The so-called ‘peace negotiations’ offer led by the ANP was the most disappointing act of opportunism. The ANP has, for a long time, bravely confronted terrorists and earned the respect of the nation. This sudden U-turn could only be opportunism before elections. And who is the one receiving this offer? Who is the authorised leader of the terrorists? What authority does he have from so many independent operators? What is their relationship with the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ)?
After the assassination of its brave leader Bashir Bilour, the Awami National Party (ANP) consultative committee had released a bold statement as a roadmap to confront the Taliban terrorism. We had shared parts of that statement here. Subsequently, the ANP seems to have gotten cold feet and wavered from “the Party’s stated position that extremism and terrorist violence is a threat to the very existence of the country…If the experience of the recent past is anything to go by, the terrorists will not forgive any political or religious parties, even those who have literally acted as supporters and/or apologists of the terrorists. It will be an exercise in futility to appease the terrorists.” Apparently, the ANP got a cold shoulder/snub from the powers that be, backtracked from a firm stance and ended up producing a nebulous, and quite frankly, useless declaration listing a few generic recommendations at its All Parties Conference (ACP) last month. Nonetheless, the pronouncement still included the word terrorism in it, even if only to call for compensation for the families of the terror victims.
Another APC was called last week by Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F), ostensibly to develop a consensus against terrorism. But the very word terrorism was carefully removed from its joint declaration! The ‘holy’ fathers in the gathering were of the opinion that not only should they negotiate with terrorists without any preconditions, through a so-called’
‘grand tribal jirga’, but also did not want their Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) ‘darlings’ called terrorist lest they are offended. Only if such sensitivity were shown for the thousands blown to smithereens by the assorted jihadist outfits sired by the JUI-F and other Deobandi/Wahhabi/Salafi parties. The whole effort, by political parties who are actually on their way out of the government, has an eerie undertone to it: developing a consensus in support of, not against jihadist outfits that would be used in post-2014 Afghanistan.
Robert Gellately wrote in his 2001 book Hitler: Consent and Coercion in Nazi Germany: “Hitler was largely successful in getting the backing, one way or another, of the great majority of citizens…the Germans generally turned out to be proud and pleased that that Hitler and his henchmen were putting away certain kinds of people who did not fit in, or who were regarded as ‘outsiders’, ‘asocials’, ‘useless eaters’, or ‘criminals’.” Something along the lines of Nazi Germany seems underway in Pakistan where the consensus — the APC after all included all major political parties — is to treat the Takfiri barbarians with kid gloves as they massacre what are becoming the Jews and gypsies of Pakistan, i.e. the Barelvis, Shiites, Ahmedis, Christians and Hindus. It does not appear that the JUI-F’s APC was some slick manoeuvre to gain wiggle room around the election time and fight another day. With the major political parties capitulating to the TTP and entering into election alliances with their Ahle-Sunnat-Wal-Jamaat (ASWJ) accomplices, the ‘Wahhabification’ of Pakistan might be reaching its culmination.
These alliances and seat adjustments with the ASWJ/Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), which for all practical purposes remains the political front for the Takfiri terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), are not covert any more. Politicians like the federal minister Qamar Zaman Kaira of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Senator Mushahidullah Khan of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) have said on record that they would court the ASWJ vote because they are ‘Pakistani voters’. Victor Klemperer writes in I Will Bear Witness that even after the rise of Hitler’s Nazism in Germany every Jew had an ‘Aryan (guardian) angel’ willing to help and socialise and even at the height of World War II he was not able to see overt, rabid anti-Semitism. But by 1941 he was forced to wear the Yellow Star of David. Shia and Barelvis — like Klemperer — might have failed to notice that the persecution is so overt that it is covert!
Aurangzeb Faruqui, the Karachi-based leader of the terrorist outfit ASWJ that the PPP and PML-N seek the votes from, recently said, “I shall make Sunnis (read Deobandi/Wahhabi/Salafi) so strong against the Shia that no Sunni will even wish to shake hands with a Shia. They (Shia) will die their own death. We won’t even have to kill them now. We would make it hard for the Shia to even breathe and he will have to think how to survive in this city.”
Professor Gregory Stanton had described eight stages of genocide in his 1996 briefing to the US Department of State: classification, symbolisation, dehumanisation, organisation, polarisation, preparation, extermination and, eventually, denial. Hate speech like Faruqui’s, who clearly emulates the late Haq Nawaz Jhangvi in conduct and virulence, and actions by his LeJ cohorts, fall under several of these categories. In fact, Shia genocide in Pakistan had a ‘rolling start’ with several stages of killings happening simultaneously with the extermination and denial carried out at the same time as classification and dehumanisation. Faruqui was recently visited by an MQM delegation, ostensibly to talk peace. A massive bombing destroyed the Shia residential neighbourhood of Abbas Town, Karachi, killing at least 48, two days after this ‘peace process’.
Two of the most sinister aspects of genocide are ‘urbicide’ where the members of a social group, usually belonging to the middle or upper classes, living in urban areas, are target killed or even whole cities decimated; ghettoisation, i.e. confining the persecuted group into (squalid) geographical zones. Both urbicide and ghettoisation of the Shia, especially that of the Shia Hazara in Quetta, remain underway in Pakistan as the politicians smoke the peace pipe with the Taliban/LeJ/ASWJ.
Given the apathy not just of the Pakistani leaders but also large swathes of the population and the inaction and/or complicity of both the security establishment and politicians with the culprits, the Pakistani Shia — and also the Barelvi Sunnis — are left with very practical options. They must organise their vote bank and defeat the candidates linked to the banned outfits wherever possible. They ought to move the courts and the election commission against the parties and candidates with terrorist connections. But most importantly, they must now internationalise their case. Lest they forget there was no organised protest by the common Germans against the ‘Nazification’ of Germany by Hitler. Consent and coercion did work in Nazi Germany and seem to be working in what increasingly appears to be ‘Takfiristan’.
By Dr Mohammad Taqi
The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and he tweets @mazdaki
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