With the backing of rogue army of Pakistan to terrorists in the garb of clerics, India has no option but to remain alert all the time to thwart the nefarious designs of terrorists
Bahawalpur, a sleepy town in Pakistan’s Punjab, is not far from Lahore, the State capital. Currently two dreaded Islamic clerics, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and Khadim Hussain Rizvi, the abusive life and soul of recent unrest across Pakistan, are based in Lahore. Maulana Mehmood Azhar, the mastermind of Pathankot and Uri attacks, runs his hate factory from a seminary in Bahawalpur.
So, on the other side of Punjab, the merchant of terror is thriving with the brazen support of Pakistani Army and ISI. The ‘baby’ among them is Urdu and Punjabi speaking Khadim Hussain Rizvi, who virtually crippled normal life in Pakistan as he was demanding the sacking of the Law Minister Zahid Hamid there. Angry members of his Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan, an Islamist political party, shouted slogans as they raised their hands during a sit-in in Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Karachi and many other cities. They were angry with Zahid Hamid for ‘committing a blasphemy’.
And finally they got the ‘head’ of Zahid Hamid as he resigned. The supporters of Khadim agreed to withdraw their agitation after Army Chief Qamar Javad Bajwa himself intervened from behind the scene. When Khadim Hussein Rizvi signed an agreement with the government to end a crippling blockade of Islamabad, the text of their deal concluded by thanking the Army chief who, it said, had “saved the nation from a big catastrophe”. Even while addressing his supporters, Rizvi was all praise for General Qamar Javed Bajwa's role in clinching the deal. So, it is clear that he got what he wanted, thanks to Army!
Rise of Another Mullah
Remember Khadim Hussein Rizvi came into big league after he openly supported the killer of liberal Punjab Governor Salman Taseer for questioning the blasphemy law of Pakistan. Prior to the killing of Taseer, Khadim Hussain Rizvi used to deliver Friday sermons at Pir Makki Masjid in Lahore. His big time came when Mumtaz Hussain Qadri killed Salman Taseer, for questioning the blasphemy law of the country. A Sunni Barelvi sect cleric Khadim Hussein Rizvi openly supported the action of Mumtaz Qadri. Barely a month after Salman Taseer was killed in 2011, Religious Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian who spoke out against the laws, was shot dead in Islamabad. He also paid the price for criticising the dreaded law.
“That supporting killer of Qadri made Khadim Hussein Rizvi the hero among orthodox Muslims of the
country and since then he has not looked back,” says S. Faisel, a senior journalist working for prestigious Friday Times. Despite the fact that Rizvi is a paraplegic on wheelchair due to an accident few years back, he spit fires during his ‘sermons’.
Backing of Army
And if Khadim Hussain Rizvi got support from Bajwa, it is no secret that Masood Azhar and his Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) always got the backing of ISI, the arm of Pakistani Army. It was JeM militants who were responsible for attack in Pathankot and in Army headquarters in Uri in 2016. The Pathankot air base attack on Indian air base is said to be masterminded by Masood Azhar. He was in direct touch with terrorists even after the attack had begun. Indian investigative agencies have given dossiers containing proofs of Azhar’s complicity in the terror attack. Yet, China has blocked India’s bid to get JeM chief Masood Azhar declared as an UN-designated terrorist on the ‘request of Pakistan’. Azhar was also allegedly responsible for many terrorist acts in India including the December 13, 2001 attack on India’s parliament.
Pakistan watchers say that Punjab of Pakistan has been a fertile land for Islamists outfits since Zia-Ul-Haq’s time. There the likes of Azhar Mehmood to Hafiz Saeed openly speak against non-Muslims, India, US and Israel. Khadim has so far not seen uttering anything against India.
And the burly mastermind of gory Mumbai attack Hafiz Saeed remains in news more often than not. Just imagine that despite his alleged role in Mumbai attack and his endless diatribe against India, the former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf openly and shamelessly supports him! He even accepts that “Lashkar-e-Taiba is active in the Kashmir valley and I was always in favour of using the Pakistan-based terror outfit to suppress the Indian Army,” the Delhi born former Pak President said in an interview to Pakistani TV channel ARY News. He even said, “I was the biggest supporter of LeT and its founder Hafiz Saeed.”
And it is no surprise that Jamaat-ud- Dawah head Hafiz Saeed, who is idolised by Pervez Musharraf, has petitioned the United Nations to remove his name from its global terrorist list. Saeed’s petition was routed through Mira and Mira, a Lahore-based law firm. Saeed’s UN petition cames after the Pakistan government decided against detaining him further in any other terror-related case. Punjab province’s Judicial Review Board comprising judges of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday unanimously ordered Saied’s release after he had completed his detention period.
With this kind of backing of rogue army of Pakistan to terrorists in the garb of clerics, India has no option but to remain alert all the time to thwart the nefarious designs of terrorists.
(The writer is a senior journalist and former Editor of Somaiya Publications)