Up to now in the coverage I’ve been laying out just the facts I could find, and some minor speculation, but during this lull I will take some time to analyse what is happening; so below you will see some of my opinion.
The siege at Pakistan’s Red Mosque, where two radical mullahs defied both the government and sanity for months continues. The only thing operative in the building is a telephone and since ring and battery are provided up the line, the remaining un-captured cleric, Abdul Rasheed Ghazi, is able to make calls and interviews with the press.
His brother was captured making a cowardly escape in a burqa Friday, but Rasheed says that they have enough food to hold out for “70” days; he also says that 70 students have been killed.
Both brothers exaggerate everything; as if life were a drama on the screen or stage. They started with threats they could not carry out, and demands they knew Pakistanis would not accomodate. So I find both of these statements hard to believe.
All the proof you need for Lal Masjid is the scene of Aunty Aziz escaping in the burqa –which will tell you the hypocrisy of the two liars who presided over a court of young, impressionable children. It would be a funny drama, however 19 are dead and untold lives have been shattered.
Around the mosque the residents of G-6 suffer under a curfew, which is sporadically lifted as tensions and shooting stops; but many of them cannot get enough groceries, make it to work, or even sleep since much of the action happens in the overnight hours.
Across the country the people are glued to their televisions – and their lives are interupted as well. In the US a similar event occurred years ago at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco Texas, and the lessons from that lie grimly in front of all. Nobody wants the children to die but for the mad mullahs — for then the dead children become propaganda show-pieces in their drama.
Meanwhile outside the parents with children inside grieve and worry, indeed some have been shot trying to go into the mosque to retrieve their loved ones. A delegation of conservative clerics tried to go inside, but shooting started — since they hardline clerics are allied with the one inside and the terrorists from Balochistan, they paint it as the government forces firing first, but who really believes that the government would interupt anything that would possibly get some of the children out? The soldiers outside would much rather not be there, they would rather be going about their normal duties.
Where does the blame for this lie? Clearly with the people of Pakistan, the same people who suffer now. They could have insisted on better schools, and better teachers for the poor, but they did not. They could stop blaming Musharraf, or whoever currently occupies the seats and halls of power for the problems – but they don’t. People of any country get the government they deserve.
Pakistan could have stopped the Jihad years ago when the Soviets pulled out, but it was convenient for them to continue it. Like all other nations in the region, they send subversives cross-border to keep their neighbors weak, and spew propaganda — it’s always easier to externalize your problems than to deal with them head-on.
In turn they get what they give from their neighbors, as India, Iran, and in the future if things continue this way, Afghanistan, will spew venom and hate about them, and use the schisms of their society against them. These games of destabilization, insurgency, and propaganda have gone on centuries if you look back, but in the end the chickens always return to the roost and then you must deal with them.
So it goes now.
The cure starts at the madrassas: the violent brand of Qutbism currently the fad was exported to them by the rich Sauds, who sit and laugh atop their oil fields at the foolish Pakis doing their bidding. Fools who think suicide bombers and terrorism will somehow establish Kalifa deny reality, deny sanity, and deny life. If the Pakistanis want a future that’s bright they will whip the murder-mullahs from the mosques, they will turn the incompetent and corrupt politicians from office. If not, they get what they deserve in the end.
Will the Pakistanis choose their future wisely?
Many futures lie before them — they could be like Afghanistan; where the Soviets, Hekmatyar, and the Taliban turned the country to dust, despair and rubble long before NATO and the US arrived. What are the prospects for the average Afghani as long as suicide bombers continue to cross the border and kill Afghan soldiers and civilians?
Will they be like Iran, on a crash-course to war with the world, where students are beaten, imprisoned, and tortured for protest, and women are stripped and whipped in the streets for wearing their scarf wrong? Where there is no internet, no future, no redress for grievances, and elections are pre-determined by mullahs?
Personally, I have faith and confidence in the Pakistanis — they will overcome this crisis, and they will over time do what’s right for their children and grandchildren. They will make better schools, they will drive out extremism, and they will become a beacon of true science and scholarship for all things; they will stop the madness of importing terror and repression in the form of schools from the kings of Saud. They have the drive to do it and they can and will do it. To close I would say that it’s better for them to be shouting “Pakistan Zindabad! than “Allah Akbar!” — their neighbors who encourage the latter sure don’t like the idea of a truly unified Pakistan.
UPDATE: As the crisis hits the fifth day, it begins to reverbrate — especially in the frontier, as Bill Roggio reports on Taliban using the Masjid standoff as justification.
Maulana Fazlullah is the son-in-law of Maulana Sufi Muhammad, the jailed leader of the outlawed Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM – the Movement for the Implementation of Mohammad’s Sharia Law). He is said to have “close links with the administration of the Lal Masjid,” according to Sharif Virk, the chief of police for the Northwest Frontier Province.
This is a time of decision for Pakistan as the MPT is held in London, the stand-off in Lal Masjid continues, and the flood relief efforts go forward in Balochistan. It’s a decsion for all Pakistanis: tribals, Sardars, the Punjab and urban elites alike.
- Do you want acid in your daughter’s face if she tries to go to school, or do you want her educated?
- Do you want to sing the praises of Allah, or do you want to shout them in hate as you kill fellow muslims?
- Do you want rubble, dust, death and despair, or do you want a future?
Time waits on nobody — as the quatrain goes:
The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.