunni and Shia can say their prayers together. Such a move will encourage the rivals to develop friendly relationship among the feuding groups.

    I have a suggestion here. The Juma prayer can be led according to size of population.
    If Sunnis are double in number then they should lead two prayers and Shia one that is 2:1.

  4. This is very good and indeed, very welcome! The courage displayed, needs to be admired and applauded. Bodes very well for the future of Pakistan and I sincerely hope, it inspires many more such initiatives, for only then, can there be Peace!