Role of politico-religious parties in Army Public School Peshawar massacre
By Sajid Raheem
Just a month ago, Pakistan faced massacre of school children in Peshawar Army Public School (APC) where terrorists belonging to Pakistan Tehrik-i-Taliban (TTP) killed 142 persons including 132 school children by spraying bullets and by slaughtering some of them. Eye witnesses said that TTP terrorists Zibah (slaughtering) some children as young as 12 year of age while reciting Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar as they were slaughtering some sacrificial animals.
Pakistan is a country where so-called Kharji Muslims belonging to Salafi sect of Islam have killed around 60,000 people during the last 5 years. TTP accepted responsibility of killing these 60,000 people by stating that this massacre would be continued because Pakistani people except TTP followers and belonging to Salafism and Wahabism are infidels therefore they must be killed. TTP blew up shrines, mosques of Bralvi Muslims (followers of Sunni sect but believing mysticism and Sufism), Imambargahs of Shia Muslims, attacked installations of Pakistan Army including its General Headquarters (GHQ), Police Headquarters, offices of intelligence agencies, schools, graveyards, funeral processions, sport grounds, railway stations, airports and courts of law. TTP and its followers believe that only those are Muslims who follow teaching of one sect Salafism—the purist and radical Islam.
TTP even tried to kill Mualana Fazul Rehman who is chief of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI). He is most respected and most important leader of Al Hadith twice. Fortunately, he survived these attacks. Though Mualana Fazul Rehman belongs to a sect that is very closer to the school of thought of Wahabism but he is against suicide bombing and insane killing spree. Moreover Mualana Fazul Rehman and 25,000 Muftis of Al Hadith gave Fatwa that TTP actions are un-Islamic and beyond the teaching of Islam.
The second most important religio-political party of Pakistan Jamaat-i-Islami had been kept quite to utter anything against TTP leadership during the last 5 years till the change of its leadership. His last Ameer Munawar Hassan was staunch supporter of TTP and he gave many controversial statements against Pakistan Army and Shia Muslims and thereby had been in the middle of the controversies. It was quite interesting to note that founder of Jamaat-i-Islami Mualana Moudoodi had been stiff critique of Takfiris and Kharjis (Radical Islamists) and he wrote books to tell Muslims about the possible threats from Takfiri Muslims and called them a “Fitna”. Now new Ameer of JI Sirajul Haq is criticizing action of TTP—but not the philosophy TTP follows. It was also interesting to note that religious parties did not condemn Mualana Aziz of Lal Masjid Islamabad when he strongly supported TTP act of killing children in Peshawar. It is also interesting to note that no action has been taken so far against Mualana Aziz who is still Imam of Lal Masjid Islamabad and is still giving sermons regularly for justifying TTP acts and its philosophy.
Though things are changing in Pakistan” after this massacre of children but these changes are not “enough” that can pull this country out from 38 year long radicalization started by Gen Ziaul Haq in 1977.
Pakistan amended its constitution for accommodating Military courts for speedy trials of terrorists but this amendment was also criticized by religions parties. Weak and complicated Law of evidence, threats from terrorists and poor investigation were major impediments to ensure punishments in terrorism related cases. Now country moved forward for speedy military courts. Hanging of terrorists is another change that can at least send a message to terrorists that they can be hanged if found guilty.
People sitting in intelligence agencies in Pakistan who had soft corner for Jihadis and radical Islamists are not so much out spoken in favouring terrorists after Army Public School massacre though revamping of intelligence is yet not be on agenda and Jihad supporting elements are still sitting in sensitive desks. However, the stiff reaction and zero tolerance of Pakistan Army for Jihadis can help to send a message to these friends of Jihadis sitting in intelligence agencies to keep away from supporting and passing sensitive information to enemies (now Pakistan Army has officially announced that Jihadis and TTP are their enemies).
Meanwhile Jihad supporting elements are successfully working in electronic as well as print media of Pakistan by creating confusion about what is wrong and what is right according to Islamic Jurisprudence. These friends of TTP are trying to sell ideas quite successfully that the philosophy of TTP is in accordance of Islam but Indian intelligence agency RAW and engrossed TTP leadership and using TTP against Pakistan but foot soldiers of TTP are true Muslims and their Jihad against infidels (whosoever do not follow purist Islam) is justified act. This theory of involvement of RAW to support TTP leadership against Pakistan Army is not 100% wrong theory. TTP leadership is sitting in Afghanistan and striking Pakistan Army on daily, weekly and monthly basis but Pakistan foreign office and the Army have failed to take any action against TTP leadership in Afghanistan and Afghan government is bluntly hiding TTP leadership though there are credible information about their whereabouts and their positions and Pakistan has shared theses information with Afghan President during the visit of Chief of Army of Pakistan with Ashraf Ghani.
Though Pakistan is confident that it will win the war against TTP terrorists but it looks difficult to win the war against radicals because radical Islam can come up with any new name— a new brand if ever Pakistan wins its war against TTP. Terrorism does not lies in TTP or Boku Haram or ISL or ISIS but it lies in the philosophy of purist and radical Islam and this idea is yet to be defeated by any country in the world including Pakistan.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Dispatch News Desk. Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of Dispatch News Desk.