Can you justify barbarism? The Taliban did!

Published: October 16, 2012
Email

In their justification, the TTP claim they were not against education for girls, but rather were in favour of education for boys and girls under Shariah law. PHOTO: REUTERS

An odd thing happened on Wednesday when a group of American anti-drone activists went to the Islamabad Bar Association office for a discussion. Members of the Namoos-e-Risalat Forum (NRF), a group that beatified Salman Taseer’s convicted assassin, the traitor Mumtaz Qadri, tried to disrupt the event, organised by a more rational thinking group of lawyers.

The uninformed NRF leader was reported saying,

“Americans follow double standards; they kill innocent civilians through drone attacks while sending a peace delegation to Pakistan,”

He said this not realising that it makes no sense for the Americans to send an official delegation to speak against official American military policy. In fact, the group was here independently, with no US government support, and had marched to South Waziristan with Imran Khan a few days back. They actually agree with most of the NRF and the rest of the right-wing’s positions on the war on terror, but apparently all Americans, and for that matter, all non-radicalised persons, are evil as far as the closed-minded are concerned.

The Democratic Lawyers Association Chief Coordinator Nisar Shah, who invited the activists, said,

“At least we should have the courage to listen to their point of view (on drone strikes).”

Shah also alleged the NRF has hijacked the legal fraternity’s forum and is politicking in the guise of religion.

Sadly, this wasn’t the only bit of ludicrous politicking this week.

A day before the lawyers stunt, a brave young girl was the target of an assassination attempt. As she fights for her life, the gunmen’s parent group issued a defence for their murder attempt, and had the gall to justify it under Islam. Fortunately, for what it’s worth, 50 clerics came out and issued a fatwa condemning the assassination attempt a day after the justification was issued.

Yes, there may be hundreds of Malalas around the country, and around the world. That they have not been written about does not make them any less brave. Unfortunately, because they have not been written about, it is harder to find out if things like this happen to them.

I have a nephew her age.

I couldn’t imagine him wanting to go to school on a rainy day, let alone in the middle of a city that had become the battlefield for a guerrilla war. And that’s not his fault. His uncle would probably have made the same decision at that age.

This girl is braver than me, or anyone I know. Before the soldiers in my family go up in arms, let me explain why. Every young man who signs up for the army knows full well that he will probably be in the line of fire at some point in his career. Soldiers chose to risk life and limb entering a war zone, which is not in any way meant to belittle their sacrifices. But this little girl, barely 11 when TTP savages took over Swat, did not choose to enter in a war zone. The war zone was thrust upon her. She had the courage to go to school when women and girls who roamed in public were being attacked. She had the drive to write a diary for the BBC, which showed the world what the government didn’t want it to know. The beautiful Swat valley was turning into hell, and the powers that be couldn’t give a damn.

In their justification, the TTP claim they were not against education for girls, but rather were in favour of education for boys and girls under Shariah law. Judging by the fact they blew up every school, college, blackboard, eraser and taat in sight, this could be judged to mean that they favoured equal illiteracy for all.

The justification refers to women killed in Lal Masjid. Armed women, who terrorised the area around the mosque, kidnapped people and threatened violence against innocent citizens. They were given the chance to evacuate, but didn’t. They did not claim they were kept there as human shields, rather they said they chose to. They were enemies of state, and any soldier who shot one did exactly what he had sworn to do — he defended Pakistan against an armed enemy of the state.

The ‘justification’ speaks of the sinless women and children in Swat, Bajaur and other places killed in the war against the Taliban, while calling the media blind for not reporting them. How quickly they forget that it is they, the Taliban, who took the war into the cities.

On the second point, how exactly do they think the world is finding out about the ‘collateral damage’ in drone strikes if not for the media?

It refers to “3,000 young men killed in detention centres”. Even if the number and the cause of death are true, it is actually 3,000 traitors we are talking about. Traitors who adhere to a belief system where murder, kidnapping and the mutilation of dead bodies, an act to be abhorred under any circumstances in any interpretation of Islam.

Even ultra-conservative theologian Hassan al-Banna strongly criticised violence, yet this part of the message of a man seen as the inspiration for Al Qaeda’s founders has been curiously forgotten by thekaydar elements.

This is an illiterate force led by illiterate leaders.

Malala wasn’t a threat because she went to school. She was a threat because she told others to. And where would they get new suicide bombers if their recruitment pool dried up?

Read more by Vaqas here or follow him on Twitter @vasghar

Vaqas Asghar

Vaqas Asghar

The author is a senior sub-editor on the Islamabad Desk and also reports on diplomatic events. He tweets as @vasghar (twitter.com/vasghar)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.