Islamabad (Exclusive Report)
Although processions during recent Muharram remained peaceful as majority of the masses in Pakistan wish a peaceful atmosphere in the country but seeds of the violent sectarianism cultivated during the last four decades still have outcomes.
Initially hateful speech of a Sunni-Bralvi clerk namely Asif Jalali about the beloved daughter of Prophet of Islam (PBUH) caused serious concerns among the Shias and as well many of Sunnis.
Secondly, a provoking speech of a Shia Zakir (reciter) namely Asif Alvi about Muslim Caliph Abu Bakr (r.z) during the recent Muharram resulted serious disturbances among the larger Sunni community of the country.
Under the garb of these grievances, some of the Sunni Brelvi clerks joined hands with Deobandi banned organization Sipah e Sahaba and organized a huge rally in Karachi, the port city of Pakistan early this month.
Although, this rally was arranged to protest against the insults of the companions of Prophet of Islam (PBUH) including Abu Bakr (r.z) committed by some of the sectarian extremists but Sunni extremist groups in rally raised anti Shia slogans and even slogans in favour of Yazid, the second ruler of the Umayyad empire involved the masscare of family of Prophet of Islam and attack on Muslim’s holy cities of Makka and Madina.
Some of the groups participated in the rally also demanded a ban on outdoor Muharram processions being held by Shia that mark the seventh-century mardyrdom of Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Imam Hussain (a.s).
This rally held on Sept. 11 and 12 also to demand stricter blasphemy laws and for the Islam Protection Bill recently passed by the Punjab Assembly to be replicated across Pakistan.
During the recent weeks, anti Shia gatherings also held in the different cities of Pakistan and even they chanted anti Shia slogans in the presence of the police.
In these anti Shia waves, a number of Shia figures in the different areas of the country such as Punjab, Khyber-Phatoonkhawa and Sindh were reportedly killed by the sectarian extremists. As it is an attractive situation for the extremist groups in Pakistan, they can further exploits the violent atmosphere in the country.
Even a Shia journalist namely Abid Hussain was also among the victims of the new waves of violent sectarism in Pakistan.
This Shia journalist has been shot dead in Malakwal area of Mandi Bahauddin’s district in Punjab last week. The police said Abid Hussain was going home from the Malakwal police station when a group of men attacked him near a railway crossing. He has reportedly been killed for writing a news story about the banned extremist groups.
Syed Fazal Abbas Shah, who escaped from UAE due to life threats said, even I can not return to Pakistan because constant target killings prove that it is not a safe place for the Shia community as the fear has been rapidly growing among the Shias of the country. According to him, his area Mandi Bahauddin also became one of the sectarian hotspots in the Pakistan, where so far thousands of the Shias have been killed in the country due to their religious faith.
Shias, who make up 15 to 20 percent of Pakistan’s 220 million population, commemorate the massacre of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Imam Hussain, his family and friends at the tragedy of Karbala in Iraq in 680 for refusing to pledge allegiance to then tyrant ruler of Damascus Yazid ibn Muawiya.