SHAFAQNA – There has been a sharp rise in attacks against Pakistan Shiite community, leading many experts, and observers to war of the genocidal undertone of such sectarian targeting. Branded apostates by radical militants, Shiites have suffered great many injustices in Pakistan. Violence has spiked over the past months – shaking Pakistan Shiite community to its very core.
Pakistan Shiite genocide was exemplified by the murder of prominent human rights activist Khurram Zaki, renowned lawyers Asif Zaidi and Murtaza Zaidi, and intellectuals Akhter Hussaina and Mukhtiar Hussain.
From Karachi to Parachinar, Shiite Muslims have become the targets of atrocious violence.
It is to denounce and reject such violence that MWM’s Secretary General, Allama Raja Nasir announced a hunger strike. The cleric was visited by several important religious and political leaders – all were keen to offer their support.
To discuss Pakistan’s tragedy, Shafaqna sat with Ghulam Hur Shabbiri – one of Pakistan’s most renowned religious personality.
Shafaqna: What is your position vis a vis the ongoing Shiite Genocide in Pakistan and Allama Raja Nasir Abbas’s hunger strike?
Allama Ghulam Hur Shabbiri: There is no denying that Shiites have long suffered violence, and oppression. From target killings, to unlawful arrests and police raids, the Shiite community has been a recipient of much hatred, and much tyranny.
MWM worker’s homes have been raided, workers have been interrogated, their properties were seized … the list goes on.
It appears evident that a plot has been set in motion to restrict of Azza Dari. Similarly, other Shiite Ulema movement have been restricted. It is this situation which has led Allama Raja Nasir to take drastic measures, and begin a hunger strike.
Shafaqna: What are the most useful outcomes of this hunger strike campaign?
Allama Ghulam Hur Shabbiri: First, this step has created a sense of awareness. Already a number of symbolic hunger strike camps and unity camps have been set up in different cities across Pakistan.
Second, it has helped to bring Shiite killing into the lime light. Several political and religious leaders visited the camp and announced their support. Imran Khan himself visited the camp and ensured that he would work to resolve our problems. Similarly, a number of political figures told Raja Nasir that they would take up the issue to the floor of the Assembly.
Raja Nasir is committed to stand until all issues are resolved.
Third, it has put pressure on all concerned institutions. Shiites cannot be ignored and any such attempt will result in a disaster.
Fourth, it has created a sense of unity among the nation. The Shiite community has proved that they are law abiding citizens and that they never violated the law even when their own rights have been violated.
This movement has attracted the attention of the international community as well, which in itself is a remarkable success.
Shafaqna: What are the major demands of Allama Raja Nasir Abbas?
Allama Ghulam Hur Shabbiri: To stop the Shiite genocide and to bring all criminals to justice. All occupied Shiite lands should be returned, all FC personnel involved in the Parachina incident should be sacked and a transparent investigation on the Panama leak should be set up.
Shafaqna: Did any MP discuss this charter of demands at the Assembly?
Allama Ghulam Hur Shabbiri: The government has appointed a special team that will work on this charter of demands; even the KPK Govt has issued an ordinance to meet these demands.
Shafaqna: How do you see the participation of the Sunni Ulema in the camp and their show of unity with Allama Raja Nasir Hussain?
Allama Ghulam Hur Shabbiri: It is a very useful development – those who were propagating these killings as Shiite-Sunni rivalry have now got a clear message that Shiites and Sunnis are united and that there is no sectarian divide.
Shafaqna: In the wake of the ongoing Shiite genocide what is the responsibility of each Shiite citizen?
Allama Ghulam Hur Shabbiri: All Shiites need to unite and rise to the challenge together – not just in Pakistan but everywhere. Shiites across the world must back this movement for it is their very existence which stands in the balance. They must end their internal conflicts and stand united.
Shafaqna: It has been two weeks since this hunger strike camp was set up, what was Raja Nasir’s message when you last spoke to him?
Allama Ghulam Hur Shabbiri: Allama Raja Nasir is a man of courage; he would never retreat from his commitment. He is very much committed to his cause and would never give up until his demands are met. He requested that we pray for him, so he could stay firm.
Shafaqna: Did Majlas.e.Ulema Shiite Europe issue any statement in this regard?
Allama Ghulam Hur Shabbiri: A statement was issued earlier and each individual Ulema is supporting this movement. A public rally was also organized in London to show solidarity with this movement which has just one demand that the Government should listen to the voice of Allama Raja Nasir Hussain.
Shafaqna: Are you satisfied with the Government response?
Allama Ghulam Hur Shabbiri: In fact, the Government itself is knee-deep in issues — the Panama leak, corruption … The government has tried to downplay the hunger strike to better deflect from the rising opposition movement which is taking root in Pakistan. Nevertheless, this issue will reach the Senate next week (June 2sd).
Shafaqna: A number of other symbolic hunger strike camps have been set up, how do you see the result of such efforts?
Allama Ghulam Hur Shabbiri: I believe that such movements are not only supported by the the people but that there is divine help at play. I hope that all the demands put forth by Allama Raja Nasir Abbas will be met and that this movement will culminate in a respectful manner.
Shafaqna: What is your message for Non- resident Pakistanis?
Allama Ghulam Hur Shabbiri: We appeal to them to raise their voices through their respective embassies. They need to convey their message to different human right organizations so that the atrocities against Shiites in Pakistan can eventually be stopped.