Jiziya on Minorities by Taliban. By Inderias Dominic Bhatti

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Vocabulary
Bara-based: Bara is a commercial area of Peshawar, NWFP, PAKISTAN
Final Note: It is a verbal message of the militant as per of the version of the minorities’ elders but there are proves of written text also which the elders either have kept secret or are reluctant to show it publicly says a foreign correspondent jointly covering the News with Daily “The News” Peshawar Bureau who have seen it (as per of his off the record words). On the other hand as per of the agreement between he militants and minorities they agreed not to show it to anyone. Some reports says that the written text is burnt in a Jirgha and the elders solemnly declared hat they have kept no copy of it with an oath on their sacred religious books;
Jaziya: An Islamic tax imposed on minorities;
LI: Lashkar-e-Islam (An Islamic militant group reportedly a Taliban Ally in Peshawar), NWFP, Pakistan;
Jirgha: A tribal jury;
The Minorities’ elders agreed to pay Jaziya in NWFP – Pakistan
After extreme pressure upon minorities in Bara, Chora, Karamna, Bazaar Zakhakhel and Tirah Valley of Khyber Agency from Bara-based Lashkar-e-Islam (LI, an Islamic militant group reportedly a Taliban Ally in Peshawar), NWFP, Pakistan which demands the minorities:

1. To convert to Islam;
2. To leave the residencies;
3. To pay “Jaziya” (An Islamic Tax on minorities)

After having a lot joint dialogues among themselves about the final note of LI the minorities’ elders finally decided to pay the tax instead of leaving the area, where they are living for decades.
The grounds of this critical decision according to the elders (who want their names to be held) are:

01. Fear of physical danger to them and their children if they do not obey;
02. Fear of being hunted down and have worse suffering than warned in the final note;
03. Lack of information about the alternative settlement and earning in the new unknown migrated place;
04. Loose of their assets and their birth residencies;
05. The emotional ties of leaving friends and neighbors behind;
06. The doubt of the media which had a very negative role regarding this issue;
07. Unfounded optimism that the Islamic Militants will change and take off the imposing of Jaziya;
08. Low Self-Esteem – and defeatism from the militants;
09. Discouragement from the promised un-given political, religious and social support from the visitors and people they contacted as well;
10. Upon coming back to my home I will always be accused for being a rebellious and it will further isolate me from my friends, relatives, neighbors and community will isolate me. I may be asked for penalties and extra tax imposing;

Several Jirghas were held to settle the issue and finally a Jirgha attended by the leaders and elders of the Sikh, Hindu and Christian community at Tirah Valley decided to pay tax to LI.
According to the elders the tax will be Pak Rs 1000/per person/per year on every normal adult aging 18 – 50 years excluding handicaps and women.
The elders rejected the demand of girls and children in cases of non payment of Jaziya which was accepted and the Jaziya Jury will precede the recovery alternates. The people found incapable to pay would be given exceptions as well but with a due approval of the Jirgha representative of their community.

Methods Used in the Study:

01. Personal Visits;
02. Meeting the minorities’ elders (representatives of the minorities’ “Jirgha”;
03. Print Media and Daily Newspapers e.g. “The News”, AP;
04. Exposing and observing the Jirghas’ proceedings;

Thanks to:

01. Mrs. Samina Khan, Denver, Colorado, USA for the generosity;
02. The silent support of various foreign press for media supporters;
03. Peace Ambassadors – Pakistan for volunteerism;
04. Daily “The News” for their guidance, security and support;

Our Request: It is true that there had been many support promises to the minorities (who agreed for paying Jaziya) from political parties, government, NGOs and religious groups but every one withdrew saying it either a sensitive, risky or complicated internal national matter. I personally request the international community to see if they can extend some massage of hope and support to these minorities in Pakistan.

For more information: Mrs. Shaheen Bhatti, co-founder, Peace Ambassadors Pakistan, Lahore, Pakistan. email:

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