Ghulam Hussain / Shiite News Exclusive
Shia Muslims remembered great martyrs of Therhi massacre 1963 on 56th anniversary of the great tragedy on Ashura Day in Khairpur Mirs.
As many as 118 Shia Muslims embraced martyrdom in Therhi on June 6, 1963 on the sacred day of Youm-e-Ashura. Military dictator Ayub Khan had ruled Pakistan.
They sacrificed their precious lives for the sacred cause of the protection of Azadari. Shia Muslims revere them great martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the sake of Imam Hussain (AS).
Situated around 8 kilometres from Khairpur city on road to Sukkur, Therhi had a population of around 5 thousands in 1963. Out of them 99 percent followed notorious takfirism. They had a very big seminary there.
The town had only one Shia family of Mehdi Shah. That family was hosting a Majlis or mourning congregation in commemoration of the tragedy of Karbala) on Ashura that fell on June 6, 1963.
Around 15 to 20 Maumineen (Shias) had gathered. They had planned to take out a matami juloos (religious mourning procession) after Majlis but takfiris attacked them at majlis.
At around 2 p.m., one Nawab Sultan Hussain reported it to the residents of Mohallah Luqman (a thickly-populated locality of Shias) where a Ashura mourning procession had already been brought out.
This news saddened and shocked the mourners and they raised alams (sacred flags) and vowed to bring out the procession of Therhi first.
The uncle of Allama Irfan Haider Abidi (late) namely Sibtain Hussain, who was a renowned Zakir-e-Hussain (orator) came forward and declared ‘Today it’s a war between Hussainiat and Yazidism.’
Hearing this, the participants of mourning procession marched towards Therhi shouting slogans of Ya Ali and Ya Hussain.
They included children aged 8 years to elderly mourners aged 55 years. They passed through Khairpur city to reach Therhi, where the Khairpur city’s mourners were taking out a procession of Ashura.
The residents of Luqman asked them to accompany. Some people alerted them to get them prepared first because their enemy had planned attack. However, they turned a deaf ear to that and ignored facts.
Then, around 4 to 5 thousand unarmed people of Luqman and Khairpur marched towards Therhi. They reached Therhi at around 6 p.m.
On the other hand, the Therhi attackers armed themselves well and hidden on several places to attack.
Mehdi Shah’s house situated in the middle of Therhi that had narrow lanes: hardly 3 feet wide. Due to firing and stone pelting, only 150 to 200 people could reach his house. The rest waited outside.
Someone said that the Army has arrived. Hearing this, the people who went there without planning and leadership left for Khairpur. After the departure of these people, the takfiris encircled the Imambargah (place of congregation) of Mehdi Shah.
Then, following the tradition of their Yazidi ancestors, they began killing Shias ruthlessly with the help of rifles, axes, knives and stone-pelting.
Further, they incinerated tent which fell on the injured people. They brought cattle to run over the dead and injured to inflict further pain.
At midnight, the biased takfiri fanatics impersonated them as Shias, took empty water buckets and shouted the slogan of Ya Hussain. They were asking if someone need water, whoever requested for water they slaughtered him ruthlessly.
(Most notably, many among who slaughtered faithful Maumineen included Hafiz-e-Quran, students of takfiri seminaries. In this way, the Maumineen sacrificed their lives but did not ask for help and died following the tradition of Hazrat Imam Hussain (A.S.)
To hide their heinous crime, fanatics collected all the bodies and put them in an empty well and planned to burn them after putting kerosene oil. However, the police arrived and took the martyrs’ bodies into custody.
Another reason for their failure in burning the bodies of martyrs had it that the Assistant Director Information of the time Ishtiaq Azhar and the reporter of APP Ali Akbar Zaidi had already released the news.
They had reported death of more than 100 people to the local and international media.
Later, the concerned authorities shifted the bodies of martyrs to Civil Hospital Khairpur from Therhi and kept in hospital’s compound. Doctors had to keep a body away because it was stinking. However, the stinking body was of a takfiri fanatic who was among attackers.
Later, relatives took martyrs’ bodies after identification to their houses without post-mortem. Next day, the burial of the martyrs began. That took place on several places due to their different areas of residence.
However, on the advice of prayers leader of central mosque of Mohallah Luqman, Molana Safdar Hussain, heirs agreed to bury the martyrs belonging to Luqman Mohallah at one place named Ganj-e-Shaheedan (the adobe of the martyrs).
Most importantly, martyrs’ bodies remained fresh even at the time of burial after almost 23 hours had passed amid extremely hot weather and the area lacked electricity supply. Despite all these facts, the bodies of martyrs remained fresh and even blood was running from several of them.
The heirs brought as many as 32 martyrs, including two young brothers at the Central Imambargah of Luqman at around 5 p.m. The father of two martyred brothers was standing nearby.
And when someone condole him on the tragedy, he replied with patience that his sons were not better than the sons of Hazrat Zainab (peace be upon her).
Another family in Luqman also lost two sons in this tragedy. At around 6 p.m., the families took the bodies to graveyard from Central Imambargah.
Another fact has it Mohallah Luqman had a population of around 6 to 7 thousand at that time. Among them included around 90 percent Shias and 10 percent Sunnis, the latter mainly concentrated in Kaunpur Colony.
After the Therhi tragedy, people of Kaunpur colony became very frightened and due to the fear of retaliation, they started migrating.
When the Shias of Luqman asked them the reason, they expressed their apprehension. At that moment, Shia community assured them of their security. They told them that we have grievances against the people of Therhi and not against them, then, they remained there.
The people also saw good moral character of followers of Imam Hussain (AS) when the burial procession of 32 martyrs crossed Kaunpur colony.
None of them either pelted even a single stone nor did they even disturb any single resident.
After observing this character, the leader of the congregational prayer of the Kaunpur colony mosque Siddique who used to recite marsia written by his father on loudspeaker all night, started attending the Majalis. He also started reciting his own composed Marisas.
When he died, people offered his Namaz-e-Janaza twice, once by the Shias because he advised in his will heirs should bury him as Shia.
Molana Siddiqui also said in his will that Sunnis considered him prayers leader; hence, Sunni namaz-e-janaza.
Therefore, Therhi tragedy has many messages for Pakistanis in particular, and rest of the Muslim world and humanity in general.
On the one hand, it reflected the ugliest face of takfiri/nasbi followers of Umayyad despotic rulers.
And on the other, Shia mourners’ martyrdoms showed they adored Imam Hussain to that extent.
Their sacrificing lives for the sake of Imam Hussain vindicated their stance against Umayyad dynastic despotism.
Even today, Shia community keeps their memories alive. Shia mourners commemorate the anniversary of great martyrs of Therhi tragedy with extraordinary zeal.
Most importantly, Shias vow to continue to defend the ideology of Imam Hussain. Because, they believe martyrs don’t die. They live forever. Certainly, great martyrs of Therhi tragedy too live for good.