Hardliners force Pakistan govt to its knees

Hardliners force Pakistan govt to its knees
Highlights

Pakistan is burning today with hatred. For a country ruled more by the non-State actors this should not come as a surprise. If anyone still doubts that non-State actors played a role in the latest flare-up in the neighborhood, the end-result of the siege of Islamabad should be an eye-opener.

Pakistan is burning today with hatred. For a country ruled more by the non-State actors this should not come as a surprise. If anyone still doubts that non-State actors played a role in the latest flare-up in the neighborhood, the end-result of the siege of Islamabad should be an eye-opener. The government had to give in to the demands of the protesters camped out in Faizabad Interchange with the Federal Law Minister, Zahid Hamid resigning.

The present leader of Tehreek-i-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (TYL) (usually referred to as a fringe group), Khadim Rizvi, called off the protests promising no fatwa against the Law Minister who put in his papers, after paralysing the capital for several weeks with his siege that led to loss of life and huge damage to the economy.

The TYL insisted that Khatm-e-Nubuwwat be honoured. It means that Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) is the last of the Prophets. The process and routine of appointing Prophets and Messengers by Almighty Allah has been terminated, finished, ended, stopped and sealed.

None will be appointed as Prophet after Hazrat Muhammed (PBUH). His prophethood will continue until the dooms day and even afterwards, only that person can claim to be a Muslim who has belief in Khatm-e-Nubuwwat and confesses: "None is worth of worship except Alla: Muhammad (PBUH) is apostle of Allah".

It was not that the omission was not rectified immediately, yet, it led to the situation. Look at the bizarre agreement signed in the end: Removal of the Federal Law Minister, legal action against those found responsible for the change in the election oath, release of all protesters arrested and dropping of cases and lifting house arrests, constituting of an inquiry board against officials responsible for the operation conducted by the security forces against protesters and, above all, payment of compensation by the federal and provincial governments for the loss of government and private assets incurred from November 6 until the end of the sit-in.

Now, would this be possible anywhere in the world? Would any government agree to pay compensation for the loss inflicted by the protesters or demonstrators on the nation? But, it happens in only in Pakistan. Why is it so?

The fact that Pakistan's Army Chief, Gen Bajwa, presided over the agreement and brokered peace thus should give us an answer to the question. Which country's army chief forces his Government to pay for the arson of a fringe group?

The reason for this disgraceful face-saver is simple. That the pro-Taliban TYL is linked to the army and supplies men to its ranks often to fight the 'bad terrorists' in Afghanistan and Kashmir etc.

The 2007 Lal Masjid incident which ended in a bloody eight day siege killing at least 58 Pakistani troops and seminary students is a pointer to this fact. In fact, Parwez Musharraf's downfall began soon after for ordering the action against the seminary.

Today, the Lal Masjid Operation of 2007 is disowned by everyone and it is said that even Musharraf regrets the same. The disastrous operation undertaken with a lot of trepidation led to the birth of Tehreek Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Al Qaeda was livid with rage because Lal Masjid was its catchement area. It was also essential to keep the sanctity of the Masjid intact as it was symbolic of Al Qaeda's power and image.

The youth treated the organization as a friend of Pakistan and not a terrorist organization. The very next year, the Masjid celebrated the anniversary of the operation by killing 19 in Islamabad through a suicide-bomber. Later, Amir Mir in his book Talibanisation of Pakistan from 9/11 to 26/11, stated: 'Before the bloodshed, the Mosque had a reputation for radicalism, mostly attracting Islamic hardline students from North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and tribal areas where support for the Taliban and al-Qaeda is quite strong...Much before the military operation code named "Operation Silence" was launched by the Pakistan Army, Lal Masjid had become known to the outer world as a centre of radical Islamic learning, housing several thousand male and female students in adjacent seminaries'.

Founder of the mosque Maulana Abdullah Ghazi was murdered in the sectarian war of Pakistan. His sons Abdul Aziz and Abdul Rashid ran the seminary aggressively, targeting elements they thought were flouting the sharia and were attacking the Shia. They fed youths into state-sponsored jihad in Afghanistan and Kashmir, connecting the state to training camps run by terrorist organisations under al Qaeda.

“As the Operation Silence unfolded it was discovered that elements from militants groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Harkatul Jihadul Islami were present inside the seminary. Lal Masjid compound was being used as a hideout by dozens of wanted militants who had Kalashnikov rifles, LMGs, hundreds of hand grenades and petrol bombs and a few rocket-launchers in stock,” Pakistani media quoted later.

That should explain Pakistani Army's complicity in the subversion of the State and its authority in the country. Ignoring the tell-tale signs and forewarnings emanating from the Lal Masjid and the likes of Hafiz Sayeed's, Pakistan’s governments continued riding the tiger of fundamentalism to today's disaster.

The abject surrender of the neighbouring government to its right wing extremist forces was expected, because one by one, the clerics of Pakistan kept warning it against stringent action even as the fringe grew into a storm with thousands of youngsters taking to streets.

Abdullah Ghazi who was the head cleric of the Lal Masjid during the war against the soviets in Afghanistan and who had connections with the Islamist groups had always received funding and guidance from the Pakistani military and intelligence. In turn, it was his job to train militants thus converting Lal Masjid into a citadel of militancy. His children Abdul Rashid and Abdul Aziz, condemned any action against terrorists by Pakistan's Army and declared, “those killed in battle against Pakistani forces are martyrs.”

There are several incidents wherein the involvement of the Army insiders and Lal Masjid products working in tandem to destroy their own country. The Pakistan Army cannot do away with Lal Masjid nor could the government all these years.

That Pakistan is being pushed into the hands of Islamists by the Army and the governments for petty gains and personal positions should have become clearer to its people by now. The facade of Indian interference was also blown away today with the TYL leader making it clear that he was not acting under any outsider's guidance or command.

Allowing these elements to flourish has now brought this upon Pakistan. A small clerical error in the Election Act relating to the finality of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) in an oath turned into a huge religious controversy. Here are the lessons for everyone including India. However small the fringe may be, if encouraged it will grow in proportions to unleash deadly consequences one day. Let the rule of law prevail.

By W Chandrakanth

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