Taliban main suspect in Pak shrine suicide attack


LAHORE: Although Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has denied its involvement in Thursday’s twin suicide attacks targeting the historic shrine of revered sufi saint Hazrat Data Ganj Bux in Lahore, the provincial capital of Pakistan’s Punjab province, preliminary investigations into the bloody act give broad hints that the bombings were carried out by none other than the pro-Deobandi Taliban elements who are opposed to the idea of Muslims going to sufi shrines and making prayers to the deceased saints, a practice which is known as piri-faqiri. All the Taliban groupings despise piri-faqiri and are prone to attacking any shrine that is used to practice it.

The bombers killed at least 50 people in the biggest suicide attack on a sufi shrine in Pakistan since the 9/11 terror episode. The Data Darbar shrine is the burial place of the Sufi saint Syed Ali Hajwairi whose famous book ‘Kashif-ul-Mahjub’ or ‘unveiling of the veiled’ was the first credible treatise in the Sufi literature known as ‘Malfujat’. Located in the heart of Lahore, the Data Darbar shrine is mostly visited by members of the Barelvi sect of Sunni Muslims whom the Taliban consider heretics. The shrine is also known for traditional dhamal or dance by devotees, but the practice is considered highly un-Islamic by the fanatic Taliban elements which decided to target the Data Darbar shrine on the busiest Thursday because on that day a large number of devotees come to pay their respects and attain blessings.

The Punjabi Taliban on Friday denied their involvement in the devastating terrorist attacks at the Data Darbar and condemned the killing of innocent worshippers in the shrine and the adjacent mosque. Also, the Urdu-speaking militants’ spokesman termed the suicide attacks as acts of intelligence agencies and the US security firm Blackwater aimed at tarnishing the image of Mujahideen. “We cannot even think of taking the life of a single innocent human-being. This brutality to defame the Mujahideen should be expected from spy agencies and Blackwater,” said Mohammad Omar, the spokesman for the Punjabi Taliban. However, well informed sources in security agencies investigating the twin suicide bombings simply reject the TTP’s spokesman rebuttal pertaining to the group’s involvement in the shrine attack, saying there are strong indications that the gory incident was orchestrated by the Tehrik-e-Taliban/Lashkar-e-Jhangvi combine, mainly because both the fanatic groups reject veneration of Sufi saints and their shrines as idol worship. Those investigating the twin bombings say the shrine had been a target of the terrorist since long and the Thursday attacks have been carried out by the same group of attackers which had earlier targeted two Ahmedi mosques in the Model Town and Garhi Shahu areas of Lahore on May 28, 2010 which left almost 100 people dead.

The investigators reminded the fact that targeting sufi shrines is not a new phenomenon as the Pakistani Taliban had earlier launched a series of terrorist attacks against these holy places in and around Peshawar which were linked to a campaign to impose a puritan code of religious conduct. In one such high profile attack on a sufi shrine in May last year, the Taliban had struck at the shrine of a 17th-century sufi saint and revered poet of the Pashto language in Peshawar, Rehman Baba. Having extensively damaged the shrine with the help of explosives, the Taliban elements struck again a week later the same month by targeting the shrine of Bahadar Baba, located in hills near Nowshera close to Peshawar while using rocket launchers. The third such attack the same month was directed against the 400-year-old shrine of another sufi saint, Abu Saeed Baba, also near Peshawar.

Those investigating the Data Darbar shrine bombings say the same Taliban elements are behind the terror episode who had earlier masterminded the assassination of Dr Sarfraz Naeemi, the head cleric of the Jamia Naeemia mosque in Lahore. Dr Naeemi was killed by a suicide bomber in his own office along with five others on the premises of the Jamia Naeemi mosque almost a year ago on June 12, 2009. In yet another bloody fidayeen cum suicide attack on the Parade Lane mosque in the garrison town of Rawalpindi on December 4, 2009, and that too during Friday prayers, the Taliban had killed 44 people. Claiming responsibility for the attack, a spokesman for the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan had said that the Parade Ground mosque similar to Masjid-e-Zarrar that was built in Madina by the munafiqeen, and was “demolished on the orders of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)”.


Comments are closed.


Discover more from Middle East Transparent

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading