Archive for the ‘The Dead Hand of Islam’ Category

Teenage suicide bomber killed 18 on 1st day of Muharram to keep Islam peaceful.

December 8, 2010

Suicide bomber kills 18 through a bus door at a terminus near Kohat market in Pakistan

PESHAWAR|Wednesday|8th December 2010| Muharram 01, 1432|

Islamabad – A teenage suicide bomber detonated his explosives near a minibus in a busy market in north-western Pakistan on Wednesday, killing at least 18 people and injuring around three dozen, police and health officials said.

The explosion took place at a bus stand next to Tirah Bazar market in Kohat district, some 70 kilometres south-west of Peshawar, the capital of the restive Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. This third attack in three days as the country stepped up security for the holy month of Muharram.

The bomber blew himself up in Kohat, home to at least half a million people and one of the main garrisons for the Pakistan military, in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

“It was a suicide blast. The death toll has risen to 17,” Kohat police chief Dilawar Bangash told AFP, adding that 25 others were wounded, seven of them seriously.

Police said the bomber blew himself up at the door of a bus carrying passengers to the nearby tribal district of Orakzai, where Pakistan has encouraged displaced civilians to return after an anti-Taliban offensive.

“We have found the head and legs of the suicide bomber,” said Bangash. The bus terminal is in Tirah bazaar, the main market in the town.

The attack coincided with the start of Muharram, which traditionally sees tensions rise between Pakistan’s majority Sunni Muslim and minority Shia Muslim community.

The bombing came on the first day of the Muslim month of Muharram, which is theologically highly significant for Shiites mainly because of the seventh-century death of the Prophet Mohammed’s grandson, Imam Hussain, on the 10th day of the month.

Bashir Bilour, the senior minister in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, said ‘We will try to maximize security during Muharram – but as far as suicide bombers are concerned they can reach any place and no one really can stop them.’

He said that the public supported the government, and ‘want us to get rid of the terrorists.’

Last year on the 10th day of Muharram, which fell on December 28, a bombing targeted a Shiite procession in Pakistan’s largest city of Karachi, killing more than 40 and injuring over 100 people.

Following the blast, riots erupted in the city and angry crowds set hundreds of shops and vehicles on fire.

Taliban have also targeted government officials and rival Sunni groups.

But police said the target was not immediately clear.

“It is true there were more Shias killed in the attack but there were a number of Sunnis also who died in the blast. So we cannot say who was the target,” said Bangash, adding the suicide bomber was aged 15 to 16.

Updates Kohat suicide blast’s death toll climbs to 19

Courtesy : Dawn|AP|SAMAA NEWS| DEUTCHE PRESSE-AGENTUR|Agencies.

Suicide bombers kill scores in Mohmand; over 60 injured in the PaK land of Peace

December 7, 2010

Twin suicide attacks kill 40 in Mohmand

* Bombers target jirga of Khoizai tribe at political agent’s office

* Dead include tribal elders, journalists and security personnel

* TTP Mohmand claims responsibility

PESHAWAR : 6th Dec. 2010 : Around 40 tribal elders, security personnel and journalists were killed on Monday in twin suicide bombings on a jirga being held outside the office of the assistant political agent of Ghalanai, the agency headquarters of Mohmand, to devise a strategy against terrorism in the tribal region, officials and local journalists said.

According to Mohmand Political Tehsildar Shamsul Islam, a jirga of a peace committee of Alizai and Safi tribes was in progress at the office of Roshan Khan Mehsud when two suicide bombers tried to enter into the premises, but blew themselves up when stopped by security personnel.

The attack on Khoizai tribe jirga in Ghalanai is one of the worst attacks on a jirga in the Tribal Areas since terrorism engulfed the long belt along the border with Afghanistan.

“A jirga of Khoizai tribe was attacked in Ghalanai leaving 40 dead and over 70 injured,” Mohmand Political Agent Amjad Ali Khan told reporters in Ghalanai. He said, “There were two suicide bombers who were disguised as tribal police.”

The injured had been rushed to Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital where emergency had been declared. The reason for such a massive impact was that the terrorists had used live bullets in the explosives instead of ball bearing. “These bullets killed everyone who was hit,” Khan added.

He confirmed that the dead included two journalists from two private TV channels – Abdul Wahab and Pervez Khan and two tribal elders, while the assistant political agent had been injured.

One of the wounded in the attack was 45-year-old Qalandar Khan, who came to the compound to visit an imprisoned cousin and was hit by the second explosion.

“There was a deafening sound and it caused a cloud of dust and smoke and a subsequent hue and cry,” said Khan, laying in a hospital bed in his blood-soaked clothes. “There were dozens on the ground like me, bleeding and crying. I saw body parts scattered in the compound.”

But Shamsul Islam dismissed suggestions that security had been too lax to stop the suicide bombers, who travelled by motorbike.

“Routine security arrangements were in place. It is difficult to stop suicide bombers, they can go anywhere,” he told a private TV channel.

“There was a meeting underway between the local administration chief and tribal elders, members of the peace committee when the blast took place,” local official Maqsood Amin said.

The purported chief of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in Mohmand claimed responsibility for the attack.

“Our two suicide bombers targeted people who were working against the Taliban,” Umer Khalid told AFP by telephone from an unknown location.

“Those who will work against us and make lashkars (tribal army) or peace committees will be targeted. Our war is to enforce Sharia and anyone who hinders our way or sides with America will meet the same fate,” Khalid said.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain visited the Lady Reading Hospital to inquire after the injured people. Talking to reporters there, he said that his government would continue the fight against terrorism.

KP Governor Owais Ahmed Ghani and Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti strongly condemned the blasts and termed them a cowardly act of terrorism. [staff reporter : daily times pak/agencies]

Courtesy : Daily Times | Dawn News |Reuters.

First ever woman sentenced to death under blasphemy law in Pakistan

November 12, 2010

Christian woman sentenced to death in blasphemy case

LAHORE: A Christian mother of five has been sentenced to death for blasphemy, the first such conviction of a woman, sparking protests from rights groups on Thursday.

Asia Bibi, 45, was handed down the death sentence by a court in Nankana district in central Punjab on Monday.

Pakistan has yet to execute anyone for blasphemy. Ms Asia’s case dates back to June 2009 when she was asked to fetch water while out working in the fields. But a group of Muslim women labourers objected, saying that as a non-Muslim she should not touch the water bowl.

A few days later the women went to a local cleric and alleged that Ms Asia made derogatory remarks about the Prophet (peace be upon him). The cleric went to police, who opened an investigation.

Ms Asia was arrested in Ittanwalai village and prosecuted under Section 295-C of the PPC, which carries the death penalty.

Husband Ashiq Masih, 51, said he would appeal her death sentence.

Human rights activists want the controversial legislation repealed, saying it was exploited for personal enmity and encourages extremism.

“The blasphemy law is absolutely obscene and it needs to be repealed in totality,” Human Rights Watch spokesman Ali Dayan Hasan said. —AFP

Courtesy : Dawn.com & AFP.

Suicide bomb attack on Friday prayer kills at least 50, hurt 100 in Darra Adam Khel Mosque

November 5, 2010

  • A local official said 11 children were among the dead
  • The roof of the mosque collapsed with the force of the explosion

At least 50 killed in blast in Darra Adam Khel

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

PESHAWAR: A suicide bomb tore through a Pakistani mosque during weekly prayers on Friday, killing 50 people and bringing down the roof, trapping victims under pulverised rubble.

The attack in the volatile northwest was the deadliest in two months. Dozens of people were critically wounded and officials feared the toll could rise.

The carnage wrought havoc in Akhurwall village, part of the semi-tribal northwest area of Darra Adam Khel about 140 kilometres west of the Pakistani capital Islamabad.

A local official said 11 children were among the dead and television footage showed villagers digging graves within hours of the attack, determined to bury the dead in keeping with Muslim custom before nightfall.

Although there was no immediate claim of responsibility, a local elder blamed the Taliban and suggested that the bombers could have been targeting members of a pro-government militia set up to thwart the extremists.

“The number of dead is 50 now. There is a possibility it might rise further,” local administration official Gul Jamal Khan told AFP.

“The number of wounded is more than 100. The dead include 11 children. Some of the bodies are beyond recognition.”

Shahid Ullah, district administration chief of the northwestern garrison town of Kohat, said earlier that more than 40 people had been killed, but warned that the death toll was likely to rise.

“More than 70 are wounded and most of them are in a critical condition and have been taken to hospital.”

Ambulances and private volunteers rushed to take the victims to hospital in Peshawar, the main city in the northwest.

Television footage showed an elderly bearded man wearing a traditional white shalwar khamis drenched in blood limping into casualty while a woman shrieking in grief beat her hands against her head.

A private car sped up to the main Lady Reading Hospital with a volunteer sitting next to a body in the boot.

Khalid Umarzai, a regional administrator, said the bomber entered the mosque from the back during the main prayers.

“The roof of the mosque collapsed,” he told Geo television. “It was a suicide attack.”

Local tribal elder Sohbat Khan Afridi blamed the Taliban, saying Akhurwall is the home of Wali Mohammad, who formed a tribal militia in 2007 to rise up against the militants.

The Taliban and the militia, which is known locally as a lashkar, clashed repeatedly in the area but this year reached some kind of compromise in which blood money was paid to the Taliban, Afridi said.

“Taliban are believed to be involved in this attack,” he said, declining to go into further details on the alleged deal.

Umarzai suggested the attack could have been retaliation for military operations in the Darra Adam Khel area targeting militants.

“An operation is going on by the army and Frontier Corps (paramilitary) in the Darra Adam Khel area. We had been expecting such attacks.”

Around 3,800 people have been killed in suicide attacks and bombings, blamed on homegrown Taliban and other extremist networks, since government troops stormed a radical mosque in Islamabad three years ago. – AFP

Courtesy :

Important reading : Attacking shrines and the culture of peace.

by  Husham Ahmed

Blast targeting Kohat police colony kills 21 in the final days of Ramazan

September 7, 2010

Burning in the Islamic Peace : A man with burn injury by an explosion as admitted at a local hospital in Kohat.—AP

Car bomb kills 21 near police complex in Kohat

Tue, 07 Sep, 2010 | Ramazan 27, 1431

KOHAT: Twenty-one people were killed and 70 wounded in a bomb attack targeting police residential quarters in Kohat on Tuesday, Geo News reported Tuesday.

“Twenty-one people have been killed and 70 wounded, and there were women and children among the injured,” a senior police official said.

“It was a big explosion. I am on site and can see the smoke. Several people have been wounded,” he said.

“It was a car bomb blast, we are investigating whether the car was parked or was exploded by a suicide bomber,” Khalid Khan, Commissioner Kohat said.

Rescue workers were facing difficulties as electricity was suspended after the blast.

The law enforcement personnel have cordoned off entire area. Police said a nearby police residential complex had also been severely damaged and houses had collapsed, trapping several people in the rubble.

Police said it was a bomb blast but they were investigating whether a suicide bomber had targeted the area or someone had planted a bomb.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik strongly condemned the Kohat bomb blast and sought an inquiry report from the Inspector General Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Police.

President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani have strongly condemned the bomb blast in Kohat and termed it as the most heinous crime against innocent civilians on the sacred day of 27th Ramazan.

Militants have launched a series of attacks in the past week as Muslims mark the final days of the holy month of Ramazan.

Courtesy : Dawn, The International News, AP and Agencies

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.

Hindus, Christians or Ahamadis not the factor, Minorities are being finished totally in Pakistan. Declare Pakistan as a Barbaric State.

May 28, 2010
Commandos take up position at one of two worship places stormed by gunmen in Lahore.—AFP

Fanatic Muslims target Lahore’s Ahmadi worshippers in Mosque on Friday; 80 dead, 100 injured.

Fri, 28 May, 2010 | Jumadi-us-Sani 13, 1431

LAHORE: Gunmen attacked worshippers from the Ahmadi community in two worship places of Lahore on Friday, taking hostages and killing at least 80 people, officials said.

The gunmen opened fire shortly after Friday prayers and threw what could have been grenades at two Ahmadi worship places in residential neighbourhoods in Pakistan’s cultural capital.

Sajjad Bhutta, deputy commissioner of Lahore, said at least 80 people had been killed in the twin attacks on worship places in Garhi Shahu and Model Town. A total of 100 were injured.

The death toll at Garhi Shahu was higher, Bhutta said, because three attackers blew themselves up with suicide vests packed with explosives when police tried to enter the building.

Police are still searching the area as two attackers were still at large.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani strongly condemned the attacks, expressing “deep sorrow and grief over the loss of precious lives”.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said the incidents would generate greater resolve to combat extremism.

“It’s a reminder to the nation that Pakistan will achieve its destiny only after we get rid of the worst type of extremism and fundamentalism,” he told a news conference. “The entire nation will fight this evil.”

He said one attacker had been arrested. Police in Model Town confirmed one gunmen had been arrested and another killed.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but suspicion quickly fell on the Pakistani Taliban.

“It’s too early to say who is behind these attacks,” said a Lahore-based security official. “But my guess is that like most other attacks, there would be some link to the Taliban or their associated militants.”

Punjab’s Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said the arrested attacker was a teenage Pashtun. This, he said, indicated a link to the tribal area of Waziristan and strongly hinted at a Taliban link.

“The prayer leader was giving a sermon when we heard firing and blasts. Everybody stood up and then two gunmen barged into the place of worship and sprayed bullets,” Fateh Sharif, a 19-year-old student, told Reuters from Model Town.

“They had long beards. They were carrying rucksacks.” Bhutta said a suicide vest laden with explosives was recovered from the Model Town worship place, where some attackers escaped. One fired at a television van before the area was made safe.

“He was young, clean-shaven. He sprayed bullets at our van while fleeing the scene,” Rabia Mehmood, a reporter told Reuters.

ATTACKS LAUNCHED AFTER PRAYERS

Witnesses said the assaults were launched shortly after prayers.

“I saw some gunmen run towards the Ahmadis’ place of worship and then I heard blasts and gunfire,” Mohammad Nawaz, a resident, told Reuters.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said it had warned of threats against the Ahmadi community centre in Lahore for more than a year and demanded “foolproof security and protection” from the government.

It expressed concern over “the increasing sectarian dimension” of militancy in Pakistan, which it called “a big security threat to the entire society”.

Friday’s shootings were the worst attacks in Pakistan since March 12 suicide attacks seconds apart killed 57 people in Lahore while targeting the Pakistani military.

Nine attacks have now killed more than 220 people in Lahore over the past year, a historical city, playground for the elite and home to many top brass in Pakistan military and intelligence establishment.

The United States on Friday also condemned the deadly attack in Lahore. “We condemn this brutal violence against innocent people. We also condemn the targeting and violence against any religious group, in this case the Ahmadi community,” State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters. —Agencies

Hindus, Christians or Ahamadis are not the factors. Minorities are being finished totally in Pakistan. The eye-washing statement made by US condemning the present attack on Ahmadis can not refrain US from enhancing the budget to prompt Pakistan against India or anybody coming under the classification of Kaffirs. Rather an authoritative support in America may help the fanatics to build a colosal Mosque near Ground-Zero. No Fatwa from Deoband or Al Harmain or from any place contained any meaning that Islamic Jihad is different from Terrorism. Islam is the Green Book of the Fanatic Jihadis. Islam is against Peace. Islam is inhuman. Simply Barbaric Terrorism.  Declare Pakistan as a Barbaric State.

Bomb blast killed atleast 12 in Dera Ismail Khan including one woman and a girl child

May 18, 2010

A policeman surveys the site of a suicide bomb attack in Dera Ismail Khan May 18, 2010. – Reuters

Bomb blast kills 12 in Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan

 Tue, 18 May, 2010 || Jumadi-us-Sani 04, 1431 || DawnNews

MIRAMSHAH: A bomb planted on a bicycle killed 12 people in northwestern Pakistan on Tuesday, targeting police in the latest assault on security forces battling Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked militants.

At least one woman and a six-year-old girl were among nine civilians killed when the bomb exploded as a senior police officer drove through the outskirts of Dera Ismail Khan, officials said.

“We have received 12 dead bodies and 10 injured,” said Doctor Nasir Malik Akhtar, head of the casualty department at Dera Ismail Khan hospital, where he said medical staff had declared a state of emergency to cope with the victims.

Three policemen, including an officer named Iqbal Khan who led a particularly active drive against the Taliban, were killed in the attack.

Doctor Qibla Khan Mehsud said a couple and their six-year-old daughter were killed. “They appeared to be pedestrians,” he told AFP.

The Pakistani Taliban, which the United States accused of being involved in a failed plot to blow up Times Square in New York earlier this month, claimed responsibility for the attack.

“Iqbal Khan was so active against the Taliban. We planted that bomb and claim responsibility for this attack,” Azam Tariq, the main spokesman for Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) told AFP by telephone.

“We will target all such people. These sorts of policemen are on our hit list,” he said, speaking from an undisclosed location.

Police in Dera Ismail Khan said Khan recovered a stash of arms, ammunition, mortar shells and a suicide vest from a forest in the district in March.

“He also arrested several militants from his area,” Rahmatullah Khan, a police official in Dera Ismail Khan told AFP by telephone.

“We think this was the basic reason that he was targeted,” Khan said.

Courtesy: AFP, Reuters and DawnNews.

Tortured Hindu Minorities in Pakistan :: The Cruel Face of Islam.

May 11, 2010
Students recite lines at a Madrassa in Pakistan to learn persecution upon non-muslims. -File Photo.

Hindu Girl Held in Madrassa and Forced to Convert to Islam

By Antony Thomas ||The Chakra News

Islamabad, Pakistan (CHAKRA), Tuesday, May 11th, 2010( This report is published on the basis of news received late) – A Punjabi Hindu girl from Pakistan has been kidnapped and is being held in a madrassa where she is being forced to convert to Islam.  This has been brought to attention by leading Pakistani activist Ansar Burney. 

Burney’s rights organization has learned that 15-year-old, Gajri who is daughter of Meghna Ram was abducted from her home in Katchi Mandi on December 29th 2009 by a nearby Muslim neighbour.  This took place in the Liaquatpur in the Rahim Yar Khan District.

According to Burney, Gajri’s parents later found out that she was being held in a madrassa where she has been forcefully married off to someone in addition to being forced to convert to Islam.

The local administrator of the madrassa is refusing to speak to anyone regarding the abduction and Gajri is not being allowed to leave the madrassa resulting in not being able to speak to her parents or family members.

Burney, a former human rights activist openly condemned the forceful act of conversion in addition to the kidnapping.  He has demanded her immediate release.

“Pakistan is a state party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which oblige authorities to protect religious minorities under international law,” he said.

After Gajri disappeared on December 21st from southern Punjab, on December 26th the local police station received a letter from the madrassa administrator stating that Gajri had embraced Islam and had married her neighbour Mohammed Salim.  However, the letter was not enclosed with a marriage certificate.

The police failed to immediately inform Gajri’s parents of the letter they had received even though her parents had attempted to file a report when she first went missing.  The parents were discouraged from filing a report, according to Burney.

After feeling helpless, Gajri’s parent’s went to Ramesh Jay Pal, the vice president of the National Peace Committee For Interfaith Harmony, asking him for his advice on the matter.

With Pal’s help, Gajri’s parents met the priest, Maulana Abdul Hafeez, in charge of Darul-Uloom Madrassa in Khanpur.  He told them that their daughter had embraced Islam and that she was not allowed to meet her parents.

Related Posts

Courtesy : The Chakra News.

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.