Tuesday’s clash in Islamabad at Lal Masjid left 10 dead and over 160 people injured if not more. I stand here dejected yet again at seeing my country in a state of turmoil, its sad but 2007 has been a rocky road for Pakistan. It started in early March when the state attempted to assault the Independence of the Judiciary, it then lead to the shocking events of May 12th where Karachi literally bled while the President of Pakistan stood by watching and celebrating a rent-a-crowd rally and now we live another climax with the stand-off at the Lal Masjid
As I pen this article I hear of a probable attack by the Army Special Services Group in an attempt to take over this siege and not continue to embrace Musharraf even further. All Hospitals in Islamabad have been placed on high alert, showing definite signs of an Arnold Schwarzenegger style invasion where the army will go guns blazing in an attempt to kill all the bad guys (!!!). It may seem like a Hollywood scripted pitch dark invasion but Musharraf for his dear life cannot let this issue continue even a day longer, as he is already bleeding from a number of wounds and this can become a yet another gaping wound if left unchecked.
A lot many people may feel this Lal Masjid brigade is just another freak show following on the footsteps of Osama Bin Ladin, it could very well be. But try to understand the mindset of Muslims since 2001. Since the fateful day on Sept 11th the world has been chanting against Al-Qaida which over time has become a drive against Muslims. We remain witness to the numerous terror plots over the years that the first suspicious finger is pointed usually at the bearded fellow standing in the corner of the crowded room. Its usually a case of guilty before innocence.
Classic examples come from real life experiences from Muslims like me who get pulled over for the lucky ‘Random Special Screening’ on each flight I take across the US. This Random screening serves me the honor to a strip to my underwear search as it I were to attack the plane with a toothpick stuck up my ass, I often am thankful that I do not not sport a full beard as then the random searching would have been a little more aggressive as stereotyping is generally the norm for all middle eastern looking bearded individuals. I do concede and would agree that being a casual tourist to the land of the free I have no rights, but such repeated treatment does take its toll on the heart and the mind.
The Lal Masjid Brigade is very good example of an organization driven to the extremist right definitely a creation by the values of its religious leaders, but one cannot blame them entirely for such a mindset without taking into consideration the immense global pressure on Muslims, and then to top it off, the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan starts to embrace the Anti-Muslim values openly by preaching the concept of Enlightened Moderation. A term often used to advocate the religious right to embrace the western concept of living, definitely a tough pill to swallow for any Islamic religious scholar. Its easy to advocate and expect others to change, while it would have taken a liberal an eternity to inch towards the religious right. Mindset cannot be expected to change over night as it takes years to bring sense to a logical argument specially in the case of a diverse concept of Enlightened Moderation to a devout hard lined Muslim.
In an earlier post back in March I discussed an chain SMS roaming around throughout the cellular networks in Pakistan which claimed that the age of 64 is cursed for Pakistani Presidents and Musharraf will turn 64 in 2007, I cant say for sure if his end is near but I strongly feel the indications are turning from a simple bad year to a disastrous year and there is no sign of relief any where in his future. Honest advise to Musharraf, which may be a bit too late, is to take a graceful exit like Tony Blair, but then, the greed of the seat curse will most likely lead to yet another hallmark disgraceful exit by yet another Pakistani dictator, history tends to repeat itself, but will they ever learn….
I fear as I finish this blog post and publish it online the scenario would have changed, I dread the morning I see will be a different Pakistan, a bloody Lal Masjid and the bureaucracy clambering to defend the killing of hundred of insurgents, but then would this be the end of the uprising from the religious right? I fear otherwise, it is bound to spark a strong reaction throughout the country and we will be witness to more bloodshed, these Lal Masjid Shaheeds will be the hero’s for those radical right which had remained silent either by force or by choice, but now to fight not for the whim of the ghost of United States as preached by Osama Bin Laden but instead a far more tangible cause, a Jihad against the growing evils of society, I assure you its not a far fetched argument to motivate a committed believer to plant a bomb at a video shop in Karachi.
Pakistani Blogoshpere is abuzz with articles on the Lal Masjid. literally everyone needs to be carefully read to have a good perspective of the entire situation, but a general consensus remains a shock as to what is happening to our country
- The Canvas – Radicals Sortie part deux! Coming Soon!
- Micro Pakistan – Lal Masjid Crisis Boils Over
- The Pakistani Spectator – Islamabad is Burning
- Islamabad Metroblogs – Lal Masjid: The Opinion Pool, CURFEW Finalized, Special Forces Assemble at Lal Masjid!
- All Things Pakistan – Pakistan Readies for Battle