By Ahmad Karim
Shahbaz Taseer the son of slain governor Punjab, Salman Taseer, was abducted by Usman Basra and his companions on August 26, 2011, from Gulberg area of Lahore. Taseer was later released mysteriously by the abductors and was found in a hotel of Kuchlak, near Quetta. Let’s first discover how Usman Basra turned out to be a kidnapper.
Usman completed his matriculation from DPS (Divisional Public School) Lahore in 1999. He was a brilliant student and secured 80 percent marks in 10th grade. Later on, he went to FCC (Forman Christian College) for intermediate. According to his family members, he was never that religious. He started visiting Raiwind tableegi markaz in late 2008. He was a student of electrical engineering in UET (University of Engineering and Technology) in those days. And in late 2009 he was radicalized. But the question is how? And who did it to him?
Three days after the kidnapping of Shahbaz Taseer, two army officers accompanied by nefarious Umar Virk and his jawans came to the home of Usman in DHA. They inquired about Usman as he wasn’t home at that time. Later, on the behest of Umar Virk, Usman was being called by his parents and was asked to come home. He came in and LEA’s personnel interrogated him in his room. After a couple of hours they took Usman with them. He remained missing for 1.5 years and after filing a writ petition in 2013, he was produced before court. Before 2013, Umar Virk alleged him for fund raising of JuD.
Later when Usman was produced before court he was charged with abducting Shahbaz Taseer and killing of a Shiite in Model Town. After a few hearings, he was indicted for the aforementioned charges. And the pawn meets his destiny.
The point is for how long we keep on burning our seeds in the fire of militancy/extremism? For how long we keep on transforming our youth to religious fanatics? Is there any end to cutting of this young crop?
Yesterday we all heard the news of sharia courts established by JuD in Lahore which is in sheer violation of the Constitution of Pakistan. The organization claims it offers arbitration only and resolves disputes in light of Sharia. According to the reports in local media, ‘Arbitration Court of Sharia’ has been taking up complaints of citizens approaching it for justice and summoning the ‘defendants’ in person or through a legal counsel with warnings of strict action under the Sharia laws in case of no response.
On whose embolden they managed this gumption? Are the LEAs sleeping in Lahore? Or they are dosed to unconsciousness?
Previously we have also seen some supporters of Mumtaz Qadri, the killer of Salman Taseer, staging a protest against federal government in the capital city of Islamabad. They wanted the killer to be honored as national martyr by the state. While sitting there, some leaders of ST (Sunni Tehreek) threatened federal government, judiciary and army. They said, ‘The Prime Minister, CJP and COAS will be killed by their security guards if they don’t meet our demands.’
Is it constitutional? Does it fall under the free speech right? Shouldn’t they be dealt with iron hands on this terrible/threatening statement?
The palpable threat
Sartaj Aziz recently admitted that Islamabad has considerable influence over the Afghan Taliban because its leaders live in the country. “We can use those levers to pressurize them to say, come to the table.” With that admission how can you expect we can eliminate this violent extremism threat from Pakistani soil? You believe you make trouble in your neighbor’s home and the neighbor won’t do anything? If you can protect Afghanistan’s enemies why can’t they protect yours?
After the callous attack on Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park in Lahore on Easter evening whose responsibility was taken by Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, the military has launched much awaited IBOs (Intelligence Based Operation) in Punjab especially in the south region. It’s been said that Punjab government has cordial relations with proscribed sectarian outfits in the province. There are numerous independent reports of proscribed sectarian outfits operating freely in Punjab. Haven’t the media covered the ‘Jalsas’ of leaders of banned outfits accompanied by Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah [even Shahbaz Sharif]? We hope this newly initiated Rangers operation in south Punjab won’t be stymied by these old relations of Punjab government with the proscribed groups.
Military has gained much in Zarb-i-Azb in North Waziristan but the leaders of the proscribed TTP remain at large. Much of the militants skedaddled to Afghanistan and many went underground within Pakistan. But as they’re operating, it’s tad a healthy development.
With JeM, LeJ and LeT fully operational in Pakistan, how can we think our children will be safe in imminent future? The opprobrium is on the state patronage. If the state keeps his hand off from these draconian outfits, only then we have a chance to secure the future of our children.
Usman Basra is just one example who was radicalized and used for these proscribed outfit’s objectives. This is the decimation process of our seeds. Good and bad Taliban discrimination must be ended. Good Taliban who massacre innocent civilians in Afghanistan or India are actually bad Taliban.
The militants in Pakistan are using the state’s narrative. The narrative that was coined by Zia-ul-Haq in 80’s and which sustained – must be amended to successfully counter this violent extremism. The spunk shown by current military leadership to curb this billowing threat is commendable but we need to see for how long it sustain.