ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN — The United States has called on Pakistan to arrest and charge an Islamist cleric accused of masterminding the 2008 attacks on India’s financial capital.
Pakistani authorities acting on a court order Friday freed Hafiz Saeed from nearly 11 months of house arrest in the eastern city of Lahore. The detention had stemmed from the terrorism allegations against the firebrand cleric.
Washington has been offering a $10 million reward since 2012 for information leading to Saeed’s arrest and conviction.
In April of this year, Mashal Khan, a 23-year-old journalism student from Abdul Wali Khan University — a university in Pakistan, the country of my birth — was accused of blasphemy by a mob of students, dragged out of his dorm room, stripped naked, beaten, and shot dead. Khan self-identified as a “humanist” and had portraits of Karl Marx and Che Guevera hanging in his room. He’d also advocated for Islamic reform. A video of the incident showed the perpetrators crying “Allahu Akbar!” as they beat Khan’s lifeless body with terrifying zeal. The perpetrators of this violence were not members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). They were university students.
Caitlan Coleman, the 31-year-old American woman who gave birth to three children while held hostage by the Haqqani network, has disputed Pakistan’s account of her rescue in an interview likely to embarrass the country’s powerful military.
When posters abusing and calling for the social boycott of Ahmadi Muslims were plastered in a Pakistani village, four Ahmadis decided to remove them from their Mosque. In retrospect, it was a bad decision. Just five days ago, a Pakistani court handed three of them the death sentence for “blasphemy” (for tearing down “religious posters”). The fourth one? just a few days after his arrest, he was gunned down while in police custody.
Captain (retired) Muhammad Safdar, who is ousted premier Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law and a member of the ruling Muslim League party, lashed out this week at the minority Ahmadi community in the country’s lower house of parliament.
He accused the religious group of conspiring against Pakistan and called for an action against them.
“These people [Ahmadis] are a threat to this country, its constitution and ideology,” Safdar said.
Safdar also asserted that he wanted to bring a resolution in the National Assembly (lower house of parliament) to put a ban on recruitment of Ahmadis in the armed forces.
“Because theirs is a false religion, in which there is no concept of jihad for Allah,” said Safdar.
She has already captured hearts across Asia by taking on corrupt politicians and fighting bad guys who tried to shut girls’ schools – and now even the United Nations has been wowed by a superheroine whose only weapons are pens and books.
Move over Superman and Batman. Here comes Pakistan’s superheroine Burka Avenger who might soon be spreading her message of peace and tolerance on behalf of the UN.
Financial Times reported last week that “the Trump administration is considering dropping Pakistan as an ally as it examines tough measures to quell more than 20 terrorist groups it says are based in the country.” Here again, the President who is daily derided and ridiculed by foreign policy “experts” is right, and they are wrong: Pakistan is no ally, and has not been for years. This is a rupture that is much needed and long overdue.