Militancy and Sectarian Approaches in Pakistan

By Dr. Muhammad Husain
The sectarian fronts always entail high risks that Pakistan is facing for decades. The culture of militarization, on sectarian grounds, stems from different intervals, the Afghan, the Syrian war, and the current political recessions in the Middle East. It was the era of 1979 when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, attempting to shore up the newly-established pro-soviet regime in Kabul. Foreign support propped up the diverse group of rebels, pouring in from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and the Middle Eastern countries. Coincidently, the Islamic revolution of Iran came into being on the geopolitical fronts and was flourishing with hopes and confidence among the nations. That was, on the other hand, a threat to the existing political structure in the region. Similarly, the sectarian approach was used optimally into Afghanistan with devastating attacks on Shia Muslims. Soon after kneeling the USSR, the factions of rebels and Mujahideen went on agitating against the sponsored for achieving more rewards and pay-off lives. Because they were left hapless despite sacrificing lives and their loved ones in “Jihad”. Subsequently, then U.S administration turned the hopelessness and disappointments into an opportunity with branding the militants into the Taliban and Al-Qaeda and pushed them along the border with Pakistan. After passing a hard time, the Pakistan military launched the operation Rah-e-Nijat against the extremists in South Waziristan on June 19, 2009, in tribal areas of Pakistan. The operation was aimed to finish the senior Taliban leadership and bring the lawless areas back to government control however the leadership escaped to Afghanistan whilst areas came back under the Pakistan government control.
It was 2011 when the Arab spring broke out from North Africa to the Middle Eastern countries. Syria was cordoned off with civil war fought between the government and foreign-funded rebel groups. The large number of foreign fighters joining ISIS is reminiscent of the flow of volunteers who joined the Afghan jihad against the Soviet occupation in the 1980s. At that time, many young Muslims from Southeast Asia traveled to Pakistan to support the Afghan Mujahideen. The same hardline militants from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Afghanistan threw to Syria and Libya, in the guise of workers and drivers, for joining ISIS. Over time, the ordinary people of the countries started favoring the ISIS and accepted their proclaimed leadership (Caliphate) above all Muslims. But the perseverance and cooperation of Syrians with the government made possible in blocking the attacks and thwart their narrative of “fight for civil rights” on technical grounds. Since then, foreign rebels started coming back home with lots of training and infused extremist ideology for serving abettors and supporters in the origin countries. Though the targeted killing and militancy were already active in Pakistan since the Afghan war but escalated more after the civil war in Syria. Similar tactics were used for killing the opposite sects as was apt by ISIS in Syria, live shooting, and beheading. Later on, it was revealed that the foreign intelligence agencies were funding, giving training, and ammunition to the militancy in Syria and Libya. They were injected again into Afghanistan and somehow in Pakistan for relaunching a sectarian war. Even the militants started killing and hitting the military of Pakistan on different occasions in the country. For that, the Pakistan military pushed an operation named as “Radd-ul-Fasad” elimination of terrorist, in tribal areas. The majority of Sunni Muslims are against ISIS and its ideology, and even they consider them as cancer for the unity of the Muslim Ummah. There are factions still showing sympathy with ISIS and following their military approaches with locals and threatening publicly. The last but not least strategy for militancy is the fall out of Arab-Israel bonds that are signed officially in the last couple of weeks. It is because of the foreign forces facing hurdles and resistance at every level where they wanted to work for greater Israel. As a last resort, the U.S, Saudi Arabia, and the foreign allies are using the sectarian line for demarcation and disintegration between Shia and Sunni across the world. The recent outcry in Karachi was one of its examples for igniting extremism and hatred among the Muslims.
The Islamic Scholars “Ulema” of both sides, Shia & Sunni, believe that the same hands could be involved behind the hate speeches and rallies with cursing and threatening their Muslim brethren overtly in Karachi. We know that there are two foreign intelligence agencies, CIA & MI6 inching the ways to lead the people from Shia and Sunni to violence and disrespect grounds. A few weeks ago, some media houses claimed that a foreign country has invested billions and trillions of dollars on seminaries only for creating the hatred and violence against a specific Muslim sect of the country. The majority of Muslims in Pakistan confess that there are a handful of criminals foaming tensions and fighting between Shia and Sunni, and also representing themselves as members but not actually. Later on, it proved that a portion of speakers from the rally held an immediate conference and said that we don’t have any association with those cursing Muslims and praising Yazid openly. On the other hand, the same day, the scholars from Shia Muslim hold a grand conference and voice unanimously against the person who cursed the leading “Sahaba” and flew to London under a specific protocol. The point is, as people mention that there is a conflict between Shia & Sunni but is not actually, both of the leading sects in Pakistan have shown their reservations publicly. They also presented their disassociations with the organizations and persons who always cursing and defaming the sacred entities of Islam.
It implies that there is not such communal conflict at all but are some puppets and handlers working for foreign interests and maligning the country and Islam.

Dr. Muhammad Husain is a senior Research Associate.

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