Of holy lies and Lal Masjid

Published: October 29, 2013
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The writer is Editor, National Security Affairs at Capital TV and a visiting fellow at SDPI

The writer is Editor, National Security Affairs at Capital TV and a visiting fellow at SDPI

The ongoing Lal Masjid case, leaving aside everything else, is an example, if one were still needed, of what’s wrong with us.

Two sets of people want ‘justice’ for the Lal Masjid ‘victims’: those who want to bludgeon former General-President Pervez Musharraf, and the lying right wing that has made a habit of decrying everything this state stands for and then using the very institutions of this state, in this case the judiciary, to clamour for legal-constitutional rights and make space for their exclusionary agenda. Such in our beloved land are the ironies of public and private life.

Now General Musharraf is not the flavour of the month. He hasn’t been since he left office. Since his return, he has been made to run from pillar to post, his nose rubbed in the dust. Perhaps he required a lesson in humility. He is being held responsible for much that has gone wrong. At least in that, bitter political rivals boo and curse him from the same side of the fence.

I am no fan of Musharraf’s. In fact, when he took over, opposed as I am to military takeovers, despite the genius of Mian Nawaz Sharif on display from 1997 to that fateful day in 1999, I wrote against the coup. It was a difficult choice: it never is easy to choose between two bad options. I didn’t have too many takers, just like I didn’t when I wrote about the excesses of the lawyers and where their movement was headed.

So, I can chalk a long list of bad decisions by Musharraf. And I did. Interestingly, the Lal Masjid operation didn’t find a place in that. Here’s why.

The clerics of a mosque, in the heart of the capital, decided to challenge the state. Their shenanigans in the run-up to the operation are fully documented. I could give a blow by blow account of what happened, as also the clerical family that built its power through state patronage and ended up challenging the very state that has created many monsters but most of that too is known.

What does need stressing is that everything they said or did showed a supra-state mindset. They used religion as a cover to demand concessions from the state which no state can concede. They did this even though it was a known fact since 2004 that they had issued a fatwa at the behest of Ayman alZawahiri against the military personnel fighting al Qaeda.

“On the advice of al Qaeda, Maulana Abdul Aziz issued a religious decree in 2004 which declared the South Waziristan operation un-Islamic. The decree prohibited the burial of the soldiers in Muslim graveyards. Funeral prayers for those who had died in the action against Muslim militants in South Waziristan were forbidden. The decree was circulated throughout the country and 500 clerics signed it … All the combined guns of the militants could not have been as useful in belittling the Pakistan Army as that religious decree.” (Inside Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, Syed Saleem Shahzad, p.42)

This, again, is just the tip of the iceberg. Shahzad, on pages 41-47 and then 159-162, writes in detail about the close nexus between Lal Masjid and al Qaeda (AQ) and how the two brothers were part of the AQ action plan. Incidentally, this is not the only account. There were several police, Intelligence Bureau and ISI/Military Intelligence (MI) assessments of what the two brothers were up to. In fact, Musharraf wanted to take action against the brothers much earlier but was stopped from doing so by the MI which was already worried because of large-scale desertions in the army following the 2004 fatwa.

In a nutshell, the Lal Masjid clerics were pushing the AQ agenda and were deeply involved in activities that were unlawful, unconstitutional and anti-state. Not just that, and this is what no one seems to point to, they were using the seminarians under their charge, both boys and girls, in a game devised by AQ. Perhaps now, when they call for justice for those who died in the operation, the honourable court would take the trouble of asking them two questions: one, who rebelled against the state and created the circumstances that led to a military operation; two, who exploited the misdirected zeal of unsuspecting students and put them in harm’s way? These questions should have been part of the eight-point terms of reference of the inquiry commission the Supreme Court bench had set up.

No one should go unheard; but neither should lies be allowed to govern our lives.

Meanwhile, instead of taking a clear position on the issue at a time when Lal Masjid clerics are garnering support for their toxic cause, the GHQ stays quiet and chooses to file its reply through the Judge Advocate General’s Branch. And please spare me the argument that that is the proper channel and the army is only going by its traditional regard for democratic norms. We know, as the army does, that it sends out clear signals to whoever it wants to message when it deems its core interests to be under threat.

So, does the army not consider the issue of Lal Masjid to be its core interest despite knowing about the mosque’s links with al Qaeda, and the fact that it lost men in that operation?

Some of the officers are still serving; others have retired from very senior positions. I don’t need to name them. But since the Inter-Services Public Relations directorate will get to read this, here’s my suggestion to the army: the sacrifices of those men, officers and soldiers, demand that the facts on Lal Masjid be made known officially, from the mosque’s nexus with al Qaeda and Pakistani militant groups to the entire plan which the brothers were working on. The army owes this to the men it lost as well as to this beleaguered nation. This should be in addition to the letter submitted to the court through the JAG Branch.

Finally, let me debunk the bunkum that has found its way into some press stories. The army never used any chemical weapons in the operation. Pakistan is a signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention and does not possess chemical weapons. Do not confuse smoke grenades with chemical weapons. In fact, don’t talk about things your genius cannot even begin to comprehend, thank you.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 30th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (107)

  • ModiFied
    Oct 29, 2013 - 10:43PM

    Truth and nothing but Truth .. However, knowing how radicalized the Pakistani society is, Lal Masjid’s version might prevail as the real truth.

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  • csmann
    Oct 29, 2013 - 10:49PM

    Same people who sympathize with and support terrorists,and are apologists for their murderous activity are the ones that are making Lal Masjid case go on and on. Any thing that is harming the TTP/AQ is unlawful to them,and something to be opposed. This includes among other things the drones, Afridi, Malala,Musharraf and by extension polio teams.They have ready answers,and excuses for the killing of 50,000 0f their co-citizens,and for the continued mayhem still going on by TTP.These people are more dangerous for Pakistan than even the terrorists.

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  • 3rdRockFromTheSun
    Oct 29, 2013 - 10:52PM

    It boggles the minds (of those outside your country), that of all the offences for which Musharraf should be prosecuted; you select an action for which he should in fact be commended!
    As rightly pointed out, no one can challenge a state and expect to hold it to ransom without the state tking action against them.

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  • Oct 29, 2013 - 11:01PM

    The occupiers of Lal Masjid were lucky, They should thank Musharraf. The Chinese would have killed all the inmates if it happened in China. .

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  • observer
    Oct 29, 2013 - 11:01PM

    I wholeheartedly agree with your analysis. Media ran with the rumor ball and spread stories that were not true. Both sides should be given equal opportunity to present the facts and TRUE facts only.

    For the longest time, these clerics were using this mosque for illegal activities but our bias is such that we are offended when it comes to doing something against a mosque. I think Musharraf pulled an Ataturk on the clerics which was fair! Sadly our people only like to see the side of the coin that suits their comfort zones.

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  • sohail
    Oct 29, 2013 - 11:14PM

    i wrote a comment but that was not posted here thats call freedom of speech

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  • Ejaaz
    Oct 29, 2013 - 11:17PM

    I hope GHQ listens to you. This could be the proverbial tipping point. If the Mullahs win without being shown up as anti Pakistan thugs aligned with Zawahiri, Pakistan as a nation can be written off as a failed experiment.

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  • unbelievable
    Oct 29, 2013 - 11:32PM

    As ridiculous as this charge is – wouldn’t it be nice to allow Musharraf his day in court so he can either clear his name or go to jail? Seems to me that Pakistan has forgotten that arresting people is suppose to end up with him facing his accuser’s in court – not endless battles over indefinite bail.

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  • Bilal
    Oct 29, 2013 - 11:35PM

    I supported that operation then and I support it now.They were terrorists who were imposing their mindset on us

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  • Arsalan Mujahid
    Oct 29, 2013 - 11:50PM

    There were no desertion in the Army before or after Lal Masjid episode.

    Army does not behave in that way.

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  • ashar
    Oct 29, 2013 - 11:55PM

    Now we will have all the comments poured in from Indian and so called fascist liberal Muslims who thinks that they are in the process of reforming Islam compatible to the present age. But they all should know in advance that Al Qaida would be much better for Pakistan then that of their master USA. and this is the reality that will prevail.Recommend

  • Saeed
    Oct 30, 2013 - 12:01AM

    Whats the use of writing this piece now? Everyone knows how screwed up state of Pakistan is. The Lawyers, the Judges, the media . . .they successfully destroyed Pakistan. Politicians and Generals togather have not caused so much harm to Pakistan in 60 years as these three have done in just 7 – 8 years.

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  • Asaf
    Oct 30, 2013 - 12:08AM

    Wonderfully argued. Thank you Ijaz for your scholarly and hard hitting view point in an environment of mediocrity and cowardice of the real rulers of this nation.

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  • immortal_soloist
    Oct 30, 2013 - 12:08AM

    Pervez Musharraf did the right think when he took actions against the LAL Masjid Terrorists.

    He is a genuine leader who led this nation on the path of success.Recommend

  • Nadir
    Oct 30, 2013 - 12:09AM

    And who will hold Gen Kayani to account for being asleep while the Lal Masjid brigade run amok in his own backyard?

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  • Arifq
    Oct 30, 2013 - 12:20AM

    Cacophony of the right wing media/politicians/Mullahs allows these fanatics to get away with murder, honorable people like Ejaz marginalized. Well said Ejaz, keep us the good work

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  • Oct 30, 2013 - 1:04AM

    I was visiting Islamabad in those days. My family didn’t dare go near the masjid for fear of the vigilantes who had assumed unto themselves the role of moral police. We, in fact, left the city disenchanted with the society that had eulogised these anti-state elements. I think Musharraf showed restraint enough for the situation. He should have acted much earlier.

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  • Oct 30, 2013 - 1:18AM

    @Saeed:
    l am fully agreed with your opinion.They are the main culprits.Recommend

  • Rex Minor
    Oct 30, 2013 - 1:19AM

    @Mohibullah Khan:

    good thinking but I thought musharaf claims to be at least a muslim though Indian born, where it is a regular feature to denegrade mosques nort a chinese who are agnostics. A muslim who desecrates the house of God has broken the promise to be a muslim- to follow the tenets of Islam.

    Rex Minor

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  • Oct 30, 2013 - 1:24AM

    l am fully agreed with your opinion.These three devils are the main culprits and the politicians too joined with them.Recommend

  • gp65
    Oct 30, 2013 - 1:24AM

    @ashar: “Now we will have all the comments poured in from Indian and so called fascist liberal Muslims who thinks that they are in the process of reforming Islam compatible to the present age. But they all should know in advance that Al Qaida would be much better for Pakistan then that of their master USA. and this is the reality that will prevail.”

    With some other monicker, I would have thought this is a joke but I know you meant this seriously. So let us ask some basic questions and get clarity:

    1) Indian comment about reforming Islam? Really? Which Indians by the way – the Indian Muslims or the non-Muslim Indians? If it the non-Muslim Indians, why exactly would they seek a reform in Islam – how does it impact them?

    2) USA is a master for India? Are you confusing India with Pakistan? India did not sign SEATO/CENTO, does not receive billions of dollars of free arms from US, does not allow US to violate its territory, has never supplied a base to US.

    3) It is certainly for people to decide if they prefer to live in a democracy or under Al Qaida. Clearly you have no idea of what would happen if Al Qaeda ruled Pakistan. Drones would seem like a picnic then. So it is true I as well as most normal Indians would not wish such a horrendous fate on Pakistani people. But given the willingness to surrender to TTP that many seem to show, I am not as dismissive of this idea as I would have been even 5 months back (prior to the election). Recommend

  • Rex Minor
    Oct 30, 2013 - 1:30AM

    @observer:

    By Ata turk you mean Kemal ata turk, who is dead and will remain dead for a very long time.. The new Ata Turk is Erdogan, who has managed to send several so called kemalists to retirement or prison. The Turkish army is undergoing reforms and this is what the Pakistan democracy must do to send back the turks to their barracks, instead of using them as marauders against the civilian population risking further break up of the country.

    Rex Minor

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  • Iron hand
    Oct 30, 2013 - 1:54AM

    @ashar: how would Al Qaida be better for Pakistan than a constitutional democracy stressing equal rights and the rule of law?

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  • lalai
    Oct 30, 2013 - 1:56AM

    Ejaz Haider! a very brave stand against these prehistoric beasts who came out straight out of stone age. Unfortunately, our judiciary is also plagued by this mindset. Every thing they did in the name of religion simply evaporated and now Musharraf is left to face the consequence of it. Shame on all of us who in 2007 were accusing Musharraf of cowardice and now remain a silent spectator.

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  • Aziz bhatti
    Oct 30, 2013 - 2:06AM

    The home grown giant of religious extremism has come out of the bottle – need not to wake army up – let them make another giant to counter the existing one. Peace.

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  • Saleem Shah
    Oct 30, 2013 - 2:33AM

    Lal Masjid operation was the right decision about the terrorist AQ group, actually that was not the decision of Mr.Mushraf, that decision was made by all Pakistanis including this stupid media people, today they are talk against, B4 the operation media loudly announced that No rite of the govt has been seen in the capital of Pakistan, today their memory is corrupted.

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  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Oct 30, 2013 - 2:44AM

    Musharaf is a coward. He should have accepted the responsibility of action and stood behind his soldiers. He is too afraid of terrorists.

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  • Sultan
    Oct 30, 2013 - 2:55AM

    I support Musharraf in nearly everything except in media freedom

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  • Cheema
    Oct 30, 2013 - 3:27AM

    To my fellow pakistanis

    Quaid’s dream is DEAD.
    End of discussion

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  • Rex Minor
    Oct 30, 2013 - 5:26AM

    Let me try agin and see if the ET Moderator accepts my comments;

    Why did the author ignore in his article the sacntity of Lal Masjid? A mosque is not mere a building or a meeting place nor a platform or pulpit. It is a holy refuge and a Sanctuary which God allowed Ibrahim(buh) to build for the believers to worship and pay tributes to the creator of the universe. It is place which is linked with Pulsar, where one speaks to God intimately in the quiet of our hearts and where we listen , where he can and will speak to us.

    The one who ordered the assault on the house of God has desecrated and challenged the divine power. Nothing and nothing can save Musharaf from the wrath of God the all powerful and the all knowing.. This is what is in the scriptures and this is what is going to transpire. May God forgive us all.

    Rex Minor

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  • Arindom
    Oct 30, 2013 - 6:00AM

    Looks like the Lal Masjid people were ‘bad’ terrorists at the time of the operation and since then have turned into ‘good’ terrorist. About army soldiers killed – too bad they are collateral damage in the greater goal of ‘national interest’.

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  • Ajay
    Oct 30, 2013 - 7:10AM

    @Mohibullah Khan: Musharraf was too considerate and too human !

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  • C. Nandkishore
    Oct 30, 2013 - 7:37AM

    Now you will appreciate Indira Gandhi. Blue Star. A text book example. That was how Musharraf should have dealt with Lal Masjid.

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  • Adil
    Oct 30, 2013 - 8:53AM

    I was never convinced with arguments presented by the supporters of Lal Masjid. Ejaz has simply written what I have been thinking for a long time. See! If the argument were that state crossed the limits while conducting an operation then it would have been a debatable but the same principle then must also be applied to Swat, North Waziristan and even Karachi etc. However there we accept the collateral damage and civilian deaths as an acceptable devil. By this I do not support deaths of the civilians, I am just saying that we should not selectively apply the principle of justice and mold the dough as we want it.

    On the other hand, the supporters of Lal Masjid while criticizing the action of the state not only present themselves as pure innocents, they do not feel ashamed for using mosque as an armed depository and militant training institute too. Recently in an interview, the cleric of Lal Masjid not only supported his actions, he also defended the construction of illegally constructed mosques and said that they are Shariah compliant.

    Thus we have gone too far in discussing the matter… media has gone too far. Where they should have only focused on the nature of operation, they have protected the militants of Lal Masjid to the level that now you cannot even expect it to discuss at the open public forum. Anyhow that is the speciality of our media, first screaming for not taking action and then criticizing for taking it. They will do the same in case of TTP. However Ejaz is right and the truth must be discussed with all its context and background. Lets hope the water flows as it should.

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  • Ghostrider
    Oct 30, 2013 - 9:14AM

    They blame Musharraf for taking hasty decision….he tried to negotiate with these thugs for months and when everything failed operation became inevitable. Any sane leader would have killed those terrorist.

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  • alia ijaz
    Oct 30, 2013 - 10:46AM

    i wish Hamid Mir had read this column.

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  • Gratgy
    Oct 30, 2013 - 12:49PM

    @ Rex Minor
    A muslim who desecrates the house of God has broken the promise to be a muslim- to follow the tenets of Islam.

    Do people who bring weapons into the house of worship, indulge in killings and kidnapping from the house of worship not desecrating the sanctity of the holy place? And hence if someone puts a stop to that desectration not be considered a true follower of Islam?

    The students in the lal masjid were given ample opportunity to surrender. Their not surrendering is the very reason that force had to be used. Hence they are solely responsible for “desecration” of the house of worship.

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  • Sarah
    Oct 30, 2013 - 12:55PM

    BRILLIANT! My two favourite (very quotable) quotes that sum up everything all too well:

    “… it never is easy to choose between two bad options.” and “..don’t talk about things your genius cannot even begin to comprehend” LOVE IT.

    See now we the people have bad options to choose from so pardon our voting disasters and all that and YES we can so do without the pseudo intellectual “GT” goers who come up with so many random thoughts with so much confidence.

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  • Anti_StatusQou
    Oct 30, 2013 - 1:17PM

    @sohail:
    Real freedom of speech in this land of pure.Recommend

  • Beenish
    Oct 30, 2013 - 1:27PM

    Excellent article. Agreed 200 percent. Only wish our judiciary and the govt also open their eyes to these facts.

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  • Hassaan Saad
    Oct 30, 2013 - 2:06PM

    Brilliant article – hats off to you for this excellent effort

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  • Iron hand
    Oct 30, 2013 - 2:21PM

    @Rex Minor: Do you feel the same way about church bombings?

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  • Rex Minor
    Oct 30, 2013 - 3:24PM

    @Gratgy:

    Those who have violated the sanctity of the house of God must all pay for their crime!! This include the State authorities and those who took part in the operation.

    The Indian born military man Musharaf is not a brainer and simply followed the steps which Indira Gandhi undertook by desecrating the Sikh temple and massacring its occupants with similar intensity and arguments of terrorism, weaponry and security. He has lost his rights in a country which granted him and his family asylum.

    Rex Minor

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  • Parvez
    Oct 30, 2013 - 3:53PM

    Clear, precise and you have said what needs to be said……..great work.
    The Lal Masjid mind set is what must be dismantled brick by brick because it has infiltrated into all institutions of the state.
    As an opinion piece goes : Pakistan can not be attacked from the outside so use its weaknesses ( religion ) against it to break it from the inside……….brilliant because its working. Recommend

  • Oct 30, 2013 - 4:01PM

    This is the real pity that our memory is very short. Recalling the “operation days”. When media was reporting the operation & commenting.
    The then terrorists are now HERO. We are a nation of confused people. Who do not want to know about the truth or they do not have time OR have any association. Or more accurately do not affected by either parties.

    We are can use any thing anyone for our personal , political , social & financial benefits needless to know weather it is allowed as per law or possess any significance in society Recommend

  • sana imran
    Oct 30, 2013 - 4:06PM

    a very to the point n efficient article. i remember we always used to avoid that belt of lal masjid whilst travelling to n fro isb pindi. its indeed shameful whatever happened but islam is not about oppression and not about aggression. the students n their “owners” disturbed thei age of islam further by showing that they are in occupation of excellant weaponary and skills. its heart wrenching to see n believe that such activities were masked in the name of Allah. God be with us all n guide us! amen!Recommend

  • sarah
    Oct 30, 2013 - 4:07PM

    @ Rex Minor: I think when you talk of the sanctity of any place it has to do with respect for what it stands for. How is it that you dont see that sanctity was broken by terorrists trying to exploit such a sacred place and not to mention the sentiments of muslims?? If anything sanctity was restored by cleansing it of people who dont understand the very thing it stands for i,e. peace and humility. Recommend

  • Oct 30, 2013 - 4:36PM

    One of Musharraf’s best actions: Lal Masjid Operation.Recommend

  • A
    Oct 30, 2013 - 4:50PM

    @Rex Minor:
    you should read about Demolition of Masjid al-Dirar(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demolition_of_Masjid_al-Dirar)Recommend

  • Adil Sharif
    Oct 30, 2013 - 4:56PM

    Crisp, sharp and analytical. Well done. Recommend

  • khalid Munir
    Oct 30, 2013 - 5:06PM

    Army should become a party in this caseRecommend

  • nabeel
    Oct 30, 2013 - 5:48PM

    I agree with you but my concern is about the kids wasnt there any other option to evacuate those innocents whom were brain washed and lead to misserable death???Recommend

  • Agnostic
    Oct 30, 2013 - 6:07PM

    Mush won the little battle of Lal Masjid.
    Did he win the war? No, and that was the argument used by Benazir to get his contract from DC cancelled.Recommend

  • A J Khan
    Oct 30, 2013 - 6:26PM

    These terror brothers should be hauled for
    1. Murdering soldiers,
    2. Declaring war on State,
    3. Attacking, assaulting and intimidating peaceful citizens of Islamabad,
    4. Ransacking public property
    5. Defamation of State Institutions & false accusations.
    6. Sacrilegious misuse of Mosque
    7. Harboring terrorists and fugitives.
    8. Keeping Illegal weapons and ExplosivesRecommend

  • makesense
    Oct 30, 2013 - 6:42PM

    Its sad how everyone speaks with their own bias & then displays them as facts. There is no doubt the lal masjid folk were challenging the state but there is also no doubt that during last minute efforts, they were ready to leave (Ch. Shujaat affirms this to this day !) so why did the General then proceed to take such brutal action ?

    We have drones violating our national sovereignty yet General’s don’t dare take action but if there is a fire cracker at home, especially from clerics inside a Masjid,brutal force is deployed, completely ignoring the plight of children inside. Words cannot describe what to say to those responsible for such acts.Recommend

  • observer
    Oct 30, 2013 - 6:54PM

    If ‘Waar-2’ were to be made today involving the Lal Masjid,who will be the RAW boys.

    Those holding the Lal Masjid from within.

    Or, those laying a siege from without?Recommend

  • gp65
    Oct 30, 2013 - 7:05PM

    ETBLOGS1987

    @ Minor: Parroting your old comment instead of responding to the points raised in @Gratgy’s comment shows poor reasoning ability.

    As far as Operation Blue Star is concerned, that is one of the very few decisions of Indira that I whole heartedly approve and she paid with her life for that. The subsequent anti-Sikh riots are a shameful chapter in our country’s history.

    Recommend

  • Raza
    Oct 30, 2013 - 7:08PM

    Excellent. Finally someone talks sense. The Lal Masjid clerics were nothing but terrorists; and the military did nothing wrong for once. But guess that’s not in vogue when it comes to an increasingly hypocritical Pakistani mentality.

    Recommend

  • Oct 30, 2013 - 7:12PM

    ET, you didn’t print many of my previous comments. Please let this through.
    @Rex Minor:

    You’re viewing it from a warped and twisted zealot interpretation of what sanctity and divinity is in Islam, and how it is the state’s responsibility to crackdown on illegal crime and use around such structures and Islamic precedent in levelling former houses of worship that have become corrupt. Worse, however, is how you continue to push the racial envelope too, besides the usual romantic delusions of supremacist Pashtun homogeneity.

    While you have the right to take issue with Musharraf on a lot of things, it is despicable how you drag his racial ethnicity, citing his birth in India (Delhi), and project your prejudice, when he’s served and lead the Pakistan army and government, indeed a Pak citizen since the existence of the Pak state from 1947, and make bigoted remarks of ‘deportation’ for your own revisionist origins of why the Pak state was founded in the first place, by an ‘Indian’ Gujrati, which was indeed to give a home to all Muslims of the Indian sub-continent, and yes, that deal included, for better or worse, different ethnic, but mostly Muslim, migrants settling on native lands in Western parts of former colonial British India and are now part of the fabric of the state.

    So someone self-proclaiming to be sitting in Germany, with its own dubious past, and questionable identity or residence hardly has the hypocritical right to strip someone else of their national rights, ethnically or racially degrade and alienate them as refugees or immigrants, more than half a century after the fact, or comment about Islamic principles with such prejudicial nativist zeal and callous judgement.

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  • Shuntoosh Kumar
    Oct 30, 2013 - 7:20PM

    You mean Jinnah s pipe dream is dead .

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  • mind control
    Oct 30, 2013 - 7:30PM

    the lying right wing that has made a habit of decrying everything this state stands for and then using the very institutions of this state, in this case the judiciary, to clamour for legal-constitutional rights and make space for their exclusionary agenda.

    This behaviour pattern of ‘using the very institutions of the state to clamour for legal constitutional rights‘ and then ‘decrying everything the state stands for‘ and demanding ‘space for exclusionary agenda‘ seems to be the standard operating protocol for some people.

    For example,

    A. Reach Europe/ Australia

    B. Seek asylum as moderate victims of extremists imposing Shariah in your home country.

    C. Get on Welfare.

    D. Decry the decadent West.

    E. Commit Terrorism (London/ Lisbon Bombing, Film Maker/Soldier slaying etc)

    F. Demand Shariah.

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  • ishrat salim
    Oct 30, 2013 - 8:13PM

    @Iron hand: both Al Qaida and constitutional democracy are not suited for this country….all we need is DANDA ! it has been proved beyond any positive apprehension…..compare the 8 years rule of Gen M and the democractic period….? ask any poor people in the street and you will get your answer.

    Recommend

  • Iram
    Oct 30, 2013 - 8:26PM

    @Cheema:
    Doesn’t sound very productive though, does it? Should we then just give up hope and wait to die?Recommend

  • ishrat salim
    Oct 30, 2013 - 8:28PM

    we as a nation has proved once again that we have such short memory…..politicians who supported Gen M deserted him and media has manipulated the whole episode for their own selfish interest….Gen M period has been accepted by the whole World, IMF, WB and the ADB as the best period in the Country`s 65 years history……

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  • Iram
    Oct 30, 2013 - 8:34PM

    @Rex Minor:
    It’s a bricks and mortar building. You can weave any myth around it you like. The important thing is what it’s used for. And stop threatening people with “oh you are not a Muslim if you don’t think the way I think”. Normal people would rather just be good human beings. Do as much religion as you like if it keeps you warm, just don’t try to blackmail other people with your stories.

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  • Iram
    Oct 30, 2013 - 8:36PM

    @A J Khan:
    Agree with all except 6. It’s the same can-of-worms as the blasphemy law.

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  • Iram
    Oct 30, 2013 - 8:38PM

    @makesense:
    So people shouldn’t be punished for breaking the law as long as they say sorry after the fact and when they know they are cornered?

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  • Rex Minor
    Oct 30, 2013 - 8:48PM

    @sarah:

    Santity of any place I said? The term NASJID in arabic language originates from the word Sajada, which means “to prostrate” and a Masjid is the place in which MUSLIMS prostrate, a place of worship! The rest of your rhetoric in reltavising the events are meaningless.

    The city as well as the people of Islamabad must bear the consequenes for the desecrating the sanctity of the Masjid!!!

    Rex Minor

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  • Rex Minor
    Oct 30, 2013 - 9:01PM

    @A:
    Do you see any logic in speculations about the 7th century Events?

    Rex Minor

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  • Rex Minor
    Oct 30, 2013 - 9:10PM

    @bigsaf:
    Not bigoted remarks sir, this is what will transpire! A citizen who legitimise his right on the basis of belonging to the religion of Islam automaticly looses it when he acts outsie the realm of Islam! Your speculative narrative is uncalled for and is not helpful for the discussion.

    Rex Minor

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  • Noman
    Oct 30, 2013 - 9:27PM

    This column us beautiful piece if crap. Sorry to say hiw ignorant r those who wrote in favor. One suded fascist liberal views.. Paid

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  • Kufristani
    Oct 30, 2013 - 9:29PM

    Moderators ….
    Aren’t you being too sensitive? I asked a very simple question….a legitimate question…this luxury of taking out Muslims who are challenging the writ of the state from a mosque……is this luxury available to kafir governments as well?? ….where kafirs constitute majority of population……..what is the opinion of liberal (relatively speaking) Muslims like Mr.Haider…..asking because of many “liberal” Muslims strongly gung-ho supporting the Lal masjid operation……thank you…

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  • Rex Minor
    Oct 30, 2013 - 9:34PM

    @Iron hand:

    Yes I do to your question. All places of worship, be it the church, the synagogue or a mosque have the sanctity of the almighty God and must not be desecrated by a mortal. Those who challenge this are outside the realms of the religions.

    Rex Minor

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  • Naushad Shafkat
    Oct 30, 2013 - 9:39PM

    Mr. Ejaz Haider at his brilliant best! Why has the rest of our media lost this view of the narrative? Probably because it needs courage and a clear thinking mind which they lack. This has to be read again and again to let it sink in; it is just too good to be read just once.

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  • Rex Minor
    Oct 30, 2013 - 10:37PM

    @gp65:

    I mentioned about Indian shame chapter(your words not mine) simply to remind the Pakistanis about their shame chapter which has taken place with the desecration of the Lal Masjid.. While Pakistan judiciary will in due course identify the responsible ones who broke the existing state laws from within the Masjid in civilian clothes or by those wearing khakis outside the Masjid and I guess announce the appropriate punishments; my comments were directed to the Author for ignoring the desecration of the Masjid. I recognise that Miss Gandhi being a non believer had no second thoughts about her Blue star operation against the sikh temple, the self acclaimed military supremo of Pakistan however ignored the inherent sacredness of the red bricks building ( as some blogger called it) and the sanctity which a Masjid has among the Ummah.

    l
    Rex minor

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  • Imran Ahmed
    Oct 30, 2013 - 10:39PM

    Wonderful article!
    It was the mullahs who desecrated a place of worship. It was the same cowardly bunch of filthy worms who are responsible for murdering the children and women they tried to use as human shields.
    Has everyone forgotten the televised pleas of Bilquis Edhi to the ravening beasts pleading for them to release and send out women and children?
    With hindsight the military should have used even more restraint to save lives but hindsight is always 20/20.

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  • SGN
    Oct 30, 2013 - 10:45PM

    The hyperlink behind “AQ” in the phrase “in a game devised by AQ” points to a reference to the the wrong “AQ”.

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  • Oct 30, 2013 - 11:08PM

    @Rex Minor:

    Those are very much bigoted remarks, and you know it, and that was what was uncalled for and unhelpful. On what fiqh, scholarship or religious fatwa are you drawing this ridiculous ignorant conclusion, or you just like being a ‘takfiri’ accusing other Muslims of being non-Muslims sitting in Germany?

    He did not act outside the realm of Islam when he moved in on militants who questioned the writ of the Pak state, otherwise officially known as Islamic Republic of Pakistan, which the Laal Masjid occupants defied when they committed those criminal and un-Islamic acts.

    You are not the judge and arbitrator on Islam, you do not have a clue on what entails Pakistani citizenship, regardless of its own confused twisted ideological narrative of state and religion, criminals do not get stripped of citizenship and non-Muslims CAN be Pakistani citizens.

    You are clearly propagating the language of the Wahhabi/Salafi/Deoband/Sunni extremist militants such as the Taliban or Laal Masjid terrorists and if there’s anyone who have exited the fold of Islam, and defamed Islam, it is these modern day Khwarijites whom you seem to be going to bat for, apart from making your racial preferences apparent.

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  • Sami khan
    Oct 30, 2013 - 11:15PM

    For all those attacking Rex Minor, just imagine if Lal masjid is in kashmir, India. Will your response be same? i bet not!

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  • ahmed
    Oct 30, 2013 - 11:19PM

    A brave article from a brave journalist amongst a horde of foreign sold traitors.

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  • Rex Minor
    Oct 30, 2013 - 11:24PM

    @bigsaf:
    i am sure you do not want any response from me on so many topics in your note:

    Rex Minor

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  • Lala Gee
    Oct 31, 2013 - 12:00AM

    Musharraf must be punished for not taking the action earlier and letting the Lal Masjid drama continue for such a long time. Even today, he is afraid of taking the responsibility for ordering the action against those terrorists challenging the writ of the state with illegal arms, openly violating her laws, and refusing to accept the constitution of Pakistan.

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  • samdam
    Oct 31, 2013 - 12:25AM

    @Rex Minor:
    How is Erdogan the new Ataturk? sure, he is not an armyman, but that is not what I mean. Erdogan is in fact not as secular as people believe, he has, over time, betrayed his rightist tendancies through his rejection of ‘moderate islam’ in his interviews and reform agendas, and emphases more on Islam (and dividing the society slowly between Sunni muslims on the one hand, and other ethnic groups on the other) as opposed to Turkish Nationalism. He is the polar opposite of what Mustafa Kemal Ataturk represented.

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  • samdam
    Oct 31, 2013 - 12:35AM

    @Rex Minor: “The city as well as the people of Islamabad must bear the consequenes for the desecrating the sanctity of the Masjid!!!”

    And what about the people inside who instead of giving themselves up for the sanctity of the mosque, chose to use the cover of the mosque and attack on the security forces. Its not like they were not given a warning or asked to surrender themselves. The security forces were fired upon first, what would you have suggested as an alternative? a siege that could easily have turned ugly with the help of backup from the punjabi taliban and the Al Qaeda? or do you believe that the terrorists inside were innocent, and they earned a one-way ticket to heaven in exchange for their martyrdom ?

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  • Rex Minor
    Oct 31, 2013 - 1:01AM

    @Sami khan:

    I am sure that the people of Pakistan know more about the desecration of the so called Babry mosque in India than I do ? I have said what needed to be said!! The author has not responded the point I raised.by me. I am not here to judge them if they feel comfortable with the situation..

    Rex Minor

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  • Ali Tanoli
    Oct 31, 2013 - 1:39AM

    man in uniforms are pak from all sins what a country jaye Jinnah.

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  • Tariq
    Oct 31, 2013 - 2:12AM

    I was visiting Pakistan in those days and was very surprised why no action has been taken. In US if anything like this happens and negotiations fail and SWAT operation is conducted which usually ends within 30 minutes. Anyone challenging his own government and becoming a security risk for others is terrorist in my book. That person does not deserve mercy no matter how much religious he/she call he/herself.

    Musharaf did right thing but way too late and people like Hamid Meer got a chance to drill hole in the same plate they eat.

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  • gp65
    Oct 31, 2013 - 6:20AM

    ET Mods- Please allow my response to this totally inaccurate statement made by @Rex Minor

    @Rex Minor: “@gp65:
    I mentioned about Indian shame chapter(your words not mine)”

    I never said anything about Indian shame chapter. SO when you say these are my words, I am not sure what you are thinking.Recommend

  • Curious
    Oct 31, 2013 - 9:41AM

    Can the author explain the credibility of Shahzad Ahsans book where he talks about Mumbai Attacks. After Indian insider’s admission in court documents that attacks were planned internally by govt how credible is Shahzad Ahsan book is ?

    I would question this whole write-up since the author has based it all on a single book… Strange the time unfolds many truths …

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  • A
    Oct 31, 2013 - 10:13AM

    @Rex Minor:
    i just give you a reference that even the mosque can be used for evil purpose and there is always black sheep in every group.Recommend

  • Nabeel
    Oct 31, 2013 - 10:51AM

    Brilliant and thought provoking article. Musharraf has been the best ruler in history of Pakistan.

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  • Adil
    Oct 31, 2013 - 1:12PM

    ET: Kindly let me go through this message as my previous comments were not posted.

    @ Rex Minor

    I guess you are forgetting to mention that almost 30 Hindu temples were demolished in Pakistan in reaction to the demolition of Babri Mosque. By stating this, I am not supporting the tragic event of the latter but Muslims did the same. So that makes it even for both parties despite the fact that the beauty of any religion is it obligates or at least recommends the humans to be on the right side even when the whole world is committing unlawful, illegal or irreligious acts.

    However you will not get the point because your implementation of ideas or theory is highly exposed to model risk which is; as long as your model is inaccurate, how accurate the information input is, the output will still be incorrect, faulty and flawed. All the best.

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  • Rex Minor
    Oct 31, 2013 - 4:07PM

    @samdam:

    Let me try to address your questions.

    It is upto Pakistan judiciary today to decide who the perpatrators were and who violated the laws of the State which in the first instance were trampled by the miltary takeover and its leader dicttor.. The Judiciary will be well advised to bring in the dock all those who took part in the orgy of violence. In a democracy the military has no other role but to defend the external borders of the country , least of all for internal security, which is a police function directly under the control of peoples representatives. Pakistan has maintained the colonial structures, operates with the colonial laws and therefore has maintained the ruler/slave relation in the country and is now in the Quagmire.. .

    Islamabad has been cursed for all times to come. The Earth will refuse to give refuge to the man who several bloggers hail as a great commnder. This is what is written in the scriptures and this is what will transpire.

    Rex Minor

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  • Rex Minor
    Oct 31, 2013 - 4:56PM

    @samdam:

    Sir, there is no such thing as a moderate Islam or a non-moderate Islam, there is only one Islam. Besies, a muslim cannot at the same time be a secular!

    However, if you mean that the Government in a democracy should be conducted without the control of the church or any religious supremo like the vatican or the Iranian Khameni, then Turkey is and remains the secularist State and not a Caliphate State. Turkey will follow the specified standards in all its Government institutions which the European Union have specified and practice. The EU has now scheduled to discuss Turkey membership inthe union next month.

    I agree it has taken a long time for Erdogan political party to overcome the military hold on the country which had paralised Turkish institutions. Erdogan did carry one page from Kemal Ata Turk and that is the Nationalism based on National interest and supplemented it with the International responsibilities as well espeially for other muslim Nations, which former Governments under the control of the army neglected. His recent statement in Kosovo that Kosovo is Turkey reflects his Government solidarity with the Kosovarans.

    Rex Minor

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  • samina noman
    Oct 31, 2013 - 5:05PM

    u are a brilliant writer Ejaz Haider but you missed the point. its not about the brothers and AQ and what not but its how the state dealt with a hostage situation.

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  • Raheel
    Oct 31, 2013 - 5:37PM

    The article did clear certain points and I am, not saying that it was authentic(I don’t know) but tell me this how can a reasonable man assume that all of the students were party to the demonstration and were challenging the writ of the state. How can we ignore the possibility that fundamentalist were keeping them as a human shield and they were not allowed to go to their home.

    And last thing why they did they not stopped their water supply and food supply. The whole seen carried over a month and was the military operation really necessary or they were eager for delivery of F16′ s.

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  • Bilal
    Oct 31, 2013 - 5:51PM

    Disappointing read … I was expecting operation details and justification of decisions/actions taken

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  • Ashraf
    Oct 31, 2013 - 6:20PM

    Spot on Ejaz!! Musharraf and his aides should be punished for allowing the militants to take over the Lal Masjid and holding the Nation hostage for so long, not for finally taking action against them, when they did.

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  • someone
    Oct 31, 2013 - 6:31PM

    @Rex Minor:
    There are more mosques destroyed in Pakistan by Muslims than in India by non Muslims.By this fact , India is a better country for Muslims than Pakistan.

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  • someone
    Oct 31, 2013 - 7:23PM

    @Sami khan:
    Good question. That would expose dual nature of Pakistani lot.

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  • anoymous
    Oct 31, 2013 - 7:28PM

    I just copied the comment

    It boggles the minds (of those outside your country), that of all the offences for which Musharraf should be prosecuted; you select an action for which he should in fact be commended!
    As rightly pointed out, no one can challenge a state and expect to hold it to ransom without the state tking action against them.

    Mushraf should be hanged for treason for toppling civilian government but this was righ thing he did.

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  • ali ahmed
    Oct 31, 2013 - 9:01PM

    the only fault of Musharaf was giving freedom to media….like Lawyers it is in a state of chaos or disorder…

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  • khan of quetta
    Oct 31, 2013 - 9:49PM

    @Iron hand:
    lol soap dramas will be banned

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  • Rex Minor
    Oct 31, 2013 - 11:58PM

    @samina noman:

    Excellent point! You reckon one deploys the military to smoke the inmates out? After all the people inside the mosque were the citizens of the country!

    Rex Minor

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  • Rex Minor
    Nov 1, 2013 - 12:19AM

    @anoymous:

    You do not get it! Mr Musharaf is a con man like the Indian Faqir, who climbs up on the rope
    in public view and the audiednce cannot determine how he performed the trick. He met Mr Shamir, the Israeli leader in Davos, Switzerland and shook hands with him though Pakistan neither recognises the State of Israel nor have any direct or indirect relations with Israeli leaders. And when asked by the Press, he denied shking hand with him claiming that it was Mr Shamir who shook hands with him! Is he a dumb individual or a charlatan? In my opinion he is both!! But this time he went too far and confronted the almighty God!! This was his mistake and no one can wriggle himself out of it. This is muslim faith and this is what is in the scriptures.

    Rex Minor

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  • Ahmed
    Nov 1, 2013 - 6:47AM

    @Weiter- No where in your piece have you mentioned what a massacre of children Lal Masjid incident was. So many children have died and in your opinion someone should be commended for this work? nice

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  • mind control
    Nov 1, 2013 - 7:12PM

    @Ahmed:

    So many children have died and in your opinion someone should be commended for this work? nice

    Here is an eye witness account of the Lal Masjid episode. Do you find any children here? How about citing some evidence?

    http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2013\111\story1-11-2013pg3_7Recommend

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