Monday, July 09, 2007

Lal Masjid: A desperate attempt to avoid an utter catastrophe gets underway

Now efforts have begun to avoid a catastrophe. After rejecting offers from Maulana Abdul Rasheed Ghazi, to provide safe passage to the militants holed up inside the Mosque, the Musharraf government has back tracked and is re-entering negotiations with him via various intermediaries. Once again we have a ringside view of the machinery of the innards of the Pakistanis state.

Leading Deobandi Maulanas , has entered the fray. The very same Deobandi ulema that hedged their bets by indirectly supporting the Maulanas and directly supporting the Government are stepping up their efforts to appear as if they are resolving the crisis. By intervening in this fashion, they hope to regain some of their lost credibility both in the eyes of the Jihadis who were angered by their betrayal of Maulana Aziz and Ghazi and in the eyes of the Pakistani people who are being subject to Musharraf inspired propaganda about the Mullahs making trouble.

The Pakistani Supreme Court is moving to intervene in the crisis. This kind of public intervention in the functioning of the executive, especially when the executive is already at war with the judiciary will only inflame passions among the legalists opposed to Musharraf. If the situation could have been resolved without such an intervention, Musharraf would have preferred it, but the sense of opportunity here is simply too great. Unless the court involves itself now, it will be irrelevant in all future political discourse in Pakistan.

The Americans have chimed in with a desire to see a peaceful resolution of the crisis. This is a departure from the "domestic issue" posture taken a week earlier. I suspect that the American eavesdropping networks in Pakistan are picking up all sorts of information about possible attacks in the event the seige ends badly. I would not be surprised if the Islamists decide to the stick it to the Americans for foisting Musharraf on them.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz is going around begging other political parties to avoid "politicising the Masjid issue". This after all the footage his people cut "negotiating" with the Masjid management. I never understand this about Shaukat, exact who does he think believes him?

In doing so these third parties will end up degrading Musharraf's absolute control over the state.

There has been a suicide attack in Dir. Four troops including a Major and Lieutenant were killed when a suicide bomber allegedly from the TNSM attacked their convoy.

I want you all to take note of a statement by Maulana Rafiuddin Usmani

“It is like one more time that the two brothers should be pardoned as they have unequivocally announced to shun militancy apart from renouncing their control over Lal Masjid. They want to resettle themselves in their native village along with their mother for a peaceful life. Pardoning them is once again in the best interest of the country saving it from further bloodshed and looming danger of civil war and as such pardoning would not be an exceptional and exclusive incident in the history of country,”

I have never seen a leading Deobandi aalim use such words in the context of Pakistan.

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