Nawaz Sharif chooses a Madrasa mullah to preside over Pakistan
Less than a month in office, the new Pakistani Prime Nawaz Sharif has started showing his true colours. At a time when questions are being raised on the role of Madrasas in espousing the fundamentalist brand of Islam which has promoted adversarial mindset for last 30 years and of late legitimized jihadi/ salafi terror in Pakistan, Sharif has proposed the candidature of a Madrasa mullah Mamnoon Husain to occupy the Presidential palace in Islamabad. In his earlier regime his man in the President’s House was the man with the flowing beard Mohammad Rafiq Tarrar, but at least he had pretenses of graduating with a law degree and thanks to the benevolence of the Army-Mullah-Punjabi regime, Tarrar had become a judge of Lahore High Court, which by the way, has had a very dubious record. But of that, later.
Considering the overwhelming majority Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) enjoys in the current national assembly, the election of the PML-N nominee is a foregone conclusion. So it is only a matter of days when the infamous Lal Masjid, which fought pitched battle with Pakistani forces under Parvez Musharraf, would unobtrusively merge with the President’s House, not too far away in the capital city of Islamabad.
Nawaz’s love for the Wahabi mullahs and patronage to the numerous jehadi outfits like Sipahe Sahaba, Lashkare Jhangavi, Tehrike Talabane Pakistan, apart from the Jamaatud Dawa and Jaishe Mohammad, all with roots in the largest Pakistani state Punjab is common knowledge and in fact a good deal of credit for his resounding victory goes to the terrorizing jihadi activity of these private militias who silenced all those they felt could disagree with them on imposing on the people of Pakistan their variety of Islam.
But another important reason for Nawaz’ victory was the perception among the Pakistanis that the larger coalition formed by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Asif Ali Zardari was too weak and ineffective to protect them from the constant terror of these jihadis. The people hoped that a reformed Nawaz Sharif, known for his proximity to these militias may succeed in reining them in and allowing the ordinary man on the Karachi or Peshawar of Quetta street or in Swat valley to breathe easy and move around without fear of some suicide bomber blowing him up or a salafist gunning him down the next moment.
During his election campaign Nawaz Sharif had also expressed the desire to improve relations with India, avoiding harping on Kashmir and thus indicated a willingness to check cross border jihadi skirmishes. But all this was possible if there was any visible sign of Nawaz Sharif making amends to his past prevarications and the soft corner for the Wahabi Islamists. However it has to be remembered that there has never been a word of condemnation by Nawaz Sharif of the symbols of Wahabi intolerance like Malik Mumtaz Qadri, the security guard of the Punjab Governor who gunned down his protectee Governor Salman Taseer, not liked by Nawaz hated by Nawaz family for his liberal and progressive outlook. Nor has he ever said a word against the two main instigators of the Lal Masjid episode Maulana Abdul Aziz and his brother Maulana Abdul Rashid Ghazi. In fact all through the recent elections there was no condemnation by the Sharf brothers of the terror unleashed by their protégé militias. One should not forget that Nawaz Sharif’s mentor was the mullah in Khaki General Mohammad Ziaul Haq. Also, once he fell out with Parvez Musharraf, he was rescued by Saudi Arabia and enjoyed King Abdullah’s hospitality for eight years. Soon as the Saudis saw that the US had persuaded Musharraf to allow Benazir Bhutto to return to Pakistan to help forces of moderation, they dispatched their man to Pakistan. Though he failed to make much impact in 2008 elections, eventually his return symbolizes the reiteration of the fundamentalist forces in Pakistan and this Nawaz has demonstrated by choosing Mullah Mamnoon Husain to preside over Mulke Khudade Pakistan (Pakistan the gift of God).