A rebuttal by the Lal Masjid administraion
Pakistan’s armed forces have given tremendous sacrifices while fighting terrorism, and their determination, perseverance and courage has broken the back of the militant groups. However, there are remnants of terrorists who continue with their vile acts and hit soft targets just to prove that they exist. The efforts of the government, armed forces and support of the people have been instrumental in changing the minds of those who earlier have been opposing the force against the terrorists and militants. This change was visible when a day after the Jamaatul Ahrar (JuA) faction of the banned TTP said the Lahore attack was part of its ‘Ghazi operations’ to avenge the killing of Abdul Rashid Ghazi in the 2007 military operation, the mosque administration distanced itself from the group dubbing it anti-Islam and anti-state entity. This is indeed a good omen.
Hafiz Ehtesham Ahmad, spokesman for the Lal Masjid Shuada Foundation said “JuA was carrying out terrorist activities in Pakistan at the behest of the Indian agency RAW. The terrorism by the JA-TTP is not only destabilising Pakistan but is also defaming Islam and Jihad.” He added that the TTP spokesman Mohammad Khorasani and the Ahrar leader Ehsanullah Ehsan had never been associated either with Lal Masjid or any of its institution. The rebuttal of the foundation is reflective of growing abhorrence for terrorists in our society. Every religious scholar of Pakistan condemned TTP-JuA for the attack, which is a major upset for TTP, as the latter attributes its genesis to Lal Masjid Operation and often publishes articles and statements on this issue. However, the outrage of people associated with Lal Masjid against TTP is a major defeat of narratives of terrorists in Pakistan.
It is hoped Lal Masjid administration will stick to its statement that leaders of TTP-JuA are agents of RAW and they are killing innocent Muslims in their anti-Islam activities in Pakistan. Reportedly, Haroon Rashid son of late Maulana Abdul Rasheed Ghazi, has also condemned TTP’s terrorism. Such statements are positive omens and reflect that the space for violent extremist Jihadi narratives is even shrinking in religious groups. The nexus of Al-Qaeda, TTP and lately Daesh has killed more than fifty five thousand innocent Muslims in their terrorist attacks in Pakistan so far in the name of, what they called, Jihad. Militant leaders like Fazlullah, Mohammad Khorasani and Ahsanullah Ahsan had defended their attacks on APS Peshawar and BKU in which only children and students were brutally massacred. They are following the agenda of enemies against Islam and Pakistan with the aim to create fear and panic in the society to destabilize the country.
The banned TTP leaders had tried to justify their vile acts by blaming drone attacks. Although there was let up in drone attacks for quite some time, militants continued with their killing spree ferociously, establishing conclusively that the grounds and arguments for their activities were spurious. Terror apologists had not realized that militants did not accept the Constitution, Parliament and Judiciary, which they had publicly declared. Alien agencies seemed to have made inroads in some of the banned organizations, and the local militants have been working on their agenda to destabilize Pakistan. They raised the banner of Islam but killed innocent citizens – Muslim brethren. Non-combatant causalities at the hands of terrorists, ruthless beheading of tribesmen/security personnel and exploitation of youth for suicide attacks were the glaring examples of TTP’s un-Islamic practices. Moreover, denying education to girls, attacking mosques, attacking funerals and mass killing in market places were the brutal acts of the TTP militants.
Indeed, Islam is the religions of peace and harmony, and stands for love and affection, moderation and enlightenment and respect for humanity. But with their shenanigans, the fraternity’s extremist strands have given a handle to the compulsive detractors of our noble religion to depict it as a creed of violence and bloodletting. Terrorists, who claim as true followers of Islamic teachings in fact negate the Islamic teachings of peace, love, humanity and kindness. It is because of those misguided elements that Islam is one of the most misunderstood religions of the world whose real spirit is being intentionally concealed and distorted. It is deplorable fact that some Muslims are also contributing to the flawed perception of Islam due to their ignorance and limited knowledge. The fact of the matter is that Islam is revealed for the guidance and betterment of humanity, which ensures the rights of all human beings.
In fact, ulema, political leaders, civil society and intelligentsia have played an important role in creating awareness among the masses. On 18th December 2014, a large number of protesters, mostly young men and women stood outside and raised slogans against Maulana Abdul Aziz, the head cleric of the mosque, who in a television interview, had refused to condemn the terror attack on Army Public School in Peshawar. Islamabadites were used to witnessing protests by the followers of Maulana who often took law into their hands. In 2007, the students of Lal Masjid had gone on a vigilante rampage in Islamabad, forcing females not to drive on the roads and kidnapped some after accusing them of moral turpitude. The female students of the adjacent Jamia Hafsahad come out on the streets and demanded to enforce their version of religion in the country. However, the positive change in the attitude of Lal Masjid administration should be appreciated.