Not unlike Ejaz Haider, Najam Sethi, Raza Rumi and other urban elites who misrepresent target killing of Shia Muslims as “sectarian violence”, Naziha Syed Ali misrepresents Shia genocide by the ISI-supported ASWJ-SSP militants as a case of tit for tat violence. In her article published in Dawn, she peddled the ISI-ASWJ propaganda to create false neutrality between Shia genocide and the murder of a few ASWJ-SSP militants.
Here is a profile of this species (Naziha Syed Ali) who recycled ISI-ASWJ propaganda in Dawn: http://www.dawn.com/2012/03/16/changing-trends-in-sectarian-killings.html
Look at her class and the company she keeps. In fact many in this list, Naziha Syed Ali, Mohammed Hanif, Talat Aslam etc are either silent or misrepresent Shia genocide by ISI-backed ASWJ.
Will Naziha equate Palestinians’ attacks on Israeli army with with Israeli State’s disproportionate attacks on Palestinians? Will she equate Kashmir’s freedom fighters’ attacks on Indian army with Indian army’s oppression of Kashmiris?
Does she not know that Shia Muslims are the largest target killed faith group in Pakistan, who are being killed only because of their faith (Shia sect) and no other reason? Shias of all backgrounds, lawyers, doctors, engineers, teachers, professors, religious scholars, students, ordinary Shias in offices, markets, vans, Muharram processions are being killed on a regular basis!
Does she not know that ASWJ-SSP and other Jihadi-sectarian militants are supported by Pakistan army and its various agencies, the same agencies which also played a key role in the construction of the Difa-e-Pakistan Council? Does she not know that in the last six months alone, more than 240 Shia Muslims have been killed in Pakistan? Does she not know that Pakistan’s Sunni Muslims have rejected ASWJ-SSP terrorists?
We condemn Dawn, The Friday Times and other similar liberal elites publications and warn them to refrain from misrepresenting Shia genocide in Pakistan. Dawn must retract this article and publish an apology not only to Shia Muslims but to all truth seeking, peace loving Pakistanis.
A copy of Naziha’s article published in Dawn is appended below:
Changing trends in sectarian killings
Naziha Syed Ali
| Metropolitan Karachi
KARACHI, March 15: Ateeq Hanif’s three sons are between seven years and six months old. An activist of the Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), one of several militant outfits banned in 2002, Ateeq along with Shabbir Wakeel, another SSP worker, was murdered in mid-February while returning home after visiting friends in Gol Market, Nazimabad. Four men on two motorbikes rode up and fired at them several times, killing Shabbir on the spot while Ateeq, who was shot in the face, died later in hospital.
In his sparsely furnished home in Gulbahar locality, his brother-in-law Mohammad Zahir spoke about the threats that preceded Ateeq’s murder. “He would get phone calls threatening him with death if he didn’t stop working for the SSP,” he said. “But he’d been affiliated with the organisation for 20 years and there was no way he was going to give that up. He kept varying his routine, and although he was told by his doctor to go for a walk every day, he couldn’t do that.”
Mr Zahir has no doubt who is responsible for his brother-in-law’s murder. “He was afraid of rival militants, and they’re the ones who took his life.”
In another part of Karachi, in a Shia graveyard called Ali Bagh, Mohammad Hasan points at two adjacent graves — those of his brothers, Mohammad Hussain, 39, and Ali Akbar, 30. On the night of July 23, 2011 the two men were shot dead by gunmen close to the entrance to the graveyard. “I had gone fishing to Balochistan with my friends,” says Mr Hasan. “Otherwise I would definitely have been with them.”
His father was caretaker of Ali Bagh at the time, and the family lived in a house on the premises. When his parents heard the shots ring out they rushed outside to discover one son dead and two others grievously wounded. One of them died later in hospital while the eldest recovered. He has since left the country.
“Our family had been living there for over 50 years and had never received any direct threats, although every Friday from a nearby mosque, we’d hear sermons saying how even shaking hands with us is haram,” says Mr Hasan. “All we know is that my brothers had no enmity with anyone, and the only possible reason for their murder is that we’re Shias.”
In Karachi, where ethnic and political rivalries — often indistinguishable from each other — claim lives on a regular basis, sometimes in horrific orgies of bloodletting such as that in August 2011, people like Ateeq Hanif, Shabbir Wakeel, Mohammad Hussain and Ali Akbar are casualties of sectarian killings, another deadly game of tit-for-tat that shows no signs of abating. These are not large-scale massacres such as the recent one in Kohistan that claimed the lives of 18 Shias, but low-key, targeted operations carried out in the middle of bustling localities and busy streets.
According to the police, the main players in this sectarian vendetta are the Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) — later called Ahle-Sunnat-Wal-Jamaat (ASWJ) after the SSP was banned a decade ago — and Sipah-i-Muhammad Pakistan (SMP), a proscribed group of activists belonging to various larger Shia organisations. As of March 10 this year, the ASWJ has also been banned.
Until 2008, the victims were largely Shia. However, the past two years have seen a sharp rise in the number of SSP activists also getting killed in Karachi.
According to official police records, 19 Sunnis — virtually all SSP activists — and 13 Shias were killed in Karachi last year on sectarian grounds. However, the total number of murdered SSP activists cited by the organisation itself is twice as high. The same is the case with the Jaffria Alliance which maintains a record of Shias killed on sectarian grounds. Police officials concede that their own list may well be incomplete.
Representatives of the SSP and Jaffria Alliance deny the allegation that any of its cadres are involved in sectarian killings.
‘All they need are two pistols and a motorbike’
Senior Superintendent of Police (Operations), CID, Fayyaz Khan says: “In most cases, the perpetrators operate in small splinter groups of four or five. They don’t need an organisation per se; all they need are two pistols and a motorbike. They fund their operations through bank robberies and kidnapping.” At the same time, maintains another police official, they remain in constant touch with their parent organisations.
Several senior members of the SSP are veterans of the Afghan war and received training in camps affiliated with or run by Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. The organisation allegedly continues to maintain close links with Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LJ), its proscribed militant offshoot which is held responsible for some of the most heinous sectarian attacks in Pakistan including the massacre of 26 Shia pilgrims in Mastung in 2011. In the words of a police official, “Given that SSP gives financial support to families of LJ militants who are in jail, or have been killed while carrying out acts of terrorism, what else can you infer from that?”
On the other side of the sectarian divide, a dozen or more SMP activists were arrested in the mid-2000s, according to police sources, prompting several others to go underground within the country while some slipped abroad. According to the police sources, these militant cadres have regrouped somewhere in Parachinar. Some have allegedly also been to training camps — known as maaskars — in a neighbouring country. A group of four arrested recently is under trial for eight or so cases of murder of SSP activists.
The profile of Shia victims of sectarian killings in Karachi has also changed in recent times, say police sources, with most now being rank-and-file members of society rather than prominent or comparatively high-profile professionals. “The group led by Asif Ramzi, an LJ militant, used to target professionals almost exclusively,” says a police official. “After his death in an explosion in 2002, ordinary Shias began to be targeted more. Shia militants on the other hand tend to target SSP activists whom they view as a direct threat.” SSP Khan adds that the arrest of notorious LJ leader Akram Lahori, also in 2002, had the same effect.
The police official sees little prospect of a decline in sectarian target killings. “We catch four sectarian terrorists and they tell us about another eight, and so on. It’s like a hydra-headed monster.”
Meanwhile, the slain SSP activist Ateeq Hanif’s brother-in-law, Mohammad Zahir, talks about how his family has changed since the murder. “Even though we’re Deobandi and staunch supporters of the SSP, my kids have been studying in a school run by a Shia welfare organisation. Ateeq objected to my sending them there, but I didn’t listen to him. Now, my wife and I believe that he was right, and we’re going to take them out.”
Mr Hasan, whose two brothers were killed in the Ali Bagh graveyard last summer, narrates how his aged father still cannot come to terms with the loss of his sons. “Every morning, as per routine, he calls out for them to come down and join him for breakfast.” The killers have never been caught and a sense of fear pervades their lives. “We don’t know whether the person greeting us is our well-wisher or is planning to kill us,” he says. “We can’t trust any one any longer.”