Last week’s bombing in Parachinar was part of a continuous string of attacks against religious minorities in Pakistan that do not subscribe to the Wahhabi-Salafi-Deobandi (WSD) paradigm of the subcontinent’s terrorist organizations.
By Alamdar Khadr
Despite Parachinar’s twin bombings which killed around 70 people and injured much more, the mainstream media has again failed to give such attacks sufficient coverage as the victims in this case were Shias. As we have shown before, attacks on Shias (or Alawis) seem to garner little interest from the mainstream media even though since January, a 175 Shias have been killed in Parachinaar and since 2001, 2558 Shias have been killed in Pakistan by terrorist groups and the Pakistani government.
A faction of the DSW group Lashkar-e Jhangvi (known as Al Alami) claimed responsibility for the attack, claiming that it was targeting what it considers as Shia heretics. Lashkar-e Jhangvi had claimed that the attacks were in response to Shia involvement in the Syrian civil war claiming that Shias have the “blood of Sunnis in Syria.” This is despite the fact that Lashkar-e Jhangvi is itself directly and militarily involved in Syria. The group’s infamous Mosque known as Masjid-e Lal (Red Mosque) has openly supported ISIS and its members and students have pledged allegiance to its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
On the other hand, Parachinar’s Shias have had no involvement in the Syrian conflict and Shias point to the fact that the systematic targeting and killing of Shias predates the Syrian war.
Shias have been staging sit ins demanding that the government do more to protect them. Until now, Shias have been providing their own security in the region in light of the Pakistani military’s absence in so far as providing security to Parachinaar’s Shia population is involved. But to speak of the military’s absence is an obfuscation of reality. Not only is the military not involved in protecting Shias, they are actively cooperating with the terrorist groups.
For one, the military under Colonel Umar has made sure to let suicide bombers through their check points.
After the bombings, the Pakistani military not only ignored the security requests of the Shia population when they protested, they also shot at them mercilessly.
See the following video on the shooting in which five people died as a result. The military is not the only one involved in this. High government ministers are directly involved in WSD violence. For example, the Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar is directly linked to Lashkar-e Jhangvi and has consistently refused to hold the Red Mosque accountable for its atrocities against minorities in Pakistan.
Pakistan’s own mainstream media (which is controlled by the government) has ordered a total media blackout on the events and it has been actively criminalized bloggers and social media activists from posting the truth behind the Parachinaar attacks.
Unfortunately, the mass media in the West has also been complicit in this by both ignoring the massacres committed against Shias around the world as well as providing positive coverage to those WSD groups that commit the acts of atrocities by labeling them as “freedom fighters” and “moderate rebels.”
The world renowned journalist Seymour Hersh hold the following opinion in a recent counterpunch.org article:
“Seymour Hersh was one of America’s most respected journalists until he started questioning the official narrative on Syria. Now the MSM are conniving to obscure the truth: that Syria is yet another regime change war, that Shias are being targeted in a genocidal project of elimination and that the West’s partners and allies are the region’s chief perpetrators of violence and destruction.”