4th January, 2011. The governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province, Salman Taseer, is sub-machine gunned to death in broad daylight by his bodyguard Mumtaz Qadri. He is shot 26 times (28 by some accounts), no less, before Qadri surrenders himself to the police. Why this extreme hatred and madness?
“Salman Taseer is a blasphemer and this is the punishment for a blasphemer,” Mr Qadri said in comments broadcast on Dunya television.
Salman Taseer had come out in defense of a Christian woman by the name of Asia Bibi, who had been sentenced to death by a Pakistani court for the Koranic crime, nay sin of blasphemy. Not only that, he also challenged the entire blasphemy law and supported the more sensible amendments to it that were being proposed. To Islamic fundamentalists, this itself was blasphemy. Salman Taseer was also a man who envisaged Pakistan as a “progressive and liberal” democracy in the future. That too, in the fundamentalist Islamic world, is blasphemy. And the punishment proposed by Sharia (Islam’s proposed solution for all ills) for blasphemy is death. It’s obvious Qadri did it for a cause. He was hailed as a hero by hundreds of thousands of Islamic fundamentalists. In late 2015, more than 4 years after the horrific murder, Pakistan’s apex court sentenced him to death, since it was deemed to be an act of terrorism, and by Pakistani law (non-Sharia criminal law) it is understood to be fair punishment to condemn someone to the gallows for terrorist acts. Four months later, in late February, 2016, Qadri was hanged. What followed was great outrage across the Islamist landscape. Angry demonstrations and protests against the judicial murder thronged many streets and highways in Pakistan. Qadri had become a martyr for the Islamist cause.
March 27, 2016, Lahore, Punjab Province, Pakistan. Sounds of huge explosions rang out in a central district of the troubled Pakistani city of Lahore early in the evening, in a park where mostly Christians were celebrating Easter Sunday. The energy produced by the explosions shattered window panes and shook buildings nearby. By the time people had come to terms with what had happened, they realized that it was the doing of another suicide murderer from the Taliban hunter pack. 72 people are dead, last counted, and upwards of 200 people injured. So what was the need for another martyr?
“We carried out the Lahore attack as Christians are our target,” Ehansullah Ehsan, spokesman for the hardline Jamaat-ul-Ahrar faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), told AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location.
He said the group would carry out more such attacks, vowing to target schools and colleges alongside government and military interests.
Apparently this attack was carried out in “retaliation” against Qadri’s killing, and the victims were the Christian infidels, a convenient minority target in an overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim majority country. Because, of course, the Christians were responsible for Qadri’s death. It’s always someone else, no, some other community, which is responsible for the struggles of the Muslim world, by the way. But let’s take a closer look at the second threat.
December 16, 2014. Army Public School, Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan. Seven Taliban hit men clad in explosive finery are out to do a job. Taliban, which means “students”, in a dark, ironic twist, decides to bullet down young school students. It takes over a day for Pakistani Army forces to complete their rescue operation, by which time it’s too late for 132 children, and 9 others, including the principal of the school. And the world is left to witness what remains of this bloody spectacle. Those who were lucky enough to survive this horrific assault on humanity had tales to tell:
“Someone screamed at us to get down and hide below the desks,” he said, adding that the gunmen shouted “Allahu akbar” [God is greatest] before opening fire.
“I saw a pair of big black boots coming towards me, this guy was probably hunting for students hiding beneath the benches.”
“There are so many children beneath the benches, go get them,” one of the men ordered another.
…. said he felt searing pain as he was shot in both his legs just below the knee.
He decided to play dead, adding: “I folded my tie and pushed it into my mouth so that I wouldn’t scream.“The man with big boots kept on looking for students and pumping bullets into their bodies. I lay as still as I could and closed my eyes, waiting to get shot again.
“My body was shivering. I saw death so close. I will never forget the black boots approaching me – I felt as though it was death that was approaching me.”
One student, Jalal Ahmed, 15, could hardly speak, choking with tears: “I am a biochemistry student and I was attending a lecture in our main hall. After some time we heard someone kicking the back doors. Then the men came with big guns.”
Ahmed started to cry. Standing next to his bed, his father, Mushtaq Ahmed, said: “He keeps screaming: ‘take me home, take me home, they will come back and kill me.’”
One nine-year-old boy, who asked not to be named because he was too afraid to be identified, said teachers shepherded his class out through a back door as soon as the shooting began.
“The teacher asked us to recite from the Koran quietly,” he said. “When we came out from the back door there was a crowd of parents who were crying. When I saw my father he was also crying.”
Very real tales. Very intimate experiences. It’s tragic irony that the students were encouraged to recite verses from the same book that provides inspiration to students of terrorism. If ever there was a convincing proof of the fact that the Koran is self-contradictory, this was one. Without any arbitrating authority to establish the true meaning of patently violent verses, it depends on the state of mind of a person to make their own interpretations and preachments. So what was the reason behind the mass murder of innocent, young students of humanity?
More than a thousand have been destroyed by Islamist militants from one faction or another in the province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in the past five years. The institutions both symbolise government authority and are seen as un-Islamic. This school is at the edge of a military “cantonment” in Peshawar, the capital of the province, and inevitably many students are the children of servicemen.
The attack reinforces the impression of a civilian and military leadership simply unable to ensure the security of Pakistan’s 180-million-plus citizens and will further raise growing concerns about the security environment across south Asia. This is of course, at least in part, the aim of the militants.
Khurasani, the spokesman [of Taliban], only said that Tuesday’s attack was in revenge for children killed by the army offensive.
Never mind the fact that Taliban terrorists teach their own children to martyr themselves for Allah. That, and learning how to kill mostly defenseless and innocent infidels is about the only education that these indoctrinated zombies ever seem to get. It’s just an excuse, then. When all you have is bombs, guns, knives and nihilism, everything visible to your naked eye is meant to be mowed down or destroyed. They use this tired pretense of belief in an “almighty” to kill people arbitrarily, when clearly they believe in nothing.
So it should come as no surprise that the great majority of their victims, as is the case with all terrorist groups, are innocent Muslims. The average Afghan citizen is as sure about their existence as they would be of winning in a game of roulette. It doesn’t matter who the terrorists kill, whether it is “infidels”, or “Westerners”, or “heretics” or even Sunni Muslims (there is little evidence to suggest that suicide bombers go anywhere other than to pieces, literally), as long as they are killing. Frequent attempts are made, however, to arrive at settlements with the Taliban. You know it’s not a bunch of people that have simply lost their marbles when they barge into a school compound with guns, fully prepared to blow up the school along with themselves if needed, and gun down more than 100 children in cold blood. And then threaten to do it again. It’s a group of desperate men headed by cold, psychopathic criminal brains. There is no negotiating with such despicable blots on humanity. The more the attempts to negotiate, the more homicidal, pedicidal and genocidal these nihilists will become.
And before we start talking about Islam being a religion of peace and all “true Muslims” being immune to the seductions of terrorist fantasies, and assume that most Muslims would denounce a murderer for being a murderer, here is what a spiritual leader of Islam had to say about Mumtaz Qadri:
“I cannot hide my pain today. A true Muslim was punished for doing which [sic] the collective will of the nation failed to carry out.”
“The issue is not of an individual. The issue is of national identity and Islamic spirit.”
“They were national heroes. Hanging Mumtaz Qadri has raised serious questions about Pakistan’s independence.”
Of course, there was immediate condemnation from other Muslims as well, both of the comments made by the imam and the death sentence handed out to Mumtaz Qadri, but that only suggests that the religion is not consistent with its “teachings” and interpretations, and that they depend on the background and personal morality of an individual.
Elsewhere, Radovan Karadzic has been found guilty of genocide and sentenced to 40 years of imprisonment for crimes against humanity. Radovan Karadzic, a Bosnian Serb lackey of the Serbian psychopath Slobodan Milosevic -who died in judicial custody mid-trial, ten years ago, before a sentence could be read out to him- was involved in the planned extermination of Bosnian Muslims in 1995, during the Bosnian war. In a spell of frenetic killing over a period of three days in Srebenica, over 8000 Bosnian Muslim boys and men were isolated and destroyed by the Serb nationalist forces. The genocide was carried out under the direct orders from Ratko Mladic, Karadzic’s operative army General and with Karadzic’s oversight. This was carried out parallel to the rape and murder of Bosnian women and girls -sometimes as young as nine- a great majority of whom were Muslims. The elaborate trickery and cruelty involved in the attempted extermination reminds one of the worst genocide prior to 1945. The intention was clear, to carve out a cent per cent ethnically Serb nation by the name of Republika Srþska in what was supposed to be Bosnia-Herzegovina. Killing Muslims was just meant to provide Bosnian Serbs with something akin to Lebensraum, born out of a sense of irredentist jingoism and entitlement. Radovan Karadzic was the President of this grotesque project, and has continued to deny involvement and knowledge of the horrific genocide, in spite of millions of pages of evidence stacked against him.
It’s interesting to note that Radovan Karadzic was a trained psychiatrist and was hired by a football club as team psychologist before he entered politics. He was also good with words, and was a poet. After the end of the Bosnian war in 1995 and with that turncoat par excellence, Milosevic turning his back on him, he had to become a fugitive and forced to adopt a disguise. With his education, the extent of his knowledge about the human animal, his penchant for trickery and the gift of the gab, this wasn’t a problem at all. He became a New Age healer, abandoning science for pseudoscience and mysticism, knowing what appealed to people in general.
It was Mina Minic’s wife who first opened the door, that day in 2005, to find a tall man inquiring if this was the house of “academic professor doctor Mina Minic.” The tall man gave Mrs. Minic a bouquet of flowers and kissed her hand. When Mr. Minic, a short, chipper Serbian soothsayer with 19th-century-style mutton chops, came down to the door, he found a “very strange” man who introduced himself as Dragan Dabic. The man wore a long overcoat with a gentleman’s hat, and when he lifted it, he revealed long gray tresses pulled up into a topknot, set beaklike at his forehead. Below, he sported a full bushranger beard. Minic’s first impression, he told me, was that Dabic looked “like a monk who had done something wrong with a nun.” Dabic asked if Minic was the famous “maestro of radiesthesia,” the master of a dowsing method that instead of a stick relies on a pendulum called a visak. (Depending on which account you read, radiesthesia dates back as far as the Egyptian pharaohs or some decades ago to a guy named Albert Abrams in San Francisco.)
When he was finally arrested in 2008, he was almost unrecognizable, with a long beard and thick set glasses adorning his face, having by this time acquired quite a reputation on the alternative medicine circuit, even writing for quack magazines. If he were not the mastermind of one of the worst genocides of the post War era, it would certainly be interesting to further investigate his foray into quackery and whether or not he cheated people as a quack and a charlatan.