Target Killings: Rahman Baba, Data Ali Hajvery, Abdullah Shah Ghazi, Baba Farid Ganjshakar

Posted on October 25, 2010
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Law & Justice
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Adil Najam

The Fajr attack in Pakpattan Sharif, on the shrine of Baba Fareeduddin Masud Ganjshakar was one more in a series of very targeted and very strategic attacks on shrines of Sufi saints across Pakistan: Rahman Baba, Data Sahib Hassan Ali Hajveri, Abdullah Shah Ghazi, many more, now Baba Fariduddin Masud Ganjshakar.

Once again, they left Pakistan numb in grief, distraught and shock. Shock, not because it was new or surprising. But shock because it has again exposed the systematic targeting of belief by religious bigots and extremists who are very consciously and very deliberately targeting and spreading fear amongst any and all whose belief, or even ritual, they disagree with.

This is not senseless violence. This violence is very deliberate, obviously thought-through and clearly targeted. It is violence that is designed to beget a polity of fear, of division, and of hatred. It is violence that stems from a history of religious bigotry that go deep into our history, but the systematic and conscious manner in which it is being implemented by the murderous purveyors of violence should not only numb us in grief, distraught and shock; it should alert and inspire us into action and response that is as strategic and as targeted as those of the killers.

Being ‘targeted’ does not mean being indiscriminate and impulsive. Indeed, it means the exact opposite.

Those who have orchestrated this violence are very clear about what they are doing: they are sending Pakistan a message about what they consider to be ‘correct’ and ‘incorrect’ Islam.

We need to be equally clear about what we do: send a message to them that we will neither succumb to their intolerance nor their tactics of fear.

In practice this means a strategy of messaging both by words and action. Our words have to condemn not only the acts of violence, but the core of religious intolerance that lies behind that act. We have already suffered much by succumbing to the thekedars of righteousness and allowed them to define who is and who is not a Muslim. We must not let this venom sink even deeper into society. It is not easy to confront intolerance when it is so pervasive around us. To name it for what it is and to shame it for what it does. But confront it we must.

The logic for action is also clear. As long as we hear more stories about ‘successful’ violence than we hear stories of culprits being apprehended, tried and punished for these acts, the violence will only multiply. We need to change that arithmetic. Protective police action is necessary, but not sufficient. The targets are too many, full protection is too difficult, and in-your-face security indirectly underscores the terrorist’s message of fear. More important is police action in apprehending culprits, unmasking terrorist cells and their plans, and judicial action in bringing those apprehended to quick – and fair – justice. The last is the most important of all.

Ultimately, words and actions must come together. Action must lead to a change in the stories that we see plastered on our TV screens. What we now see are stories of bigoted terrorists “succeeding” in their attacks. What we need to see are stories of our police and legal system bringing these terrorists to justice. Stories that signify the failure of their plans, not the success.

31 Comments on “Target Killings: Rahman Baba, Data Ali Hajvery, Abdullah Shah Ghazi, Baba Farid Ganjshakar”

  1. Jamal says:
    October 25th, 2010 2:35 am

    TARGETED KILLINGS is the right term. As you say, this is very very focused and they are bringing down traditional Islam in Pakistan by targeting those very symbols because of whom Pakistanis are muslim today

  2. Musalman says:
    October 25th, 2010 2:52 am

    Another example of just how heartless these taliban types are who are trying to destroy my country and my religion.

  3. Syed Rizvi says:
    October 25th, 2010 3:15 am

    We need to stop those inflowing Petro Dollars which are being used to support and fund extremists in Pakistan such as Taliban, Tehreek e Talibaan, Sipah e Sahaba, Lashker e Jhangvi, Jamat ud Dawa etc. They all belong to one school of thought. They all are against Sufism and going to mazaars. They all believe killing people from other sects will make the God Happy !! And killers will go to Jannah !! Leading Political parties are now compelled to make nexus with them as they did in Punjab and KPK and to some extent in Sind. One of our brother countries is fully involved in this dirty game. Allah bless all Muslims and Pakistan.

  4. Yawar says:
    October 25th, 2010 3:33 am

    Why is it that we never learn who is “behind” these things?

  5. Humaira says:
    October 25th, 2010 3:58 am

    Dr. Najam is right that we need to see this as a planned set of events and they are really aimed at destabilizing Pakistani Muslims since this will in no way harm outside interests such as of US or India or anyone. They are really attacking Pakistan here.

  6. Wadood says:
    October 25th, 2010 4:16 am

    I think we need more police for protecting these places. That will give people the confidence to not be intimidated by these attacks.

  7. Roshan says:
    October 25th, 2010 4:41 am

    Very tragic and traumatic to see the shrines of peaceful saints being destroyed. This ideology of hatred is imbued and infused among these extremists but sadly our security apparatus is distilling ‘good and bad’ extremist. Extremism is decay in any society whether it is on the right or left of center.
    Its not an attack on any denomination or place of worship but an attack on the philosophy those saints who preached peace and harmony, coexistence and love and respect and reverence. We have to safeguard their teachings not only as their followers but as humanitarians because these teachings are infact the social and cultural fabric of our society.

  8. Bushra says:
    October 25th, 2010 4:41 am

    You raise very interesting point which I had not thought of. Why is it that we never hear of any court giving punishment to any terrorist. And people still support terrorists like Afia Siddiqui who have been proved in court of law on such acts. Shame.

  9. Rafique says:
    October 25th, 2010 4:55 am

    The judges are too busy playing politics to really pay attention on things that actually matter to people’s lives

  10. Naan Haleem says:
    October 25th, 2010 9:00 am

    @ Bushra and @ Rafique

    Court can make judgements and sentence someone for crime committed. but it is the executive (commonly known as government) to implement the court sentence. in this very year we have seen that culprits sentenced to imprisonment and ineligibility for any official post were instantly pardoned by the president.

    Secondly court is not listening cases against govt. only. Please go to the website of Supreme court and you will see that govt cases are in very small number when compared to other civil and criminal cases.

    It is the media which projects the proceedings of the constitutional cases for obvious reasons of the nature and significance of the cases.

    corruption needs to be eradicated from the top first and then a clean up be undertaken downwards. otherwise, smaller culprits will keep on taking refuge under the protection of top culprits. Unfortunately the top man of Pakistan has become a magnet for corrupt officials and politicians

  11. Yahya says:
    October 25th, 2010 9:30 am

    The story has another angle that you totally overlooked….there could be another party who has nothing to do with who believes what but they want us to think what you have mentioned in your article; one school of thought against another…! Spread the hatred! Divide them further!

  12. Gifts Pakistan says:
    October 25th, 2010 12:00 pm

    Once again it was really a tragic incident. Many people think that there are some muslim extremist who are responsible for doing all these. But I can not believe that a Muslim who has faith on Allah and his Prophet (P.B.U.H) can do this.

  13. Adnan says:
    October 25th, 2010 12:19 pm

    Because of Shrines,islam spreads all over the subcontinent. People who can prepare suicide bombers can do this. Some mullas work on thier special agenda. Seccarianism is mostly taught by mullas. And this is step towards seccaianism.

  14. Anwer says:
    October 25th, 2010 12:32 pm

    A relevant article:

    South Asia, Oct 22, 2010

    Extremists winning the mind games

  15. Wadood says:
    October 25th, 2010 3:43 pm

    Good post. More effective policing and apprehension. We need to start sending the message to these terrorists as well as to our own society that intolerance will not be tolerated

  16. October 25th, 2010 4:31 pm

    Good way to destroy akhowatai awam. Then what is left after that is Civil War or maybe end of the Pakistani dream and of Pakistan. I believe it is coming soon.

    A part for muslims in the Indian subcontinent is a failure.

  17. Roshan says:
    October 25th, 2010 5:13 pm

    Here is video by famous band LAAL on Baba Farid:

  18. Bangash says:
    October 25th, 2010 5:52 pm

    @Gifts of Pakistan

    You remain in denial until one day a suicide attacker targets your mohalla.

  19. Dilawar says:
    October 25th, 2010 6:05 pm

    Good writeup, Prof. Najam. I too am always surprised why the courts remain silent and no one gets convicted on these attacks.

  20. Watan Aziz says:
    October 25th, 2010 6:17 pm

    Stories that signify the failure of their plans, not the success.

    What we now see are stories of bigoted terrorists “succeeding” in their attacks.


    What we need to see are stories of our police and legal system bringing these terrorists to justice.


    And we truly need stories that signify *** success *** of our plans.

    Minds and hearts are won with success. Everyone looks up to the rising sun. People vote for the winner.

    And this by proactive action to deliver speedy justice and sense of equity to our own brothers and sisters, those who live outside the the 3 cities. The voiceless, the helpless.

    We cannot wrap up the flooding in the packaging of “floods”. We cannot pee and call it rain.

    What we need to see are stories of draining the swamps. On sucking the oxygen right out of these folks who are so misleading and misguiding the gullible. We need to defeat them with major and good works so that their evil propaganda is exposed for what it is; pure evil.

    Draining the swamps need effort, hard work, dedication, honesty, skill and money.

    What is our inventory?

    What do we have?

  21. Sajjad Junaidi says:
    October 25th, 2010 7:16 pm

    Prof Adil, I totally agree with you. But who is going to rein in Pakistani media or media worldwide? Sad thing is news channels don’t make money on good news story. One thing for sure, this trick will work.
    Terrorists mentality is similar to those of individual serial killers who enjoy reading/watching their so called success stories and get motivated to keep on going.

  22. humaira says:
    October 26th, 2010 1:16 am

    Good piece. We really need to start nabbing and punishing these people and doing so publically.

  23. Zainab says:
    October 26th, 2010 5:26 am

    So sad…

  24. October 26th, 2010 11:37 am

    This incident has left all of us in grief. But the question is that why the Government has failed to control all that?

  25. zakoota says:
    October 26th, 2010 11:47 pm

    100% involvement of India without a doubt in every terrorist activity in Pakistan.

  26. Imtiaz says:
    October 27th, 2010 12:28 am

    Well written post. These killers are from within us and as you say they are out to kill and destroy everyone they differ with. They spread fear and that is their real weapon.

  27. sultan says:
    October 27th, 2010 5:00 am

    As the author says:

    ”We have already suffered much by succumbing to the thekedars of righteousness and allowed them to define who is and who is not a Muslim.”

    My theory is that Pakistan entered a bizarro universe in 1974, in which up is down, down is up, fair is foul, and foul is fair.

    In the bizarro universe, the mullah who opposed the creation of Pakistan gets to define it. He can issue fatwas of kufr and wajubul qatl but these fatwas are implemented by Indian agents trying to defame Pakistan/Islam as if the behaviour of some Pakistanis wasn’t enough for that.

    Logic is inverted in the bizarro universe. The guilty Taliban are the victims of outside conspiracies and the situation in Pakistan makes people in the UK jealous, so they distribute pamphlets calling for the murder of apostates.

  28. October 29th, 2010 6:22 am

    There are strong indications and we have reason to believe that “others” are also taking advantages in a war between “good” and “evil”.
    Besides the bombing out side the shrine of Baba Fareed(reh.aleh) was not a suicide bombing rather a planted bombing.

  29. October 29th, 2010 2:48 pm

    Is it not encouraging to see more and more people realize who the merciless and who the innocent are? Taliban have not only attacked the sanctity of holy shrines but killed innocents without remorse during congregational prayers at mosques as well. Have we not seen that anyone who does not adhere to Taliban ideology/propaganda is open target? Even the devastating floods in Pakistan did not slow their resolve to kill innocents. Since the floods they have killed over 270 innocent Pakistani for Karachi to Khyber.
    As one of your commenter so eloquently said “What we need to see are stories of draining the swamp.” We are doing just that along with the Pakistani security forces and the sooner we get this done the sooner we make this a more peaceful tolerant world.

    LCDR Speaks,
    DET-United States Central Command

  30. Bangash says:
    October 29th, 2010 6:02 pm

    Taliban plus extremist groups only know mayhem and killing so unless they are eliminated these attacks will continue.

    Some Pakistanis continue to remain in denial but I think enough time and effort has been wasted on such Pakistanis and efforts to eradicate militancy should continue regardless.

  31. Adnan says:
    October 30th, 2010 2:11 am

    To all worshipers of “idols” in such shrines who believe their “Baba” or “Pir Saab” can even safe Karachi or other places from things like floods and other things. Can they please tell that why didn’t all such “Babas” stop suicide bombers to harm their devotees? Do they have any answer?

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