Twin bombings across Pakistan in Waziristan and Ormara

(Article originally posted at the These Long Wars blog)

I’m going to link to the Dawn article, because let’s face it, nobody except state apparatuses are now reporting on Balochistan, because all independent media worth mentioning has been forced out by violence and intimidation. The Balochistan model of political control is being rolled out across Pakistan with varying degrees of political success.

I don’t know what I can say about the Waziristan attacks, besides maybe the state of Pakistan should stop using the former FATA districts as a launching ground for attacks into Afghanistan. That sort of observation feels redundant, but one would imagine that the milieu that feeds extremists and makes it easier for them to thrive there might also succour anti-state extremists.

What I can say about the Balochistan attacks besides that I think enough is enough with using the Frontier Corps (FC) for internal security. Up-arm and up-armour the Balochistan police and send them after the insurgents. That can be done if we give the Baloch people a stake in their future by creating as many jobs as there are households in Balochistan. The number of non-secessionist Baloch probably outnumbers the number of secessionists. However, their interest in breaking away would be neither here nor there if there were serious economic reasons for them to remain tied to Pakistan and the state did not predate on their resources. If Balochistan was treated as a normal province rather than a colony, enough residents would take care of the violent secessionists on their own. I think this insurgency, and over-extended internal security mission in Balochistan has gone on long enough. This is supposed to be the Fifth Baloch insurgency, and I’m not even sure if we are in the fifth or sixth phase of this Fifth Baloch insurgency.

I’m gonna have to lean on NFP’s views on how these conflicts in these socially marginal districts are now being fed and politicised by the larger mainstream, ultra-nationalistic polarisation.

You can read Dawn’s report on the attacks, here.

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Ayesha Siddiqa’s succint history of anti-Shia Deobandis

(Article originally posted at the These Long Wars blog)

Ayesha Siddiqa covered the sudden rise of anti-Shia extremism in Pakistan, in a recent article. In it she gave a short history on the provenance of anti-Shia, Sunni extremism in the country that’s worth reading:

Though the first instance of Sunni-Shia tension erupted around 1951 in Sindh, it built up more decisively during the 1980s. General Zia-ul-Haq’s regime looked away while the Anjuman-e-Sipah-e-Sahaba (ASS) took birth in Jhang, South Punjab in 1986. It later turned into the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) that became the mothership of all Deobandi militancy. It gave birth to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) during the early 1990s, and also the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Harkat-ul-Ansar, and later Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).

During counter-terrorism operations by Pakistan, segments from the SSP, LeJ and JeM went into making the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Some members of this even went on to join Daesh. The SSP was also one of the first organisations to fight in Afghanistan. Besides militancy, the organisation also engaged in politics. Its leader, Haq Nawaz Jhangvi, initially contested elections in 1988 from a Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam–Fazlur Rehman (JUI-F) ticket, and later formed his own party. Around the time Haq was killed in 1990 outside Islamabad, Pakistan saw a lot of bloodshed, including sectarian violence, through the decade of the 1980s, 1990s, and the 2000s. Like the evolution of its militant wings, the SSP’s political face also evolved. One of its current forms is the group Ahle Sunnat-Wal-Jamaat (ASWJ), which is visible in electoral politics. The SSP and other militant groups are part of the Deobandi network that comprises militant outfits, political groups, and welfare institutions.

The network is so well spread out in the largest province of Punjab that there are over 20,000 staunch Deobandi voters in every constituency, which makes the group important for all political parties and builds their influence. The JUI-F, headed by Maulana Fazlur Rehman, is one of the most prominent faces of the network. It is instrumental in partnering with the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and spreading the influence of Rehman’s network in Sindh and Baluchistan.

I think that’s a good enough bite-size history by Dr Siddiqa on the rise of sectarian extremism in Pakistan.

Below is an election poster of anti-Shia candidates, with my opinion on them.

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Hello, Nurse!

Aloha! Wassup? Kaisay ho yaar?

My name’s TheseLongWars, TLW for short, known for twitter.com/TheseLongWars, currently from these-long-wars.blogspot.com, formerly of theselongwars.blogspot.com (RIP: 2010-2020).

It is an absolute Goddamn pleasure and honour to have been invited to be here as a writer and opinion-ator at BrownPundits.com!

As you may have seen my tweets, I have been commenting in-depth about my native Pakistan for a decade now. I’m from the city by the sea, Karachi, and I am a happy partisan for that over-grown beach-hole. I’m not a big genetics or phrenology fan. However, I love talking politics, I love talking some culture, I love history, and I enjoy getting the chance to write.

But let’s not make this intro long-winded. Snappy posts are fine, but some effort later at longer posts, will come later.

For now, here’s where the catch-phrase my title is based on is from. Do read what I write; you’ll always learn something worth knowing 😉

Ciao!

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