Double Standards In Pakistan’s Anti-terror Campaign

5 August 2009
The Hindu


New Delhi: Early this month, Pakistani prosecutors charged the head of a pro-Taliban group and seven of his associates with treason, incitement to rebellion, terrorism, waging war, and conspiracy against the country. The charges are reported to centre around a speech made by Maulana Mohammad, often called Maulana Radio for his use of FM broadcasts to spread his message, on April 19. Maulana Mohammad, the Pakistan government says, told followers in the town of Mingora that there “is no room for democracy in Islam.” He demanded that the entire nation be placed under the Shariah law. Pakistan’s stern action against the Taliban-linked cleric stands in stark contrast to its refusal to prosecute Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, despite the fact that he used a near-identical language in several speeches made in recent years. Saeed’s speeches also contained attacks on Pakistan’s rulers, attacks on its anti-Taliban war and calls for violence against India. “Against Islam” During a sermon to worshippers at the Masjid al-Qudsia in Lahore’s Chowburji area, reported by the Jamaat-ud-Dawa website on October 14, 2007, Saeed asserted that “current political systems, especially democracy, are against Islam.” Islam, Saeed was reported by the Jamaat-ud-Dawa website as saying, had a complete system of government based on Khilafat (Caliphate) and Amirat (Leader-Head of the Muslims). As such, there “is no need of an opposition, nor is there a concept of a ruling class, or party.” Those qualified to lead people in prayer, he argued, “are also eligible to lead the people otherwise.” Saeed asserted that “the real objectives for the establishment of Pakistan will be achieved when the original Islamic system, established in Mecca 1400 years ago, is implemented here.” His language closely mirrored the proclamations of Sufi Mohammad. “We hate democracy,” the pro-Taliban cleric said in February 2009, soon after the Government of Pakistan signed a peace deal that imposed Shariah across north-west Pakistan. “We want the occupation of Islam in the entire world. Islam does not permit democracy or election.” Maulana Mohammad and two of his sons were arrested in Peshawar on July 25. He was earlier held in May, but quietly released. Criticism of Pakistan Like Maulana Mohammad, Saeed often unleashed stinging attacks on the state of Pakistan. Pakistan’s rulers, he said in a March 2007 speech, “to reassure America and to prove that they are enlightened and moderate, continue to take weird and reckless measures in utter contempt of the safety, security, and well-being of their people.” In several speeches reported on the Jamaat-ud-Dawa website during that year, Saeed expressed support for the Taliban. Pakistan’s rulers were, during one sermon delivered at the Jamia al-Qudsia, urged to “stop fighting the war of the enemies of Islam and Muslims in Waziristan and other places.” He demanded that Pakistan stop “trying to please the Christians and the Jews.” In another veiled attack on the former President, Pervez Musharraf, Saeed asserted that “Muslim rulers have disappointed the Ummah [worldwide Muslim community]. It is time to wage jihad against them. They are not Muslims. They are the agents of Jews.” His lieutenant, Hafiz Abdul Rehman Makki, launched an even more acidic attack on the retired General Musharraf at the Madrasa Ayesha, near Rawalpindi. Pakistan, he asserted, “is ruled by Ahmads” a reference to a heterodox sect officially proscribed in Pakistan, and long subject to persecution by Islamists. “Most of the top Generals and bureaucrats,” he continued, “are Ahmadi.” In order to counter this pernicious influence, Makki called for “jihad and martyrdom to be made part of the curriculum. They should be taught in textbooks at school, college and university levels.” Violence against India But unlike Maulana Mohammad, much of Saeed’s invective was directed at India and Hindus. In a 1999 article, he said that “the Hindu is a mean enemy and the proper way to deal with him is the one adopted by our forefathers, who crushed them by force.” Later, in December 1999, Saeed told an interviewer that Kashmir was “only our base camp.” “The real war,” he asserted, “will be inside [India]. Very soon we will enter India via Doda and unfurl the Islamic flag on the Red Fort.” On the eve of the Mumbai attacks, Saeed told followers that the “only language India understands is that of force, and that is the language it must be talked to in.”