6th July marks a turning point in unwavering struggle for Shia rights in Pakistan

Since 1980, Pakistani Shia Muslims commemorate the 6th July every year with pride because of chain of historic events of July in 1980 when Shiites struggle to attain their inalienable rights under the dynamic leaderships of renowned religious scholars Mufti Jafar Hussain and his would-be successor Allama Arif Hussain al-Hussaini. It was the dark era of Pakistan’s history as Martial Law regime led by General Zia had usurped the power from a democratically-elected government to herald a future of intolerant violent extremism in the country of pious saints.

Shia leadership held talks with the General Zia-led regime and when the parleys failed, Shia Muslims, in July 1980, surrounded the Parliament House to register their protest against the unjust system that had usurped their inalienable rights as citizens of Pakistan. Mohammad Hussain Shad belonging to Shor Kot (Punjab) was said to be the first martyr of the legitimate struggle for genuine and inalienable rights of Shia Muslims in Pakistan.
Then came July 6 in 1985: Allama Arif Hussaini, the successor of Mufti Jafar Hussain, called for a protest day to remind the Martial Law regime of General Zia that he must honour his commitments and promises made to Shia Muslims. The protest rallies were staged in Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta. 16 Shia Muslims embraced martyrdom and many others were injured when authorities opened fire upon the protesters in Quetta. Hundreds of them were detained. Long March was announced on May 1, 1986 to press the regime for release of the detainees but they were released prior to the scheduled long march.
On July 6, 1987, Allama Arif Hussaini, the head of representative Shia party Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Fiqh-e-Jafaria, unveiled the manifesto “Our Way” that was Shia vision for Pakistan. The manifesto was announced at a mammoth congregation namely Quran-O-Sunnat Conference that was held at Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore.
Leading Shia ideologue and thinker Dr Mohammad Ali Naqvi once said that it was a landmark step in the evolutionary phase of Shia Muslims of Pakistan when they began thinking for entire nation of Pakistan and gave their manifesto for entire Pakistan.


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