This news makes me furious. And I thought I was just recovering from the depression caused by the disgusting behaviour of the government and the political parties on 5/12/2007 when my beloved city Karachi burned and people died on its streets.
It is hard to believe, but yes, fanatic, crazy, clerics from the Lal Masjid (a large mosque and seminary in Islamabad, Pakistan) have succesfully black-mailed the government and succeeded in getting their demands met. This mosque has already caused sufficient problems in the Pakistani capital city when its stick-bearing women students attacked a house and held hostages, its students attacked local video rental shops accusing them of spreading vulgarity, and its leader clerics threatened the government with suicide bombs. See more on this here and here.
But this time they took direct action against the federal government. They kidnapped 4 policemen from outside their mosque, refused to release them until their students who had been arrested for attacking the videoshops (and destroying private property) were released, amd actually succeeded in making the government bow down before their demands. Their black-mail worked and at least 4 students were released as a bargain for 2 policemen. The other 2 are still being held until the rest of the students are also released.
This brazenness is utterly revolting, and frightening. meanwhile, the society is just standing by and watching. What is it to learn from this episode? In Pakistan we say Jis kee laathi uss kee Bhains. i.e. whoever owns the stick, owns the cow. Is that why sticks (and guns) came out on the streets of Karachi on the 12th? Because they know this government will only bow down to that?
The Lal Masjid administration on Saturday night freed two of the four policemen who were abducted on Friday in return for four men it said had been detained by the police on false charges. The government agreed to release the four men on Monday.
Sources told Daily Times that a district administration team led by City Magistrate Farasit Ali Khan told the clerics that only four people – former ISI official Khalid Khawaja, Zainullah, Mehrab Hussain and Arif Mahmood – were in police custody, while the clerics claimed that Muhammad Idrees, Abdul Baseer, Amir, Iftikhar, Anwarul Haq, Israrul Haq and Naqeebullah were also in police detention.
The sources said that the government officials told the clerics that they did not know about the seven people and could not ensure their release. The sources said that Lal Masjid’s Ghazi Abdul Rashid told the officials that the other two policemen would remain in captivity until the release of the seven men also on the clerics’ list.
As an assurance to the Lal Masjid clerics that their men would be freed, Tariq Abbasi, judge of a Rawalpindi anti-terrorism court, accepted the bails of three madrassa students and Khalid Khawaja, who had been booked for burning CDs and video cassettes at Bhara Kahu.