When Shah Ghazi bled


Nadeem Paracha

by Nadeem Paracha

There’s a war going on in Pakistan; in the mountains and in the cities.  A war enforced upon the people of the country by monsters that we have created ourselves. The enemy in this respect is clearly visible and yet we want to continue treating it like an elusive ghost.

Its targets are now obvious. But we dare not name them. But today, I will. These targets are those Pakistanis who have vigorously contributed in making Pakistan what it really used to be: a temperate, promising conglomerate of various ethnicities, religions and Muslim sects.

The Sunni Barelvis, the Shias, the Christians, the Hindus and the Ahmadis – they are all under attack in their places of worship and shrines. They are being attacked in the most remorseless manner by a rare, violent breed of animals that uncannily look like human beings but are nothing like them.

The suicide blasts yesterday (October 7) at Karachi’s revered Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine in Clifton, is yet another reminder of the war each one of us faces. This attack will be thoroughly covered by the media, however, soon we will go back to lamenting the ‘barbarity of the US drone attacks,’ the ‘injustice faced by qaum ki beti’ Madam Aafia, and what glorious words that idiot, Faisal Shahzad, spouted at his sentencing …

If – as mindless babblers like Imran Khan, Hamid Gul, Zaid Hamid, right-wing anchors,investigative journalists and other such media fodder for reactionary whiplash would suggest – these inhuman assaults take place due to the drone attacks, I want to ask, exactly how many handlers and planners of these drones were present in all the mosques, shrines and bazaars that have been attacked by these monsters?

These babblers and the media feed us nonsense and we submissively accept it. These monsters keep maiming and murdering us by the hundreds, and all we can do is point towards the skies looking for the drones (that actually manage to eliminate many of these bloody brutes); or of course, within days it’s back to playing the confused ostriches or worse, paranoid hyperboles, loudly taking the roll call of the usual, imaginary suspects: India, Israel or the US

Just wait, one fine day you will also be able to see names like China and Iran on that sheet that is read and repeated ad nauseum. Yes sir, anything and anyone, but us.

Shah Ghazi is known by Karachiites as the city’s patron saint. According to tradition he arrived from Iraq in the eighth century to preach the kind of tolerant, pluralistic and empathetic Islam that the region has known for centuries.

His is the kind of faith that the so-called puritanical ogres scoff at and want to literally blow to pieces; a faith that the many otherwise ‘respectable-looking’ apologists of these monsters running amok on TV screens tell us is ‘wrong’ and ‘impure’.

They tell us it’s all a diabolical conspiracy against our faith and country. A conspiracy by the wretched Hindus, scheming Jews and of Western countries that are ironically visited quite frequently by this vivacious gung-ho gang of armchair and TV studio politicians, journalists and ‘experts’.

An implausible narrative is formed and gleefully peddled, as media men comment on the issue as if reading from a script of a bad James Bond movie, or a thrilling Ibn-i-Safi novel, in which fantastical plots are hatched by evil geniuses and dotty synchronistic connections made by the daring heroes.

Had the animated, hyperbolic weaver of epic tales about Muslim conquerors, Naseem Hijazi, been alive today, he would have made a great TV anchor/ ‘security analyst!’


Karachi has been evading the curse of the kind of delusion that feeds these blood-thirsty ogres and their shameless, populist defenders. The evasion maybe coming to an end, but not if the three main political parties of the city and Sindh restrain from indulging in the kind of petty squabbles they’ve been indulging in lately.

There is no doubt that it is the coalition of MQM, PPP and ANP that has kept Karachi saner and safer compared to the madness faced in this context by the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Punjab.

Sure, these parties have been a failure to reign in their respective anarchic renegades out on a targeted killing spree, but the consensus against psychotic extremists remains the strongest in Karachi and Sindh.

MQM (perhaps the toughest bulwark in Karachi against violent religious fanatics), I am afraid will have to cut short its sudden admiration of Madam Aafia; PPP will have to stop negating its own tough talk against extremism by indulging in populist, empty sloganeering; and the ANP (that has suffered so much at the hands of the faithful psychos in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) must stop ridiculing MQM’s concerns of the possibility of some Taliban gathering in disguise in the city’s Pashtun areas.

The Pakistani people, politicians and army have all suffered deaths and great tragedies in this war. But despite so much carnage and terror, Pakistanis are still looking for contrived and utterly convoluted answers that are readily given to them by the media and the small, manic political parties.

They are doing so because many of us are terrified of a simpler, to-the-point truth: these monsters are not only amidst us, but they are from among us!

If this nation has braved through so much terror and madness, then why do we continue to hide in fear from this one vital truth. We must realise that without owning up to this truth, this country will never be able to rid itself from the blood-soaked quagmire it has gotten itself into.

This article originally appeared on the Dawn Blog.




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