by Abbas Zaidi
On 17 April the entire electronic media brought Abdul Aziz to every household of Pakistan. He was shown coming from an inner room of the notorious Lal Mosque into the prayer hall where he led the Friday prayer as he used to do till he was arrested on terrorism charges in 2007. He was set free on the evening of 16 April which the media beamed across the country as “Breaking News”. After he came out of the jail and settled down into a jeep, he gave a brief interview in which he ominously said, “Pakistan was created in the name of Islam but due to non-implementation of the Islamic sections and law and justice a tension is spreading in religious circles”. Before leaving, Abdul Aziz eulogized the Taliban takeover of Swat and the imposition of Nizam-e-Adal (System of Justice) there. He concluded his interview by saying that the Nizam-e-Adal should be imposed in every part of Pakistan.
In the midst of thunderous applause Abdul Aziz peppered his Friday sermon with the following statements:
1. “We will continue our struggle to enforce Islamic order in the country.”
2. “God willing, our sacrifices will not go in vain and Islam will be implemented not only in Pakistan but all over the world.”
3. “What we have seen in Swat and the Tribal Areas is the result of the sacrifices at the Lal Mosque, of the students, the people who were martyred.” (He was referring to the deal struck between the government and the Taliban according to which Swat and the Tribal Areas will be governed in accordance with the brutal Wahabi version of Islam.)
Then Abdul Aziz asked his votary that in order to impose [the mutilative] Shariah in Pakistan: “Will you render sacrifices?” “Will you go to jails?” “Will you render sacrifices for religion?”
Yes, his votary shouted.
Pakistan´s electronic media broadcast the entire gory drama of Islamo-fascism live. Abdul Aziz was presented as the present day David who had emerged victorious and was telling his people that the Islamic utopia was not very far.
There are only two channels in Pakistan which show balance. But both of them are English language channels which means very few watch them given Pakistan´s literacy in English. The rest of them, dozens of them, are Urdu language channels and compete with one another in proving their Islamist credentials. There are countless talk shows on these Urdu channels where India, Israel, and the United States are regularly denounced for having ganged up to destroy Pakistan, the “citadel of Islam”. If an invited guest tries to speak the truth, he is cut short and is not invited next time. This has happened on different channels with a scholar like Dr Pervaiz Hoodbhai. As far as I know there is only one journalist who speaks the truth. His name is Nusrat Javed and he is the co-host of Bolta Pakistan on Aaj TV. At times his interlocutors have questioned his Islamic credentials. He has received a number of serious threats. So far he has stood his ground. The rest, as they say, is history: history of shame, complicity, and capitulation to the forces of darkness.