The Pakistan army has finally succeeded in conquering Lal Masjid. Hundreds of hardcore ‘terrorists’ holed up inside the Masjid were slaughtered in the process. The 10 ‘brave’ soldiers who lost their lives in the operation were honoured with the title of ‘shuhada’ – the martyrs. All this drama and bloodbath unleashed had only one motive – to please Pakistan’s foreign “Lords”.
The Lal Masjid carnage is another destructive chapter in the turbulent history of Pakistan. This incident has resulted in damaging the image and autonomy of Islam and Pakistan. The whole episode serves only to stabilise and further the cause of the present dictatorship, in which brash and cold-blooded capturing and killing respectful, pious and innocent female and male seminaries has been the rule of the hour.
President Musharraf has assured his lords by this operation that he wants to eliminate extremism from the country. He has also made it crystal clear that it is impossible to uproot terrorism and extremism from Pakistan unless he continues playing his role. What was initially an attempt to establish the Islamic Shari’ah has now been branded by international media as yet another act of terrorism, an addition to the series of events that have been unfolding across the world in the past few years. This kind of blatantly biased coverage has only fanned the propaganda that Islam teaches extremism and that it was (and is still being) spread by the sword and militant rebellion. The most distressing aspect is the backing that these loathsome activities of bloodshed have been receiving from American President George W. Bush in his ‘war against terrorism’. His persistent statements lauding President Musharraf’s attempts to wipe out terrorism from the country are a bunch of drivel. Musharraf is in his good books only because of his spineless collaboration in this mission of world policing that America has taken on itself. Everyone knows that Bush is the most notorious terrorist on the face of the earth today. What he has done in Iraq and Afghanistan and numerous other nations is not beyond the reach of the world. His motives are only too apparent now; after Iraq no one is deceived, whatever he says to the contrary.
Who is the responsible of the killings of the Lal Masjid? The government considers itself above any responsibility and blame. The other critical question that remains unanswered is about the missing male and female seminaries. Are they still alive or have they met their end struggling to uphold their cause?
President Musharraf has a multi-point agenda hidden behind Operation Silence. This was not only a fiendishly ingenious attempt to curtail the effects of the recently held APC in London, but also served to effectively divert public attention from the issue of Chief Justice Choudhary’s removal, which had roused the entire nation against the government’s barefaced dismissal of justice itself. The government has also been ineffective in relief work in the flood-affected areas, and it wishes to deflect attention so as to escape angry public reaction. The most important issue that it faces is loss of power – and this is an imminent threat that seems to be looming large, going by President Musharraf’s frantic attempts to maintain an iron grip over the ruling of the country.
It is a matter of grave concern that the army is engaged in confronting its own public, instead of guarding the borders and fighting cross-border terrorism. In attempts to pervade and control public opinion, it has increasingly engaged in occupying all the educational institutions of the country. The result of this ideological attempt to overpower can now be seen in the form of low standards in and lack of quality education. Apparently the time is not far when even religious places, the madrasas and mosques will be under the control and siege of the military. An American analyst has rightly concluded that the main cause of all the complexities in South Asia can be credited fully to the undue interference of the army. The Financial Times has hit the nail on the head by pointing out how Musharraf has sailed smoothly through numerous terrible blunders to save his futile presidency only because he sought military support. He still is, as its head – this is the secret of his power and disastrous successes.
If the Lal Masjid issue had been discussed at the tables, the consequences would no doubt have been positive. By dealing with it as he did, Musharraf has only succeeded in provoking the hatred and abhorrence of the entire nation against the government and the army. Musharraf must quit – that is the only solution to this appalling unrest in the nation. The people of Pakistan are in a dangerous mood, up in arms against the manifestly evil motives of Musharraf and Co. It remains to be seen onto whom the tables will ultimately turn.