Nadeem Paracha is telling some things that might make people unformfortable. This isn’t exactly new, but you might want to pay attention now if you haven’t been before. His post for DawnBlog is a sobering wake up call: If you think that making concessions or having sympathy for extremists is going to spare you from their violence, you are wrong. As JI discovered, you could be dead wrong.
On April 19, a Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) rally in Peshawar was attacked by a suicide bomber. The gruesome attack was allegedly engineered and undertaken by members of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). The irony is that the JI are one of the few mainstream political parties in the country that actually sympathise with the TTP, claiming that the terror group is fighting a war against “American imperialism” and against the Pakistani state’s “aggression” in the north-west of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
Are you paying attention now, Imran Khan?
And it’s not just political parties that need to be concerned. There are plenty of media people who have thinly-veiled sympathies for TTP and other extremists. Obviously, these media jihadis think that they can use these guys as proxies to whip up some anti-America/India/Whoever anger that can be used either for ratings or for their own political goals. But these media jihadis will quickly find themselves the enemies of those they thought were their friends.
Journalists and authors such as Amir Mir and Imtiaz Gul in their well researched books on the activities of Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and Sunni sectarian organisations in Pakistan, have mentioned the narrow religious mindset of the aforementioned terror groups.
But not only have the JI, some rightwing media men, and various former ISI and military personnel continued to live in the thorny fantasy of perceiving such terror groups as legitimate expressions of ‘anti-Americanism,’ they have also refused face the fact that most extremists are as likely to question the Islamic credentials of these parties, media personnel and former ISI sleuths as they are of denouncing all non-Muslims as infidels deserving death.
Exhibiting a somewhat cowardly strain of Machiavellian tact, a number of politicians, former military men and journalists are known to loudly support and defend the position of the extremists on various TV channels, blissfully believing they are protecting themselves from the ideologically-motivated violence various anti-Taliban politicians face every day.
This is a wake up call for these political and media types who like to enjoy their expensive suits and haircuts, their cars and drivers, and their popularity made from exploiting the jihadi menace. But when push comes to shove, who is using who as a proxy?