The situation in the tribal areas located on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border is extremely tense, despite the signing of a peace accord in the Banjaur Agency tribal area situated on the Pak-Afghan border.
Both terrorists and Taliban have been spreading fear in this area, terrorizing the local people. To date, a number of innocent victims have been killed or maimed, and the administration’s role in this matter is highly suspect. So far, they have appeared complicit, giving a free reign, or hand, to the perpetrators – terrorists and Taliban, alike.
According to reports from Islamabad, the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) said on Friday that the government should take stern action against religious organizations challenging the writ of the government, and disrupting law and order within the country.
“The CII made this recommendation to the government after students at the Jamia Hafsa madrassa challenged the writ of the government by starting an unofficial ‘anti-vice’ campaign in the federal capital,” according to sources privy to the CII meeting. In addition, sources said that the CII members discussed the law and order situation, focusing on the recent developments involving madrassa students and recommended that the government take a firm stand on the issue.
Furthermore, sources also reported that the consensus at the meeting, chaired by CII Chairman, Dr. Khalid Masud, and attended by Javed Ghamadi, Dr. Manzoor Mughal, Rashid Ahmad Jullandhry, Justice Munir Mughal, Daman Ali Shah, Abdullah Khilji and Said Bibi, was that of deep concern over the growing lawlessness and religious extremism in the country.
A press statement issued following the meeting said that the council appealed to clerics and religious scholars to condemn sectarianism, religious extremism, and violation of law and order in the Seerat conferences to be held in connection with Eid Miladun Nabi.
The sources told the Daily Times that the CII would continue its meetings on Saturday and Monday, adding that the council members would attend the Seerat conference on Sunday. Meanwhile, State Minister for Information, Tariq Azeem, said the government was considering moving the madrassas out of Islamabad.
Speaking to reporters, Azeem said that the madrassas in Islamabad would be relocated for the convenience of the residents, adding that the government would provide both land and financial support for the construction of new madrassas.
Late Thursday, Taliban militias, seeking to impose Islamic law, blew up two video shops and torched a cable television operator’s office in Kohat, officials said. There were no casualties in the blasts. The attackers, however, forced people out of the local office of World Cable 2000, dousing the office with kerosene before setting it on fire, officials stated. Later, the militants detonated crudely-made bombs at the video shop, which was empty at the time. Both shops sustained major damage.
Meanwhile, and according to another report, Maulana Abdul Aziz, the prayer leader at Lal Masjid and principal of Jamia Hafsa, gave the government a week’s deadline to “enforce Sharia” in the country, otherwise, “clerics will Islamise society themselves.”
“If the government does not impose Sharia within a week, we will do it,” a defiant Aziz told a gathering after Friday prayers. Similarly, he gave the Islamabad administration one week to shut down “brothels,” otherwise “seminary students will take action themselves.”
“If we find a woman with loose morals, we will prosecute her in Lal Masjid,” he said.
Sources told the Daily Times that the Jamia Hafsa administration would compile records of brothels and gambling dens over the weekend, then launch a drive. They said the seminary believed these places were being run in collaboration with civil society organizations. “Jamia Hafsa will hold a conference on April 5-6 at Lal Masjid, where ulema will finalize a strategy against brothels and gambling dens,” said Aziz, adding that the campaign would not be limited to Islamabad.
The people of the tribal areas, in an appeal to the civilized world, called for immediate action against the terrorists. They stated that they, too, are human beings and have the right to lead their lives according to their free will.