Pakistan

Extremists in our ranks

Aug 26, 2017
Chief of Jamiat Ulema Islam-S (JUI-S) Maulana Samiul Haq’s statement in favour of Haqqani network suggests that despite an apparent shift in Pakistan’s security policy, extremist clerics of the country are still not ready to disown the ‘good Taliban’. Sami said the Pakistan Army won’t act against the Haqqani network and that the Afghan Taliban groups are fighting a just war against Americans in Afghanistan. Further, the chief of JUI-S went on to call for a ‘jihad’ in the society.
 
Statements of support to terrorist groups are a blatant violation of the National Action Plan (NAP). But it is hardly surprising that no action was taken against Sami and other extremist figures of the Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC) and banned JuD who accompanied him during the press conference. Statements from such individuals is surely not the same as the state’s position, but it is important for both the government and the military to distance themselves from such groups. If the narrative on an apparent division between good and bad Taliban is still allowed to grow, it would serve to vindicate US President Donald Trump and a number of Afghan leaders who have accused Pakistan of ‘harbouring’ terrorists. It will put the country into an embarrassing position internationally and the international community will ask why such support still exists in the country if the Army action is across the board. The need of the hour is to give out a clear message that Pakistan does not back any terrorist group and the action against them is being taken irrespective of their good or bad status — as the military has been claiming. This is why we need to take action against any organised force that supports militants like Haqqani network. Disowning these groups is important because they were supported by the establishment back in the day. Those supporting terrorist outfits shouldn’t be allowed to operate let alone comment on what Army should and shouldn’t do.
 
It is ironic that civil society activists who wholeheartedly stand behind efforts to enforce the writ of the state and to uphold the country’s Constitution in its true letter and spirit are often termed anti-state, traitors and what not. But extremist religious leaders can get away so easily with belittling the Army’s sacrifices in war against terror and lending support to terror groups.
 
If we continue to give space to such elements, questions will be asked and Pakistan’s representatives abroad will have a hard time defending the country’s position. It is therefore necessary to act against those still justifying the action of Afghan Taliban and inciting violence by calling for armed struggle.
 
Daily Times, August 26, 2017

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