Bullying tactics

Difa-i-Pakistan Council (Defence of Pakistan Council) is at it again. The group staged another rally, this time in Islamabad, despite the ban imposed on three of its main leaders — Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) President Maulana Mohammad Ahmed Ludhianvi, Secretary General Maulana Khalid Dhillon and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed — from entering Islamabad. Due to the ban, these three men did not attend the rally but the question is: what happened to Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s ‘promise’ that banned outfits would not be allowed to hold a rally in the federal capital? Would the SHO of Aabpara be suspended for this rally? There are speculations that a compromise between the government and the powers that be was struck to allow the Difa-i-Pakistan Council to hold the rally in Islamabad. Instead of holding it in front of parliament, the rally was held in Aabpara, quite close to the ISI headquarters. It seems that the Difa-i-Pakistan Council has the backing of our military establishment and has been unleashed because of the fraught relationship with the US. As far as Pakistan-US relations are concerned, there is no resolution in sight at the moment. What kind of a message is the military trying to give to the international community in the form of this conglomerate of religious hardliners is quite apparent.

That the Difa-i-Pakistan Council openly threatened the media in its previous rally in Karachi did not persuade the government one bit to stop it from holding another protest in the heart of the capital. The government and the military are carrying on with General Musharraf’s mischief — turning a blind eye to banned organisations that have only renamed themselves but are carrying on with their activities with impunity. This is completely unacceptable. Putting further pressure on the Americans and Indians through these gentlemen is not going to benefit Pakistan. Let’s not fool ourselves. Pakistan cannot be held hostage to the jihadists and their apologists because they are more harmful to us than any other country in the world. What is needed is a complete ban on the Difa-i-Pakistan Council.

(my editorial in Daily Times)

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