Open Letter to Rulers & Media of Pakistan sign now

This is an open letter being addressed on behalf of the Shia community of Pakistan to those who wield influence in the governance and media of Pakistan, wherever they may be: Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Karachi, Riyadh, Edgware Road and Whitehall (London), Washington, D.C. or Langley, Virginia.

Pakistani Shia community has been physically under attack for decades by obscurantist zealots created in the 1980s and funded and backed by American, Saudi and Pakistani security establishments. Thousands of Shia Muslim religious scholars, politicians, doctors, businessmen, intellectuals and even those attending prayers or other religious ceremonies have been brutally killed since then by those professing to follow Islam.

These one-sided cold-blooded atrocities have continued since the dark days of dictator Zia. Shias have seen their best being brutally murdered, but have not uttered a word beyond token protests necessary for catharsis as we realized the difficulty that Pakistan may have to face if a frontal response was given by us to the sectarian terrorism perpetrated against us.

Sadly, rather than this being appreciated, and due protection being given to the community by those at the helm of affairs, this appears to have been perceived as our weakness.

The anti-Shia atrocities were quite brazen to begin with, but have become nakedly brutal over the past few months. As the country entered sixty-second year of its life, and the elected representatives remained busy in arranging change of guard at the Presidency and the Supreme Court, this is what was happening to the Pakistani Shia community:

Parachinar, the last fortress on our Western borders against Talibanesque obscurantism, is besieged by terrorists for 14 months now resulting in dearth not just of foodstuff and heating fuel (in severe winter), but even affecting the supply of life-saving medicines. Over the past few months the local Shia population has been under heavy armed attack of foreign Taliban. The government and the armed forces are conspicuous by their absence: the only attempt at escorting a convoy of supplies turned futile when the soldiers, armoured cars and helicopter gunships supposedly providing protection ran for cover at the time of a Taliban attack, and the eight Shia young men taking these essential supplies to Parachinar were brutally hacked to pieces, and their body pieces delivered to their mourning families along with compact discs depicting the whole process of killing.
Shias living in Tank, Dera Ismail Khan, Hangu and now even some areas of Karachi have been receiving letters from the terrorist gangs Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan and Sipahe Sahaba threatening them to convert to Sunni Islam or migrate or else be ready for being killed and their property and honour being trampled upon. A component party of the present government is known to be backing these threats. Events in Tank and DIK over the past year or so evidence that these threats are actually being carried out, and migration of unprotected Shias from these areas is taking place, as confirmed the other day in the national assembly by the honourable member from Bhakkar, Rashid Akbar Khan.
Shias in other areas of Pakistan are not safe either, as recent sectarian attacks in Karachi and Quetta have shown. The ruthless and deliberately planned suicide attack the other day in DIK that killed dozens of innocent Shias shows the extent of this threat, and the level of brainwashing of attackers.

While we Shias are the inheritors of the spirit of Karbala and welcome rather than fear martyrdom, what hurts our youth is

1. the shameless apathy of the rulers and the security establishment who have taken nary an action other than occasional lip service and clichйd statements of dealing with the terrorists with an iron hand
2. the suspicious role of the free and independent print and electronic media that runs reports of minor road accidents as breaking news but has with very few noble exceptions - not, for over 14 months now, broken the news of wholesale atrocities committed on Shias in Parachinar, DIK, Tank, Hangu and all over the country. An extremely peaceful public meeting of over 50,000 Shia representatives from across the country was held on 3rd August in Islamabad followed by a similarly peaceful Save Pakistan rally to Parliament House. Channels that held marathon live coverage of anti-State Lal Masjid insurgency last year, and full day coverage of its anniversary that was attended by a few hundred, almost completely blacked out this event that brought a message of peace. Similar was the attitude of print media the next day. One wonders what pressure was brought and by whom to bring about this almost total news blackout.
3. the general lack of condemnation by our Muslim brethren of the animal-like atrocities committed by so-called Taliban against Shias


Shia Muslims of the sub-continent were at the forefront of the struggle for creation of Pakistan under the leadership of our Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and his loyal soldiers like the Raja of Mehmoodabad, while those who now apostatize us were apostatizing the countrys founder. Despite all the atrocities against us since then, and despite the Pakistani Shia community being alienated and cornered more and more into a Bangladesh-like situation akin to 1971, we are still cognizant of our communitys role and responsibility in saving Pakistan, and thus our creed Pakistan banaya thaa, Pakistan bachaen gey (We made Pakistan, we will save Pakistan).

However, of those who wish to rule Pakistan we only ask that they should facilitate our lives as equal and secure citizens of this state. This can be done by immediately taking the following actions that were recommended by our leadership on 3rd August 2008 in Islamabad:

Removal of Taliban terrorists from Hangu-Parachinar Road and its opening to all travelers irrespective of their sect
Kurram Militia, that had been responsible for peacekeeping in Kurram Agency since British rule and whose removal is one of the major causes of lack of control of situation by government, to be reinstated to this area
Recommencing PIA flights from major Pakistani cities to Parachinar
Resettlement in Tank of Shia families who have been forced to migrate from there by Taliban terrorists
Controlling the Taliban menace in D I Khan so that similar exodus from there can be stemmed
Return to Parachinar of those locals both Shia and Sunni who had to leave in 2007 after start of Taliban atrocities
Arrest of terrorists responsible for recent sectarian killings in Dera Ismail Khan, Quetta and Karachi, as well as for attacks on government establishments in Lahore and Wah
Payment of compensation to families of all those martyred in sectarian attacks


If, however, the rulers are too impotent, indifferent or fearful to take even these basic actions, they should so announce and, as suggested the other day by MNA Rashid Akber Khan in the parliament, let Shias defend themselves and save their beloved country. For with this country are attached the lives and futures not only of ourselves but our future generations as well as that of the Muslim ummah. To those foreign powers that wish to destroy this country, and to their local agents we convey that if, God forbid, something happens to this country, the fallout will encompass not only the power centres of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, and commercial centres of Karachi and Lahore, but will also be felt in faraway places like Riyadh, London, Washington, D. C. and Langley, Virginia. So to them, we the inheritors of the valour of Haider-e-Karrar alaihissalam say: "Hands off our beloved Motherland!"

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Kelsey OrozcoBy:
Technology and the InternetIn:
Petition target:
Rulers and Media of Pakistan

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