Can you justify barbarism? The Taliban did!

Published: October 16, 2012

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 (

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

  • Ahmad Ali

    The so called Codepink peace activists also have double standards as our Taliban apologists. They came here as pawns of PTI. Took pictures with men in turbans in PTI offices to show to the american people they met tribals. One point agenda. Recommend

  • sars

    Apparently you can get around any foul deeds because the moment you claim to be doing it “in the name of religion” most peoples brains stop working.

    It is the reason we often worship and revere the book more than the message in the book

    All religions would be better off for having educated ,rational and tolerant followers rather than emotional wrecks who can be (mis) lead into all sorts of trouble.Recommend

  • Hashmi

    Liberals are using Malala for their own agenda.

    Extremists are justifying on their own ideology. Media is playing up the issue for their own benefits.

    Politicans are using Malala to target their opposition. IK is being somehow also being blamed for Malala..

    To resolve all points of arguments, we must say that

    Every drone victim is a Malala, every victim in target killing is a Malala, every suicide blast victim is a Malala, every dead body in Baaluchistan is a Malala…Recommend

  • Turbo Lover

    We are the best lawyers for our own wrong deeds but the best judges for our own twisted beliefs.Recommend

  • Rex Minor


    well said and I will add my two pence for the beneifit of the author;, who is going about his thoughts so loudly that atleast I cannot understand the point he is making from the tragic story of Malala to his nephew. It is as cofusing as what the pakistan interior minister was going on about Pakistan sovereignty and Obama drone policy to CNN Madam christian Amanpur, other than telling the whole world that Pakistan is no more than a banana republic.

    Though shall not kill is the commandment of God and though shall not yield to any other than God the creaator. Sharia is the legislation which the democraticaly elected or nominated representaties agree on the basis of a majority in a muslim country. The constitution of the country must reflect the values of Islam.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Mohammed Abbasi

    Excellent articleRecommend

  • Azhar Ahmad

    God bless you Vaqas,

    These bunch of thugs are distorting and using Islam for their own vested interests. They need to relearn Islam themselves, the one taught by Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). They believe in their own version of Sharia, which is mutant and falsified.
    Got is Great, some day soon their supporters and sympathizers would realise how much off track they were, but perhaps after more bloodshed and sacrifices as that of Malala and others.
    God save Pakistan from the wrong doers and fanatics.


  • Parvez

    Nicely done.
    Those that attacked Malala are criminals and cowards and the enemy of the state. What is astonishing is the the political leadership is incapable of ordering the armed forces (not that they ever needed it) to do what is necessary to wipe out the TTP. On the other hand the army seems reluctant to do so. What is the common man supposed to think, except that this country is going down fast and no one really gives a damn. Recommend

  • Anoop

    You are very good. I mean it!

    The first and foremost thing an ordinary Pakistani has to fix is his moral compass.

    You cannot justify violence. Period.

    The hardcore pacifists will argue even the state will bear arms against its own people if need be. That is why I want to add a caveat to the above position. Only a Democratically elected state, with a Secular, Just Constitution can claim to have the right to bear arms. The state has to be answerable to the people.

    This is the position I believe in and I am forced to by my country.

    But, Pakistan is different. Pakistan state allows one to bear arms as long as they suit its needs. Be it killing a Blasphemer, or an “Indian” or the Lashkars who attack the Taliban.

    When this happens you will find a lot of things resolving themselves.

    I ask some not so very popular questions like If Afghan Taliban are good for Afghanistan, why not are the Pakistani Taliban good for Pakistan?

    Till now I am yet to hear one say, “They both are equally worse. No excuse. Pakistan made a big mistake supporting very bad people”. Everyone either brings up Kashmir, or Drones, or the fact that i am Indian and come from a poor country. Recommend

  • malik


    Pak is the only country where the cinema audience root for the villain to win !Recommend



  • Anoop


    You will be surprised to hear that its not the first time I’ve heard of this. Is it really true? I am perplexed and amazed at the same time.Recommend

  • Cynical

    @Vaqas Asghar

    I agree with @Anoop, you are really very good.

    Also, I beg your indulgence to suggest that the word ‘barbarianism’ in the title should be ‘barbarism’.

    regards. Recommend

  • Shahid Yasin

    There is neither liberals nor Islamists. There are only extremists who exceed the limits of social, moral and religious civility to assert their point of view. He who tries to achieve his religious, ideological, political, and economic ends by subjecting any one of us to violence and terror is committing crime against all of us. The attack on Malala is not just attack on her but on all of us. Anyone killed in drone attack is not just an individual but one of us. And we can’t keep losing one of us in the name of anything or by bickering with each other.Recommend

  • M.Ahmer Ali

    Actually this is Taliban’s greatest ever dilemma that they want to implement Islam forcibly by sword’s power or on gunpoint instead of presenting their lives and attitudes in much the best peaceful live example of humanity and true peaceful muslims as has been described in the doubtless Holy Quran and Sunnah as has been displayed in the life of last Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (SAW) and for this purpose they are required barbarism and barbarity and to fulfill their this purpose they target mostly innocent and sinless people especially children and women wherever they findRecommend

  • Virkaul

    The fundamentals need to be addressed first.

    1) Religion and governance must be separated. Most problems originate from there. Religion should be a private matter not to be discussed in public.
    2) Pakistani first, your religion next. Come out of your ‘identity crisis’.
    3) Be truthful to yourself, stop being hypocritical. Afghan Taliban, TTP, Haqqani, Hekmatiyar or the likes are not good for society. They must either be tamed or eliminated. It is only black and white, no greys.
    4) Stop being India centric and concentrate on local issues like education, healthcare, employment, development, etc.
    5) Ban ISI from any political activity as blamed by Asghar Khan. Surprising ISI cannot find one TTP leader and either arrest or kill him. Despite Swat being a landlocked area, the TTP are able to get weapons, fuel and funds and ISI cannot detect this.
    6) Trim down your army and divert those resources to development work as mentioned in 4).
    7) Throw the concept of ‘strategic depth’ in dust bin as it creates monsters that turn against you. It also interferes with sovereignty of other countries.

    If you follow these golden rules, there will be no drones, no Taliban, no gun culture, no bomb blasts but peace. Amen!Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    Let the author tell us about the firepower of the machine gun the Taliban from Qandhar is carrying and let him also speculate about the frequency of the direct hit? To underestimate the opposition is the first step towards defeat.

    The infidels usualy fail to understand the psyche of the believers for whom the religion is the compass for their character, ethics and morals, without which the individuals are zombies born without a living soul. All human knowledge emanates from scriptures!!

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Cynical

    @Rex Minor

    ‘All human knowledge emnates from scriptures!!’

    The corollary is,
    1)All believers should be banned from reading anything other than scriptures.
    2)Any believer, found reading or in possession of any material other than scriptures should be beheaded or shot (if a sword is not available) to be killed.

    That in turn will create great fear in the hearts of the infidels, who will then turn from being ‘zombies’ into walking,talking ‘living souls’ (with their morall compass attached to the choice of weapon for the moment). Recommend

  • http://nil nasir

    an exellent collectn of thots and lesson for those writing in favour of the terrorists,,,Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    I have an alternative proposal for you; do not set foot in the believers world and dream on in the world of avatars.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Girish

    Totally agree with Virkaul. Religion should be a private affair………. Governance can’t be based on it……Recommend

  • kajal

    the taliban…so horrible.Recommend

  • stephen

    Islam is as Islam does. God save the future spiritual freedom of humanity from this savage scourge.Recommend