Pakistan Sunday Update

Events have settled to quasi-equilibrium in Pakistan this weekend. The country still faces a constitutional crisis until the Supreme Court Chief Justice detention is resolved one way or the other. The first hearings and petitions start review Monday in Pakistan (Sunday Evening US time.) Meanwhile the sectarian violence in Parachinar area has quieted, as well as the anti-Uzbek Al Qaida war in Wana.

The back and forth over “is Pakistan doing enough against terrorism” continues, and the sniping from all quarters is beginning to tell, empowering a lot of oppostion and chatter against Musharaaf. The two largest opposition parties are partnering with the lawyers in protests, but they are not rallying large amounts of protestors, which they could do if they wanted to.

In his latest statement Musharaaf vehemently opposed the concept of joint Pakistani-ISAF forays against terrorists. In his country and in his position he must do that, before you automatically object think about it a moment. When Musharaaf says that the whole countryside would go up in arms, he’s making a true statement, buoyed by historical evidence of the same. IF you then say “well what do we care?” then ask if you care about genocide, because at some point it would get to that.

Captain Ed over at Captain’s Quarters has the right read on this.

lal-masjid-sticks.jpgThe last problem is the Lal Masjid madrassah, and what to do about it. Negotiations are proceeding, but the leader, Ghazi remains defiant, wanting more mosques built, and Sharia Law enforced Taliban-style throughout Pakistan. The Taliban types around the country are starting to enforce sharia where they think they can get away with it. (More CD stores threatened, in Bajaur some gamblers were beaten at gunpoint — but on the other hand was Sharia just an excuse for banditry?) There are rumors of the government readying female commando squads to raid the madrassah, but those rumors emanate from the US to the Pakistan papers, so it’s probably not reliable.

karachi-demo.gifIn Karachi a massive demonstration occurred Sunday, with tens of thousands of people listening to some pretty fiery oratory against Jamia Hafsa and the renegade mullahs and students. From The International News:

KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain on Sunday demanded of President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz to get Lal Masjid and the Jamia Hafsa vacated from the “Mullahs” who were trying to enforce what he called “Kalashnikov and Danda Bardar Shariah”.

Addressing a huge protest rally in the evening, Altaf described it as a “tide of moderate Muslims against religious fanaticism” and warned of “Dama Dam Mast Qalandar” if the mosque and the seminary were not vacated.

The rally, which was organised by the Muttahida’s Coordination Committee, started from Gurumandar and terminated at Tibet Centre. Tens of thousands of people, waving party flags and chanting slogans against “Kalashnikov and Danda Bardar Shariah”, participated in the rally.

Serving Pakistan Blog details the sad history leading into the Madrassah standoff, a tale of bureaucratic bungling and timidity.

The library under occupation happens to be just down the street from the Madrassa. In between lie three plots of land. The library and these parcels of land are owned by the Ministry of Education, through its arms: the Department of Libraries and the National Book Foundation. The land it seem, was obtained for future expansion of the children’s library. But a few years ago the madrassa, it seems decided to usurp the land for its own benefit. They expanded onto the street, back into the green belt, and sideways onto library property. No one from the ministry or CDA was able to challenge this land grab effectively.

Meanwhile Daily Times warns of similar Talibanization at Punjab University driven by JI students.