The head of the Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC, a union of pro-Taliban Deobandi clerics), Tahir Ashrafi, apparently is intent on initiating a Jihad against LUBP blog (Let Us Build Pakistan, www.criticalppp.com). For telling the truth? Well, the truth hurts when you are struggling to appear respectable, and surreptitiously aligned with the banned Deobandi militant group Sipah Sahaba (aka ASWJ-LeJ) and other ISI -sponsored Jihadist-dark forces. Thereby Tahir Ashrafi establishes the absurd spectacle of litigious fisticuffs between a Takfiri Deobandi-affiliate and the LUBP Blog that supports a pluralistic, religious harmony, and peaceful co-existence in Pakistan, not to mention a free press.
As it stands, Tahir Ashrafi, who casts his massive shadow across an infamous group, ASWJ-LeJ, a group that together spells terror, Malik Ishaq Deobandi, Ahmed Ludhianvi Deobanbdi, Aurangzeb Farooqi Deobandi, Ramzan Mengal Deobandi, Qazi Nisar Deobandi etc. Why? These names came from Shia protesters in the Quetta Sit-in that demanded arrest and execution of leaders and sponsors of Sipah Sahaba terrorists and Tahir Ashrafi as a supporter, has his name amongst them.
So it is that Tahir Ashrafi asserts he will be initiating legal proceedings in a “defamation suit” against LUBP, ostensibly for “inciting sectarian violence.”
This is the makings of a frivolous lawsuit. First of all, it could only be a Civil Suit as applicable here, not criminal; a suit of the kind in the U.S. would either throw out, or all cost of court and attorneys would be made by the loser, namely, Tahir Ashrafi. This is a precedent being set, not just for a first, that Pakistan legal proceedings being cast against an online blog, and a first in stretching unsubstantiated claims with into pure fantasy. To suggest that the mild pro-harmony approach of a pro-rights blog, the LUBP, would incite violence, by the very Jihadist-minded Ashrafi that perpetuate the violence, is an absurdity worthy of the Existential Philosopher Sartre to figure out.
Following LUBP archive of hate speech delivered by the cleric, Ashrafi ranted on Twitter, that LUBP was of being loyal to Iran, with directions to spread anarchy in Pakistan; that in fact LUBP were “Iranian loyalists directed to spread lies to incite conflict in Pakistan.”
This has become a black comedy of sorts in Ashrafi’s Tweets using unsubstantiated claims that LUBP is “loyal to Iran.” Allegations that the Founder of LUBP, a sophisticated and educated, passionately dedicated Abdul Nishapuri; well-known for his posts discrediting such claims against Pakistani Shias, now suddenly follows the Iranian Mullahs orders from Tehran to “spread anarchy” in Pakistan? This is one of the most bizarre and unsubstantiated accusations imaginable, even for Pakistani courts to hear, if it ever gets that far! Now, really… Anarchy in Pakistan due to a blog Let Us Build Pakistan?
LUBP and Abdul Nishapuri are known for the reputation of being level-headed and dialectical in their approach, that is, logically stating facts and backing them up. Where does Iran come in? Is this because many of the posts lately deal with Takfiri Deobandi Jihadists attempts at Shia Genocide? The Calculus being, Shia= Iran? Hardly elegant Algebra. This is a common ploy; a fear tactic. Link your enemies with Iran in an effort to demonize and take the onus off of the malignant tumor in your midst. Tahir Ashrafi’s call to an ethnofascist party was rejected by the majority of Shia Hazaras of Quetta. The ISI apparently calls the shots, literally, with Tahir Ashrafi Deobandi.
In fact many of the Tweets and blog entries by LUBP are well known as factual information: LUBP merely exposed Ashrafi for his well-known stance against Shias, moderate Sunni Deobandis, Sunni Barelvis, Ahmadis. This is substantiated in Tahir Ashrafi’s own slanderous speeches against Ahmadis, Shias and Sunnis (Barelvi sect and moderate Deobandis. Tweets and videos are easily accessible that confirm Ashrafi’s own “hate-speech” that is worthy of a suit against him, if we are all playing by the same rules.
What has been called “a social media-based campaign” waged against Tahir Ashrafi, that urged television news media to not to invite the cleric to share his radical views, is merely the common thread of free press in the Cyber world. LUBP posted: “Given the blatant hate-speech … by him, we ask Pakistani media, activists, NGOs and foreign governments to ban Tahir Ashrafi from appearing in the media, speaking to sectarian harmony conferences, or visiting foreign countries.” LUBP, claimed Maulana Tahir Ashrafi of the All Pakistan Ulema Council to be a “bigoted Deobandi mullah” who “spews hate against Ahmadis, Shias, Sunni Barelvis 24/7,” and “played a key role in the murder of Pakistan’s Minority Affairs Minister, Shahbaz Bhatti.” It is not slander when a spade is called a spade.
The allegations and counter allegations set up the possibility of counter-suits, anyway. One is moved to accuse the accuser when reviewing the offensive Tahir Ashrafi hate-speech certainly worthy of inciting violence as one reads the Tahir Ashrafi slander. Is not Ashrafi’s own publically voiced stances against religion falling under anti-blasphemy provisions?
Tahir Ashrafi has spewed hatred against Ahmadis, Shias and Sunnis (Barelvi sect) in Pakistan.
Here are the highlights from the cleric’s hate-mongering:
For the Ahmadiyya community, he wrote:
“Mirza Qadiyani (founder of Ahmadiyya Islamic community) was a liar, he was fond of immoral practices, when he was drunk he used to describe himself as Jesus and Allah. Everyone who treats Qadianis (Ahmadis) as Muslims is himself (or herself) an infidel (Kafir).”
For the Sunni Barelvi community, he wrote:
“When the Shaykhul Islam is someone like Tahir ul Qadri and the grand Mufti is like Munib-ur-Rehman, you will not find Islam (i.e., Sunni Barelvis do not represent Islam or Muslims). Qadianis (Ahmadis) and Qadris (Barelvis) can do destruction only”.
For Pakistan’s friends in international community, he wrote:
“Qadianis (Ahmadis) are loyal to the British crown (not Pakistan)”.
“We must stop Iranian dogs from destroying our homeland (Pakistan)”.
“Asif Zardari, is a pimp of U.S. senators, they want to amend Islamic laws in Pakistan.”
Incitement to violence against the slain Federal Minister Shahbaz Bhatti
The following is an avowal of deadly brute-force from Tahir Ashrafi: “you should not even dream of changing the Islamic clauses (of the national constitution and laws) in this country. We will break that hand, I am saying with full responsibility, if you moved your hand towards (amending) Islamic clauses, we will break that hand, if you used your tongue against Islamic clauses, wewill cut that tongue, if you directed your eyes towards Islamic clauses, we will take your eyes out.”
These are direct threats of violence and brute-force seems to be meant for Zardari and the government of Pakistan.
Transcript of the above clip - English translation: If you think that you can amend this law (the anti-blasphemy law introduced by Islamist military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq) which is about Qadianis (i.e., Ahmadis), and I want to say this to that pimp of the U.S. senators, Asif Ali Zardari, and (to his Minority Affairs Minister) Shahbaz Bhatti, you should not even dream of changing the Islamic clauses (of the national constitution and laws) in this country. We will break that hand, I am saying with full responsibility, if you moved your hand towards (amending) Islamic clauses, we will break that hand, if you used your tongue against Islamic clauses, we will cut that tongue, if you directed your eyes towards Islamic clauses, we will take your eyes out. Do whatever you can. The way Mullah Umar has forced your daddy U.S.A. to lick its feet, if you acted as bastard children of the U.S.A. in Pakistan, then God willing, we will make sure that you too are forced to lick the feet of students of (Deobandi) madrassas and clerics. (applause from the crowd comprising Deobandi clerics and madrassa students)
Was it such provocation as this, tipped by such hate speech, that Deobandi militants of banned terrorist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ-ASWJ) killed Pakistan’s Federal Minister Shahbaz Bhatt on 2 March 2011?
On January 13, Ashrafi circulated a cartoon on Twitter which illustrated LUBP as agents turning Shias against Sunnis and Sunnis against Shias. This is patently false and grounds for suit for defamation of character and slander by LUBP against Ashrafi.
Shall there be a counter-suit? It is easily demonstrated by quoting vast numbers of posts by LUBP the blog has carefully distinguished Sunnis as being victims not perpetrators, and Sunnis have been victims themselves of Takfiri Deobandi Jihadist, from radical Sunnis. The LUBP blog has been tirelessly involved in bringing Shia and Sunni solidarity, not anarchy. Repeatedly there are posts that deny any connection to the Iranian government or secret support from Tehran for the Pakistan Shias against Pakistan. The only connection is understandable religious affinity as they are both Shia Muslims, as there are in all parts of the globe. There is no greater agenda.
In response to another recent video exposing the involvement of Sipah Sahaba (ASWJ-LeJ) militants in terrorist activities, Tahir Ashrafi slandered the Shia activist in what amounts to defamation of character and falls under “discredit of reputation,” all acceptable prosecution for slander and libel under the 2002 Defamation Ordinance:
“You are cunning, liar and hypocrite. Aren’t Deobandis and Barelvis being killed in Pakistan too? It’s a part of your Shia faith to lie. Your father was a liar. What’s your family background? You are a product of a temporary marriage (polite word for ‘bastard Shia’ in Deobandi discourse). You appear to be a descendant of Abdullah bin Ubay (a hypocrite in Prophet Muhammad’s era). How dare you criticize Deobandi scholars?”
Having read the above hate-speech, and understanding that Ashrafi’s accusations is that LUBP is trying to spread hatred, seem to be at odds. Isn’t the above speech against religions? And, if so, isn’t it Ashrafi who is culpable under relevant sections of the Pakistani Penal codes? If we are indeed playing with the same rule of law, Ashrafi is more vulnerable to litigation than is LUBP. I would think that it is Ashrafi’s incitement to violence and slander that is in evidence, not LUBP.
Silence of the liberal lambs
While several Shia, Ahmadi, Sunni Barelvi, Christian activists and intellectuals have supported LUBP’s right to free speech and condemned LUBP’s harassment by Tahri Ashrafi Deobandi, it is disappointing to see that Tahir Ashrafi is being supported by Pakistan’s celebrity Liberals who allegedly take money from all sources (probably US tax dollars too) and continue to promote Tahir Ashrafi as a progressive, moderate cleric. Currently, on Twitter, most people are supporting LUBP even as two or three pseudo-liberals and terrorist groups like ASWJ-LeJ (who are involved in terrorist activities even in Afghanistan against NATO) are supporting Tahir Ashrafi while some other liberals are DAMNINGLY SILENT. Let me remind them of this precious saying by Martin Luther King Jr. “The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.”
Rusty Walker is an educator, author, political analyst, ex-military, from a military family, retired college professor, former Provost (Collins College, U.S.A.), artist, musician and family man. Rusty Walker is an ardent supporter of Pakistan. Here is a link to Mr. Walker’s other articles published on LUBP: http://criticalppp.com/archives/tag/rusty-walker