Gilgit is to blame for this bloodshed

Published: April 6, 2012

Anybody belonging to this region knows that a majority from one sect shamefully smiles at the atrocities committed on the other sect. PHOTO: AFP

‘Paradise on earth’ might be a cliché, but it is the only locution that describes the beauty of Gilgit. Its elegance is matchless, but the sectarian violence that has plagued this area has reduced this city to a mere shadow of the beauty it once boasted. 

Spring had always filled Gilgit with a rosy fragrance, but this spring, all anyone can smell is the unmistakable stench of blood. It is truly baffling how the gardener has lit his own garden on fire. People from different sects are killing each other ruthlessly, and one doesn’t dare to venture out on the streets unless they want to be murdered in cold blood.

Gilgit was once regarded as unique because it contained people from all sects. The people of this area had been living in peace for decades. They intermingled, intermarried and co-existed peacefully, but then somewhere along the line came General Ziaul Haq, and thus began the Sunni-Shia rift.

The year 1988 saw numerous killings and a majority of the victims belonged to the Shia community. People now refer to this black period as 88s tension. Swiftly and surprisingly many began to realise that they belonged to different sects, and started to feel that they were not compatible with each other.

Gradually, however, peace returned to the area, but the memories of 88s tension had left deep divides. People started to live in neighbourhoods of their own sects; Shias lived only with Shias, and Sunnis only with Sunnis. Gilgit city became divided into strictly Sunni, Shia, and Ismaili neighbourhoods.

A decade thus passed without any major incident. Just as the memories of the terrible violence began to fade from peoples’ memory, on January 13, 2005 a prominent Shia cleric, Ziauddin, was killed by some unknown person. Many people blamed the agencies, because the cleric was a major proponent of having a separate syllabus for Shia students. This killing made the situation worse than ever. The city was already defined by separate neighbourhoods, so killing the people of other sects had become far too easy. Tons of people who got trapped in the others’ neighbourhood got killed immediately.

After this incident, peace never returned to Gilgit. Every now and then, innocent people are killed. People are murdered in the open while driving, shopping, or just strolling down the street. Many are not even sure if they will return home because they have to go through the “other sect’s” neighbourhood on their way to work.

Recently, 16 Shias were killed after having been dragged out of buses in Kohistan. This week, grenade killed five and injured 35 Sunnis in Gilgit. Yesterday, five people were killed from the Shia sect in Chilas. I just hope nobody gets hurt today.

Usually the blame of such incidents is put on the government, the ulema or branded a Jewish conspiracy. I don’t discount the possibility of any of the above. However, the government is definitely responsible, and the ulema’s negative role is not hidden either.

However, what I would like to say out loud is that us Gilgitis are the guiltiest of all. I know what drawing room conversations are like; good people with strong morals, who don’t even dream of killing others, give solid approval on the killings of people from other communities.

Anybody belonging to this region knows that a majority from one sect shamefully smiles at the atrocities committed on the other sect. I have friends from different sects, and most of them mourn the deaths from their own sect, but in the same breath, try and justify the pain caused to the other. I, being a Gilgiti, realise that the problem lies in the attitude of the common man in Gilgit; grieving our own whilst rejoicing the loss of the other.

Clerics are not the problem. The real problem is the people who flock at their calls for strike. Our uncritical and unanimous acceptance of their demands is the issue at hand. The problem is that Gilgiti Sunnis never protest and burn tires for the killing of Shias and Shias do not do anything when a Sunni is murdered. The problem is that even the best of us see each other as strictly Sunni or Shia. The problem is that we are hypocrites who have forgotten how to be human beings.

There will be no end to this violence if children are taught that only their sect and their morals are right, whereas the other is always wrong and are to be punished. Children are poisoned from a young age, and are fed ideas and prejudices that are not their own.

If the Gilgitis want to co-exist peacefully, then they will have to strive to change this attitude of hate. They must start respecting human lives regardless of religious belief and they must condemn any killing regardless of sectarian linkages.

I would like to specially encourage the youth to open up their minds. Let’s live in peace – what is the point of all this bloodshed, when we all believe in the same God?

Sultan Mehmood

Sultan Mehmood

An AKHSS Gilgit and KL-YES Alumnus, currently pursuing a degree of BSc. Hons. in Political Science from LUMS. He is interested in perennial philosophy of religion, politics, and economy

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • A.B.Z

    very well said dear writer…i am all up for what you tried to put across….
    seriously we should let PEACE To do the talk….i mean who has given authority to any one to cal someone as Infidel or any thing like that…

    Plzzz plzzz TOLERANCE Is fastly dieing in our society.

    ABB NAHI TOH PHIR KABHI NAHI…

    Sigh Recommend

  • AIN

    Agreed with the author but how many citizen of urs city will practice it???
    In fact the negative and wrong role of religious clerics has brought the situation to this edge…
    Our madrassas are generation new atom bomb/drone by manipulating the minds of individual since childhood to certificate the other sect person as valid for killing.Recommend

  • Noor Muhammad

    Dear Sultan,

    Proud of you for writing this great piece.

    Our beautiful valleys are awash with blood because the judicial system is very weak and unreliable. If the people know that the state and government and the courts would punish the culprits, they would not indulge in vengeful killings, in the name of sects.

    I completely agree with your point that if the people stop acting like mobs and use their own faculty of reason, most of the issues will be resolved and it would be difficult for the criminals to get shelter after committing atrocities.

    Looking forward to more writings from you. I would request ET to make Sultan a permanent blogger. Recommend

  • Ziber

    a mild and cool breeze of a write up..only expected from a beautifull mind of a beautifull peice of land. may God give us all the ability to think like the author.Recommend

  • http://pakistani-revival.blogspot.com Ovais

    and atlast express tribune shows religious conflict in true light … thanks for not promoting an agenda this time … Recommend

  • http://www.theoconline.org Ali Taj

    Sultan Mehmood,
    I strongly agree and second your opinion. Yes, it is we, who are responsible, we don’t condemn LOSS of HUMAN LIVEs. We only condemn loss of lives of our owns sects, region, or area. Recommend

  • Rashid Gul

    The problem is mentioned in the blog itself, that each sects’ people rejoice at the killing of people from the other sect. Is this what religion has reduced people to?Recommend

  • manzoor

    Dear Sultan bhai Jazakallah you have identified the root causes of tension.Recommend

  • sars

    Spot on. I hope the people of Gilgit understand and follow your recommedations before your area turns into another karachi. Ulema who are spreading hate and inciting violence should be blacklisted, avoided and held culpable for the effects of their hate mongering.
    Many decades ago people of all sects faiths and ethnicities coexisted in harmony all over Pakistan. Why are we becoming more bigoted with time?Recommend

  • mangoman

    Only Imran Khan can solve this problem!Recommend

  • Anti Pakistani

    Mr. Sultan Mehmood, what does this tell you?

    Generally, whatever you give to Muslims, now matter how beautiful/peaceful it is, they will ruin it.

    The living example is Pakistan. Isn’t Pakistan a beautiful country ruined by YOU Muslims?

    Look at Dubai! When these Arabs have wealth, instead of building education, industry, manufacture, art, culture, fashion, entertainment, service, what are they doing? Absolutely squandering their money on completely superficial projects.

    Tomorrow, when the oil is gone, when their poor children and grandchildren ask them, what happened to all the money, do you think they will have an answer?

    And believe me, when the oil is gone, these Arab states will look no better than your Balochistan!Recommend

  • MBN

    Wonderful and heartwarming. Glad to see views like this finally being expressed.Recommend

  • Imran

    I partially agree with the arguments of this author despite the fact that he has worn his biases on the sleeve. Anyway. I wouldn’t blame either Sunnis or Shias what they are currently going through. The former lived in small number in Gilgit before a large chunk was flown/transported to the town by the military establishment. They were mostly non-Gilgitis; or to be more specific, Pashtuns. They were brought in to alter the demographics. Failure could not be afforded so with that came robust mobilization of resources along with the ‘preaching machinery’. And when all else had been done, 1988′s Shia massacre ensued, which the writer has also referred to. When the state religoizes itself, it does at the cost of the other. That is what has happened. Recommend

  • Alam

    This should be the bottom line of this article

    “The problem is that we are hypocrites who have forgotten how to be human beings.”Recommend

  • karim

    agree with you brotheRecommend

  • ss

    agree with writer cent percent, i’ve never seen anyone in my family mourning death of any sunni in GB, and i am sure same is the thinking of other sects, but i am really happy that our younger generation is more tolerant, once my mother asked from my brother what was the sect of the man who was killed, my brother replied “mama kiya ho gaya hai kiya yeh kafi nehi k woh insan tha???

    m proud of ppl like you, i am glad that we are ready to put aside all our differences, hope to see a better and prosperous PakistanRecommend

  • Parvez

    Extremely thoughtful and you put your point across very well. Enjoyed reading this.
    What comes to mind is that it is not religion but the ‘ mis-use of religion ‘ that is the problem.Recommend

  • Amman11

    yes indeed…..somebody took the step and wrote this…atleast better than us who just write our FB status updates…..
    It is very much true that we the people who belong to that place shall use our own faculty of reason and thn react….but we r also from this country where the society is obsessed with the relegion……educated or un-latered,they all are same when its the talk of sect,relegion or whatever…..but the GOVT must take the responsibilty and do something atleast to calm down the current stuation…to ease the food supply…WHY the common man has to suffer…those who do aal of this are chilling…they shall be hurt as well…Recommend

  • Aly Sakhi

    Dear Writer

    i think religious clerics are responsible for bringing Gilgit to to this situation. in their Khutbaz ,they always talk about the differences not the commonalities..They mislead masses by using the name of religion as people are closely associated with their beliefs.

    People generally ask these questions…dozens of law enforcement agencies are deployed in just 6 Km radius of Gilgit town. Every one knows who is doing what ?? Why not they launch operations in the area.?? Where is the government ??Recommend

  • Karim Ahmed

    Good Job… ! Recommend

  • narayana murthy

    Dear Sultan Mehmood,

    You write “Usually the blame of such incidents is put on the government, the ulema or branded a Jewish conspiracy. I don’t discount the possibility of any of the above.”

    Do you see the problem? YOU – Sultan Mehmood – are the problem, who is in denial. Millions and millions of Pakistanis are the problem who are in denial.Recommend

  • BlackJack

    Sad to see what has become of the other parts of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir – and surprising to note that Kashmiris do not see that they are better off in India (pls do not tell me that Gilgitis do not see themselves as Kashmiris – in that case Ladakh/ Jammu also has no connection with the valley). As you can see, now that there are no hindus left, the next major division (sectarian) has come to the fore. This comes from a national identity based on differentiation – the concept of the ‘other’.Recommend

  • Arshad

    Good one…it will bring real face of problem……Recommend

  • !!!

    Kill me!!Recommend

  • Raja Nowsherwan Kiani

    Dear Author you have come up with a true idea..”what is the point of all this bloodshed, when we all believe in the same God?” a good peace of writing indeed.

    @mangoman ::: wake up and grow up don’t depend on outsidesRecommend

  • Karim Ahmed

    @Shaheryar:
    @Imran:
    You seem one of those brain washed kids author talks about… ?Recommend

  • Ehsan karim

    This is the voice of every peace loving person, very well written.Recommend

  • Insaan

    “Whosoever kills a human being kills the entire humanity.” Al-Quran

    Hope that Muslims actually know what God says about killing and we can learn from it.

    Since Quran is recited parrot-like (if at all) without any understanding of what it says, we in Pakistan never understood Quran or the teachings of Islam. That is our pity.Recommend

  • Peace

    What a hypocrsy is this , pic shows stop sunni killing, i guess there no one to show the light whts going on with shia all over pak , as author said no sunni stands 4 shia n no shia 4 sunni, the pic is doing the same thing . . .

    Moreover the GB stituation is potrayed as sunnis are being killed . . . What a Justice hahahhaaRecommend

  • MRF

    everybody belonging to a particular sect raise hue and cry over the 1988 massacre that occured at Jalaabbad area of Gilgit but when they get asked why did it happen ?? they avoid the question and keep on abusing the L.T. , ASWJ , J.D. S.S.P etc etc .. Some thing first happened before the massacre !!!!!!!!! it was a conspiracy to “Break Pakistan” ….Recommend

  • An English Friend

    Many thanks for this well wriitten blog. I have been following events in Gilgit and area with shock and horror, but did not know why it was happening. This explains it.Recommend

  • Hey YOU!!!!

    @Mr Shahreyar
    Mind your tongue in using words, Not every every kill is a retaliation for a previous. person belonging to any sect have arguments in his defence….Recommend

  • @ !!!

    @ !!!
    why don’t u visit Gilgit tomorrow, take a nice stroll outside……….. :pRecommend

  • adnan

    Ulema are responsible for spreading hatred among the people of GB. The GB once used to be heaven on earth now we see the blood shed in every corner. Now it has been a chimera to co-exist peacefully in GB. Recommend

  • faraz

    But fatwas of Kufr and murtad etc come from mullahsRecommend

  • Syeda Soobia Fatima

    yes this ghost of sectarianism which is the gift of Zia’s era will keep on haunting not only Gilgit but all other areas of Pakistan, till the time we will allow it to haunt us. To counter the venomous tirade of the bigot to the core, so called ulemas against different sects, the positive breed of ulemas who practice and preach tolerance and respect for the people belonging to the different sects must come out and should speak out their positive views loudly , clearly and more oftenly! Recommend

  • manzoor hussain

    the only responsible is zia ul haq and PAK agency ISI and govt of pakistan they know the tererist but no punishment? thats why .but now we take revange of these innosentsRecommend

  • ali

    @Anti Pakistani:

    hey Anti, you have no right to even participate in the conversation and commenting , as clearly your user name says anti Pakistan and also what has UAE or other Muslims have to do with us GBians . people like you have destroyed our peace and also imported Arab & Persian interest war into our region . as the blog writer mentioned this is the time for us to wake up otherwise will be too late ….! Recommend

  • paki

    wonderful write up sultan sab… I second ur view 100 %. thanks for identifying the root cause. I would like to suggest you to translate this into urdu and publish in different national dailies particulary those which are widely read and circulated in the northern areas.

    Another important point i would like to point out here is the role of religious leaders and ulemas in inciting bloodshed in these areas. Apart from Shias and sunnis, Ismaili is also a prominent sect in Gilgit and the neighboring Chitral but under the guidance of their leader The Aga Khan, they have learned to co-exist peacefully with their shia and sunni brothers and we hardly see any secterian killings or hatred among sunnis and ismailis or for that matter shias and ismailis. This clearly shows that ulemas and those religious leaders who have influence on their respective followers can be of great help in bringing peace to the region.
    Why dont we call ulema conference representive of all the prominent sects of the region and held a peace walk???Recommend

  • saeed akhtar

    every one above including the writer have showed a great will to eradicate the atmosphere of gilgit which demonstrated nothing but worst in terms of bloodshed ,fear ,agony ,distress,tension to the heaven like place on earth
    . where we seem having fault after having the current situation in hands ,uncontrollable due to our own attitudes. plz remember that fire of hatred immediately require to distinguished with the help of passion of local people securing in their heart for all the local brothers and sisters and all innocent people …
    plz now it is time we have to forget all what happend in past and come forward with new thoughts of maintaining peace and progress by enforcing the law to bring in to practice against those who are killers and primarally against those ulmas who induce the seed of hatred in ther hearts of people while interpreting the holy religious islam.Recommend

  • let there be peace

    @MRF
    can you tell exactly what happened before this 1988 massacre?Recommend

  • Hussain

    this raised level of my hope in the people of GB after reading such a beautiful mind, which I was not expecting … Great Keep it upRecommend

  • Hussain

    it raised level of my hope in the people of GB after reading such a beautiful mind, Great Keep it upRecommend

  • http://[email protected] faheem

    somebody trying to create between SUNNI and SHIAsRecommend

  • http://twitter.com/natashasuleman Natasha Suleman

    Thank you for writing this.Recommend

  • Big Rizvi

    Very sad to see a gang war like situation going on between people of the same faith. I being a Shia myself feel unwanted and endangered in this country…Recommend

  • SI

    Dear Writer,
    Great piece of writing analysing the current and previous situation of Gilgit….Recommend

  • http://bigsaf.newsvine.com bigsaf

    @Imran:

    Same sentiments here and you correctly put it into context. Sectarian apartheid is institutionalized in Pak, on top of other religious bigotries like 1949 Objectives Resolution against non-Muslims and anti-Ahmadi laws. The majority Shiite Gilgit population are unrepresented by minority Sunni lawmakers, that too of the Deoband persuasion, who historically have discriminated and oppressed the majority due to their ideology of considering the local populace anti-Pakistan, non-Muslims and worse.

    @MRF:

    Let’s not be disingenuous. There is no ‘alleged’. The Deoband Zia state backed those militants. No denying or hiding it. Sadly even as you acknowledge it you justify the Sunni militants’ massacre, blaming the Shia victims because of being emboldened for their rights due to the Iranian revolution next door, which is hardly extremism or breaking up a country. An atrocious act of genocide is not a justifiable response, nor equivalent, to having a differing or ‘extreme’ view of when Eid is! Not surprisingly this hate ideology has now spread throughout the country and has haunted us all, including moderate and liberal Sunnis.

    You hide behind conspiracies, when in truth, it is your ideological hegemony and sectarian ethnic prejudiced policies that is the root of the problem. Recommend

  • http://bigsaf.newsvine.com bigsaf

    I’m a bit disappointed by the author still meekly accepting the ‘Jewish conspiracy’. Shows how we fail to critically think and give into paranoid rumours and quick anti-semitic (as well as anti-US, anti-Indian) scapegoating biases like Europeans used to do. Truth is there is only evidence of the ulema and state, no where else. Only foreign connections are from Saudi Arabia and Iran. Only one case of Mossad support, and that too to an anti-Iran militant group in Baluchistan. Recommend

  • http://bigsaf.newsvine.com bigsaf

    I would not put the entire fault on Gilgitis alone. If the youth are going to have an open mind, they need to be given the honest bitter reality of Pak’s antagonistic state policies, which enforces a Sunni hegemony via Wahhabification through psychotic support for militancy or terrorism. From ET’s own editorial.

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/359611/sectarianism-and-non-state-actors/

    There is a pattern in sectarian killings in Pakistan whether one likes to see it or not. The minority sect of the Shia is first apostatised through fatwas by extremist clergy and then targeted by armed men, some of whom may have served as ‘mujahideen’ and fought the state’s proxy wars. GB’s administration is helpless, and the military moves in with its usual curfew and shoot-to-kill orders. The region has always been under the tutelage of the military because of the proximity of the Kashmir border and because non-state actors are usually affiliated with Sunni outfits. A similar situation exists in Kurram Aagency where the headquarters of the agency, Parachinar, is Shia-majority but gets in the way of the foreign terrorists (most of whom are Sunni) who take shelter in Pakistan and the local Taliban warlords going into Afghanistan. The Shia Hazaras of Quetta are being targeted by the same elements while in Karachi the steady rise of the sectarian Sunni terrorist outfits is having the same effect as well. Since the non-state ‘warriors’ are anti-American, the blame is put on a “foreign conspiracy” — something that all sides buy into because of a shared revulsion for America.

    and

    The Shia have been squeezed a bit by the increase in the Sunni-Pakhtun population through ingress and through unrestrained jihadi radicalisation. The war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan set the ball rolling because the Shia were not accepted in Pakistan as mujahideen and there was a difference of approach to the Afghan war between Iran and Pakistan, the latter being allied to Saudi Arabia which headed an Arab reaction to Revolutionary Iran.

    The Shia majority in the Northern Areas in no way disadvantaged Islamabad as it faced Ladakh on the Indian side. But the population began to be seen by General Zia’s regime as posing a potential threat after 1980. Sectarian violence began there in 1988 as a result of Islamabad’s Iran policy. In 1988, a Shia-Sunni dispute in Gilgit over Eid led to a Sunni lashkar that comprised thousands of people from Mansehra, Chilas (GB), Kohistan and other areas in the then NWFP. In the rampage that followed, hundreds, mostly Shias, were killed, scores of villages were pillaged and burned, and even livestock was slaughtered.

    In 1999, it was on General Musharraf’s watch as army chief that Pakistan’s Kashmir jihad policy increased the ranks of Islamic extremists in the Northern Areas. The Kargil conflict resulted in the influx of Sunni jihadi elements into the region. Extremist organisations like Sipah Sahaba, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Muhammad, Al-Ikhwan and Harkatul Mujahideen opened their offices there, upsetting the demographic balance.

    Recommend

  • Arsalan

    @Imran:

    Where is your proof of a ‘large chunk’ of Sunnis, Pathans in particular, being shipped in by the ‘military establishment’? This ‘story’ is brought up time and time again, and is a distraction from the real issues at-hand. It also fails to reflect the realities of local history and the Sunni communities which have lived in and around Gilgit Town for many, many years.

    Unless there’s concrete evidence of such things actually happening – and here I include, too, the far-fetched notion of ‘Jewish conspiracies’ – I wish people would have the common sense to stop propagating such mistruths. They only serve to fuel the fires that are already burning in Gilgit.Recommend

  • Mir

    we must admit that its a proxy war, you must mention karachi and quetta too, where there has been massacres since the banned organizations are working freely under the nose of (so-called) land of pure’s intelligence agencies. What else could you expect from a country where the intelligence agencies are the main donors of terrorist organizations like ssp n difa e pakistan council, i like the comments of my country men here, but all of you, we can change the environment until we accept the truth and the truth we are hypocrites. Even Mr. Sultan Mehmood, you must have shown some un-biassedness, you showed the banner of sunnis, why didnt you mention the banners of shi’ites, who are being killed in the span of just 2 months. You are also part of this society my dear Sultan…. First change yourself….;)Recommend

  • goodbye peace

    this will never stop, no matter you write a whole book on how to bring peace to this region, this situation will remain as it is. what is the fate of other sects who are living among shias and sunnis? what harm they have done? ismailis, noorbakhshis. they have never killed anyone in name of religion, never brought on any strike out in the streets. Why the author has not mentioned it, rather he says that all the sects have turned their knives on each other, what nonsense, not a single word has been written about the worst time these people are going through because of sunnis and shias. they are being sandwiched among these two sects. I am really sorry to say that USA, israel, and other intelligence agencies don’t even care about this useless piece of land, its the people of GB who have made it hell. And one other deliema is poplulation growth. both Sunnis and Shias are encouraging bigger families with dozens of children just to gain majority and you know why they want like that? not to make a cricket team but to use this majority of people in future to kill other sects people, hates off to our movlivis and sheikhs to brainwash our stupid people and little kids. Their is no hope for this land now, i would rather advice ismailis and other sects of people to leave this country as soon as possible and let these people rote here killing each other. Recommend

  • DonewithBS

    @bigsaf:
    * Only foreign connections are from Saudi Arabia and Iran. Only one case of Mossad support, and that too to an anti-Iran militant group in Baluchistan. *
    I believe this group was responsible for killing 16 Shia in Kohistan which started the recent killings. Isn’t author justified in meekly agreeing, AND that’s pathetic you only see this part in the article that has such a nice tone!!

    Recommend

  • DonewithBS

    @bigsaf:
    * I would not put the entire fault on Gilgitis alone. If the youth are going to have an open mind, they need to be given the honest bitter reality of Pak’s antagonistic state policies, which enforces a Sunni hegemony via Wahhabification through psychotic support for militancy or terrorism. From ET’s own editorial. *

    When your house is on fire then you first try to put it out. You don’t sit and dicuss the critical realities of how much loss it is going to be.
    I can answer to your comments with a greater zeal and better arguments, but this write-up stops me. People like you should not be the hurdles in creation of feelings suggested by the author.

    Sorry for little harshness in owrds, but No hard feelings, Cheers!

    P.S. I hope you find your peace!Recommend

  • Shabbir

    “Jewish Conspiracy” : I don’t think the Jews even know of a place called Gilgit. Even the ones who are trying to appear as ‘learned men” in this article/blog comments, are in fact, blind.Recommend

  • gilgitee

    shia think thy r toue muslim and soni think thy r the real responssible is the both molaz need some education for all gilgiti molweezRecommend

  • Zaigham

    I think the writer is right in saying that people are biased.The first question people ask when somebody is murdered is, “hamara hay ya unka?”. this is the most disturbing situation that drains the hope of any peace in the near future But there must be a reason behind this bias and hatred. First and foremost is the sense of being denied one’s rights. When one community feels that the other is not giving it the due rights, hatred is born.Recommend

  • Anonymous

    I see eye to eye with you on the issue, though it might seem insane but i feel good about the way Zia Ul haq ended, Thanks to him not only Gilgit but all around Pakistan people fell from the essence of being a Muslim to being a Religious entity, Still the fault is of the Ullema of both the sectors, isn’t it their job to handle such problems based on Religion? I don’t understand, What is their role here!? So was Hafeez ur rehman’s suggestion right about sending all these ullema who tend to wind the fire to Adiala Prison, Just like Jan Ali Says in one of his Kalams “Fasadi Mai Imam tau mai Imam Ga Bus, Fasad-ot tak tharay thai Islam Ga Bus”. The problem i see here is that our people are emotional and short tempered. Allah Forbid but considering that the dead body of a close relative is lying next to you and is brutally murdered, All the morals and values about Humanity seem less and less important and feels like text of a book that no longer implements. Thinking in such situations is considered cowardliness, They may be right perhaps because forgiving such a thing requires such a big heart that i think humans don’t have and Islam totally allows revenge to a limit but the next person to die in this fearsome fire of revenge is also an innocent person from the neighborhood who is also a brother to her sister, a good son to his mother and father or maybe the only person to support a poor family.
    May Allah Almighty Bless Our Land Gilgit-Baltistan with Never Ending Peace and Love.
    [Ameen]
    [B]Recommend

  • Farhan

    For all these years i thought Gilgit was my religion and NLI was my sect . Recommend

  • WeAreBest

    Learn form us, the GREAT Indians!Recommend

  • sanan ahmed

    the seed lies in the heart of the people for a kind of hypocritical hate for each other its a fact brought up by the writer, and its there for more than 20 years if we look at the history of this violence . how it got aggravated is due to this political package given to GB. before the package the plitical figures had no power n when u have no power no 1 actually cares. the tactic used by the polititions at that time was sectarian affinity, caste based politics was in swing. so now when they found themselves on responsible offices they were badly haunted by there past transactions, and they cant handle it now its as simple as that.second main issue is the police which is not doing its job alltogather.Recommend

  • Pagall

    No one else is responsible for the killings and all stuff but GOVERNMENT OF PAKISTANRecommend

  • Sheraliat

    The planned attack on Gilgit by Deobandi/Wahabi fanatics of Tribal areas, Kohistan, Hazara and Diamer was the turning point in which hundreds of Shia people were killed, even animals were slaughtered, crops and plants were annihilated and cut down. The second incident was the murder of Shia Scholar Agha Ziauddin Rizvi in 2005. The third major incident was Kohistan carnage where about 20 Shia passengers were gunned down and now Chilas incident took place in which according to unofficial and independent sources nearly dozens of passengers were gunned down and a huge number are missing. Recommend

  • Sheraliat

    Until and unless State Subject Rule (SSR) is not restored, the peace can never be observed in GB. It is quite amazing that on one hand the Pak govt terms GB a disputed territory, on the other hand SSR is not restored in GB. If SSR is imposed in AJK then why it is lifted from GB during Zia regime? All this was meant to settle the non locals in order to change the demography of GB. It is a great conspiracy against people of GB.Recommend

  • Tilsim

    Author, your blog was a good read and I support your sentiments.

    However, why do you think its ok to entertain the possibility that its a Jewish conspiracy. Are there jews in gilgit? I think we need to be honest about the sources of the animosity as you have otherwise done. The hate preaching so called ulema and the agencies complicity in non intervention is where the truth lies.Recommend

  • MRF

    @let there be peace:
    People belonging to Shia community revolted against Pakistan(with the backing of Iran) and demanded a separate shia state “Karakoram state” and started ethnic cleansing of Sunnis form Gilgit and nearby areas . The conspiracy was brutally suppressed by the military establishment with the help of Sunni militants form the kohistan, daryal areas ..Recommend

  • Baba Ji

    My brother muslims … muslims of Pakistan … I don’t know which Islam are you after … which Islam are you misquoting … which Islam you are trying to implement …. Rasool Allah (SAW) co existed peacefully with Jews and Christians … you cannot live with all the Kalima reciters !!!! Shabaash ….Recommend

  • Comeon!!!!

    The debate in comments make me feel that some people can’t get out of their prejudices.
    They comment before even reading such a brilliant thinking, openness, and amazing analysis.Recommend

  • Sajjad

    Agreed totally.Recommend

  • XYZ

    @MRF:
    Sensible people are those who, when make a claim, defend that claim by providing plausible arguments. No body will buy such biased arguments against Shi’is, neither will anybody, against Sunnis. If we really want to contribute, we should at least give a constructive response instead of just making it worse, we must talk about peace and tranquility and avoid taking sides. I know there comes a time when we have to take sides, but not now, not in a situation as vulnerable and as precarious as ours. I hope we don’t ground our world view on conspiracy theories and cling on to something sublime. Good luck!Recommend

  • http://bigsaf.newsvine.com bigsaf

    @DonewithBS:

    I believe this group was responsible for killing 16 Shia in Kohistan which started the recent killings. Isn’t author justified in meekly agreeing, AND that’s pathetic you only see this part in the article that has such a nice tone!!

    No, not justified, and just continues our wasteful time on anti-US/anti-India/anti-Israel ranting. Author, whose article I enjoyed and appreciated, is clearly intelligent and can confidently challenge myths and biases rationally, distinguishing nuances. Apply honest critical analysis instead of sugar-coating realities and mistakes. No one addresses the details which obstructs in implementing solutions to the one big happy family utopia everyone fantasizes about. Atrocities were committed even before the Kohistan massacre by the same group, and other groups with no Mossad link. I am from the same sect as the Kohistan victims.

    I’ve known Jundullah’s activities since the 2000′s, their contacts with Sunni/Salafist/Deoband extremists like Al Qaeda/Taliban/L-e-J, their anti-Iran and anti-Shia terrorism, their finances from Karachi, from Sunni Balochis in Europe and Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia. In context, that one Mossad deal over decades, while typical and despicable, is only a drop in the ocean of a larger issue. The militant bigots existed before and after that meeting and will carry out psychotic attacks regardless. Truth, no matter how little, matters so as not to detract and distract from a solution, which sadly Pakistanis prone to do obsessed in xenophobic rants, focusing on 1% examples of US/India/Israel connection, excusing the 99% examples of local Pak and foreign Gulf connections, when trying to explain the massive violence surrounding Pak and never doing anything about it or realizing we contributed to the hate and violence ourselves.

    It used to be popular to claim RAW behind every sectarian and ethnic killings in the 90′s, and still today in Baluchistan. Real people lost their lives. But conspiracy bogeymen were blamed instead of the actual local killers and then in the same breath such denialists would claim ‘hum sub bhai bhai hai’. ‘Nice tone’ isn’t it? Excuse me for being cynical if I find that prejudiced, fake, disingenuous, insincere and think is more pathetic and unjust and disrespectful to the victims.

    I am glad the author, whose intelligent and sincere, believed there was obvious evidence against the local government and ulema more so than anything else, which needed to change and improve and bravely and honestly mentioned past atrocities for contextual history. Recommend

  • king

    I don’t Understand this Thinking ” I am a Muslim but Little bit different then the main stream ” ..
    seriously?? Why people love to create divisions … For GOD sake stick to what is Supreme and do not make idiotic stories about the Holy Religion !! this “Sectisum” just pisses offRecommend

  • http://bigsaf.newsvine.com bigsaf

    When your house is on fire then you first try to put it out. You don’t sit and dicuss the critical realities of how much loss it is going to be.

    Yes, you must take immediate measures but must also absolutely discuss critical realities, for your house and loved ones well being and protection beforehand and after.

    You view it as ONE fire. I view it as a series of on going arsons, both self-inflicted and external sabotage. Many fires are lit all over Pak. Are arsonists ever convicted, or at least challenged? Why has no one taken precautions, kept their extinguishers handy or improved their construction? It’s been decades.

    Fires are prevented and investigated with more vigor in other countries than actual atrocities in Pak which are hushed up and open for the wild imagination followed up by weak generalized ‘be united’ empty rhetoric, because no one is ready to admit or take responsibility of a huge problem of sectarianism, hypocrisy and religious bigotry in all it’s forms, which begins with the state’s own Zia like hypocritical religiosity and discrimination against it’s own citizens and supporting extremist saboteurs both local and foreign, for violent objectives.

    Also some malls in Pak are death traps and should have fire exits.

    People like you should not be the hurdles in creation of feelings suggested by the author.

    I commend the author. I only laid out further facts and proper context, to show that it’s a false equivalence to claim both sides as equal considering the history. Criticism and introspection is warranted and should not be taken as a ‘hurdle’ but something to learn from. I am all for encouraging unity and good will. I’m also for encouraging honesty of a reality, not courting false notions and being strong in convictions.

    I hope you find your peace!

    I hope G-B and Pak could find peace…unfortunately I see no progress without challenging ideological attitudes, values, hypocrisies and policies and encouraging progressive action, not just in G-B, but all of Pak. Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    King

    Exactly! I don’t get why people follow all these wrong beliefs when Quran is absolutely clear in everything and in every matter. This is nothing but kaffirism.Recommend

  • Comeon!!!!

    @bigsaf:
    you are ready to ready to anything, but work towards a solution.

    Wah Wah Sir.. Wah Wah.. Kitnay intellectual hain ap!!! [for you, since all you want with your futile long posts is this.]Recommend

  • alicia

    Well maybe we should exactly pinpoint the reason for this conflict. It started because our army has artifically tried to alter the demographic of Gilgit by bringing pathan settlers. They are now experimenting again with Karachi having not learnt any results.Recommend

  • http://bigsaf.newsvine.com bigsaf

    @Comeon!!!!:

    you are ready to ready to anything

    Um…okay…

    but work towards a solution.

    No, I try by raising awareness, advocating for attitude and policy changes, against religious bigotry (author does this on attitude front). I include ignoring conspiracists, real law and order crackdown on extremists, state not promoting proxy militants in the region, fair representation of the Gilgit population in local and national government, and more. Half of solving a problem is recognizing it. Where’s your solution?

    Wah Wah Sir.. Wah Wah.. Kitnay intellectual hain ap

    Shukria, sir, your sarcasm isn’t lost…wish loag itnay jahil nahin thay, and weren’t allergic to a little ‘ilm’ or hard truths because of their biases, and thought of it as ‘elitist’. Probably a right-wing trait.

    since all you want with your futile long posts is this

    That’s unfortunate. There’s good amount of thoughtful debate, besides the ET editorial linked. Did you read that article or find it too long and ‘intellektual’? It’s a complex historical regional problem. Maybe you only grasp incomplete analysis that promotes endless optimism and fantasy. What I want is folks to recognize the seriousness of bigotry and violence in Pak. Saying ‘unity’ will not make culprits change their minds or the ideology go away. More has to be done. What author’s good piece suggested is part of a generalized solution. I rant, and sometimes get wordy. Sorry. I’ll keep it short. Please tell me what point you found factually wrong and offer your own suggestions or solution, which ironically or hypocritically you do not offer, instead of stewing in anti-intellectual or anti-education resentment of analysis of a negative reality. Recommend

  • Human

    Thanks to Zia ul Haq and his brand of Islam. Now, it seems almost over. People are slaughtering each others like goats and sheeps. Thanks to Zia ul Haq. He divided people in Gilgit after launching attack on Gilgit in 1988 with the help of militants trained for Afghanistan. They looted many villages and burned mosques with all religious books. These militant pushed shias to leave their villages and take refuges in Gilgit. The militant went back after failing to kill and defeat, but without the support of Government, the IDPs were uabble to return to their villages where most of the houses were burned and goods loooted. This was the time onward, there in no peace in Gilgit.Recommend

  • Ali Nasir

    It is a sunni killing that is why only one article has been published , look at the title of other shia killings article there are so many articles, hence ET is not fair with the public, ET is only fair with shia :) Recommend

  • Comeon!!!!

    @Ali Nasir:
    Let’s avoid it … Let’s talk about some commonalities? Should we?Recommend

  • Ali Nasir

    @Comeon

    Yes the commonalities are the blood and assist of a common men. Recommend

  • Comeon!!!!

    @Ali Nasir:
    Yes the commonalities are the blood and assist of a common men.???Recommend

  • Karim Ahmed

    Yes we should definitely try to not talk about sensitive issue, and should do some confidence building first..Recommend

  • Nazir

    thought provoking..!!Recommend

  • Ahmad Iqbal

    I appreciate the writer who has the courage to voice his concern over the recent killings in Gilgit. However, a number of such incidents never get highlighted in media because people are not willing to talk about sectarian violence openly. Nobody talks about the violence in Parachinar where many people have been killed, access roads have been blocked and people like us butcher each other like animals. Even educated people like us deep down inside are not tolerant towards each other. It is the thinking of the people which nurtures this feeling of hatred and i believe it is basically an ignorance of each others beliefs that cultivates and encourages these feelings of hatred.

    See everywhere in Pakistan and we see killings. Be it balauchistan, gilgit, parachinar, waziristan, punjab or karachi. Our current state of affairs is so visible. If we still boast about Pakistan being a nuclear power, then actually we are just making a fool of ourselves.

    Its high time we open our hearts and mind to each other. Promote tolerance and accept each others belief system and encourage sharing our beliefs. Recommend

  • Asad khan

    A very good piece of writing! great work sultanRecommend

  • Ali

    a pathetic choice of photos. trash article, you are only fanning the sunni shia hate!Recommend

  • Nazir

    @Ali:
    Hey Genius, Do you see the credits written below photos?
    The photo’s are ET’s choice… Even then the author tells us that people only mourn deaths of their sects.. Don’t the photos help you see this point?

    Trash article? hahaha ;)

    I can just pray for the people with your kind of mindset..! Peace!Recommend