WHILE more liberal parties have borne the brunt of election-related militant violence, as events over the past few days have shown the extremists are just as capable of wreaking havoc upon even those political elements that share their ideological moorings. On Tuesday a blast occurred near a JUI-F candidate’s corner meeting in Hangu, killing several people. Militants had earlier warned locals against attending political gatherings. Only a day before a JUI-F rally was bombed in Kurram Agency killing over 20. Yet what is shocking is that former lawmaker and current candidate Munir Khan Orakzai, who addressed the Kurram rally, denied that the Pakistani Taliban could be involved in the attack. This is mind-boggling. The TTP had very clearly stated that Mr Orakzai was indeed the target and justified the strike by saying that the former MNA was allied to the last government which had launched military operations against the militants.

It appears as if practically the whole religious right is suffering from a state of denial. JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman himself escaped two suicide attempts in 2011. He too has failed to criticise religious militancy. Instead, Fazlur Rehman, like others, has ‘asked’ the TTP to refrain from attacking political parties. But as the scale of the pre-poll violence shows, the militants appear not to have heeded the maulana’s advice. While the TTPs animus towards more ‘secular’ parties is understandable, the targeting of like-minded elements is a tad more confusing. After all, parties such as the JUI-F share the militants’ ideology — Islamist rule, imposition of Sharia etc — though they believe in pursuing these goals through the democratic route. What is more, a number of today’s militants were at one time associated with the JUI-F. So for those with a soft spot for the TTP, perhaps the attacks on even ideologically similar groups offer a preview of the rigidity of the militant mind.

This should serve as a wake-up call not only to religious parties such as the JUI-F and JI, but also to politicians such as Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan, who advocate dialogue with the militants. The extremists believe only they are qualified to set the political agenda and interpret religion, through murder and mayhem. So it must be asked how open to negotiations such elements would be. There must be no doubt that religious extremists will turn their guns on anyone who dares to differ with them, hence the need for all political players to speak up against militancy.

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Comments (6)

Khan of Kalabagh
May 9, 2013 12:00 am

JUI F aaahhhh they are still in a state of denial, they believe and try to give the impression that the terrorist acts are being done by THE DEVIL HIMSELF and not by the lieutenants of HAKEEM ULLAH MEHSUD's TEHREEK E ZAALIMAAN, what a country what a nation,

people would still be voting JUI F, how could you expect anthing good from these people? but this is how Pakistan is.

May 8, 2013 4:50 am
A very good and pointed Editorial...
May 8, 2013 6:11 am
I sincerely wish that wisdom prevails and parties like JUI-F, JI and other like minded fellow looking at these monsters through clear lenses and start calling spade a spade. They are living in state of denial and will remain so since it suits them, it suits their followers and it suite their coward pysche.
May 8, 2013 7:10 am
Respected members editorial board....there are also other groups roaming tribal areas and intelligence agencies. May TTP is not behind the attacks on JUI-F and carried out by other groups....however, whether it is TTP or other groups behind the attacks want to derail democracy in the country
May 8, 2013 8:06 am
Right, Centre and Left are all suffering from conspiracy mania in Denialstan -- laying the blame for all failures at the doorstep of ones ideological enemy.
May 8, 2013 7:20 pm
A very good editorial, except "offer a preview of the rigidity of the militant mind" is not quite true. Replace the word 'rigidity' with the word 'deviancy'.
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