When PEMRA issued its directive to media groups not to give coverage to Jamaat-ud-Dawa, journalists expressed frustration about how to do this when JuD works so closely with authorities. All attempts at enforcing the directive seem to have been forgotten, though, as now it is not only JuD working closely with officials that is being broadcast, but JuD amir Hafiz Saeed is in the media giving opinions on all major issues facing the country.
Hafiz Saeed is giving advise not only in print media:
He is also appearing on talk shows giving opinions on extremely sensitive matters also.
Is PEMRA taking a nap? And how is Hafiz Saeed given such attention by media when censors are removing entire reports from newspapers?
Is Hafiz Saeed being invited to project his opinions on sensitive issues an accident? Or is it another case of JuD working closely with authorities?
Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif has declared that 2016 will be the year when terrorism is eliminated from Pakistan. This is something that the entire nation hopes and prays for, but if it is to come true there will need to be a significant change in counter-terrorism operations.
Earlier this year, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar warned that “no Non-Government Organisation (NGO) working against the country’s national interest will be allowed to continue its work in Pakistan”. According to the Minister, “government cannot compromise on national interest”. This sounds very good, but it is interesting to note certain NGOs that have been allowed to continue working and ask what does this mean about how we define “national interest”. This is of particular interest when we observe how Jamaat-ud-Dawa is not only allowed to operate, but works hand in hand with Army.
In Pakistan, justice is often thought of as something elusive. Anyone who has experienced the labyrinthine, often unpredictable Kafka-esque process knows this all to well. Cases drag on, seemingly for eternity. For politicians, the process can literally be eternal. Cases registered, hearings held, then postponed – only to pop back up again years, sometimes decades later. However, justice is not always delayed, sometimes it is simply denied. And in these cases, the system can move fairly quickly.
Government gave what has to be one of the weakest excuses for not going after a jihadi group today. According to Minister for States and Frontier Region retired Gen Abdul Qadir, Jamaat-ud-Dawa will not be proscribed even though it has been termed a terrorist group by the United Nations because the UN did not share any evidence against with Pakistan. This is the same excuse that was given by government when the world said that Osama bin Laden was believed to be living in Pakistan. It’s the same excuse that government gave when Iran complained of militants carrying out cross-border attacks. Each time someone points to jihadis the government says, “show us the evidence!” And each time we end up eating our words. Osama bin Laden is discovered in Abbottabad. Jihadis kill Iranian soldiers. And Jamaat-ud-Dawa holds public rallies to recruit fighters and raise money for weapons for jihad. Hafiz Saed openly tells that Jamaat-ud-Dawa is carrying out jihad in Kashmir, something he says is the official policy of Pakistan government. He has also declared jihad against Israel, and his group has openly set up camps in Gaza. But still we keep saying “show us the evidence” as if we are deaf, dumb, and blind.
We know what Jamaat-ud-Dawa is, and yet we continue pretending that we don’t. So the question remains unanswered whether our inaction against jihadis is due to our being unable or unwilling. With Osama bin Laden, we have decided on incompetence as our excuse. Will we do the same with Hafiz Saeed? Or should we just be honest and admit that we support his jihad? After all, we’re already funding it.