Missed the keynote

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One may presume that Interior Minister Ch Nisar must have enjoyed the week-long break from office while attending the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism and meetings with US government officials. It doesn’t matter much if during that week he had missed the depressing news of renewed attacks on religious/sectarian minorities in his native country. However, one would have thought that he might have learned something new to reorient his direction on real targets in fight against terror in Pakistan. But all that was just a wishful thinking — you can’t expect any change from those people who are ideologically aligned with religious extremists.

While in Washington, he defended his government’s refusal to arrest Abdul Aziz of Lal Masjid. Because, as per Ch Nisar, the cleric has already submitted a written apology to the police. Regardless of minister’s wisdom to accept apology from a person who has justified the murder of 150 APS children and their teachers, even that lie of ‘tendering apology’ didn’t see the next day’s light. Lal Masjid immediately refuted Nisar’s claim on apology with the police. In a civilised society, a government official might have resigned by now for telling a lie at a public forum — but no issue, we are in Pakistan.

Then came Ch Nisar’s press conference in London on way back home. From the three-day long forum, he had only one point to tell the journalists that Islamophobia in the West was the biggest hurdle in the fight against terrorism. Apparently this was the only gem Nisar got from the forum proceedings in the White House.

Ok, Mr Minister, if we presume you are right on Islamophobia, then we may presume 50,000 Pakistanis have been killed by Taliban due to prevailing Islamophobia. Al Qaeda, Taliban, Daesh, Al-Shabab and Boko Haram have murdered, maimed, burned and enslaved hundreds of thousands of Muslims and non-Muslims across South Asia, Middle East and Africa due to Islamophobia in the West? Sectarian strife which has raged all across the Middle East and South Asia is also due to Islamophobia? Perhaps Nisar missed President Obama’s speech at the forum wherein he (Obama) put forward several challenges to deal with.

Among them, 1) Don’t let terrorist groups to selectively choose Islamic texts to justify their acts of terror, or in other words Muslim governments/scholars need to come up with alternate narrative; 2) Eradicate poverty and political victimisation to open up societies. Don’t let terrorists fill the void by pumping funds for the poor while promising utopian governments being established; 3) Protect the family members from blood-thirsty sharks looking for vulnerable minds as recipe for brainwashing. Cyberspace is the new front in this war wherein families, friends and schools all have to play an active role.

Sorry to say but perhaps during Obama’s keynote speech Ch Nisar was on a long distance phone call from Lal Masjid.

MASOOD KHAN

Jubail, Saudi Arabia