Dead clerics tell no tales

Lal Masjid deaths: how many, who and most importantly why?

Gen Musharraf needed to storm Lal Masjid for two reasons. The first has received a lot of attention in the international media: restoring the ‘writ of the state’. The second has not: silencing those who would have spilled the beans on the links between the Pakistani military establishment and the jihadi network. [See Ejaz Haider’s op-ed in the Daily Times] Operation Silence—they do have a wonderful sense of irony out there—managed to achieve both ends…for now.

The question now is which of these two successes will unravel first.

10 thoughts on “Dead clerics tell no tales”

  1. Nitin,

    Bang on! But I have sense of Deja vu. Remember Operation Bluestar and Mrs Gandhi. Is it General Musharraf’s Frankenstein monster?

    Moreover, the General has always cared more for the international audience than the local population and vernacular Urdu media. The international media has to highlight his ‘boldness’, blah, blah, blah and it gives Bush and the US another reason to keep Musharraf in the saddle. The moot question is – for how long?

  2. Pragmatic,

    I see numerous comparisons to Bluestar. They are valid to a limited extent. While there are general similarities (in the army being asked to storm a religious place, to take out militants created by the establishment) there are too many differences. For instance: Golden Temple was the holiest of the holies, Lal Masjid was just a mosque; Indira Gandhi had due legal authority, Musharraf’s is debatable; the nature of the relationship between the army and the terrorists is very different; the after-effect of Bluestar was geographically limited to a couple of states in India, we don’t know what will happen in Pakistan.

  3. Balochis, Parents of jihadis, jihadis, tourist jihadis, disgruntled Army folks,disgruntled ISI folks, disgruntled ex-ISI folks, British citizens of Pakistani origin…that’s an awful lot of mango crates we are talking about.

  4. Nitin,

    I agree the similarities are in a broader sense, while the devil is in the details. One you missed out is the mutiny by certain units of the Army and Mrs Gandhi and his son’s politics in Punjab.

    I also believe that the IS situation inside Pakistan is only marginally better than what was in Punjab in the 80’s. In the NWFP and other tribal areas, it is perhaps worse than it was ever in Punjab.

    Will this incident be a defining point in the end-game of Musharraf? It might be a tad premature to say so but you never know with Al-Qaeeda, taliban, discredited politicians, US presidential elections, Blair’ exit, present Afghanistan situation (Karzai’s no again for US chemical treatment to end narco plantations is significant),the CJ fiasco and other major and minor irritants inside Pakistan.

    I just hope that the Indians are guarding their borders intently. You never know with the last throw of dice of a discredited dictator. Is this really the end game or will he survive and come out stronger? That is the most pertinent question. Any answers.

  5. Mush had to do this for multiple reasons, not the least being that Uncle Sam perceives a “significantly heightened threat” from Al-Qaeda. Should there be an attack of the scale of 9/11 on the US (which is what US intel indicates might be in the works) Pakistan is effectively finished. Any administration in Washington is then duty-bound to invade. This is much more about avoiding Pakistan becoming another NATO plaything than it is about whacking some adventurous mullahs.

  6. If we remove emotion from the debate, this massacre is the best thing that could have happened to Pakistan, India and the world.

  7. Nitin dont forget the other fallout – Situation is not conducive for elections. So Mush has to continue line of reasoning. Rediff quoted Stratfor as saying so.

  8. Sriram: Mush’s fortunes are rising: solid US backing, “successful” Lal Masjid operation; Benazir not joining that APC (joke) in London – which almost certainly means some quid pro quo with Mushy. This guy is not going to be pushed out easily – never mind the rose petal welcomes for Iftikhar. The US has no interest in seeing his back if he starts delivering on squeezing the Taliban. It’s instructive to remember that Taliban 1.0 came about on Benazir’s watch.

Comments are closed.