Friday, April 13, 2007

The Jamia Hafsa flip-flop

Another note from the Friday Times reveals how conflicted affairs are in Pakistan. Many forces are pulling and pushing at cross-purposes on the Pakistani leadership. This is one of them. RLC

The Friday Times
By Mehreen Zahra-Malik

"Less than two months ago, female students of [the religious school] Jamia Hafsa in Islamabad occupied a children’s library to protest the demolition of some mosques and madrassas built without permission on government land."
"Last week, [they] struck again. Not only ... going around threatening video and music shop owners to close down their ‘vulgar’ businesses, they also kidnapped three women from a house for allegedly running a brothel. "
"...the Jamia Hafsa madrassa [is] attended by hundreds of students from all over Pakistan ... armed men with AK-47s stand guard [outside]"
"...diplomats ... wonder why Musharraf cannot close down this 'obvious incubator of radicalism at the heart of his capital' "
"...analysts question whether the government’s inability to control the situation has something to do with infighting within the establishment, some of whose factions have a not-so-secret soft corner for their former Islamist allies"
" the ... town of Tank, things are even worse. There, pro-Taliban militants attacked government forces last week, killing a policeman and abducting a school principal who resisted attempts to recruit his students as suicide bombers."
" 'Talibanisation is creeping into the cities also and is in fact a reality across the country,' says one observer. "
"After what has already happened ... authorities are still reluctant to take action."

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