Stories about Shia genocide

There is zero tolerance for hate speech in Pakistan, even if you are a cleric!

Recently, an anti-terrorism court set a precedent by sentencing a prayer leader belonging to Kasur for five years of imprisonment. Maulana Abubakar was convicted of delivering anti-Shia hate speech during his sermon. He openly declared Shias to be “infidels”. In the last few months, over 4,000 individuals were arrested for similar offences while 21 have been convicted in Punjab for delivering hate speech, with some of them jailed for up to eight years. I am not going to refer to this man as a ‘qari’ in this blog, for a ‘qari’ is expected to be a respectful man who is dutiful towards his religion, actions and sermons. No one ...

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The day I lost my father in a terrorist attack

February 13, 2015 was like any other ordinary Friday. My father had left for Friday prayers at the Imamia Masjid, my mother was busy in the kitchen, while I was sitting in my room with my younger sister. My elder sister came in and asked me to make an appointment for our mother with the ophthalmologist. So I took my phone, left the room and dialled the ophthalmologist’s number, but it was engaged. I tried calling on the number a few more times before giving up. Returning to my room, I found it to be empty and for some unexplainable, ...

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It is not just the West, Islamophobia is on the rise in Pakistan too

Only when we thought Osama bin Laden was rotting in his grave and the West had started accepting us for our faith, Islamophobia struck again.  After the Charlie Hebdo attack of January 7th, the Denmark shootings of February 14th and the public flogging of Raef Badawi, a liberal blogger of Saudi Arabia, the West found grounds to fear Islam again. We see articles in the news about how the West is becoming cynical and alienating Muslims, and how a parking space issue can turn into a homicide because almost everybody in the West is either afraid of Muslims or angry at them. Like Mr Kashif Chaudhry, you too might believe that some Twitter ...

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This is NOT sectarian violence, it is Shia genocide

Another imambargah attacked in Islamabad leaving several Shias dead and injured. In the last two weeks, this is the third such incident, fourth overall in 2015 and it is only February. This is only the latest attack in a long line of attacks that have taken place. From 2001 to now, thousands of Shias have been killed in terrorist attacks across Pakistan. Through it all, governments continued to tolerate extremist groups and even gave them space in mainstream politics. The pace of these frightening attacks has picked up. One would have thought that the regular attacks would have pricked social conscience into recognising the on-going Shia genocide, ...

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Lahore blast: When will the barbarity end?

February 17, 2015. Two months and one day after the unimaginable tragedy of the Peshawar Attack, Lahore has been targeted today. Today, at 1pm, a suicide bomber blew himself up right outside the Police Lines in Lahore. So far, as reports have suggested, there have been about eight causalities but the number is expected to rise. Emergency has been declared in hospitals and other prominent buildings. The city has been struck by terror by once again. Only yesterday, I came across the video of the attack in the mosque in Hayatabad, Peshawar. The video sent shivers up my spine. Every gunshot ...

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Humanity check: Did you grieve Shia genocide as much as you did the Pak-India match?

Mass graves are no longer an alien phenomenon for Pakistani Shias. Not counting the numerous target killings that have taken place so far, there have been three major attacks in 2015 till now. On January 9, there was an attack on an imambargah in Rawalpindi, which left seven people dead; on January 30, an imambargah was targeted in Shikarpur, culminating in 61 deaths. And recently, an attack on the imambargah in Peshawar resulted in deaths of 19 Shias. On January 11, Dr Asim was murdered in a target killing in Peshawar. Thirty-nine days later, his son was one of the hostages in the Peshawar imambargah attack, along with ...

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Do Shias have a future in Pakistan?

How this could be possible? I shook my head in disbelief. “Ibn-e-Raza has been shot dead!” the voice reiterated itself. How someone can be so cruel, so vicious? In state of disbelief I stood up, changed my clothes and sat in my car. My mother, sitting next to me, was continuously crying. “He was such a nice boy, he was…” She was crying so hard that words seemed to have disappeared from her mouth. I rolled my window down and took a deep breath as a slight wave of wind touched my hair. My mind was gripped with an ocean of thoughts and memories. I remembered when he last ...

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10 years ago we told you not to wage war in Iraq, who will stop the bloodshed now?

It was a chilly February morning in 2003 when my sister and I trudged into central London with a couple of school friends to voice our utter revulsion at the upcoming Iraq invasion that was being planned by Tony Blair and George Bush. There were people from all walks of life; the elderly, the disabled, the very young and very frail out in the millions to scream at the top of their lungs,  ‘No war! No war!’ The atmosphere was electric and people rallied together with a unified message knowing full well that war would completely destroy the region. So more than ten ...

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How is Pakistan doing, you ask? Why don’t you ask the victims of Abbas Town?

“Oh you’re from Pakistan? How is your country doing?”  Asked a classmate here at the London School of Economics (LSE) two weeks ago.  The question took me back to a different time… somewhere in the past, someday not too long ago, when I had gone with a few friends to visit a locality in Karachi called Abbas Town. “This wall will fall unto this wall, this pillar on this pillar and then, we’ll all die…” Said a little boy sitting on a plastic chair in a hall with paints on his hands. That was a normal conversation and imagination for him. He had lost ...

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Love thy neighbour?

“Are you okay?”  The question jolted Ahmed back to the present. He looked at his wife, Fatima who was looking at him in a concerned manner. She said, “Hello… I’m talking to you.” Ahmed sighed and replied, “I’m worried about the business, it’s not doing so well. What about you?” His wife took a deep breath before saying, “The headmistress has asked me to resign because of the threats to the school. And all the staff members want me to leave as soon as possible.” Ahmed nodded and said, “Well it’s a difficult time for our community. Customers have been avoiding our shop and I don’t know how to get them ...

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