Before I begin, let me be clear on the issue that I do not hold the Ghazi Brothers in high regard to what they did these past few days, they used women and children as human shields to take an entire city as hostage and in effect ridiculing my country as a nation we harbor terrorists. Lets also be honest about the fact that what Musharraf did was quite simply needed, there were no two ways about it and had to be done.
Accepting the fact that Musharraf was right to end this siege, I contest that it should have been done far sooner then even this week long stand-off. He should have nipped the bud six months back when it initially started to take shape. We as Pakistanis knew it was a disaster in the making, the world watched in amazement, the western media pleaded us to put a stop to this radicalism.
But surprisingly Musharraf slept right through it, leaving the issue on a pot to boil, and perfectly to our expectations it landed to becoming a far bigger issue than what could have been had if this military ruler acted in a timely manner, everyone saw it coming
Front page headlines today across Pakistan showed a definite chance of a peaceful resolution, but sadly the wee hours of the same morning everything fell apart, what happened is probably a mystery but an attempt can be made to get the true picture.
The Islamic Scholars who were responsible for mediation felt that the draft presented by them to the government after consent from Ghazi Rasheed should have been nearly acceptable had if the government wanted to end this disaster, but when the revised version came back from the Presidency they claim it was entirely the opposite and along with the draft came a 30 minute window to sign and simultaneously no mediators were allowed to help convince the new terms. It was as if the 30 minute window was a simply the green signal to attack and a death warrant served onto the militia inside
It is being reported that Musharraf hopes to address the nation on Wednesday evening to clarify the Lal Masjid issue and attempt to convince the nation that he did it for the sake of Pakistan. I suspect this will be his opportunity to accept a ‘second’ standing ovation from his western allies for a job well done according to their specifications. The word standing ovation brings back flooding memories of a similar event barely three months back where we saw him celebrating in Islamabad after the blood bath in Karachi on May 12th.
The rent-a-crowd then was far from embarrassing yet he held up his hands in jubilation and tried to pin the blood bath onto the Chief Justice Iftikhar, but the people of Pakistan saw through that lie. This time he played his media cards well and kept the cameramen far from the event, hence maintaining an iron clad grip on the flow of information.
The official version was usually strikingly different the one offered by the Ghazi Brothers who were interviewed by a number of media outlets to share their point of view. The Ghazi Brothers naturally presented a hard lined image but throughout the crisis everyone listening felt that there was a definite chance of dialog.
Had if a peaceful resolution occurred, I feel the western allies would have seen Musharraf as a weak pawn not worthy of an extension in power. But now the US will be the first one to applaud the General quite literally offering him a safe extension to a few more years of fame to riches.
Musharraf I feel must have also dreaded, that letting these militants go free would have made them larger than life heroes, but sadly now the death of Abdur Rasheed Ghazi there is a growing sentiment in his favor. Its strange but Pakistanis tend to be far more forgiving to the dead, and let us not forget Ghazi Abdur Rasheed died for a far cause local to Pakistan, he argued against the growing evils in our Society, which even a moderate, left leaning individual like myself see it happening. We must remember its not the US-Evil-Ghost propaganda as portrayed by Osama Bin Laden which can be a little unrealistic for someone who has not gone to the US, yet he found thousands of militants ready to stand up.
But Ghazi Abdur Rasheed stood up for an issue which we see everyday, he stood up for civil reform and he accused the government in allowing this to happen under the cloak of Enlightened Moderation despite having sworn to uphold the Islamic Sharia. These growing evils in our society combined with a failing economy drives people to desperation and can easily influence any moderate individual to take up arms all for the sake of an Islamic Revolution.