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Pakistan Muslims: Dubendi Vs Brelvis

Published: 07/01/2013 05:18:18 PM GMT
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ISLAMABAD - Seeking to counter the growing militancy in the south Asian Muslim country, the United States is seen playing a new policy to bring rival religious sects in Pakistan against each others. This is true that all t (more)

ISLAMABAD - Seeking to counter the growing militancy in the south Asian Muslim country, the United States is seen playing a new policy to bring rival religious sects in Pakistan against each others.

"This is true that all the militant organizations, whether it is Taliban movement or Lashkar-e-Jhangvi or lashkar-e-Tayyeba, either belong to Dubendi or Ahl-e-Hadit school of thought," Imtiaz Khan Faran, a Karachi-based political analyst told,

"The establishment has long been looking for a rising power, which must have religious background, to counter the influence of these groups."

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Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri, a self-exiled religious scholar from the Brelvi school of thought, returned to Pakistan from Canada last month.

His return was accompanied by a massive advertisement campaign in the printed and electronic media.

But analysts opine that the scholar's return is a concerted effort by Washington to raise the Brelivs with a view to countering the influence of the Dubendi school of thought.

"Brelvis are in majority in various parts of Pakistan, especially in Punjab (the richest and most populous province)," Faran said.

"Therefore, a section of Pakistani and the US establishment want them to politically rise to counter the influence of Dubendi school of thought, which is more organized and influential both in politics and militancy."

Anointing himself as "Sheikh-ul-Islam", Qadri went into self-exile in Canada in 2006 for what he calls "literary work".

The religious scholar, who obtained the Canadian citizenship, went to fame last year after leading a big rally in London against the Taliban.

Qadri has announced plans for a big rally on January 14, to change what he calls "the decades-old rotten system".

He says he would force the government to bow to the people's demands as Egypt's former president Hosni Mubarak did after millions gathered at Tahrir Square.

He also threatened that the Pakistani people would not accept any interim government if it does not have the representation of army and the judiciary, a demand which is being widely condemned.


But analysts believe that efforts to bring the Dubendis and Brelvis against each other have dim chances of success.

"This is not the first time when such efforts have been launched to pitch rival sects against each other," Abdul Khalique Ali, a Karachi-based political analyst, told

"Earlier, several efforts have been made internally and externally to pitch Shiites against Sunnis, but no such efforts yielded any results despite the fact many Shiite and Sunni leaders have been killed in targeted killing across the country."

Analysts compare the move to previous attempts to raise another famous Brelvi scholar, Sahibzada Fazl Karim, who also led a long march against militancy a few months ago.

However, a revelation from leaked US embassy cables that Sahibzada had been provided financial assistance for leading the march and holding public gatherings against militancy across the country tumbled the entire campaign.

"This seems to me the same case," Faran said.

"Huge funding and a comprehensive planning are required for such a big show," he said, referring to Qadri's proposed long march and sit-in at the parliament house on January 14.

"Who is funding this huge campaign? This is a big question mark because Dr Qadri's party is not that strong and organized to do that at its own."

Analysts are also worried that attempts to pit Brevlis and Dubendis against each others could complicate the situation further in the Muslim country.

"This can never be taken as a wise move because such moves always have bright chances of triggering a civil war, which actually occurred in various parts of the tribal areas where tribes were pitched against each other to counter the influence of Taliban," Ali said.

The analyst also sees lack of planning vis-à-vis this move.

"What will happen even if Brelvis rise against Dubendis? Will they attack and kill each other? How would then government control the two sects, especially when it has miserably failed to control the one sect?” he asked.

"This all would earn nothing to Pakistan or the US except further chaos."

Dubendis and Brelvis are two major Sunni schools of thoughts in Pakistan, with Dubendis more organized and urbanized.Nearly 12,000 out of total 20,000 religious seminaries across the country belong to Dubendi school of thought.

Reproduced with permission from