Archive for the ‘Inner Conflict of Pakistan’ Category

Karachi violence is still intensifying for a big hit and Islamic hatred.

June 15, 2011

 

Death toll in Karachi unrest rises to 20

GULF TODAY || Wednesday 15th June 2011, Rajab 12, 1432 || KARACHI: The death toll in a fresh wave of violence blamed on political and ethnic tensions in Pakistan’s biggest city of Karachi rose to at least 20 on Wednesday, an official said.

Renewed tensions between the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the Awami National Party (ANP), which represent different ethnic communities, have triggered serious fears that the violence could spill over on a wider scale.

“The death toll has risen to 20 with eight more targeted killings overnight in different areas of Karachi,” provincial home ministry spokesman Sharfuddin Memon said.

The violence erupted late on Monday.

The government in Sindh province said it had stepped up police and paramilitary patrols in the troubled western and central neighbourhoods to avert further killings.

Memon gave no specific reason for the renewed violence in Karachi but analysts believe conflicting interests of political forces and poor governance trigger routine flare-ups.

“Karachi is a big city where crime and corruption is rampant and targeted killings is convenient cover for criminal mafia to continue their activities,” analyst Imtiaz Gul said.

“While political parties fight to retain their clout in the city, criminal gangs, involved in organised crimes take advantage of the situation.”

Both MQM and ANP have accused each other of killing their supporters, fanning tensions within Karachi that reverberate to the capital Islamabad, where both factions are also members of the federal governing coalition.

In 2010, political violence in Karachi was dominated by flare-ups in August after an MQM lawmaker was shot dead and in October on the eve of the election for his successor.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said 748 people – 447 political activists and the rest civilians – were killed in targeted shootings in the city last year. 

Targeted killings in 2009 claimed 272 lives.

 Courtesy: Agence France-Presse

|| Role of Talibans behind Karachi killing ||

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SEE : Who are Responsible for Karachi Carnage ??

Karachi to Quetta, Pak Govt failured to give security to civilians and tame terrorist outfits.

March 22, 2011

Gunmen kill 11 road workers in Gwadar

Four attackers hit the camp of road construction workers before fleeing on motorbikes, said a government official.—AFP/File photo
QUETTA|| Dawn News || 21-03-2011 : A security official says gunmen have attacked a camp for road construction workers in an area of Balochistan where rebels are active, killing 11 people.

Azittalah said the attack late Monday took place close to the port town of Gwadar.

Azittalah, who heads a tribal security force, says four attackers hit the camp before fleeing on motorbikes.

Azittalah, who goes by a single name, did not identify the victims, though many laborers in Balochistan are settlers.

Karachi death toll climbs to 18 as terror returns


Sattar blames Mirza for crisis

by Nasir Mahmood in Pak Observer

Karachi—At least six more people, most of them political workers, were shot dead on Sunday in ongoing violence spree in the city, bringing the dead toll in politically-motivated killings to 18 in past 24 hours yesterday.
According to details, some 6 people were reportedly killed in the mega city within one hour in separate incidents. The unrest gripped Kharadar, Lyari, Orangi Town, Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Liaqat Abad, Burns Road and others areas of the city after a week-long incidents of shootout.
Three policemen were targeted by miscreants in the city as police force and law enforcement agencies seemed to be helpless before the ghost attackers who easily targeted people and fled the scene successfully.
On Sunday, unknown attackers riding a bike opened fire on two people in Kharadar area, killing one of them on the spot while the other died on way to hospital.
A MQM worker, Shehzad was gunned down near Mosmiat area at Gulistan-e-Johar. In the same area, police found dead body of a man from a nullah. He was not identified.
Meanwhile, in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, two people were killed and at least four injured when unidentified armed men targeted them on a shop.
In another incident, unknown bikers hurled a hand grenade on local office of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement at Aram Bagh area, but it did not explode. Police said the grenade was defused.

An outer Karachi after severe violence

MQM has blamed criminal elements of People’s Aman Committee for targeting its workers, alleging Pakistan People’s Party for backing the group.
PPP’s Sindh Home Minister had initially announced his support for the group, before Sindh government’s decision to close all the offices of the organization in the province following President Asif Ali Zardari’s high-level talks with MQM leadership.
According to more details: In Teen Hatti area, an exchange of fire between protestors and the Rangers resulted in the killing of a youth named Danish.
Armed men opened fire and injured six people near Disco Bakery in Gulshan-e-Iqbal. Two of the wounded later died while the other four were stated to be in critical condition. Two MQM workers were gunned down in Agra Taj Colony and Gulbahar. Another political worker who got injured earlier in Gulastan-e-Jauhar succumbed to his injures. A body was also recovered from the same area.
In another incident, a policeman named Arshad Kundi was murdered in Sohrab Goth and a tent-house owner was shot dead on Burns Road. Bomb Disposal Squad defused a hand grenade found near Aaram Bagh mosque in the same locality. In Surjani Town and Mehmoodabad, two people were gunned down.
Angry mobs, while protesting against target killings and extortion, burned tyres and blocked main arteries in Liaqatabad, Burns Road, Nazimabad, Lasbela Chowk and other areas.
Miscreants torched three vehicles including two buses in Gulastan-e-Jauhar, Gulshan-e–Iqbal and Orangi Town.
MQM leader Farooq Sattar has urged President Zardari to take notice of the fresh wave of killings in the city. He held Sindh Home Minister Zulfiqar Mirza responsible for the wave of violence in the city, but said he was not directly involved in the unrest.
Talking to media persons, MQM leader Waseem Aftab urged Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry to take suo motu notice of the Karachi killings.

Courtesy : Dawn | Pak Observer | AFP | Agencies.

Ethnic violence continues unabated in Karachi; 12 more killed

March 21, 2011

Karachi hit by fresh wave of killings,arson

KARACHI, 2oth March 2011 : Demonstrations were held in different areas of Karachi on Sunday in protest against a new wave of killings across the city, mainly on political and ethnic grounds, claiming over a dozen lives on Sunday.

The protesters turned violent at a few places where exchanges of fire between armed men and law-enforcement personnel left one person dead. Three vehicles were set on fire.

The protests began when dozens of people, including Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) workers, staged a sit-in for about half an hour on Shahrah-i-Pakistan near Liaquatabad during the funeral of Shahzad Hussain, a party activists killed on Sunday. They set tyres on fire and chanted slogans against the killing and the ‘extortion mafia’.

Violence intensified when armed men opened fire near Teen Hatti Bridge, prompting law-enforcement personnel to act.

“There was a group of armed youngsters who were firing shots into the air and attacked a Rangers vehicle parked there,” Jamshed Town SSP Amir Farooqi said.

 

Desolated roadways in Karachi with heavy police patrolling. Photo - The International News.

“The firing elicited retaliation from the law-enforcers that left a man dead, but it’s not yet clear whose bullet had hit him,” he added.

There was no official version from the Sindh Rangers on the incident.

Demonstrations were also held in Gulshan-i-Iqbal, Burns Road and Federal B. Area.

Parts of Gulistan-i-Jauhar, Qasba Colony, Nazimabad, Lyari, Kharadar and Site areas were paralysed by incidents of intense gunfire.

A passenger coach was set on fire in Nazimabad and a truck and a bus in Safoora Goth near Gulistan-i-Jauhar.

By the time a ministerial committee of the PPP and MQM decided to meet to discuss the incidents of violence, the guns had fallen silent, although tension and fear kept the residents of the strife-hit areas indoors and business suspended.

Despite repeated attempts, the newly-appointed city police chief Saud Mirza avoided to say anything about the situation.

Sindh Home Minister’s Adviser Sharfuddin Memon said a meeting of the ministerial committee had been called to discuss the Karachi situation and law-enforcement agencies had been placed on high alert.

He said suggestions from leaders from both sides always helped to stem violence. “We have seen that workers from all parties have been targeted in recent killings.”

He said a positive result of law-enforcement measures would be evident soon.

Mr Memon said the Rangers had special powers and its action had always proved effective in such situations.

Courtesy : All sources and Agencies.

Plane crashes in Karachi :: Ban on carrying arms in Karachi during next 48 hours

November 5, 2010

Rescuers and airport security personnel gather at an aircraft crash site in Karachi on November 5. — Photo by AFP

Charter plane crashes in Karachi, no survivors

Source : DAWN.COM ||Friday 5th November 2010 | Ziqa’ad 27, 1431

KARACHI: A small plane with at least 21 people on board chartered to international oil company ENI crashed after taking off from the Karachi airport on Friday, killing all on board, an aviation official said.

The plane came down near the COD (Central Ordinance Depot) area of the Karachi airport, bursting into flames DawnNews reported

Pervez George, a spokesman for Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority, said the aircraft crashed near a military ordnance depot at Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport due to a technical fault soon after taking off.

He added it was en route to an oil field near Bhit Shah in Sindh province, some 190 km northeast of Karachi.

“When it took off, just after one minute, the pilot contacted the control tower saying that there was a fault in one of the engines. He was asked to return, but as it was turning back, it crashed,” George told Reuters.

He said there were 19 passengers and two crew on board. At least 12 bodies have been recovered so far. Aviation officials said there was at least one foreigner on board.

“The plane has been destroyed,” said Lt. Colonel Noor Agha, an army official supervising rescue operations.

“The dead bodies are burned beyond recognition. It could not be recognised whether they are men or women. We don’t know nationalities.”

Civil aviation officials said the small aircraft was chartered by oil company ENI, which is based in Italy. No one from the company was responding to phone calls and the nationalities of those killed were not immediately available.

Karachi is Pakistan’s business and economic capital. It is a teeming city of 16 million on the south coast with an Arabian Sea port where Nato supplies dock in preparation for travel overland to soldiers in Afghanistan.

Plane crashes are relatively rare in Pakistan, an enormous country of around 170 million people where inter-city travel is most efficient by air.

On July 28, a passenger Airbus 321 jet operated by Airblue crashed into hills of the Islamabad while coming into land after a flight from Karachi, killing 152 people on board.

Two Americans, an Austrian-born businessman, five children and two babies were among those killed in the worst aviation tragedy on Pakistani soil.

The only deadlier civilian plane crash involving a Pakistani jet occurred when a PIA Airbus A300 crashed into a cloud-covered hillside as it approached the Nepalese capital Kathmandu in 1992, killing 167 people. —Agencies

It is not known yet, wether it is a case of terroist attact or a simple accident took place unfortunately.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik. — Photo by AP

Ban on carrying arms in Karachi during next 48 hours

Source : Dawn News||Friday 5th November 2010 | Ziqa’ad 27, 1431

KARACHI: Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Friday said the demise of Imran Farooq was a national loss and that he was with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) in this tragic time.

Speaking to media representatives after a meeting to oversee the law and order situation for Imran Farooq’s funeral, he said security measures were being taken to avoid any untoward incident.

“We have two options to move Dr Farooq’s body from the airport to the graveyard. His body could be shifted via air or land but the option cannot be disclosed for the moment due to security concerns,” Malik said.

Sindh’s Interior Minister Zulfiqar Mirza was also present on the occasion.

A ban had also been imposed on carrying arms during the next 48 hours in Karachi.

Moreover, Karachi Traders Action Committee announced that all markets and commercial centres were to remain closed on Saturday and Sunday.

Five militant groups banned in Balochistan || Two killed in an explosion at Karachi

September 8, 2010

Interior Minister Rehman Malik. — Photo by AFP

Pak Govt bans five militant groups in Balochistan

Wed, 08 Sep, 2010 | Ramazan 28, 1431

QUETTA: Pakistan announced a ban on five militant groups operating in the restive southwest and froze their assets on Wednesday, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said.

Violence has surged this year in Balochistan, which borders Afghanistan and Iran and is rife with separatist unrest as well as militancy and sectarian violence.

“Today five of them have been proscribed. They will not be allowed to undertake any activity, their offices will be closed and action will be taken against their office bearers,” Malik told reporters.

“Their bank accounts have also been seized,” said Malik, speaking in Quetta, where a suicide bomber killed 59 people on Friday at a Shia Muslim rally.

The banned groups are the Balochistan Republican Army, Baloch Liberation Front, Balochistan Liberation United Front, Baloch Defaee Tanzeem and Lashkar-e-Balochistan, Malik said.

Malik said any organisation using the terms “liberation”, “military” or “Lashkar” (army) in Balochistan would also face a ban.

The interior minister also announced that the federal government had given Balochistan’s Chief Minister the authority to award police powers to the Frontier Constabulary (FC) to tackle the province’s law and order situation.

Malik said every law enforcement action in the province will be led by the police, adding that this involves targeted action based on intelligence inputs.

He said police and FC will gather the intelligence in this regard and denied saying that there would be a Swat-style operation in the province.—AFP/DawnNews

Alertpak says :But it is not clear that how the same “liberation”, “military” or “Lashkar” (army) names will be tagged with other Pak Terrorists Groups in other provinces in Pakistan ?

This is simply a matter of persecution of Balooch People who wants autonomy within Pakistan. Balooch are not Talibans. Then why this discrimination upon Balooch people ??

Explosion near hub-chowki in Karachi on 8th Sept. 2010. – AP Photo

Two killed in an explosion near Hub chowki

No Peace in Ramazan

Wed, 08 Sep, 2010 | Ramazan 28, 1431

KARACHI: In an explosion near Rind market in Hub chowki on Wednesday, two people died while eight were injured.

The injured were shifted to Hub civil hospital immediately where two of the injured succumbed to their injuries.

Those severely injured were shifted to a hospital in Karachi. Few of the injured were sent home after treatment.

The nature of the explosion has not been determined yet. – Dawn News

Alertpak says : No Peace in Ramazan.

Courtesy : AP, AFP and Dawn.

Holy Friday blast upon Shia Muslim at Quetta glorifies Ramadan in Pakistan

September 4, 2010

Blast on Friday Ramadan In Pakistan || Toll from Quetta blast rises to 65

Sat, 04 Sep, 2010 | Ramazan 24, 1431

At least 65 people have been killed as a result of a suicide bombing targeting a Shia Muslim rally in Pakistan’s southwest city of Quetta on Friday September 3, the latest in a string of sectarian attacks. Police said the bomber was among the 450-strong crowd and detonated himself upon reaching the city’s main square, triggering chaotic scenes, with people setting fires as others fled or lay on the ground.–AFP & Reuters Photos.

QUETTA: The death toll from a suicide attack on a Shia Muslim procession rose from 56 to 65 overnight as critically wounded people died in hospital, police said.

Police official Mohammed Sultan said Saturday that about 150 people were wounded and some remain critical after the attack claimed by the Pakistani Taliban in the southwestern city of Quetta. A triple suicide attack Wednesday night killed 35 people at a Shia procession in Lahore.

Leaders of the minority sect called a general strike in Quetta and all schools are closed for a day in mourning, police said.

Pakistan’s government is struggling to deal both with massive flooding and the incessant militant violence aimed at overthrowing the administration. — AP


CNN Reports : Death toll from Pakistan suicide bombing rises to 73 : [See Some Video after clicking here].

Courtesy : AP. AFP, Rueters, CNN and Dawn.

Karachi violence claims six more lives, (54 killed so far). Death toll reached 82 on date.

August 4, 2010

A motorcyclist rides past a burning van following overnight violence in Karachi on August 3, 2010. – Photo by AFP.

Karachi violence claims six more lives

By Dawn Staff Reporter
Wednesday, 04 Aug, 2010

KARACHI: The death toll from violence triggered by Monday’s murder of Syed Raza Haider, a senior leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and member of the Sindh Assembly, rose to 54 after six more people were killed on Tuesday. More than 130 were injured, officials said.

After a brief lull in violence arson attacks and intense firing resumed and within an hour four people were killed in Orangi Town and two in Charpai Gali.

Armed men on a motorcycle pulled outside a general store in Orangi’s Faqeer Colony and fired at Ameer Ali and Wasim. They were taken to the Abbassi Shaheed Hospital, where they died. Officials at the hospital said they had received another bullet-riddle body from the same area. He was identified as Sharafat Khan.

Unknown gunmen fired multiple shots on a group of people in Charpai Gali, killing two youngsters on the spot. They were identified as Fayyaz and Mahmood. Their bodies were moved to Abbassi Shaheed Hospital.

In Aram Bagh area, a man in his mid-20s was gunned down. He was identified as Aslam Khan.

A number of vehicles, shops and pushcarts were set on fire in different localities late in the night. Six trucks were set ablaze near Easa Nagri, a taxi on M.A. Jinnah Road and a teashop in PIB Colony.

Business activities in most towns and cities of interior of Sindh remained suspended and transport was off the roads on Tuesday. Hyderabad, Latifabad, Mirpurkhas, Nawabshah, Sanghar, Umerkot, Kotri, Dadu and Sukkur remained shut while business activities in Thatta and Tandojam were normal.

Some areas resounded with firing. Some shops and vehicles were torched and scattered incidents of violence were reported. Armed youths patrolled markets to ensure that these were closed.

Death toll reached 82 on date in recent Karachi violence. Last updated on 7th Aug, 2010.

Courtesy : DAWN.COM & AFP.

Inshallah !! The site is again updated.

Inshallah !! The site is again updated.

Death toll in Karachi target killings reaches 28 :: Islamists’ instigation suspected.

May 20, 2010

A plain-clothes policeman fires a tear gas shell towards demonstrators during a protest against alleged target killings in Karachi.—AFP

KARACHI: The toll in the ongoing target killings rose to 28 on Thursday as eight more people became victims in different parts of Karachi. Reports said that five vehicles were also torched.

Agha Shahi, President ANP Sindh, said that some hidden hands are orchestrating the incidents of violence in a systematic way.

Addressing a press conference, he regretted that culprits involved in the incidents of target killings have never been arrested.—Agencies

Police officers check documents on the killings near a body at a mortuary in Karachi.—AP/File

Karachi Target killing claims 18 lives; hurts 21: police

Thu, 20 May, 2010 | Jumadi-us-Sani 05, 1431

KARACHI: Eighteen people became victims in renewed start of target killings in the city on Wednesday.

Police said the incidents of target killings took place in Sir Syed Town, Kuti Pahari, North Karachi, Abul Ispahani road and other areas.

Meanwhile, President Awami National Party Shahi Syed, heading a delegation, called on Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah to discuss the issue of target killings.

The chief minister took strict notice of the killings started during the last 24 hours and called for effective steps to maintain law and order.

He assured the ANP delegation that killers involved in target killings would soon be arrested and awarded exemplary punishment.

He directed the law enforcing organisations and administration to bring the criminals to book.

The news.com.pk reports that the number of deaths in separate incidents of target killing in capital city Karachi has mounted to 18 while as many as another 21 sustained injuries, Geo reported Wednesday.

A total of four vehicles were torched in reaction of target killing incidents, witnesses said.

Markets and shops were closed early in the city on account of target killing reports.

According to police, armed men barged into a shop and opened firing, killing some persons and injuring three others. They were rushed to the Jinnah Hospital.

A severely bruised and bullet-riddled body of an identified man was found dumped near Katti Pahari area in North Nazimabad area.

In another incident, unknown gunmen shot and killed one person near Qaba Morr in Orangi Town. While two persons sustained injuries.

One person was killed in Landhi Town.

In different acts of violence, four persons were gunned down in Shah Faisal Colony, Gulistan-e-Johar and Sir Syed Town.

Karachi is now under the insurgent threat perceptions. Concerned opined a suspected instigation of  rebellion Islamist groups are leading towards a civil war like situation in Pakistan.

Police and Paramilitary forces tightened the security and vigilance in and out  around Karachi.

Courtesy: —DawnNews/APP/Agencies.

Highest ever ground kidnapping by the Islamists in Pakistan at a time.

May 15, 2010

Government officials in Kurram confirmed the incident and said efforts were under way to recover the kidnapped people. — Photo by Reuters

Islamic Militants kidnap 60 in Kurram tribal in northwestern region of Pakistan

Sat, 15 May, 2010 | Jumadi-ul-Awwal 30, 1431

PARACHINAR: Some suspected militants dressed as policemen kidnapped about 60 people in troubled northwestern Pakistan near the Afghan border on Saturday, government and police officials said.

Heavily armed militants first seized a vehicle belonging to the government power utility in the Kurram region and kidnapped four people travelling inside. The vehicle was set on fire.

Shortly afterwards, several vehicles were seized from a convoy of civilians travelling to Parachinar, the main city in Kurram.

Officials initially said 30 people were kidnapped but later said 57 people had been taken from the convoy.

“The militants were posing as policemen and wearing police uniforms,” said Mir Chaman, a senior police official in the nearby town of Thal.

Government officials in Kurram confirmed the incident and said efforts were under way to recover the kidnapped people.

The Pakistani military has mounted offensives against militants in their strongholds in the northwest over the past year, largely clearing several areas, killing hundreds of militants and destroying their bases.

A large number of militants, officials say, have fled to Kurram and neighbouring regions after the military launched a major operation against them in their South Waziristan bastion near the Afghan border in mid-October last year.

Security forces have intensified air strikes on militant targets in Kurram and adjoining areas in recent weeks.

The militants have shown resilience and carried out a wave of suicide and bomb attacks, mainly in the northwest, killing hundreds of people.

Now it is believed that the kidnapper Islamist group will bargain with the Local Govt. to free other militants already put into jail for years. The militants will kill these abducted tribal men one after another if their ( militant’s) demands are not fulfilled. The situation is not under the control as the police told the reporters.

Input and Courtesy : Reuters and Agencies.

Islam endorsing terror? Pakistani Ulema and Alem’s Islam is not detached from Terrorism.

May 10, 2010

Some ulema suggest the government’s ‘pro-America’ foreign policy justifies the militants’ war against it. — Photo by AFP

Ulema and terrorism

By Muhammad Ali Siddiqi ||Jumadi-ul-Awwal 25, 1431, Monday, 10 May, 2010

Ulema and Alem’s Islam not detached from Terrorism. The proceedings at the Deobandi ulema’s recent conference in Lahore must be studied less for its expected refusal to condemn suicide bombings and more for the insight it gives into the psyche of a large section of our powerful ulema community.Of equal significance are the fissures that came to the fore between hardliners and harder-liners. Evidently, the latter carried the day.

It was gratifying that at least some ulema — among them Maulana Samiul Haq — were cognisant of the negative impact which acts of terrorism were having not on the nation but on the Deobandi image.

While the delegates did indeed plead with the militants to adopt peaceful and democratic means for the establishment of Sharia in Pakistan, a majority of the ulema, according to Nasir Jamal’s reportage (Dawn, May 2), said terrorism would continue to haunt Pakistan as long as “factors and causes” responsible for it continued. What was mind-boggling, however, was the principle some ulema propounded to establish a link between terrorism and government policies.

Briefly, the ulema at the Lahore moot said that the government’s foreign policy was pro-America, and this obedience to commands from Washington in their opinion was the reason behind the militants’ war against the government. That this war against the government and the army translates itself into a war on the state of Pakistan itself was an issue into which the ulema chose not go.

If one were to accept resort to terrorism as a justifiable means for registering dissent against government policies, then every country in this world must be ravaged by terrorism, because there is no government on the surface of the earth whose policies do not have critics. Let us, for instance, see the situation in two of Pakistan’s neighbours — Iran and India — where government policies have diehard foes.

The nuclear deal between America and India was first agreed upon in principle when Manmohan Singh met George Bush in July 2005. It took more than three years for the treaty to go through the various phases of America’s complex constitutional process and approval from the International Atomic Energy Agency and the nuclear suppliers’ group.

The treaty evoked opposition from key members of the Senate and House foreign relations committees, but to my knowledge no senators or congressmen or lobby groups resorted to terrorism or to threats of terrorism to express disapproval of this aspect of the Bush government’s foreign policy.

In India the treaty aroused intense opposition, not only from the traditionally anti-American parties of the Left but also from the extreme rightwing Hindu parties, including the Bharatiya Janata Party. The press was equally divided, and influential sections of the print and electronic media came out with highly technical opinions from nuclear scientists who argued that the treaty undermined India’s nuclear programme.

The opposition finally called for the Manmohan government to obtain a vote of confidence, and it goes without saying that the vote saw a phenomenon we in Pakistan are quite familiar with — MPs were bought and convicts brought from prison to cast their votes. All along the intensely emotional debate, no party or group started killing India’s own citizens and blowing up markets and schools and temples and mosques because they thought the Manmohan government had sold India to Washington or to its corporate sector.

To our west, we have a theocracy in Iran, almost as obscurantist and ruthless as Ziaul Haq’s tyranny. The clerics have imposed an ideological dictatorship on Iran, the Internet is censored, foreign channels are banned or shown selectively, there is no opposition press and even government newspapers are often banned when they deviate from the official line.

The economy is in a mess, and crude-producing Iran imports half its oil because of lack of refining capacity. The parliamentary opposition does manage to put its views across, but the real opposition has gone underground. But no opposition group has started killing Iran’s men, women and children and blowing up shopping plazas in Tehran and bombing schools in Isfahan or mosques in Mashhad because President Ahmadinejad is pursuing wrong policies.

It is, however, in Pakistan that some sections of the ulema think that killing our own people is a justified way of expressing dissent against the government’s policies.

Mind you, the government’s perceived pro-American policies do not have opponents merely in the religious right. Even liberal sections of opinion — the recently formed Workers Party Pakistan, for instance — are sharply critical of a continuation of Pervez Musharraf’s war on terror by the PPP-led government. But none of these political parties and elements has justified blasts in Moon market or the blowing up of mosques or a girls’ university to register their protest against the government’s foreign policy.

The religious touch to the ulema’s anti-Americanism is laughable. Just the other day, they were head over heels in love with America, and any opposition to the CIA’s overt and covert operations in Afghanistan was considered heresy because there existed an “indissoluble unity” among the People of the Books.

The ulema know the hurmat Islam attaches to human life. In case some of them have forgotten, the blast in the Rawalpindi Askari mosque on Dec 4 last killed, among others, 16 children.

P.S: For some mysterious reason, ideologically motivated governments, movements and individuals, whether religious or secular — Nazi, Zionist, Taliban — are singularly devoid of the milk of human kindness. The attitude of a large number of Pakistani clerics today reminds us of the Christian church’s cold-bloodedness in burning purported heretics at the stake in medieval Europe.

Courtesy : DawnNews.