Monday, July 02, 2007

Lal Masjid Saga: The Calm Before the Storm

Yes, we have all seen the recent public posturing by President Musharraf on the Lal Masjid after its "students" hit a bunch of massage parlours in Islamabad.

What probably hurt Musharraf the most was the fact that the Lal Masjid students harassed a bunch of Chinese people at one of these parlours. Now news items say that the massage parlour was raided by the students because they suspected it was a brothel, and they took some six Chinese women and one man hostage and beat them up. The hostages were later released and the Pakistani clients were allowed to leave unharmed.

It seems that Interior Minister Sherpao got to hear a few choice words from his Chinese counterpart about providing security for Chinese people working in Pakistan. I guess Minister Zhou was probably imagining the day when Chinese customers would be prevented from getting massages in Pakistani parlours by Lal Masjid's self-appointed muttawa. I don't have to tell you that is very very very very ... very bad if a Pakistani military dictator cannot provide his Chinese guests with a good massage in Islamabad.

My dear readers, it appears to me that the Lal Masjid people are being asked by the enlightened residents of Aabpara to exert lateral pressure on the Great Dictator's fantastic relations with China. I am told that these relations are higher than the Himalayas and deeper than the deepest ocean, but I am also told that faith can move mountains and split oceans.

No seriously people, I ask you especially those of you who are from Pakistan, what ails the folks of Aabpara these days? Why do they carry such malice in their hearts?

The question is not rhetorical, I am really listening.


At 11:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

THis lal masjid extremism is actually created by ISI and other agencies. They are 100% behind it. Infact they have been doing this for last 25 yrs. So never expect from military that they will resolve it.

At 12:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi m,
I have been laughing since this article was put up on the net. very hillarious including the various links that you have posted.
What lunacy? These buggers are no better than circus clowns, each one outdoing the other.

At 8:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, the firing has started and the first casualties have been incurred.

Where will this stop?

At 8:55 AM, Blogger maverick said...


Only the men of Aabpara know when this will end.

That is precisely why I am asking, what is it that the residents of Aabpara really want?

What is is that causes them to harbour such malice in their hearts?

At 8:56 AM, Blogger maverick said...


Bhai it seems as if the situation is being deliberately brought to a boil.

Is the objective to wipe out the SSG units loyal to Musharraf? Lure them into a battle then wipe them out?

If that is a case then Lal Masjid jihadis are a disposable asset.

At 8:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi maverick,
there are several questions being asked, if possible can you clarify
1) Is it an operation conducted with the full blessings of the US govt to ensure that Musharaff remains in power? Or what else is the objective of the US govt.
2)Is this a pupper show organised by Musharaff? Then what is it's aim? To remain in power? To show to the world that Musharaff is indispensable?
3) Is it a show organised by men in khaki who are very much against Musharaff? Is it a plot to weaken musharaff hatched by all and sundry groups
4) Or is a public spectacle enacted by the islamists? Is it to capture power?Weaken Musharaff? Do the Islamists want to be the most important players in pakistan
5) On the end it can be concluded that there are many players jostling for power? Pakistani powel polity has been fractured as before? Are seeing something on the lines of Afghanistan in the sense that the political polity there has been fractured to an extent that the karzai has become short of a figure head. We are seeing sich signs in pakistan.
Do comment

At 12:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi m,
1)isn't it curious that US Govt. & Indian govt. have refrained from making any statements on the Lal Masjid standoff.
2) US govt. would have as usual added liberal doses of praise for Musharaff as to how important he in the WOT. India as usual would have issued statements like watching the developing situation keenly or expressed concern over the deteriorating situation. But none of those by the two govt. Very strange?

At 7:29 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi Anonymous,

The whole thing was staged.

My question was to the scriptwriters in Aabpara, I wanted to know what their intentions were as it is not humanly possible to hold things at such a high escalation level.

A situation like this will boil over and that makes the risks hard to handle.

This concern was conveyed to the people at Aabpara by other channels as well, that may explain the sudden change in the storyline.

At 12:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


The following is just lazy speculation. Treat it as such:

SSG units will not be thrown into battle wholesale. There is a ladder of escalation to these sort of things and committing entire SSG units into battle would be skipping quite a few rungs in that ladder.

If at all the Lal Masjid drama is being orchestrated by ISI factions who have had it with Musharaff in order lure army units out and shake up the distribution of units around Pakistan, then it would be better to take a look at the larger picture.

I guesstimate that it may take upto a division sized force to take control of the Lal Masjid compound, seal off any escape routes in the urban areas surrounding it and keep the peace and the curfew in Islamabad. Then there is the matter of preventing flare ups in other parts of the country. Reserve units will have to be mobilized for that. Also, there are now reports of units being moved into FATA in light of the peace agreements being called off there by the locals, partly I think because of the Lal Masjid issue.

All in all, this is a pretty large reorganization of the force structure and this may open up gaps and opportunities for interested people to exploit. For one, I am sure the 111 Bde has been committed to handling the Lal Masjid situation in Islamabad. If so, who is guarding Rawalpindi and GHQ right now?

At 2:07 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Hello Anonymous,

All of last week I was scratching my head trying to figure out what the point of the confrontation was. Finally I got tired of being confused and put the question here to the script writers at Aabpara in the hope that they would volunteer an answer.

The Lal Masjid standoff was useful to many people as long as it did not bleed over into an uncontrollable mess.

At this point the Aabpara folks have made in my opinion a wise choice. Sure there will be some blood spilt but nothing compared to what would have been spilt if JeM regulars had come up against their brothers in the SSG. After all their objective is Musharraf and not the SSG itself. The SSG is a means to an end.

I think you may be right.

The chaotic situation will force Musharraf to thin out the palace guard.

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