O’ Parachinar, your loyalty is not enough for Pakistan

Published: June 30, 2017

Shiite Muslims protest against the twin bomb attacks on the Parachinar bazaar. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

Shiite Muslims protest against the twin bomb attacks on the Parachinar bazaar. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES People of Parachinar are waiting for the PM and COAS and expects them to show solidarity with the bereaved and to show that their blood is not inferior to the blood of other Pakistanis. PHOTO: AFP

Addey, my grandmother, would reminisce about memories of her father with pride in her eyes and say,

“I was a little girl of seven and the memory of him sitting in a room and sewing green coloured clothes and the flag of Pakistan with his own hands before the Partition is still afresh in my eyes.

He used to write letters to Mohammad Ali Jinnah on behalf of the people of Parachinar to express his willingness to join Pakistan. He received directions by him in return for the Pakistan Movement in this tribal region. He travelled on horses along with other companions from Parachinar to Delhi to meet Jinnah and express solidarity with him. Soon after the creation of Pakistan, when Kashmir was attacked, he rode on the same horse and led a group from his hometown to fight against the invaders. That was the last time I saw him.”

The family still keeps the letters from Jinnah to Malik Nazar Ali Turi as a sacred heritage.

From the creation of Pakistan begins the journey of Parachinar’s loyalty towards Pakistan.

During the short life which Jinnah lived after independence, he along with Mohtarma Fatima Ali Jinnah visited Parachinar. Mohtarma Jinnah delivered a speech to the women of Parachinar despite the language barrier; she knew that the people of Parachinar would understand the language of love she spoke. Jinnah promised the tribesmen that the Frontier Corps (FC) Turi Militia shall neither be dissolved nor shall they be deployed elsewhere.

Strange that Jinnah chose to visit Parachinar amongst all the tribal regions.

But O’ Parachinar, your loyalty is not enough for Pakistan.

After Jinnah, Parachinar was neglected for years but no rebel movement was ever carried out. And then Zulfikar Ali Bhutto came to power. He visited Parachinar and laid the foundation of schools, colleges, hospital and other basic projects. His daughter Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto paid a visit to Parachinar too and initiated the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flights by establishing an airport there. Both of them won the hearts and loyalty of the people of my hometown and the legacy of this love has been passed on to the coming generations. Wall chalkings of Jiye Bhutto and their posters are still adorned by Parachinar, despite being neglected by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government during a decade-long besiege by the Taliban.

It’s the legacy of the people of Parachinar; they never forget even the slightest of kind gestures made to them in the past.

But O’ Parachinar, your loyalty is not enough for Pakistan.

During Ziaul Haq’ s regime when militants were being prepared, atrocities began in Parachinar for their loyalty towards the Bhuttos and their refusal to bow down. Sectarian conflicts were created and mass murders of Shias were committed, but not a single rebellious movement against Pakistan was instigated by the tribesmen. They remained loyal to the pure land with the hope that one day this darkness would give way to light.

But O’ Parachinar, your loyalty is not enough for Pakistan.

The land of Parachinar remained under besiege by the Taliban for almost seven years till 2012. The Turi tribe fought resiliently against them and stood as guards of the longest and most strategic border which no other agency shares with Afghanistan.

The road connection of Parachinar with Pakistan was cut off for almost a decade and only the affluent could afford private jets. Students, the ill, and coffins had to travel via a 26-hour long route through Afghanistan to avoid being slaughtered and chopped into pieces by the Taliban on their way inside Pakistan.

They received basic food commodities either from Afghanistan or through trucks that followed the longer route; items were sold at more than double their original prices. Despite their sufferings, the locals didn’t give up. Schools and colleges remained shut, but the locals appeared in exams by studying at home. Incidents of students being fired at and killed by the Taliban on their way to Peshawar in coaches for their university form submissions have also occurred. During this whole decade, no flag other than that of Pakistan and Alams in the remembrance of Hazrat Abbas Alamdar(AS) were raised on the grounds of Parachinar.

But O’ Parachinar, your loyalty is still not enough for Pakistan.

Parachinar has given their sons to the Pakistan Army and many of them have served as dignitaries. Many accepted martyrdom on the Line of Control (LoC) and during operations in Waziristan and other agencies. The tribesmen in Turi Militia dispersed in other agencies have laid down their lives, and their beheaded bodies were received by their grieving families. Parachinar still continues to send their sons to serve in the Pakistan Army and they still consider it as a source of pride.

But O’ Parachinar, your loyalty is not enough for Pakistan.

The people of Parachinar have respected each Commandant of the FC Militia and the ranks of Bhuttos. Lieutenant Colonel Abdul Hanif Malik of the Baloch Regiment is still revered by our elders as an FC Commandant for his truthful character and wise decisions. Since the re-opening of the roads that connect to the rest of Pakistan, Parachinar is paying a heavy price of being targeted with repeated bomb blasts and the blood of innocents being shed on its land.

The sit-in for the 70 victims of twin blasts that rocked Parachinar continues and will continue till the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) or Prime Minister (PM) visits them and listens to their demands. No anti-Pakistan or anti-Army slogans are chanted, only echoes of Labaik Ya Hussain can be heard. Their loyalty for Pakistan is viewed as doubtful due to their love for the household of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and because they belong to the Shia sect, as does the majority of Iran’s population. Does sharing the same religious belief with a nation make us disloyal towards Pakistan? Are Hindus, Christians and Sikhs disloyal towards Pakistan as well?

The people of Parachinar are waiting for the PM and COAS and they expect them to express solidarity with the bereaved and to prove that their blood is not inferior in comparison to other Pakistanis. Parachinaris are not sitting there to receive compensation for their dead ones in the form of money. The PM can distribute their share amongst the victims of the Bahawalpur accident with joy, but his highly awaited visit to Parachinar and concrete steps for the restoration of peace in Parachinar might help him gain the loyalty of Parachinar too.

The silence of the media, the apathy of the ruling government, the insensitivity of the FC Militia and the Pakistan Army will do nothing other than sow the seeds of mistrust and bitterness in the people of Parachinar.

O’ Parachinar, your loyalty to Pakistan is not enough, but only a few know that the loyalty of people residing under the footholds of Koh-e-Safaid can change the destiny of Pakistan.

Faiza Noor

Faiza Noor

The author belong to Parachinar. She is a doctor by profession and work as post graduate medicine trainee in Khyber Teaching Hospital, Peshawar.

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

  • Kulbhushan Yadav

    I think you guys need a movement like ShiaLifeMatters sort of or demand a separate homeland otherwise you would be butchered in the land of pure and not one would miss you.Recommend

  • محمد ثقلین

    Thank you so much, Dr. Faiza Noor. For the past decade, I’d been searching for someone who can raise his/her voice for Parachinar, the way you did. Bravo! We need to scream much louder, so that the deaf can hear us.Recommend

  • Sajjad Hussain Turi

    indeed. well described, (y)Recommend

  • Haider Khan

    Superb article, deserves to get more press as do the people of this wonderful tribe.Recommend

  • MJ

    Nawaz Sharif acts like the councilor of a small municipality, rather than the leader of a nation. All his actions are also based on ethnic lines.
    Compensation for Bhawalpur victims is Rs. 2 Million, for Parachinar Rs. 1 Million, for Gadani Rs. 3 lacs or 300,000 and nothing for the drone victims of Waziristan.Recommend

  • Juan

    Pakistan army blockades anti-Taliban tribe in Kurram

    The author also touches on the mistrust of the population as being Iranian proxies, due to their being Shia. Unfortunately this prejudice persists with the establishment, which is majority Sunni, even when the Hazaras were facing a genocide. A link below to Ejaz Haider’s article in 2011, who used to write on the Tribune, pretty much admitted it..

    The Marabar Caves Complex

  • Milind A

    “After Jinnah, Parachinar was neglected for years but no rebel movement was ever carried out”
    These are the double standards under which Muslims operate worldwide. Even if there’s blaring discrimination against them by fellow Muslims, they won’t say a word. However living under non-Muslim govt/lands, they will cry out for any minor transgression against them and try to seccede. We’re seeing this attitude in kashmir, Sinkiang, Palestine, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Phillipines etc.Recommend

  • t26

    This is a propaganda piece. Theres a right way to go about things and a wrong way. Don’t sing the tune of the enemies of the state. Don’t sing the tune of the I-ranians, who themselves scatter the seeds of sectarianism across the ME. Be very careful about what you’re saying. Believe me, things have gotten a lot, lot worse in other places. You really think Afghanistan is some sort of safe haven for Shia…Its not.Recommend

  • Aqeel Haider

    No we dont need separate homeland. pakistan is our secrade land and we will live in and die for pakistan.
    Pakistan zindabad.Recommend

  • Aqeel Haider

    It is a well described scenario of parachinar. And reality is always bitter.Recommend

  • Saira

    With all due respect, your education has no effect on you. Everyone has a right to grieve on such big incidents but trying to create a rift between a nation this is not the way. People who are killing us does not care who is Shia who is Sunni they are going to try to kill as many of both as they can to create chaos. Very very bad piece of writing not even with the correct facts COAS was in Parachinar. As far as our PM is concerned he is not there for anything at all.

    Media not giving it coverage I guess you are a part of media try to cover it as much as you can just stop blaming people of Pakistan because we all are in it.Recommend

  • Rohan

    Good,keep dying thenRecommend

  • Patwari

    No. Not a propaganda piece. it may appear so, to a Wahabi/Khawariji
    like you. Most wahabis are led by illiterate mullas. Mullas who run
    madrassas and raise the next generation of Wahabis fanatics,
    and get their bread and financing from Saudia or the Emirates.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Great article by Dr. Noor. May God keep you in the palm of his hand.
    ‘May your tribe increase.’ May every road that you choose lead you to
    success. May all your endeavors be fruitful..Recommend

  • Patwari

    Er,…well,..see,..hmm,..the COAS was not in Parachinar, after the tragedy.
    It took him a week to arrive. After a 5 day ongoing protest/dharna in Parachinar and another simultaneous dharna in the capital of the Land of
    the Pure. No other govt. official came or even made the effort.
    First the COAS’s helicopter could not go because of “bad weather” then it
    was “other” things that prevented him to go like…”official business” ?
    Give him credit for showing up though. Deserves kudos for that, hands on.
    The PM [and a plane load of family] celebrated Eid out of the country, instead of with his countrymen. His countrymen, who are in such dire straits that they
    tried to get fuel from an overturned leaking tanker. with flammable fumes reaching up to 300 feet away. anyone smoking that far would have set the explosion.
    The poor PM, Raja of Raiwind [and his Darbar] had to cut short his and family’s shopping spree at London’s Harrod’s, Selridge’s, Savile Row and numerous other high end boutique stores. Man had to rush back. but
    ONLY to Bhawalpur.
    Nothing about Parachinar, Quetta or Karachi. Oh well, must be their karma.
    Oh! By the way! The PM immediately offered Rs.2 millions and govt.jobs
    to victims of Bhawalpur. But only 1 million and no jobs to victims of Parachinar. Or Quetta or Karachi. Must be their karma.
    People in Parachinar were slaughtered by terrorists. For the third time
    this year!! There is a three ring security cordon around the city !! Yet
    they get killed. Because they are all Shias in Parachinar.
    Moving on, the victims in Quetta get Rs. 300,000 and in Karachi only
    So, look in the mirror and get a life.Recommend

  • Ahmar

    A very sensible article. This has been going on for some time in Parachinar and our “establishment” needs to stop backing religious militants in the name of “strategic depth”. This is doing more harm than good and Shia genocide helps no one.Recommend

  • Patwari

    There will be a separate province. In Sindh. Guaranteed.
    For Urdu speaking Muhajjirs whose forefathers emigrated
    from Hindustan. Hazaras, Bohras, Khojas, Ismailis, Hindus,
    Christians Zikris, Kalashas, Hunzakuts, Parachinaris, Gilgit/
    Baltistanis, Parsis and any other oppressed minorities plus
    ANY Shias will be welcomed.
    New province:- Karachi, Thatta Hyderabad. Just a matter of time.
    Rest need to stay in their provinces. And help their own people
    and provinces, prosper. Have your own regional/ethnic pride.
    True Sons of the Soils need not apply.Recommend

  • Juan

    What are you talking about? Ever hear of Baloch separatists? Iraqi and Syrian Sunnis? Former East Pakistan, now Bangladesh? The Arab Spring? The Shia populations in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain? None of these are without a lack of trying…Recommend

  • Juan

    No it’s not a propaganda piece, and the author is in the right despite your denials. Your sectarian bias (Iran’s seeds of sectarianism, while totally ignoring Wahhabi Islam’s role in anti-Shia bigotry which has gained popularity in the Sunni mainstream) simply makes you uneasy about the truth that the there’s prejudice against Pakistan’s Shia population and are indeed favourite targets for local/foreign and global Sunni Islamist extremist groups-who I would hope you’d recognize as the enemies of the state, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you deflected and claimed they were mysterious Indian agents instead. It’s funny you mention Afghanistan…the post-Taliban Kabul government were more sympathetic and safer for the people of Parachinar to travel when they got blockaded by the Afghan Haqqanis…and guess who supported those Afghan militants on Pak and Afghan soil? So yea, you’re right…Afghanistan is not a safe haven for Shia thanks to our own establishment’s leanings and support for certain groups. Well done. That’s as careful as I get with my words…Recommend

  • Juan

    Well so much for respect. The rift has been created by your very own religious extremists, besides the sectarian prejudice that does indeed exist amongst your majority population that’s allowed this situation (see the link to the BBC article in my other comment). Not to acknowledge either is the real ignorance, and no, we aren’t all in it, as it’s clear some communities are more threatened than others.

    A lot of Sunni extremist groups make it a point in identifying Shias by their religious events and their names, such as taking them out of buses to be executed, besides sectarian target killings elsewhere. Shias have a statistically higher likelihood of being a victim of an extremist attack than their Sunni counterparts, who really don’t share the same urgency in wanting to tackle terrorism, or at least sectarian terrorism. It’s really not a lot to ask to be accountable and take responsibility.Recommend

  • Juan

    While appreciate the main point got posted, the comment above was censored quite a lot. I’d encourage folks to at least read the BBC article given in the link above. And then ask yourself where the betrayal and treason is. It gives clear credence to the author of this blog post.Recommend

  • Blue eyes

    And Khalistan, Kashmir, Kerela,+++ will soon be free.Good luck to you all.Recommend

  • Rohan

    Never but I’d bet on liberating Baluchistan and destroying Punjab of pooristanRecommend