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  Updated: August 14, 2012

Shiite Leadership in Pakistan

By: Najibullah Shah Gilani
Sender: Dr. Sadeq Hussain

In 1947 when Pakistan came into being the first shia party was "Shia conference”, later idara Tahaffaz-e-Huqooq-e-shia and then in the last period of president Ayub khan, Shia Mutalbat Committee was formed that remained till Bhutto’s period.

In 1979 General Zia ul Hlaq seized ruling powers from Bhutto and announced to make Pakistan a Wahabi state. As many sunni parties raised their voice against this step of General Zia ul Haq the first reaction of Pakistani Shiite was came from Allama Hamid Ali Musawi who was nominated in Pakistan as a representative of Grand Marja of Iraq Ayatullah Syed Mohsin ul Hakim. Hamid Musawi while openly rejecting Zia’s announcement said Pakistan is an ideological state and he would never allow anyone to make it a sectarian state. ln this movement the other scholars of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, dozens of zakireen and prominent figures including Syed Jabir Hussain Shah Rizvi, Hameed Hussain Nuri, Allama Zameerul Hassan Naijfi, Allama Azhar Hassan Zaidi. Pro Iranian personalities like Allama Sajid Naqvi, who was working in a shia Madressa as a lecturer on behalf of lranian Mujtahid, and principal of Montezari backed Madressa Ahlebait Sheikh Muhammad Mohsin also joined their hands with Allama Hamid Ali Musawi. Meanwhile a shia conference was summoned in Bhakkar and Mufti Jafar Hussain (A member of Zia ul Haq’s Ideological Council) was declared as a chief of Tehreek Nifaz Fiqah-e-Jafria (TNFJ). The senior personalities like Allama Zameerul Hassan Najfi, Allama Mirza Yousaf Hussain, Allama Bashir Hussain Fateh 'Taxila, Allama Badshah Hussain of Parachinar and scholars of Madrissatul Waezeen Lucknow that were being migrated to Pakistan stood with Hamid Ali Musawi the first voice chanter against Zia’s policy and were not pleased with this decision but they did not openly opposed it for the sake of the nation’s unity.

After the death of Allama Mufti Jaffar Hussain, Allama Sajid Naqvi who was not inside with Hamid Ali Musawi swore allegiance to Hamid Musawi and in a gathering of 7 lakh people at Dinapur city, a moderate personality, Syed Hamid Musawi, was elected as a Chief of Tehreek Nifaz Fiqah-e-Jafria (TNFJ). At the same time a group of Ayatullah Mountazrai backed Madressa Jamiatul Muntazar’s scholars announced Allama Arif Hussaini a young cleric and student of Moulana Badshah Hussain as their chief at a meeting in Bhakkar. Ayatollah Mountazari, the representative of Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Roohullah Khomeini at that time, issued his support for Allama Arif Hussaini, after which this group remained doing work with the name of Tehreek Nifaz Fiqah-e-Jafria (TNFJ) but with the addition of Hussaini Group. It is also believed that Hussaini Group wanted to promote his party for political interests on the basis of sect. So Hussaini Group changed the party's complexion from a religious organization to a political party. Hamid Musawi, who was a student of Ayatullah Roohullah Khomeini in Najaf Ashraf and a religious wakeel of Ayatullah Khomeni and opponent of Muntaziri’s belief, always rejected any sectarian and violent movement and announced that he would never allow anyone to use Pakistan for their sectarian motives. This ideological split divided the movement into two groups: one headed by Hamid Musawi, the other headed by Arif Husseini. After this division Husseini group had full support of Iranian Government and Pakistani Government.


The objectives projected by Hussaini Group (recent TJP, The outfit is reported to have been re-named as lslami-Tehreek-e-Pakistan after the proscription to break the shia vote bank of Pakistan People’s Party that was the most favourite party of Pakistani Shiites and a strong opponent of General Ziaul Haq; which is why Nawaz Sharif, who called himself a son of Ziaul Haq joined hands with TJP and TJP worked as an ally of Nawaz Sharif in his period too. The second objective was to bring lranian type revolution in Pakistan. Two TJP members Allama Jawad Hadi and Allama Abid Hussaini were also members of the Pakistani Parliament. The TJP is reported to have links with the Iranian clergy. The outfit sources its finances from Iran, other countries as well as certain commercial groups whilst it is confirmed by authentic sources that TNFJ Syed Hamid Musawi has no Foreign or internal finance assistance from any country and government, and no establishment is working behind Hamid Musawi group.

Allama Arif Hussaini was killed on August 5, 1988 in Peshawar and after some days General Zia ul Haq was killed in a helicopter accident, According to some reports the Stinger missiles sale to Iran that were being sold to Iran with the help of Allama Arif Husseini was a reason of both killing. The supporters of both victims blamed each other. After the killing of Allama Arif Husseni his representative Allama Sajid Naqvi took control of Husseini Group while Husseni’s second representative Fazil Musawi left for America following his failure to achieve party leadership.


In 1992 after yielding to the pressure of Hamid Musawi group who has most influence on Pakistani Shiite community, TNFJ Hussaini Group changed its name from Tehreek-e-Nifaz-e-Fiqh Jafariya (TNFJ) Hussaini group to Tehreek-e-Jafariya Pakistan (TJP) to make their group more effective in political ground while Allama Hamid Ali Musawi’s group continues to function under the old nomenclature of TNFJ.

The TJP has several affiliated militant organizations, including Sipah-e-Abbas, Sipah-e-Ahl-Bait, aujuman janisaran-e- Ahlebait, Minhaj ul Hussain Lahore, and youth bodies like the Imamia Students Organisation (ISO) and the lmamia Organisation, Asghariya students, Baqyatullah Group, Allama lftikhar Hussain Naqvi of Mari Indus group which are reported to trainfor terrorist activities and after 1980 they were trained for terrorist activities in Iran . Since 1994 , the Sipah-e-Muhammad Pakistan (SMP), a group of the TJP with a significant following in Jhang has emerged as a prominent Shia terrorist outfit involved in anti-SSP campaigns, violence and target killings. The TJP is one of the five outfits that have been proscribed by President Pervez Musharraf on January 12, 2002.

The current violent phase between the two communities, who had lived in relative harmony tor many centuries, is traced to the l980s when a group of Deobandi militants formed the Anjuman Sipah-e-Sahaba (ASS), to wage 'war'
against the Shia landholders in Jhang. The ASS, later re-named as the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP),. was established during the lslamisation campaign of the then President Gen. Zia-ul-Haq, and coincided with the Iranian revolution led
by Ayatollah Khomeini. The Shiite Ulemas (religious scholars) perceived his measures as an attempt to spread Sunnite norms of Hanifite type in the Shiite community. According to analysts, sectarian violence among the rival outfits intensified in the wake of the jihad in Afghanistan as Pakistan, particularly the central and southern Punjab, served as a base for ‘mujahideen’ recruits. Most of these ‘mujahideen’ returned to Pakistan after the Russian forces pulled out in the late 1980s, and brought with them a sizeable supply of arms, ammunition and a proclivity for violence. They joined the extremist sectarian outfits and since then, sectarian rivalry was largely expressed through extreme violence. It is reported that SSP has linked with Saudi Wahabi Government while TJP has links with Iranian government. In fact it was internal war of two countries for that Pakistan’s soil is being used. Rivalry between the two outfits intensified when the SSP founder Haq Nawaz Jhangvi was killed in March 1990. The same year also witnessed the killing of an Iranian diplomat, Sadiq Ganji in Lahore. In 1997, Jhangvi's successor Zia-ur-Rehman Farooqi and 26 others were killed in a bomb blast at the Lahore Sessions Court. In the aftermath, Iranian diplomat Muhammad Ali Rahimi and six locals were killed in an attack on the Iranian Cultural Centre in Multan. On April 12, 2000 three hand grenades were lobbed at a gathering in a Shia mosque in Mulawali, the hometown of Syed Sajid Naqvi, killing 13 persons, including five members of the family of Syed Sajid Naqvi. The grenade was reportedly hurled from an adjacent Sunni mosque. Shortly thereafter, a TJP leader, Syed Farrukh Barjees was killed at Khanewal near Multan on April 26. On November 23 2000, Anwar Ali Akhunzada, the central general secretary of TJP in Peshawar was assassinated by the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ).

To counter the Wahabi militancy, the TJP formed Sipah-e-Muhammad Pakistan (SMP) in 1993. It is generally believed that Maulana Mureed Abbas Yazdani created it in 1993 after TJP’s support to take violent steps against SSP whose members were alleged to be targeting some of the Shia's beliefs. Allama Hamid Ali Musawi (chief of the TNFJ) did not endorse the move of militancy and violent.

Subsequently, the Sipah-e-Muhammad Pakistan (SMP), headquartered at Thokar Niaz Beg, was created out of the TJP reportedly by Maulana Mureed Abbas Yazdani in 1993 and it adopted a more militant stance against the SSP.



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