With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility


Ashura, the tenth of Moharram, is one day in the entire year when majority of Muslims all over the world remember the great martyrdom of Hussain Ibn Ali (AS) in the battle of Karbala and who stood up for Islam by laying down the lives of his family, companions and even children by refusing to bow down before injustice, tyranny and oppression of Yazid Ibn Mauwiya.  The day of Ashura stands for the patience Imam Hussain (AS) and his family held in the very testing times against the forces of evil. 

Today, during the annual procession marking the day in Karachi witnessed a horrifying bomb blast that ripped apart the mourning crowd, so far killing 30 innocent lives and injured as many as 80+ people.  Unfortunately, a suicide or otherwise bombing in Pakistan has become a regular feature of our news.  What was even worse were the chain of events following the bombing in Karachi today.  ‘Angry mobs’ were reported to have set ablaze ambulances, shops, banks, and police mobiles among others.  The twist in the story is that the miscreants and trouble makers that are also sadly part of our society actually leverage their plans in such situations and setting surrounding buildings on fire as was witnessed today is perhaps one way to add fuel to the raging sectarian fire.  Reason fails to believe that a normal, peace loving citizen who would set out from his home in the morning to mourn the cause of Hussain (AS) would cause further damage following an event that has already taken innocent lives.  Angry mobs and their outrage is not a phenomenon specific only to Pakistan, however one must keep in mind the vested interest of so many conflicting parties in this strange and entangled web that we have weaved in our country! The participants of an Ashura procession are average Pakistanis like you and me, who feel that the one day to show solidarity to the cause of Hussain is to come out on the road and show their support against the injustice Hussain (AS) stood up for.  They come on the road with their young children and old parents. I therefore fail to believe that an average peace loving citizen would cause damage to the business and property of his own city.  It is like a person breaking his own bricks and wall in his own house should a tragedy befall on him… tragedy upon tragedy…who would be at loss? Only the person himself…. Is the equation then so hard to understand?

While the question addressing who these miscreants possibly could be is beyond the scope of my blog, I just wanted to share the grief of the many families who would be either mourning the loss of their loved ones, or attending to the injured, on a day, which is ironically dedicated to the remembrance of the spirit of Islam.  Ironically enough, Islam is now synonymous with terrorism to the outside world.  But that too perhaps is a subject for another day. What we can do however on such occasions is to not get involved, not support or facilitate the blame game that usually follows such incidents and avoid speculating who the perpetrators were.  In an ideal world, the doctor would advise that you let the Government handle the situation. 

Ah! The Government….  In the golden words of Confucius: ‘The essentials of good government are: a sufficiency of food, a sufficiency of arms, and the confidence of the people. If forced to give up one of these, give up arms; and if forced to give up two, give up food. Death has been the portion of all men from of old; but without the people’s trust, nothing can endure.’ Need I say more….

One can only hope that we live to see the day when our gatekeepers and administrators of this Land of the Pure would take responsibility for their actions or lack thereof to stop such heinous crimes.  In a supposedly democratic set up, the least that can be done is to be accountable to the people who bring forth the elected leaders with their votes.  With great power comes great responsibility, reminds my son after watching Spiderman.  I wonder if anyone else is listening out there? Issuing statements of ‘condemning the violent act’ does not help the listener, or the grieving family – action does.  What does help is to show solidarity in these troubled times.  We are a nation at war.  The least we can do is to stand united and keep reminding ourselves we cannot give up on Pakistan – not yet… not now…not ever!

32 responses »

  1. I agree with you here. It is really sad that mobs behave so irresponsibly. They should not have struck on such an auspicious day. What did innocent people have to do with it? It’s sad that mobs have caused more damage than the blast itself. I condemn this attack and the mob attacks which took place later.

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  4. Totally Agree with every word u have written but my question is why do julsas like these when even a dumb person like Zaradri knows he will be killed the day he will go out in a public gathering like this??
    yeh tu aisay hee- ke aaaa bhens mujhay maar!!!

    we r a nation of Terrorists- its in our Blood 😦
    32 ppl killed in the Blast and thousands lost their Jobs and businesses!!

  5. It is no secret, with every such procession / rallies, gathering, trouble makers are out roaming in droves. They actually use chemically processed catalysts that aid in the fire build up process 9that is how cars catch fire in seconds and same for shops and tyres.

    Honestly, the situation is very messed up. I hope for nothing short of a divine miracle.

  6. I have no words to describe my grief, but if you ask me if there will be a moharram juloos tomorrow, will I go out there again? My answer would be YES! Those who lost their lives went thr with the same belief. Karbala is the only ans to terrorism. We need to research the event irrespective of our religion or sect and follow the path of Ahle Bait.

    My condolences to those who lost their loved ones and property in today’s event. May Allah grant us wisdom and patience.

  7. We didn’t raise voice against what happened in 80’s, so this is what we are facing now. If we set idle and do nothing now, the situation will become even worse. Raise voice against yazid waqt(current yazid- America).

  8. i agree with ur views and i also believe that these terrorist figures are creating an air full of a gas which creates hate among the people. Who creates discrimination among two Muslim brothers on the grounds of sect, e.g. Shia and Sunni. It’s the time that we must open our eyes and not only to face but also defeat this common enemy. As far as our own contradictions are concerned we can fight on them later but the need of hour is to create a sense of harmony, brotherhood and unity among all the Pakistanis, especially Muslims who are ready to be classified in the terms of sect.

  9. no words can define the grief, words are not enough…, I think big gatherings should never be arranged.., we know we can be targeted then why we go out?

    may Allah be always with everyone of us.. ameen

  10. Well said Shaista. It is indeed a very sad and tragic event and every effort should be made to pacify people in Karachi and other parts of the country- so that the repercussions and reactions of today’s event are contained. Both sides need to unite and hunt down the miscreants and those who are hell bent on terrorism and mischief in our war-torn country. Hopefully passions will cool down and the Sindh government will be able to punish the culprits as well as terrorists. Unity is they key at this moment- this tragic event has happened. What is important is to contain the fall-out and do utmost to stop terrorists from striking. it just goes on to show that there are followers of yazid even today who think they can stop Moharram processions through such acts. They, like their forefathers, are mistaken.

  11. very good post shaista. I love the ending that we can never give up on Pakistan.
    I also want to add that we will Not stop having such peaceful processions as marking the tragic death of Imam Hussain A.S. Suggesting to stop having such processions is the easy solution and the root of all our problems: taking the easy way out. This is what these terrorists want us to do: change our way of life. We refuse to do that. Our nation, being a nation at war, needs to take the difficult path of sorting out the extremist element in our society.
    Keep writing shaista.

  12. the seeing blind cannot see the tears
    the sleep walkers seek prizes
    the delusionistas want others to act
    the denialistas do what they do best – deny
    finally the lines have blurred and blended
    difficult to discern between hasan and yazid
    between sheep and wolf, between me and me
    husain is dead, long live husain
    we the living breathing are dead too
    pity, we know not we’re dead


    i have a craving
    a bagel with cream cheese
    and moca java
    and tried hard as i did
    i could not shake it off
    yes, the plight of the father
    who lost four young children
    the mother crying hoarse
    others frantic in their search for news
    —any news
    moved me, saddened me,
    made me furious
    but did nothing to curb the craving…

  13. With power comes responsibitity which brings us to a point of not abusing power.These acts are defaming us globally whereas locally reulting in loss of innocent lives.Muslims,please wake up and show the world that Islam is a religion of peace and justice.

  14. Totally Agree with every word. I was there and saw children and ladies finding there families. Why isn’t possible that govermnet banned the large gatherings like this???

  15. I agree with amMar!

    One who has closely studied the incident of kerbala would understand that the mourners of Imam-e-Hussain must not be terrorized from these blasts & take a back from going to these processions.

    Yes, it’s no surprise that there was going to be trouble during the processions on Ashura but Imam-e-Hussain also knew that once he sends his 13 yr olds and 18 yr olds out in the battle field in kerabala, they won’t return back home but did that stop imam hussain from doing what was right? He could have easily taken oath (bayat) at the hands of Yazeed, the tyrant, but he didn’t! He sacrificed everything he had but didn’t let the oppressor succeed in his cause!

    People are coming out and saying that till majalis we understand but why did they have to go ahead with the procession despite the threats. For this they must understand that the act of terrorism is to terrorize people and any alteration in the acts of Hussainies would signify that the terrorists succeeded in their task. Some say we wish they had kept a low in processions this year! I completely disagree with that. Blast in processions today will lead to blasts in majalis tomorrow & then to completely terrorize Hussainies to an extent that they won’t even come out of their houses! Although, I as a Hussaini know that this will never happen. We will continue to go to majalis, juloos (processions) and involve in azadari no matter how many security concerns there are. And No, I don’t do that to become a martyr or to be called as a shaheed! My aim is plain mourning of my Imaam and martyrs of kerabala. People can continue to think whatever they may!

    At last, I’d say that all those who think that why is it so hard for us to take precautions; to them I want to say that not conducting processions is not a precaution, it’s a consequence! If someone is really interested in taking precautions then he must advocate tightened security measure & other such measure, not the ban on the procession itself!

    • I agree, but what about the person who arrange bread and butter for their whole family and lost his life in these kinds of blast??? 3000 shops burnt last night affected 15000 families’ approx. Labor, suppliers, retailers all families affected; I know one bhori family who lost their mother in yesterday blast. I m not against shia or sunni julus. I only want that government should ban all kind of julus and rallies whether it is from shia, sunni or any political party.

  16. I totally agree with every word u have written…its really very sad incident…
    and Gov should banned the big gatherings b/c we all know very well that v are on target…
    My condolences to those ppl who lost their loved ones..May Allah give them patience…Ameen

  17. I saw the notification of your blog update yesterday but could not muster the courage to read and respond because of the chain of tragic events yesterday. My biggest agony is that it is becoming increasingly difficult for me to clearly distinguish between a Yazidi mindset versus a Hussaini mindset. To my mind, the Hussaini mindset is that of non-aggression, as exemplified by the three option presented by the Imam (AS) to his adversaries. In my view, the Hussaini mindset is that of “submission” before the divine will. Finally, Hussaini mindset is that of peaceful defiance. If these conditions are not idealised and adhered to, it is immaterial whether the perpetrator of aggression, provocation and violence prays with his hands tied or suspended. I shall not comment on the geo-politics of it all, as there are more qualified people than I am to indulge in that, but would suffice to say, that Hussaini mindset is a continuation of the Alavi mindset. Seen the two manifestations of the same creed together, it appears from Imam’s (AS) three propositions, that it is perhaps possible to peacefully defy, yet co-exist with feudalism and parochialism, but the religious extremism will not stop until it repeats it feat of sending more Muslims on the path it sent Usman (RA) and Ali (AS). To me, the choice is dictated by the stances taken by Ali and Hussain (AS) when confronted with the two separate forces. Does anyone see any parallels in today’s political divide?

  18. i agree with Faisal Khan, i went there myself and witnessed the carnage from closeup, it is not a secret anymore that chemicals were used to set those shops on fire. There is no way in hell, I am willing to believe that a shia assembly walking in grief for the shuhuda of kerbala would be carrying fire igniting chemicals and phosphorous with them.

    The swathe of damaged area is half a km across and 1.5 kms deep right into the by lanes..there is no way anyone can set this area on fire in a disorganized fashion. It looks as if the entire area has been carpet bombed, buildings are breaking and falling there is debris on the roads and by lanes. This was a planned and organized effort to break the spirit of the business community of this city and to fan the flames of ethnic violence.

    To those who are advocating against large assembly am I then to stop going to jummah prayers as that is a large crowd in the mosque as well and has been targetted. am i to stp sending my kids to school because that also is a large assembly and has been targeted in Pakistan. What am I to do? I believe that the shia clerics did the right thing by leading the juloos to its end.

    If we stop living life the way we want to terrorism has already won. We cannnot cower like rats at home. My condolences to all the brothers and sisters who have lost their loved ones…

  19. Assalam-o-Alkim Wah Rahmatullah Wah Barakatuh,

    Thanks Shaista for approaching me to read this very interesting but sad and yet Another reflection of a VERY DARK day in the history of Pakistan. It is interesting to read the replies of many people here too as almost every one has condemned this HEDIOS and HENIOS act! but no one has spoken about elements in our society who preach hatred and violence in ISLAM.

    Only if they could reflect on the word ISLAM it self which means Peace and Blessings!!! Now where it is important to reflect on such incidents and condemn them its at the same time necessity of our time to write about the rogue elements who are abusing religion for their own underline agenda and spreading hatred among sunnis, shias and ahmadis. Thus in a way spreading the CANCER of terrorism and extremism in Pakistan.

    So along with writing about these sad incidents we all need to write and write passionately about tolerance, love, patience and harmony among Pakistanis and in general Human beings.

    Just will end my reply with a prayer that …”Oh God I leave my country in your hands and with your attributes of Almighty, Forgiving and One providing Justice……Do eliminate these rogue elements from our Society”


  20. I went there this afternoon about 4:30pm and took some photographs of the after-mess… these have been posted at http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=186188&id=627450883

    before i was about to go out, at around 2:30pm on CNN I could not believe my ears that they said “Sunni Extremists” were involved in yesterday’s disaster… without reveling the sources… it seems that either they knew or were part of the frame-up…

    I agree with both Faisals (Khan & Kapadia) on the chemicals being used and involvement of some external sources who then tried a frame-up on Shia-Sunni Sects and ignite fire that would have initiated sectarian violence in the country…

    I also feel that its black-sheep amongst us who are now playing the role Mir Jaffar and pray to All-Mighty to keep us safe from such fitnas.

  21. Shaista another splendid writeup….Yes we can never give up on Pakistan..never…and I agree with Ammar,Tamania and Faisal K…I was there in the Juloos and with me were my friends and relatives and during the body search at the entrance even cigrates and Match boxes were taken from the Azadars..2ndly needless to say when we “the azadars” go to attend juloos and majalis we do not carry any sort of weapon or chemical …3rdly the firing and torching incidents took place just minutes after the blast when the azadars were busy taking the procession towards the Iranian asap..how can they start the carnage…in 2005 a similiar incident took place when there was a blast in a Gulshan(a locality of Karachi) Imambargah and even before the namazi and ppl present inside the imambargah regain their senses the KFC just next to the Imambargah was torched and that too with chemicals…how in the God’s name did this happen???teh blame was yet again put on the “protestors” how can namazi inside the blding who wre still trying to regain their senses torch the KFC??n that too within what 5 mins of the blast!! but having said all of this I will repeat what ammar and Tamania has said that to cancel juloos and majalis and changing our ways of living will only encourage these terrorits…we will have to choose the hard path like Imam Hussain as did…and I too as a Hussaini believe that no matter what happens choosing the easy path is not the solution…I just pray that the Almighty grants us with the patience and the bravery of Muala as and keep us steadfast in these trying times…

  22. Well written.

    I dont know that Why some people are falling and trapped in the hands of those who wanted to create differences against us.

    See and read how INDIA shias & sunnis are living each other, see how shia & sunni ulema.. both attend conferences, sit.. and have dinner each other at Darul-Aloom Deoband conferences and everyother place.

    Why we have his hatred here in Pakistan.

    Loss is loss, those who lost lives or money. You can see that even 10 sunnis who were in jaloos were the victim of suicide and you can also see that 100’s of shias & bohri shias shop were burnt..

    I ask them that do they think some sunni do the sucide.. NO

    And in the same manner do you think that the shia burnt the shop — NO

    Be vigilant.., there are 100 of things which you cannot easily pass away.

    1) Chemical . Phasphoros was used.. See the Dawn news — Do you think that plp in jaloos take this phasporos from home.. and came into procession. as they know that some sucide bombing will be in place.. Think

    2) The first shops were burnt of Pathans.. at Light house, which open startight fire to the back side of the pro mqm place…

    3) CDGK has already give notice from 4 months.. to get this place.. empty.. Listen from your own the business community that they have ordered and they were looking for some reasons to get them out.

    There are many reasons, you cannot start abusing each other so easily. We are living with 100 of years. We cannot kill all shia and neither they cannot kill all of us.. SUNNIS.

    Dont start spreading harted, because it will only spread hatred…


    Everyone is doing politics on the blood & money of innocent plp.

    Political parties are highly involved.

    Why a re-known minister belongs to a re-known political party (who own 150 shops at bolton market) sold all of his shop just a month before..

    Has he been alarmed, just a month back, however these shops were 40 years old.

    Politics is highly involved.

    Just watch a video after the blast..

    Those who lost lives, cannot be recovered, this lost cannot be filled, its really tragic for their family for whole life, but those whose shops has been burnt, must be recovered. and Govt should help them all.

    These businessman were getting threatened from last 2 years to shift the shop. They don’t know that in this manner it will be done.

    Allah bless us all.

  24. Very well written Shaista.

    The current state of our country is indeed heart breaking but it is so important to not give in to terrorism, it is equally important not to lose hope. I totally agree with the above comment “If we stop living life the way we want to terrorism has already won.”

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