Convert, conform or be killed


The state’s consistent retreat against religious extremists has emboldened them to persecute anyone they so desire. Be it security personnel or polio workers, schools or mosques, the Shiite Hazara community or Christians, everything and everyone is a target. The latest additions to the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan’s long list of enemies are the peaceful Kalash tribe and the Ismaili Muslims of the scenic Chitral valley. The TTP’s declaration of ‘jihad’ against these two minority groups comes as a surprise to only those who have still not understood the ideology that drives these militants. Both minority groups have been living in peace in the same region for decades. Their unique culture has been celebrated and even advertised by the country in order to attract tourists from all over the world. Unfortunately, the same uniqueness has now become a cause of concern for them, and the rest of us. To expect the TTP to appreciate diversity is utter foolishness. Live and let live doesn’t bode well with them. Conform or die is the kind of stuff that really gets them going. What did the members of the Kalash or Ismaili communities exactly do to invite death threats? Nothing. It is not what they do, or don’t do, but who they are. In this case, their identity is their curse. But, they can save themselves from bombs and bullets that have been promised to them, if they simply do what is required of them. They can abandon their faith and lifestyle, and convert to the religion of those who have presented them with this ‘choice’. The gravest error we can make at this point is to think that the entire nation doesn’t face the same choice. We do. When they bomb cinemas, schools and kill polio workers, they are conveying what is expected of us. Don’t go to the movies, don’t educate the girls, and don’t vaccinate your children. kalashSo, when the military leadership announces ceasefire, and Imran Khan and co lecture us on the need for peace through dialogue, one must ask them: Peace at what cost? Is the ceasefire for the sake of the Army or the common people? The Kalash and the Ismailis are our people. The ceasefire or the ‘peace process’ is doing nothing for them, or the rest of us. We have been left at the mercy of trigger-happy maniacs who operate with impunity, as our defenders and leaders watch with folded arms. Anyone who thinks that the militants will voluntarily stop short of establishing their ideal homogenous society is delusional. If the state has decided to abandon its people, it’s only a matter of time before the people abandon the state. Wake up, Prime Minister. It’s raining blood, and eventually, everyone will drown.–Courtesy The Nation]]>

  1. Faheem Ahmad Khan says

    Outside forces are not the representatives of the Sunni Muslim Brothers of Chitral. Both Sunni and Ismaili communities should sit together and find a solution to the problem. Jointly, we can sort out our problems, not by the dictation of others. Secondly it may be a part of a larger conspiracy to lit a fire of sectarian clashes in the peaceful region of Chitral just like our neighbouring Gilgit-Baltistan. Our region is the only region in Pakistan, which despite of sharing a common border with Afghanistan from three sides, has remained unaffected by the geopolitical changes even in the turbulent times of the Soviet Afghan war, Taliban era, 911 and the post-Taliban process of “Talibanization”. We shouldn’t waste our time in discussing the pros and cons of the threats. By “Ethnic cleansing” or “Genocides” communities cannot be subdued. The Taliban government of Afghanistan was accused of large scale killing of Shia Itnaashari and Ismaili communities of Bamyan and Baghlan regions of Afghanistan, but they survived the killings and today they are in the top brass of Afghan government same was the case with Adi Amin of Uganda who did similar efforts to crush minority communities of his country. Secondly, we shouldn’t indulge in sectarian discourses or the issue of Muslims non-Muslims. This is a deep-rooted debate and has deprived the Muslim Ummah of our positive contribution to the science and technology and the greater cause of humanity. Our resources, abilities, time and educational progress is being wasted in non issues and debates. Countries like China, Japan and even Israel’s per capita income is higher than Muslim countries of the Middle East.They are using their resources in producing research projects and their youth producing research papers what are we doing? “Who is Muslim and who is non Muslim” is the only progress we have shown in the last 800 years.

  2. Abid Ali says

    I think TTP has fulfilled and put forward the mindset which Maulana Abdul Akber Chitrali had set out during his election campaign. If you remember, he had said that he would work for the Ismaili community. I hope such a mindset will prevail. We have a strong army and intelligence agencies who should become proactive now.

  3. M. Wali, Mastuj says

    Taliban have not descended from any planet. We have even more absurd and archaic thinking people in Chitral and if they are given guns they will get ahead of Taliban in carrying out so many inhuman and archaic acts in this world of 21st century in the name of Islam. These people have not only made fun of themselves in the whole world but also degraded the image of Islam.

  4. Khan says

    In southern part of Chitral the Ismailis and Kalash are in minorities while in northern part of Chitral, including Tenshil Lotkoh, the Sunnis are in minority.But how many Sunnis will react against Taliban. And it is a failure of Jamat Islami, PTI and Ulemi in Pakistan.

  5. SHS says

    We are Muslims not Minorities… Correct yourself.

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