Pakistan has long suffered from the menace of radical Islamists because of the deep state’s desire to use these jihadi groups for their regional foreign policy aims. The return of the Afghan Taliban may have led Pakistan’s security establishment to celebrate victory, but it looks like a hollow victory as Pakistan-based groups are now demanding they be allowed to impose Sharia inside Pakistan.
In the heart of Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, Afghan Taliban flags were hoisted on the roof of Jamia Hafsa, a seminary for women. When a police contingent including female police officials reached Jamia Hafsa to remove the flags, they failed to do so after Abdul Aziz and his students strongly resisted the action.
In mid-August when Kabul fell to the Taliban, Abdul Aziz had hoisted the Taliban flags which were later removed by the police. Abdul Aziz had then stated that he had displayed the flags to congratulate the Afghan Taliban.
This is not the first time that Jamia Hafsa or Abdul Aziz have been in the news. Since January 2006, Lal Masjid and the adjacent Jamia Hafsa madrasah were under the control of Islamic militants led by two brothers, Abdul Aziz and Abdul Rashid. These brothers since then have advocated the imposition of Sharia in Pakistan and openly called for the overthrow of the Pakistani government. After they took Chinese citizens as hostages in 2007, then President Musharraf sent in special forces to free the hostages, but it also led to the deaths of many of these militants.
Videos circulating on social media showed Abdul Aziz arguing with policemen inside Jamia Hafsa and telling them to quit their job. “The Pakistan Taliban will teach you all a lesson.” Soon after in an audio message, Abdul Aziz claimed that the administration has accepted all his demands to impose Sharia and had sought three days to fulfil them.
If the calls for amnesty for the Tehreek e Taliban and the inability to stop someone in the heart of the capital from calling for Sharia and hoisting Afghan Taliban flags are taken together, it only shows one thing: the Pakistani deep state lacks the ability to act against the monsters it has created over the decades.