BY renaming the library at Lal Masjid’s Jamia Hafsa seminary after Osama bin Laden, Maulana Abdul Aziz has finally nailed his colours to the mast. According to a source at the institute, “He [Bin Laden] might be a terrorist for others but we do not consider him as a terrorist. For us he was a hero of Islam.”

While in a personal capacity one may be free to lionise whomever one chooses, the public domain is very different, particularly so when the individual being honoured was an internationally designated terrorist, and one who continues to be an inspirational figure for several militant movements wreaking havoc in many parts of the globe. In this case, it’s even more problematic, considering that Bin Laden was hunted down and killed by the US inside Pakistan, a fact that has attracted international opprobrium against the country.

Immediate notice must be taken of the library’s renaming, or else it would not only reinforce this negative impression but also encourage other similar ‘tributes’.

That said, why should the maulana’s latest move surprise us? After all, a policy of appeasement towards those who advance an extremist agenda only serves to embolden them further. However, it’s not only the state but the media too which is responsible for the invidious spread of this narrative.

Consider the resurrection of Maulana Aziz from the ashes of the Lal Masjid episode. The older, somewhat reserved brother of Maulana Abdul Rashid, who died in the Lal Masjid siege in 2007 from which the former tried to escape — rather ignominiously disguised in a burqa — has had his image burnished by the media’s excessive pandering to his views.

And these views, like those of others pontificating frequently on TV and in print these days, are nothing if not on the far right of the spectrum.

But for those who still had their doubts, the Jamia Hafsa library’s new name should be an eye-opener. Maulana Abdul Aziz has clearly thrown off his burqa.

Opinion

Big win, bigger challenges
Updated 19 Sep 2021

Big win, bigger challenges

Pakistan should be smug. It is not. There are a number of likely scenarios that must be the source of its unease.
Power of stays
19 Sep 2021

Power of stays

Great power means no one dare ask you questions.
Local decay
18 Sep 2021

Local decay

The set-up in Sindh exercises total control over LG functions.

Editorial

Talking to the Taliban
Updated 19 Sep 2021

Talking to the Taliban

PRIME Minister Imran Khan has announced that he has started a dialogue with the Taliban for the formation of a...
New Zealand’s departure
Updated 19 Sep 2021

New Zealand’s departure

THERE was chaos and despair when New Zealand decided to call off their tour of Pakistan barely minutes before the...
19 Sep 2021

Crucial polio campaign

THE national vaccination campaign that kicked off in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Friday is being described by experts as...
Blinken’s remarks
Updated 18 Sep 2021

Blinken’s remarks

The US establishment cannot scapegoat Pakistan for two decades of bad policy in Afghanistan.
18 Sep 2021

Worrying survey

THE findings of the Labour Force Survey 2018-19 indicate that some important headline trends have already taken or...
18 Sep 2021

Special needs

THE fact that only 3,653 children with special needs, out of some 300,000 in Sindh, are registered with the...