Protests of civil society against extremism supporters

The wake of the horror in Peshawar left behind a serene moment of clarity for the nation. All over Pakistan, on anonymous street corners and busy thoroughfares, there were oases of burning cadles. A much fragmented society was for once united behind a similar objective: eradication of extremism. It was this exact moment that was chosen by the top cleric of Lal Masjid in Islamabad to not condemn the Peshawar carnage in which 142 precious lives have been sacrificed. Maula Abdul Aziz while talking to some private TV news channels said that he would not condemn the barbaric attack of terrorists if the causes of the attack would not be investigated. Already hurt people from the tragedy of Peshawar could not digest this statement of a person who is also imame juma in the said masjid and famous for the infamous lal masjid vs state fight in Musharaf regime. It has been two days that people from the city society, students and from other walks of life are protesting outside the lal masjid to condemn the statement of Maulana Adbul Aziz that he must have condemned the barbaric attack of the inhuman beasts which took lives of innocent children. The country and the wider world grieves for the children massacred by the Taliban in Peshawar, Abdul Aziz has refused to condemn the barbaric attack. As he continues to spew venom on television and his sermons, the state refuses to intervene. Instead, it protects him. However, things are changing following the Peshawar attack. While the state continues to demonstrate complicity, the civil society has come forward and in an unprecedented development, it held a candlelight vigil and protest outside Lal Masjid.

Activists called for confronting Taliban supporters and apologists across the country and demands that citizens to reclaim their mosques and compel clerics to condemn terrorism and extremism.  The decision to confront the Lal Masjid, along with other members, has a lot to do with symbolism among other things. The protests have understandably irked militants and Taliban sympathisers, and violent sectarian organisations such as ASWJ have begun to issue threats against peaceful citizens. The next day, the protestors returned with greater numbers as they chanted slogans against the cleric of lals masjid and the Taliban despite the very real possibility of violent retaliation. This, what is unfolding in Islamabad, adequately summarises Pakistan’s dilemma. A house of worship occupied by fundamentalists and militants, the common citizens, enraged and deeply hurt over the murder of children, attempting to confront them, while the state watches, only to intervene to protect the killers. The role of the civil administration, especially the Police, has been shameful throughout the episode. Police has registered FIRs against protestors and arrested five of them but the protesters protestors kept standing outside Aabpara Police Station, refusing to disburse unless the SHO registers an FIR against Abdul Aziz. Obviously, the SHO is not cooperating due the cooperation of high-ups. This is a crucial time in the history of the county, people are uniting against the terrorism. State must not let the people to talk in the favour of talibans, it is a treason against the state and its people. State should have done what workers of civil society are doing. FIR against the peaceful activists must be dismissed and Interior Minister and Prime Minister must take stern steps to demoralize the rotten eggs talking in the favour of taliban and other terrorist.  Terrorism will not be curbed unless the state doesn’t take on terrorists residing in the capital and elsewhere in the country. The media must also stop giving airtime to Abdul Aziz and others of his like.

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