Who’s behind the Lahore attack?

Published: July 3, 2010
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The writer is author of Military Inc. and a visiting professor at Johns Hopkins University, US (ayesha.siddiqa@tribune.com.pk)

The writer is author of Military Inc. and a visiting professor at Johns Hopkins University, US (ayesha.siddiqa@tribune.com.pk)

Quite a few people are anxious about the recent death and destruction at Data Darbar, Lahore. While the government and its agencies must be rummaging through heaps of evidence, there are some who already have an answer. The Hizbut-Tehrer (HuT), a movement for global jihad’s Pakistan chapter, has already committed its findings for its supporters and potential followers on the internet and its press releases.

One of HuT’s press release condemns American for involvement in the recent attacks in Lahore. The politico-social-militant group, which seems to be resurfacing in the country again, believes that the attacks in Lahore are part of a series planned by the US or its assistance to provide logic for attack on Punjab. The federal interior minister, who often gives the glimpse of being an unofficial member of a militant group, seems to have put life to the above contention by claiming that this could not be done by Muslims. This, in fact, is an old belief that Muslims cannot kill their other members of the ummah.

Such conclusion would make it harder for the police to dig out the main culprits. It may actually mean nothing to know the real identity of the suicide bombers whose images were caught on the CCTV. It is a known fact that the actual bombers are part of a six member team involved in planning and executing an attack. There is the main planner, the person in charge for the operation, the manufacturer of the suicide jacket, the person who searches out the target, the handler of the suicider and finally the person who commits his life. The militants make sure that it becomes difficult to reach the main person behind the attack even when they can trace the suicide bomber and his handler.

It becomes dicey to argue that the six-plus member team involved in the recent Lahore attacks were not Muslims. The answers are almost improbable to find after a suicide attack is executed since the police cannot find all body parts of the attacker to determine his religion.

But then what the HuT’s seems to argue is that the suicide bombers might have been led astray by foreign, non-Muslim elements. But then what might have led these men astray? Most likely, the team of suicide  attackers was convinced that those going to the shrines, just like the Ahmadis who were targeted earlier, represented the jahiliya. This means a non-Islamic cultural trend which poses a threat to Islam. A world not ruled by pious leaders or not run according to Sharia is a state which then must be changed. This is what Ibn Taimiya had argued in the 13th/14th century and later Syed Qutb in the mid 20th century. It is referred to in Pakistan as the Takfeeri ideology which means that the proponents argue for waging militant jihad against ordinary Muslims who have agreed to live under non-Sharia rule.

Lets stand this argument on its head and look at it from the perspective of the suicide bombers. They were trying to save their world and people. So, does that mean that their international accomplices are helping them establish Islamic rule? Not bad! But then if we were to extend this argument a bit further then does it mean that all the foreign forces that the Hizb holds responsible for these terrorist activities are actually doing us a favor? The Hizb wants to establish khilafat in the world through a Muslim state or states first.  Given the Hizb strategy of using the military to capture power, even this is not the exact formula for a bloodless coup. Lets argue that in case an inspired Muslim army will capture power, they may not want to spill blood but spilling some might be unavoidable. But that would just be of those who resist Islamic rule. Principally, this stance might not be very different from the takfeeris. The difference lies only in the amount of blood that the tafeeris agree to spill versus the HuT. Both aim at the elimination of those who resist Sharia rule or live life differently from what is considered as ordained by the Sharia.

Wouldn’t this logic then put the HuT and alleged perpetrators of violence at the same page? Why would the US want to force Pakistanis to establish Sharia rule? Or why would the HuT present America as aiding those who want to establish Sharia in Pakistan? The logic is mind-boggling but one must read into such statements and see what direction they follow.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 4th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (30)

  • Ghausia
    Jul 4, 2010 - 12:22AM

    Muslims can’t kill Muslims? Really? Well what about sectarian violence, what does the interior minister have to say about that?Recommend

  • faraz
    Jul 4, 2010 - 2:01AM

    The call for revival of khilafat shows that our youth has extremely poor understanding of history and politics. Our history has been thoroughly distorted and we glamorize khilafat as a perfect political system which infact was nothing but a ruthless dynastic monarchy. People belonging to HuT dont even know the basic difference between a medieval monarchy and the modern state. Those who want to revive khilafat should spend some time in Karachi and observe the ethnic, linguistic, political, sectarian, historical and cultural differences present among the people. Recommend

  • rehman
    Jul 4, 2010 - 2:19AM

    the problem is denial denial denail..we pakistanis just cant accept someone from our own selves killing us. this is just not acceptable. its high time we forget about the “foreign hand” the cia-israel-india nexus. its common sense tht whn they will fund it they will do it to have an impact like we did in mumbai. these little bombings do not have an affect on a state level. these are carried out by local militant organizations nurtured by our authorities who now fail to accept tht we r nt supportin thm anymore. i disagree with the sufi form of islam but tht doesnt mean i would blow myself up in data darbar,why because i beleive years of education have had an effect. our government doesnt realize that spending so little on education for years is wreaking havoc. we as pakistanis need to do so much about it Recommend

  • Jul 4, 2010 - 2:42AM

    You have got it wrong. The Americans and Jews have brainwashed a section of people and are now using them as Hasan bin Sabah as used his hashishians. Those kill Muslims are not in the circle of Islam. Recommend

  • Jul 4, 2010 - 2:50AM

    When the attack on Ahmadis took place and people were falling over themselves to denounce the persecution of the Ahmadi community, I felt that the overwhelming emotional reaction had missed some sinister element behind that attack, which was politically motivated. Whether it was Ahmadis who died, or some other community, was beside the point. I see the latest atrocity in Lahore as part of the same sinister plan.

    What we have to ask is: who will benefit from the spread of terror and insecurity in Pakistan? Pakistan’s descent into hell has been preceded by similar experiences in two places: Iraq and Afghanistan. What is the common factor between them? You don’t need rocket science to work that out – all you need is simple common sense and some basic honesty.

    Do always bear in mind that mischief making is the official policy of the USA government and it has perfected a fool-proof way to throw sand into the eyes of the world. The way the Americans do it is to swing their formidable propaganda machine into action and rubbish all criticism as “conspiracy theories”. The best example I can give you is the farce of 9/11, following which Karl Rove, Bush’s White House supremo, said:

    “We’re an empire now and when we act we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality we’ll act again, creating other new realities”.

    The evidence of the 9/11 atrocity was quickly destroyed and the case presented by the USA government did not fit the facts. Still, the USA government linked this extremely sophisticated attack to a group of people in backward Afghanistan, where they lacked the resources to execute that attack. No attempt has been made to provide credible evidence linking that outrage to the group in Afghanistan and yet the obsequious Pakistanis – and, surprisingly, the rest of the world – have swallowed all the lies and false accusations!

    Let us learn to think critically: what you see may only be an illusion, hiding an ugly reality underneath. That ugly reality behind the attempts to terrorise the civilian population of Pakistan is the increasing USA pressure on Pakistan to send its troops into North Waziristan. Pakistani lives are dirt cheap when it comes to achieving the evil designs of USA politicians.Recommend

  • Muhammad Ziad
    Jul 4, 2010 - 5:20AM

    “A world not ruled by pious leaders or not run according to Sharia is a state which then must be changed. This is what Ibn Taimiya had argued in the 13th/14th century and later Syed Qutb in the mid 20th century”

    Imam Ibn-e-Taymiyya (RahimAllAH) it is. Syed Qutb (May ALLAH have mercy on him) was an Islamic Political revivalist. He argued not exactly what you have presented nor what you believe is even half truth. It was during Ibn-e-Tayimiyya time that the Muslim world first came across the problem where the caliphate rule was destroyed by the tartars. His era was marked by a call to the Muslims to the restoration of the caliphate.

    What Syed Qutb wrote was not that the pious should rule but exactly what Ibn-e-Tayimmiya worked for during the era where the caliphate structure was destroyed and that was to restore it for as a Muslim cannot accept to live in a system which challenges the Hakimiyat (rule of law) of ALLAH SWT.

    To say that suicide bombers are motivated by such fantasies is naive. It is the clear message from the Tahrir and also from all political ‘Islamists’ that to for the restoration of the caliphate , the only phase to be used ‘for now’ is ‘Dawah’. To support suicide bombing is a different case altogether. As a matter of fact the most boggling fatwa is from the Deobandis which denounces attacks on Pakistan but allows it in Afghanistan. The dilemma in all this is , are Afghan National Army not Muslims? or do they not represent the same Masters? On what basis is attack allowed on one party and not on the other?

    Shrine attacks are a hallmark of TTp Pakistan. It was used by the Swat chapter and so has it been used in Datta. Attacks are not orchestrated from India but rather it is an ideology which motivates suicide bombers. The justification for the shrines is that people have turned towards Bidah (innovation) thus killing some who are present their would spread fear and stop the madness. This is a proper reason rather than the one presented before regarding a political setup. The struggle for Shariah is a duty of all Muslims and the restoration of the Caliphate is not an evil call. Recommend

  • Awais Saleem
    Jul 4, 2010 - 7:50AM

    A true Muslim can never kill his fellow Muslim in any circumstance. We can see Hypocrites all around us, they can do anything for money and power. True spirit of Islam is missing.Recommend

  • Fareed Ahmed
    Jul 4, 2010 - 9:05AM

    Did the Rahmat ul Alameen (SAW) propagated a Takfeeri ideology? Most certainly not. During his visit to Taif he was abused, stoned and his sandals filled with blood. Did he then allow the people of Taif to be crushed between two mountains? Certainly not. Did not the people of Taif represent the jahiliya?Recommend

  • Tahir Rauf Chaudhry
    Jul 4, 2010 - 10:42AM

    I second Ghausia…we are living in the age when a muslim is after the life of a muslim and what to talk about protecting the minorities. Its sounds some what funny when our administration blame foreign power behind the attacks, they usually take names like CIA,Mossad and RAW but what they don’t realise is that on the ground these are our people who commit horrible crimes. The terrorists arrested from the Ahmedi attacks are Muslims and the persons seen in the CCTV footage of Data Darbar attack seems to be a muslim from his get up.

    Foreign elements are our enemies and they will do what is beneficial to them and harmful to Pakistan but we have to protect ourselves. Whatever foreign hands are doing they are doing well within the boundries of Pakistan and here the writ of the Government lies, so its the duty of the Government to protect the lives of its citizens.Recommend

  • Ejaz
    Jul 4, 2010 - 11:15AM

    I liked the term ‘Takfeeri’. But it never means the article was not impressive. It is well-researched and a timely contribution to highlight and see through the takfeeri (denying, right?) ideology of the militants and their supporters…Recommend

  • Parvez
    Jul 4, 2010 - 11:38AM

    There is background to all this, the operation in south Punjab. You also know who wants to send army there.
    Siddiqa you are very creative to talk about HuT, run out of London. Why don’t you just say PTT and move on. Recommend

  • Jabbar Khan
    Jul 4, 2010 - 12:17PM

    Aisha Siddiuas happened to be my teacher at prestigious Quaid-e-Azam University. As far as the recent attack in Data durbar is concerned, the government’s claimed that it was a suicide attack. So far no concrete evidence has been found to prove it a suicide attack. The government hastily claimed that the suicide bomber namely Rafique resident of vicinity in Lahore was responsible for the carnage. Later on it was proved that the accused was an ardent devotee of Data shaib and use to go to the shrine on every Thursday.
    It is pertinent to mention that both TTP and Punjabi Taliban categorically denied their involvement in Data Darbar carnage. We must realize that someone is trying to carry out Iraq-like sectarian violence in Pakistan. Sunni and Shia conflict did not get the required momentum, now majority Deobandi and Bralvi have become their target. Soon after the attack Bralvi Ulma started accusing over all deobandi for the massacre at Data Darbar. But as a nation we need to be extra-vigilant to counter each move of the enemy.Recommend

  • Zamurrad
    Jul 4, 2010 - 1:03PM

    I fully agree what Jabbar Khan wrote, “We must realize that someone is trying to carry out Iraq-like sectarian violence in Pakistan. Sunni and Shia conflict did not get the required momentum, now majority Deobandi and Bralvi have become their target”.

    Every Pakistani must watch out!!!!Recommend

  • Syed A. Mateen
    Jul 4, 2010 - 1:07PM

    The main cause behind the suicide attacks in Pakistan is the ongoing US war on terror.

    If we trace the roots of terrorism in Pakistan, I do not think that there was a similar activity prior to 9/11 terrorists attacks on World Trade Centre and Pentagon.

    Unless US will not stop its drone attacks in Pakistan, stop killing innocent people in Afghanistan and Iraq, I doubt that terror attacks in Pakistan would come to an end.

    Talking to Talibans, Al-Qaeda or any other banned outfit will be a frutile effort.

    What terrorists want that Pakistan should not provide any more support to US in fighting US war on terror in Pakistan and at the same time US should also stop killing innocent people in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    How long people of Pakistan will pay for the undending war? Is there a dead line or not? Or will it go for ever? Recommend

  • ahmed
    Jul 4, 2010 - 1:40PM

    @Jabbar Khan
    Your argument could be proved wrong by simply visiting a few deobandi or berelvi mosques. Hate literature is everywhere being produced by mosques all over Pakistan. Sectarian and militant organizations are provided cover and money not only by the government but also by the local population. JUD was recently paid a huge sum of money by PML-N, just try and read some books by JUD members and you’ll come across sectarianism. SSP, Lashkar e Jhangvi etc are all state sponsored organizations with a lot of local support. Mosques in my vicinity spew hatred at every instance.

    Stop propagating this myth that there is someone out there doing this. Recommend

  • imran
    Jul 4, 2010 - 3:17PM

    r deobandi or berelvi really that bad?…and why hv they not targeted shrines in the past………there is some thing really fishy about this recent attack…….. we should not jump to conclusion this fast…..and start accusing some one……. for me there is some one who want sacterian tensions…….the guy who blew him self was a devotee of the same shrine…….really need to know who or what made his mind flip out suddenly?……Recommend

  • danish
    Jul 4, 2010 - 6:32PM

    these attacks have a certain link to the american occupation of Afghanistan and the subsequent support of the Americans by the Pakistani government……unless we stop the american support and
    the drone attacks,these attacks will continue.Recommend

  • mateen saeed
    Jul 4, 2010 - 9:12PM

    When it is claimed America is behind these attack I wonder who was bebind armed attack in Momin Pura graveyard in 90’s in which 30 innocent members of Shia community were cold bloodly killed. This was not single attack rather there host of other attacks including few suicide attacks on Mosques, Amam baras etc. Bomb blasts are not new phenomena, there were series of bomb blasts during 80s and 90s in Peshawar and other parts of Country. I recall first bomb blast in Lahore during 80s took life of Prominent pro jehadi Mullah Allama Ehsan Elahi Zaheer. What kind syndrome we are suffering from since 47? Better we make it clear atlesat with us Whether we are true heirs or decendants of so-called great era of Arab imperialism proudly refered by our jehadi mullah as prime era of Muslim rule or we have our own culture and geographical boundries without any relation with so-called great era Arab or Turkish rule. Mind it jehad, commulism even Khat-e-movement are gold mines for our religious leaders who are othrewise worthless.Recommend

  • Jul 4, 2010 - 10:21PM

    I know some HuT guys and I’ve found them extreme with their views at many points. Btw, doesn’t the HuT blame Blackwater and other foreign agencies for these attacks? JI and some other insignificant politicians blame the attacks on foreign agencies too. Does it make them the supporter of barbaric Taliban or at least something which is sort of equal to Salafis or Takfiris? I don’t think so.Recommend

  • Dr Akmal Khan
    Jul 4, 2010 - 10:45PM

    There is an ideology which is involved in all the terrorist activities,which is accordingly different in the different cases .
    It is evident from our daily life activities that we are bound in small circle of ideas to life and religion. We lack the fundamental principle of Islamic Society that is pluralism. As Islam is religion of peace and the peace is only possible by pluralistic approach to life.
    Who is involved in the recent terrorist activities , are the people who lack this pluralistic vision in their education.
    Secondly we believe in conspiracy theory that some foreign hands are involved in every bad act to our society.In this way,we seek an easy way to be escaped.Instead of correcting ourselves ,it has become a routine to blame others.
    Our all religious banned groups has a restricted ideology which has led us to a fratricidal culture. We need a revival in our educational curriculum including Madrassah and public institutions.At the same time preserving our Islamic cultural values of peace, brotherhood and prosperity.
    in this way we ll get pluralistic vision of Islam,through which society shall prosperous and we get a sigh of relief and ll be free to observe to our prayers and other religious activities with their zeal and zest.Recommend

  • Shahryar Ahmed
    Jul 5, 2010 - 10:41AM

    Abu Hamza,

    Man you a really really briallent? You really came up with theory all by yourself. Outstanding.

    Infact you know, the sucide bombers are not muslims they all are blackwater, CIA, FBI or more better Aliens……Ya Aliens.

    Please God has gifted you something wonderful caleed a brain, if you could only use it it can do wonders for people like you Mr. Abu Hamza.

    So before you speak or write, please use it.

    People get out of this US, Hindus & Jews theories. This is the 22nd century, stop living in the past. Recommend

  • Saif
    Jul 5, 2010 - 12:31PM

    This is a plain matter of insurgency, and nothing more. Few individuals, being operated against the state and against the rule of law, that is it. No ideological clash can result into this, no religious hatred can result into this. If this is an ideological clash, it’d have been occurred a long time ago!

    Any one (Sunni or Shia), working against the rule of state and rule of law, should be punished.Recommend

  • Ali Imran
    Jul 5, 2010 - 1:54PM

    Let the blame game continue whereas our enemies keep dividing us on ethnic lines. The Britishers invented the policy of DIVIDE & RULE but the Americans have added a new chapter to it that is BUY & RULE. Devotee or no Devotee isn’t it easy to find a person who can give up his life for the sake of Allah (as he is told that when he is been brainwashed) but giving his life for that sake comes with a Price Tag as we all know that Americans boldly say that EVERY MAN HAS A PRICE so PAY THE PRICE & BUY THE SOUL.
    How many of us have seen Christians, Jews, Hindus etc blowing themselves up? Its a cruel & harsh reality that its only the MUSLIMS who do that & we have to digest this fact that it is TRUE. Why we do that? Just manipulate some QURANIC VERSES & HADEES SHARIF plus give him a temptation that 70 HOORS are waiting for him in Janaat ul firdous as in his whole worldly life he couldn’t bag any Hoor so 70 Hoors NOT BAD AIN’T IT? Beside add some hefty amount of cash to it so his family can enjoy the fruits of his sacrifice & there you have a READY MADE SUICIDE BOMBER READY FOR SACRIFICE. Not HARD ISN’T IT? Recommend

  • Shebee Zal Saadi
    Jul 5, 2010 - 4:59PM

    Hi, Aisha Siddiqa.

    I thought maybe I could help you stop your mind boggling. Would you please give me an educated answer of the following question within the context of current geo-political scenario of South Asian regional politics viz-a-viz US interests and policy in the region?

    Who gets to benefit if the majority of Pakistanis turn against Islamists in general and Jihadis in specific?

    Hey, by the by, did you ever have a chance to skim through the history and common tactics of CIA? Let me give you a hint, Counter from Paris!Recommend

  • Arif Belgaumi
    Jul 5, 2010 - 7:22PM

    Muslims have been killing Muslims since the moment the Holy Prophet (SAW) left this world. That ‘fasaad’ is the enduring legacy of the Muslim World. Let us never forget that. This is why the Muslims have never been able to put up unified resistance against foreign incursions, Mongols, Western Colonisers, USA, etc.

    Islam allows for a certain latitude in the interpretation of its tenets. No where does it say that it is acceptable to kill the person you disagree with.Recommend

  • Taqi Usmani
    Jul 5, 2010 - 10:48PM

    the raiwind ijtima has never seen any terrorist activity that too without proper security. all other sects have been attacked in our history.

    we require a proof that deobandis are not involved in this.Recommend

  • Angelos
    Jul 5, 2010 - 11:16PM

    gud one Ali Imran!Recommend

  • Jul 5, 2010 - 11:18PM

    If anybody has any aspersions about brainwashing of innocent teenagers and transforming them into suicide-bombers, he/she must check an eye-opening article on this link (http://changingminds.org/analysis/the_heist.htm)for confirmation and further knowledge on the subject.

    I personally disagree with HuT on a number of issues but, their stance on American involvement in creating disturbances in Punjab is correct to a certain extent.

    Anyone who has been following the post 9/11 developments can read what is written on the wall. And all those who do not realize this undeniable truth definitely have a biased opinion and understanding of the facts.

    Ayesha Siddiqa has raised an important issue that is being swept under the carpet by state-controlled media and heavily paid analysts but they should remember that there would be no escape from the doomsday that looms large over them.

    God save this sacred country and its people from the conspirators who are subservient to their masters playing a lethal chess game in the dark corridors of Pentagon, stubbornly moving their pieces though cautiously but quite unwisely. Recommend

  • Jul 5, 2010 - 11:31PM

    Further to my above comment, if the said link is found broken please check it here : http://e-maqzine.blogspot.com/2010/07/heist-programmed-criminals.html

    It is a must read article to understand and realize the truth that minds could be changed and people could be converted into suicide bombers. And if Taliban can do it, why the fully qualified and mastermind experts of the sole super power of the world cannot do so rather in a better way.Recommend

  • Jul 6, 2010 - 2:21PM

    Ayesha,

    While reading through the avalanche of reactions on the suicide bombings of the Data Durbar Shrine in Lahore, I noticed something interesting that I thought I would share here.

    A number of religious leaders of the mainstream Sunni variety are now qualifying suicide bombings as an un-Islamic act. They are now convinced that the perpetrators of attacks on religious sites and killers of innocent people are enemies of Islam. Obviously, they did not think that such a reaction is warranted when similar attacks are launched with regular frequency on Ahmedis, Shias, and Christians of Pakistan in their places of worship.

    Of course, Jamaat-e-Islami and even Jamiat-e-Ulama-e-Islam do not seem to be too concerned about the attack on Data Durbar because they do not believe that the attacks targeted their peculiar brand of Islam.

    It seems that acts of brutal terrorism will continue unabated in Pakistan unless Pakistanis of all religious and ethnic backgrounds stand up to condemn all such acts no matter who the targets and victims are. They may be Christians, Ahmadis, Shias, Sunnis, Hindus, Muhajirs, Sindhis, Baluchis or any other religious or ethnic grouping. They are all human beings and citizens of Pakistan. It is amazing that we regard consrete strucrures as more sacred than human lives.

    As long as the reactions to the killings of innocents are made selectively, based on the religious or ethnic flavor of the victims, these reactions will not discourage those who plan and execute such acts.

    And here lies the core issue: Religious fundamentalism does not grant basic human rights to those who belong to a different shade of the religious spectrum. As the religious fundamentalism has grown in Pakistan, a growing number of Pakistanis have (either knowingly or subconsciously) accepted that people of a different religious school do not deserve the same privileges as themselves. Even if the constitution and the legal framework of the country do provide legal protection to the lives and properties of all Pakistanis, a religious Pakistani does not consider this to be really important. He has been made to believe that laws and rules made by man cannot compete with the Holy Scripture (as it is interpreted to him by his mullah).

    In my opinion, a society that is based on religion has an inherent conflict with the concept of Universal Human Rights. As the belief in the superiority of the religious dogma over man-made laws deepens, the violation of basic human rights becomes more flagrant. Once this Pandora’s Box has been opened, it is very hard to close it back. This is the challenge that Pakistan faces today.Recommend

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