Shias in Pakistan receive death threat text messages

Published: November 22, 2012

'Kill, Kill, Shias,' say the text warnings to members of Shia community. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: Shias, targeted in three explosions which killed 16 people on Wednesday, are now receiving death threat text messages on cellphones ahead of a key event in their religious calendar that has been tainted by violence in the past.

“Kill, Kill, Shias,” say the text warnings to members of the minority sect.

Hardline Sunni groups linked to al Qaeda have in recent months stepped up attacks against Shias, whom they regard as non-Muslims.

Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s violence and said it would stage more attacks on Shias over the next few days.

More than 300 Shias have been killed in Pakistan so far this year in sectarian conflict, according to human rights groups.

“Genocide against Shias is already taking place in Pakistan so the text messages don’t really matter that much,” said Jalal Haider, who received a text threat.

Hardline Sunnis are expected to strike again this weekend, the climax of the Shia mourning month of Muharram. Sunni groups have staged high-profile suicide bombings against processions on that occasion before.

Muharram marks the anniversary of the Battle of Karbala where the grandson of the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) and his family members were killed.

About 50,000 people are expected to march through the streets of Islamabad on Saturday and thousands of security personnel are expected to be deployed in a bid to avoid attacks.

Any large-scale sectarian violence could hurt Pakistan’s efforts to show it has improved security as it hosts the leaders of eight developing countries at a summit in Islamabad.

Pakistani intelligence officials say extremist groups, led by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, or LeJ, have escalated their bombings and shootings of Shias to trigger violence that would pave the way for a Sunni theocracy in US-allied Pakistan.

Pakistan is nowhere near that stage but officials worry that LeJ and other groups have succeeded in dramatically ratcheting up tensions and provoking revenge attacks in their bid to destabilise the nuclear-armed country.

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Reader Comments (32)

  • kanwal
    Nov 22, 2012 - 12:53PM

    So what will it take for the rest of the country to get united and support this community? When will we own this war?

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  • Just another shia
    Nov 22, 2012 - 1:13PM

    so who among shia is afraid of being killed???? they might never understand our policy of Labaik Ya Hussain …. Labaik Ya Hussain

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  • AA
    Nov 22, 2012 - 1:29PM

    Something really big is being played behind the scenes. May Allah keep everyone safe

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  • Alii
    Nov 22, 2012 - 1:46PM

    It amazes me:

    1. How can someone get so much explosives and ball bearings/ shrapnel in a city?
    2. How is it manufactured and who is manufacturing it? Ball bearing cannot be manufactured in a hut in waziristan
    3. How is it so easily transported all over the country?
    4. Does any security official/ dept. view the CCTV footage around the sensitive areas periodically or its only viewed when something has already happened.
    Lastly the only way to catch these barbarians is for our security forces esp. police to educate themselves in the art of policing and be proactive instead of just standing .Recommend

  • Pir Ali Raza
    Nov 22, 2012 - 1:53PM

    enemies of the truth are attacking Shias for centuries for one reason or another.

    YA ALI MADAD

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  • pakistani
    Nov 22, 2012 - 2:19PM

    You can’t defeat an enemy that is not afraid of death. Labaik Ya Hussain.Recommend

  • Nov 22, 2012 - 2:20PM

    Killing Hussainis won’t kill Hussainiyat.

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  • Karim Javed
    Nov 22, 2012 - 2:25PM

    Don’t know why you are using name Sunni again and again, you yourself creating a mess here. Every one is not a terrorist.

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  • Tahir Zain
    Nov 22, 2012 - 4:21PM

    The top priority of the goverment should not be to pander to the EU and go about banning the death panalty. But to use it as a weapon of war. For make no mistake we are at war here.

    The TTP was both shocked and dismayed when kasab was hanged in India. Why? Cause over here the courts are a cake walk for them. In the extremely rare case when they are convicted. They simply escape…

    The state can simply change its perceived softness by applying the death penalty and executing convicted terrorists. .

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  • Purede51
    Nov 22, 2012 - 4:23PM

    I regret to hear deaths of my PAKISTANI brothers but i also ask upon SHIAS to stop injuring themselves it is scary what would people think of ISLAM is this right? Imam Hussain is as much dear to us SUNNIS we love them & respect them much more but we pray. Why do you cut yourself? ISLAM or any other relegion never preaches to cut your body like this. Follow the right path of ISLAM ALI HUSSAIN they never asked you to hurt youself or spil blood this is extremely wrong…

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  • Junaid
    Nov 22, 2012 - 4:40PM

    Frankly this anti shia sentiment is being promoted across the country and not sure why state doesnt respond to it why doesnt it muster the will to crush this.
    we had grown up without knowing the difference between the two but it seems this small group funded by middleeast is gaining support day by the day among the lunatics its high time state take serious action against them.

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  • Student of Peace
    Nov 22, 2012 - 5:18PM

    I am Pakistani student in UK…..here at the university, we have got just one small prayer room (20 x 20) in the basement where Muslims (Shias and Sunnis) pray side by side, even in the same jamaat. We have students from all over the world and this distinction of whether someone is a Shia or a Sunni has never crossed our minds. I wish and pray that we concentrate on our 99% similarities rather than the 1% differences. The Ulema from both sides need to come out and profess peace. Strong punishments should be awarded for “hate speech”. It is only when this “hate speech” is stopped that we will see some improvement.

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  • Hindustani
    Nov 22, 2012 - 6:33PM

    Islam is a true religion of violence.

    The difference between Sunni and Shia is political and not even religious. Yet you kill each other.

    This is a trait across the muslim world and not just Pakistan.

    Compare the violence of Abrahmic religions to that of dharmic religions. Dharmic religions are blissfully peaceful compared to how much Jews-Muslims, Jews-Christians, Christians-Muslims, Catholics-protestenats, Shia-Sunni fights have killed. The cannot be less than several hundred million.

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  • Hindustani
    Nov 22, 2012 - 6:52PM

    @Student at peace who writes “here at the university, we have got just one small prayer room”

    The university has given a room for prayer? That’s a tragedy.

    A university is a place for education and not religion.

    It’s a shame that UK has become servile to Islamic bullies.

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  • Hairaan
    Nov 22, 2012 - 6:53PM

    @kanwal:

    So what will it take for the rest of the country to get united and support this community? When will we own this war?

    When will this community respect and own all of the four rightly guided caliphs?

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  • s shah
    Nov 22, 2012 - 7:19PM

    @Hairaan: If the shias dont ” respect and own all of the four rightly guided caliphs” that is their personal belief and you cannot force them to do so. Are you going to murder them for that ? Shame on your way of thinking. That is what has led Pakistan to this mess.

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  • Sunni Brother
    Nov 22, 2012 - 7:59PM

    s shah

    Did Hairan say that he is going to murder shias? He only said this uniting is not possible because shias don’t offer basic respect to all four rightly guided Caliphs.

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  • Jat
    Nov 22, 2012 - 8:12PM

    @Karim Javed: “Don’t know why you are using name Sunni again and again, you yourself creating a mess here.”

    Do you meant to say that Shias are killing Shias, Ahmedis are killing Ahmedis, Hindus are killing Hindus and Christians are killing Christians just so that Sunnis and Wahabis can be given a bad name ? You people will state every manner of utterly improbable theory just so that you don’t have to admit to your mistakes, past and present. Because admitting to mistakes will force you to take corrective measures, which you and your establishment do not want to take.

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  • gp65
    Nov 22, 2012 - 8:35PM

    @Tahir Zain: “The top priority of the goverment should not be to pander to the EU and go about banning the death panalty. But to use it as a weapon of war. For make no mistake we are at war here.”
    The terrorists are being acquitted or not arrested at all -. It is not as though they are getting a life sentence but government is hesitating to hang them. It is thus not a question of pandering to EU that is keeping the people who kill Shia safe. Malik Ishaq is not only free ( as in not in jail) but also free to make inflammatory speeches. The army does not have the stomach to go after TTP in NWA where they are ensconsed. The police say they hesitate to arrest terrorists when they know no one will be sentenced and now their own family will be at risk (not an irrational fear when so many police and their family have lost their lives). Witnesses are threatened in courts and killed – for there is no witness protection program and judges are too afraid to sentence (look at what happened to the guy who sentenced Qadri).

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  • Student of Peace
    Nov 22, 2012 - 9:04PM

    @Hindustani who wrote: A university is a place for education and not religion.
    It’s a shame that UK has become servile to Islamic bullies.

    My friend, respecting others’ religious beliefs is not succumbing to any bullying, rather it is the foundation of a strong, tolerant, progressive society. And its not just for Muslims, there are multi-faith prayer rooms for students as well at all notable campuses in UK and across Europe. Agreed that universities are for education, but religion is “higher education” in life.

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  • Baltee
    Nov 22, 2012 - 9:23PM

    @ Hairaan
    You can’t and shouldn’t impose your beliefs on others by force. From your logic muslims in India have to respect Gaye Mata and other idols to live peacefully in India.

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  • Hairaan
    Nov 22, 2012 - 10:46PM

    @Sunni Brother:
    Thanks for your support. I am surprised that nobody actually read what Kanwal has said but they were very quick in commenting to what I had not even said. But anyway I got the answer to my question loud and clear.

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  • Hairaan
    Nov 22, 2012 - 10:49PM

    @Baltee:

    You can’t and shouldn’t impose your beliefs on others by force

    So writing comments on ET is equal to using FORCE to change others’ believes? Electronic media has really become very powerful.

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  • Hairaan
    Nov 22, 2012 - 10:54PM

    @s shah:

    Are you going to murder them for that ? Shame on your way of thinking. That is what has led Pakistan to this mess.

    Believe me I am no terrorist or suicide bomber. But the way you replied reflects a lot about your mindset.

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  • Khan
    Nov 23, 2012 - 12:33AM

    @Baltee: Astaghfirullah Bro.. you’re saying that respect to the rightly guided caliphs whom the Prophet (s) mentioned to be like the stars is similar to being Muslim in India & showing respect to idols ? your answer shocking to say the least because i know shia brethren who respect the caliphs, its only the misguided ones who go to extremes

    If we cant even learn to respect each other, then whats the use.. & why these labels of sunni, shia , wahabi ? why not just Muslim ?

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  • IJAFRI79
    Nov 23, 2012 - 2:01AM

    Hairaan: we dont want unity at the cost of our beliefs. Shia sacrificed in the past and are willing to do so in the future, but will never acknowledge hypocrites and usurpers our leaders. We are the followers of Imam Hussain (this is exactly what Yazeed demanded from Imam that Imam endorse all yazeed’s wrong doings which Imam denied and preffered to sacrificed his and his family’s lives rather than surrending), we, too, have and will sacrifice our lives for his cause, standing against enemies of Islam. Muslim world wont be here if those 3 hadn’t usurped the right of Ahal-e-baiyt and we will continue to say this no matter what. Yazeed of that time couldn’t get what he wanted then and the same mindset now wont be successful at this time either. LAKUM DEENAKUM WALIADEEN.Recommend

  • SAD
    Nov 23, 2012 - 9:46AM

    @Hairaan:
    If innocent people are being killed, people like you would first see the depth of faith of the victim , rather than rise against the injustice.
    Speaks a lot about you as a human. Such people are not better murderers.

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  • Athish
    Nov 23, 2012 - 2:42PM

    Who is collecting their number??? My friends be aware be alert and care full. By the way “You can’t defeat an enemy that is not afraid of death”.. is the main philosophy of Shia-ism. They are not afraid of little things.

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  • sijal
    Nov 23, 2012 - 4:02PM

    why the name “sunni” has been used again and again?those are just extremists,not every sunni is intolerant like them,i live in Pakistan i have shia friends,we,both sects are perfectly tolerant towards each other!
    YOU CANT JUDGE AN ENTIRE RACE OR A COUNTRY OF MILLIONS,BASED ON THE PUBLICIZED AND STEREOTYPED ACTIONS OF A HANDFUL OF INDIVIDUALS!

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  • Andamentalist
    Nov 23, 2012 - 7:49PM

    @Alii:
    I wish I could give multiple recommendation to your comment. This government is going all way defensive.

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  • Nayla
    Nov 26, 2012 - 8:26PM

    How do they get their telephone numbers?

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  • hm
    Dec 20, 2012 - 12:10PM

    The blood-letting of Shi’a is over 1000 years old. Every epoch, the Shi’a communities are purged from some corner of the Muslim world. Meanwhile, the average Sunni says and does nothing. Then, something happens where the Sunni becomes a minority. For example, a Muslim land will be colonized or occupied. And then, finding himself in the position of a minority, the Sunni will all of a sudden become enamoured with the Ummah and exhort Muslims to rise up against injustice. If we look at the numbers, more Shi’a have been killed by Sunni and Salafi muslims than by non-Muslims.

    Let’s be clear. I absolutely respect the various Sunni schools of thought. They are nuanced, well-developed, highly complex schools of thought on par with any Shi’a school of thought. However, as someone on this message board wrote” You people will state every manner of utterly improbable theory just so that you don’t have to admit to your mistakes, past and present. Because admitting to mistakes will force you to take corrective measures, which you and your establishment do not want to take.”

    I completely agree with this sentiment. The facts are that, for the most part, Sunni muslims have not taken ownership over the genocide of Shi’a in Pakistan or in Saudi. They have not taken ownership of the apartheid in Bahrain or Saudi. They have not taken historical ownership for the Ottoman massacre of Shi’a or the massacre of Hussein. Shi’a must continue to press for Sunni recognition of sunni-led crimes. HOWEVER, this does not reflect on the sunni community as a whole or on the sunni schools of thought. What it does do, though, is finally have the sunni community actually acknowledge that Shi’a have been massacred under the auspices of sunni governments for over 1000 years.

    I would like to end this comment on the note that, regardless of differences, I have a deep and profound respect for Sunni thought and practices. So I hope that the above comment is taken in the spirit. At the same time, I will not bend on the unequivocal rights of Shi’a as well as their responsibility to protect themselves and reveal the oppressive elements in sunni communities which have utterly massacred entire Shi’a communities.

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