And PML-N’s targets
Captain (r) Safdar’s desperate outburst is being taken as part of the Sharif family’s grand strategy to fight back since they are hopelessly entrapped in their own well-woven web of mega corruption. Naturally it is suicidal mindset — pushed against the wall as one is, one is left with no option but to fight to the last. In a multi-faceted battle, the more fronts you engage the enemy, the better it is for one’s survival.
Talking to DNA, veteran diplomat Wajid Shamsul Hasan said Safdar’s anti-Ahmadyya outburst and declaration that he would seek to get a bill passed from Parliament expelling all Ahmadies from armed forces has ignited a bitter, most distasteful and divisive controversy. It immediately followed the deletion of the Khattam e Nabuwat oath scandal. Obviously the two could be related as part of a well-planned strategy. Besides, one could see this eruption retrospectively.
When the issue of General Raheel Sharif’s successor was under consideration, MNS and his confidantes were conscious of his previous blunder of appointing General Musharraf as army chief. He did not want to repeat history. He did not go for General Ashfaq Nadeem who had a reputation of being a hawk and one who would take things forward from where GRS left, Wajid said.
The former ambassador added that MNS went for the second best option, less known and enjoying the reputation of being pro-democracy.
Wajid said that this time MNS had also had checked by various intimate sources what could possibly serve as his life insurance cover politically. Senator Sajjad Mir’s insinuation on the eve of appointment pertaining to religious affiliation, though vehemently denied, provided MNS a safety valve.
This is the reason that ISPR then and especially now, has come up with a categorical rebuttal to Capt Safdar’s anti-Ahmadiyya rant. ISPR DG Major General Asif Ghafoor in his statement made it very clear that Pakistan army is a national institution and that there is no consideration of caste, creed or colour. Army belongs to all Pakistanis irrespective of their religious beliefs. In a later remark he clarified that among its personal, there are Christians, Hindus, etc, and that Pakistan armed forces belongs to all Pakistanis.
Who was real target of Captain Safdar? Ahmadiyya community? Most certainly not! Not underestimating his fanaticism for religious crackpots like Mumtaz Qadri, this attack is directed against someone who the Sharif clan considers as the master puppeteer pulling the strings on the institutional chain, he said.
Wajid said that Safdar’s obvious insinuation is aimed at an alleged Ahmadi in the closet to put him on the defensive and to make him give up plotting against Nawaz.
“Besides, the Sharif clan thinks that for the time being MNS’s disqualification has closed this chapter,” he said.
Furthermore, it would deepen its support among the anti-Ahmadiyya religious parties and its rightist vote bank that immensely matters, but would also aim to counter the new threat posed by Milli Muslim League and Laabaik Party, suspected to be created by the establishment to undermine PML-N vote bank in Punjab.
Getting over 14,000 votes with no registration or proper campaigning in NA-120 bye-election was no mean performance by the religious parties. PML-N strategists have been considering these two parties as proxies of the establishment not only to cut its vote’s bank but to provide — by their electoral presence — a credible ploy to cover up the chances of rigging.
However, another senior journalist and political analyst, Ahsan Raza, thinks that it was a hateful day in the National Assembly when retired Captain Muhammad Safdar took the flour and spewed venom against Ahmadis. The MNA who faces corruption references in NAB courts was only adding hate to the already hatred-filled society.
Ahsan said that hatred on the basis of faith has two faces: A- government policies and decisions and B- public perceptions and behaviour. If we look at government policies and decisions, we see a daunting picture where laws are being tightened.
The political analyst added that there is no space for Ahmadis in Pakistan. In the west, governments are squeezing laws on hijab, construction of worship places and over the top restrictions on movement of refugees. In our part of the world, religious minorities face lynching, torture and discrimination.
He added that open minds are what Muslims, not least refuge seekers, look for more than open arms when they go to the west. It is encouraging when in the United Nations summit in New York recently, western nations raised voice against ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims by Myanmar, led by Aung San Suu Kye, who was decorated with prestigious Nobel prize for peace in 1991.
She speaks English well and she uses her proficiency in the lingua franca to tell international audience that a few Rohingya Muslims are still alive in her country and the world should be concerned about them more than those who have been massacred, he added.
Ahsan added that it is because of her criticism by European leaders in particular and Muslim leaders in general that Suu Kye did not attended the recent UN session in which Secretary-General Antonio Guterres minced no words declaring that what Myanmar government is doing is violation of human rights at an industrial scale and his warning was duly endorsed by the UN Security Council.
These are welcome steps Muslims need to acknowledge when discussing Islamophobia. These steps are taken by western governments which means that there remains hope for improvement regarding Muslim bashings in Europe and the US.