In Pakistan, Hardliners Threaten Protesters Holding Vigil For School Attack Victims

by
Sameera Ehteram
People of Pakistan, devastated by the tragic loss of over a 140 children at the hands of Taliban, face a hard time protesting against extremism.

peshawar attack

The mourners, holding peaceful vigils were threatened by none other than the hardliners themselves.

December 16, 2014 was nothing less than doomsday for Pakistan. More than a 100 families in Pakistan’s north-western city of Peshawar were left grieving when an army-run school was attacked by the Tehreek-e-Taliban terrorists. Over 141 people, mostly school children, were ruthlessly murdered by the TTP...

Droves of people came out to mourn the loss, holding walks, communal prayers and vigils.  The shock quickly gave way to rage as the war-torn country reeled with the horrors of what had been done to innocent children. Protests, prayers and vigils were the civil society’s response to deal with the helplessness; however from the very start they faced considerable resistance from the right wing parties and religious fundamentalists.

On Thursday, a group of citizens holding a vigil outside the infamous Red Mosque in the capital city of Islamabad and were threatened by the clerics of the mosque as well as a hardliner religious group.

The Red mosque was the scene of battle in 2007 during which the mosque’s top cleric threatened to unleash a wave of suicide bombers if the government didn’t agree with their demands. The Red Mosque also houses a library in honor of former al-Qaeda Chief Osama Bin Laden.

Read More: Osama Bin Laden Lives Through This Library

 

The Red Mosque also houses Jamia Hafsa, a religious seminary for women, which is run by Maulana Abdul Aziz, the despot cleric notorious for his hardliner stance on Islam.

Read More: Extremist Islamic Clerics Issue a Fatwah Against Malala: Conference in Red Mosque Pakistan

The seminary and the mosque were under a week-long military siege against radicals in 2007 under President of Pakistan General Pervez Musharraf.

If in 2007, it was “suspected” that the mosque had links with terrorists, it is no secret now. What’s also not secretive anymore is radical factions like these are not only supported but backed by the governing party of the country at the moment, the Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz group.

To add fuel to the fire, the fundamentalists threatening the peaceful demonstrators even managed to register a legal complaint against the ‘protestors’ with the local police. Amazingly the police have issued a First Information Report (FIR) against the group of peaceful protestors.

Recommended: Lessons For Pakistan After The Peshawar School Tragedy

The people holding the vigil, however, refused to budge.

Later the police cordoned off the mosque and arrested 8 people protesting there.

Interestingly but not surprisingly, there hasn’t been any media coverage of the protest by the local media channels or newspapers. Considering the number of Taliban apologists currently in power in Pakistan, not even a horrendous crime like the Peshawar school attack could attract their attention. Keeping in mind the fact that the current government headed by Nawaz Shareef as well as his vocal opponent former cricketer-turned politician PTI’s Imran Khan have both on many occasions proved how sympathetic they are to the Taliban cause.

It does, however, present a dire and dark scenario for the country and its people who seem doomed, trapped between the devil and the deep sea.

Read More: Will Pakistan Be Free Of Right Wing Elements In The New Government? Unfortunately No!

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