Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Pakistani's concerns for his country

Here is a recent note I received from my friend, Habib-uz-Zaman Khan. It is one more evidence of the growing anxiety among Pakistanis about what is happening to their country.

The suicide blasts at Benazir's arrival have left me shocked and extremely worried. I never thought I could literally lose sleep thinking about where Pakistan was headed until that night. I noticed how no one really cares or vocally disapproves when the Musharraf's motorcade is attacked in a similar fashion, but this was different. Bhutto is a mainstream figure, belongs to a political family that is treated like royalty and her followers are real people, secular Punjabis, Pathans, Sindhis and Balochis from all walks of life. The attack on her and her party members was an act of terrorism in the eyes of all Pakistanis -- except for the Taliban who belong to neither Afghanistan nor Pakistan. If anything positive comes out of this tragedy I hope it is a total shift in public opinion against these extremists so that they can be seen for what they really are: enemies of the people of Pakistan. I also hope Pakistanis realize these violent people are not just someone else's problem or that we can afford to continue ignoring them because their jihad is against outsiders. On a regular basis these terrorists indiscriminately kill more of their own people ? Pakistanis and Muslims ? than any foreigners they claim to target. I believe the majority of Pakistanis understand this but cannot express this opposition because they are a nation held hostage to these extremists and at the same time they are also most directly affected victims of this terrorism. I have talked to quite a few apologists for these so-called "good Muslims" who tell me these people are being persecuted for the sincerity of their religious beliefs. Their madrasas are being proscribed only because they work against America's through jihad. Excuses like this deny that these terrorist activities violate Islamic principles and work against Muslim interests as well, especially when more Muslims lives are lost or ruined after America retaliates. Shutting these madrasas down altogether would remove the most important base of support upon which the terrorists rely. It would also be for the good of everyone, Pakistanis, Americans, and the rest of the world. There already was tremendous popular support within the country to flush out the clowns hiding in the Lal Masjid, so this is definitely not an impossible thing provided action is taken. But no one can really predict what or how things will end if this untenable situation remains the status quo.

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