Post the attack on the mosque in New Zealand there were a flurry of comments from Pakistan. Their Prime Minister Imran Khan stated, ‘Terror has no religion’. He added that the reason for the attack was increased Islamophobia. Their army spokesperson, Major General Asif Ghafoor, stated in a tweet, ‘No religion approves violence, let alone Islam.’ Surprisingly terrorist leaders, supported by the Pak army, in every speech in Pakistan claim they are fighting in Kashmir to liberate their Muslim brothers and hence seek funds and volunteers. Is this religious inspired violence or a peaceful protest movement?Possibly Imran or Ghafoor may clarify.
In a tweet MarviSimved, a known Pakistani journalist stated, “an ‘advice’ came to media persons to ‘take it up as a campaign’ and highlight that the west doesn’t call it terrorism when victims are Muslims”. In Pakistan the term ‘advice to media’ is directions from the deep state. Is Pakistan desperate to display itself as a leader of the Muslim world after being discarded in the last OIC, when they were compelled to boycott? Or is it to defend their concept of terrorism?
The cake was taken by their Minister of State for the Interior, Shehryar Khan, who stated in an article based on the same ‘advice’, published by leading newspapers of Pakistan, ‘Muslims respect all religions. A Christian or a Jew does not represent the entire religion and so should be the case of a Muslim’. If this is reality, then why are minorities being targeted in Pakistan, sentenced to death under illegal blasphemy laws, kidnapped, forced to convert and reduced in numbers. A day before Holi, two teenage Hindu girls were kidnapped, converted and married. The entire ceremony is circulating on social media. There has been no action against the perpetrators.
The recent case of Asia Bibi, the Christian woman sentenced to death with false accusations of Blasphemy, freed but remains hidden, unable to leave the country and join her kin as Pak’s clergy desires her death is another living example.
The minister adds in the article, ‘Yet we need to redefine terrorism. One must differentiate between those defending their own homeland from occupational forces. We need to understand that people of Palestine and Kashmir are facing state terrorism.’ Thus, evidently, he aims at differentiating ‘good versus bad terrorists’, though his logic is completely warped.
There are multiple questions which arise on assessing his comments in the article. The first is does the minister claim that the Taliban and Haqqani network, based, supported and armed by Pakistan are seeking to regain their homeland from their own civilian government, disregarding democratic norms of gaining power. Are they fighting for freedom by targeting innocent Afghanis, their own countrymen, on the directions of the deep state?
The second is that does he consider that the Baluch Liberation Army (BLA) targeting the Pakistan state and military justified as Baluchistan never merged with Pak but was forcefully occupied in March 1948. In this context, Pakistan has no right over the region of Baluchistan, and it must be given complete freedom. Therefore, for countries like India to support the Baluchi’s implies supporting a freedom struggle.
The third is that while Kashmiri’s, who are residents of the valley, may have a right to object to Indian policies, but Pakistan infiltrating its people from other parts of its state, mainly its Punjab, is illegal since these terrorists neither belong to Kashmir nor have any lien on the state. Further exploration of his comments can lead one to conclude that since Kashmir merged with India legally, Pak neither has any right to talk about it nor can it raise the issue. Hence, its claims over POK are unjustified.
This is the main reason why Pak has no international support on its case on Kashmir. Irfan Husain, a known Pak commentator stated in an article titled ‘Games Nations Play’ in the Dawn of 23rd Mar, ‘Without diplomatic support for its Kashmir stance, Pakistan can do little but lodge protests against Indian atrocities in the Indian-occupied Valley.’He added, ‘Ask most Pakistanis how the conflict can be resolved, and they will reply that the UN resolution should be implemented, and a plebiscite held to ascertain the will of the Kashmiris. But 70 years after the UN took up the matter, the world has moved on.’
In another articlepost the New Zealand attack, their former minister of the interior and a senator presently, Rehman Malik, stated based on a similar ‘advice’, “Western media has been downplaying the attack by identifying the killer as a ‘shooter’ and not ‘terrorist’”. He goes on to add, ‘have compelled me to wonder if these leaders have different meanings of terrorism- a different code for Muslims to demonising them and different labels for non-Muslims.’ Again, multiple issues arise.
New Zealand included, all world leaders have termed the attack as one of terrorism. Attacking innocents anywhere is terrorism, including Pak resorting to it in Kashmir. Secondly, it is only Pakistan which claims that ‘terrorists involved in Afghanistan and Kashmir are being illegally termed terrorists but are freedom fighters.’
It however terms the BLA as terrorists. Thus, it is only in Pakistan that those terrorists it supports are freedom fighters (good terrorists) while those which target them are terrorists (bad terrorists). Warped logic by a nation struggling to avoid being placed on the ‘black list’ by the Financial Action Task Force for supporting and funding terrorism.
The Pak foreign minister quipped on the condolences sent by the Indian Prime Minister to New Zealand after the attack on the Mosques. He stated, “(New Delhi) did not have the courage to use the words 'Muslim' or 'mosque' in its condemnation of the attack’. He added ‘If, God forbid, there had been an attack on a Hindu temple, Pakistan would have stood with India’.This coming from a country where minorities are forced into conversions, kidnapped, raped and charged under fake blasphemy laws. A nation where other religions institutions are mercilessly targeted. A nation whose infiltrators perpetuated the worst crimes on Kashmiri Pundits.
A nation which nurtures and supports multiple terrorist groups targeting almost all its neighbours now seeks to demand the world reassesses its definition and outlook towards terrorism and terrorists. Its deep state which has created, funded and continues to support terrorist groups which target innocents in neighbouring countries suddenly begin claiming that Islam preaches tolerance and non-violence. A nation which brutalises its minorities claims Islam respects all religions. Hence, Pak should first adhere to what it preaches, rather than ask the world to do so.
Pakistan was seeking through these articles to redefine the concept of ‘Good versus Bad terrorism.’ The world is aware that there is no term as a good terrorist. The only ‘good terrorist’ is a ‘dead terrorist’. There are unlikely to be any takers for the Pak viewpoint. It is this desperation which compelled them to issue an ‘advisory’ to its own media and politicians to support the comments of their Prime Minister and official representative of the ‘deep state’. Their views are best ignored.
Disclaimer:- Views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of CENJOWS.