Talibanization of Pakistan?

March 29, 2007

A few weeks or days ago Mohtarrma Benazir Bhutto said in an interview that Talibanziation (‘spreading of Talibans/radical – extreme islamists’) is feared in Pakistan; at that time almost everyone including myself didn’t seem to agree with BB.

Recent events of last week and so have shown what BB had forecasted earlier. It includes

  • Stopping (issuing & distributing warning letters) barbers from making shaves in the areas adjacent to tribal areas of Northern & North-Western Pakistan.

“The government is unable to protect us so we will abide by what the Taliban tells us to do and stop shaving beards,” said Niamat, a barber in Khar, the headquarters of the Bajaur tribal agency along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

And the Taliban mean business, On a night, bombs destroyed two barber shops and three others suffered partial damage after the owners refused to follow the orders.

I am a Muslim and I know that no one can force me to shave or not to shave. This should be my decision,” said Nasir, a regular customer, wearing a green turtleneck sweater and jeans. “But I was threatened. They asked if I will obey the new laws; I will obey because I am afraid.

A couple of weeks earlier, in the middle of the night, someone slipped leaflets under barbershop doors throughout the Bajaur Tribal Agency. The warning was hand-written in Pashto, the language of the Pashtun tribes who inhabit the border regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The leaflets read: “SHAVING BEARDS AND TRIMMING BEARDS IS UN-ISLAMIC AND IS FORBIDDEN. VIOLATORS WILL BE KILLED.”

The customers panicked and the barbers panicked too. In almost every barber shop the owners put up signs begging their customers not to force them to give a shave.

A shave costs less than 2 cents — but the Taliban edict forbidding barbers to shave or even trim beards will cause severe economic hardship, and put many of the 200 barbers in Bajaur out of business.

“Barbers are poor people, they have no other business,” said Ikram, another regular customer. “If they can’t give shaves, they will not be able to feed their children.”

A group of barbers told NBC News that their business had declined by 70 percent since the Taliban issued the edict.

  • Some video & music shops have also received such warnings in Mardan & Peshawar
  • Tank (prounounced as Taank) – an area very near to the Waziristan Agency (one of the tribal administrated area of Pakistan) has seen one of the bloodiest nights of its history.
    • Some schools were attacked by militants; students and teachers were made hostage
    • Militants forcefully took students with them to train them regarding
      • Fighting against NATO forces in Afghanistan
      • Suicide bombings
    • A night ago, they came to the Tank, looted state run banks and shops and went back to the tribal areas
    • They have also attacked Police stations, Frontier Constebllary & even Army Posts

Now the army, FC & police has imposed curfew in Tank and they have set up their positions in the area.

Ok, this is in the tribal areas; so what? Let’s come to Islamabad – the capital of Pakistan.

Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) is situated Near Aab Para Market in Sector G-6/I (not very much sure – its been 4-5 years since I lived there in Islamabad).

This market is almost in centre of the city. Blue area is no more than half a kilometer from Aab Para.

Inter Services Intelligence Agency (ISI)’s office is neither that far. Pakistan Printing Press, CDA and several other offices & building are at an arm’s distance from the market. A 4 star (Holiday Inn) Hotel is situated right next to Lal Masjid. Serena (5 star hotel) is very next to Aab Para.

Diplomatic Enclave (where almost all embassies are) is roughly 1 km from aab para. Parliament house shouldn’t be more than 2 to 3 km from this place. Other offices including ILO, World Bank, State Bank of Pakistan, NADRA, Radio Pakistan, JICA, Supreme Court of Pakistan is between 1 to 2 km from this place.

Last day, some female students of the mosque having bamboo stickes in their hands, went to a nearby government employee’s colony, attacked a house and kidnapped a woman, her daughter and her daughter’s daughter (who is roughly 6 months old) and put them in the mosque on the charges that they are into the “sinny business” (adultery/fornication)

فائل فوٹو

Around 1130 am, some police vehicles were passing by the market & these students alongwith their ‘brothers’ (male students of the mosque) attacked the vehicles with the sticks and captured some policemen alongwith their vehicle. Police in return also captured a couple of teachers of the same mosque.

A few days ago these students went to the market and distributed literature to the music & video shop owners that they should stop this business at once or they should be ready for the consequences.

A month earlier, these students also captured a library of kids.

Then, it was aired on the loud speakers of the mosque that if police didn’t free the teachers then ‘Jihad’ (the holy war – fighting in the name of God/Allah in Islam) would be waged on the government.

The Mosque has also established an illegal Frequency Modulation (FM) Radio Station. To establish a Radio station one requires permissions from the authorities.

After striking a deal with the students & teachers of the mosque – Government has been able to rescue their policemen but the woman, her daughter and her grand-daughter is still in hold of the students.

whats going on?

Can’t government handle this matter? When a Chief Justice can be sacked by the man in uniform – when a CJ can be mishandled by the police, when a media office can be attacked by civil servants of the society – why can’t they handle this issue?

Is there something going on?

Do such elements have support from people high ups?

Are there people in the Army or agencies who have soft corners for these people?

I don’t know – but its now sure that there is something seriously wrong!