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Banned or not?

Updated Jan 24, 2015 02:39am


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IT ought to be a straightforward answer to a simple question: has the Pakistani state taken any measures in recent weeks against, among others, the Haqqani network and Jamaatud Dawa that impact on the legal and operational status of those groups on Pakistani soil?

Unhappily, even in this most straightforward of cases, the Pakistani state is being anything but direct and honest.

The Foreign Office tells the media to check with the Interior Ministry and Nacta; the otherwise voluble and media-attention-loving Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan goes silent; anonymous bureaucrats and unnamed officials give contradictory statements; parliament is given ambiguous answers to direct questions; and nowhere does anyone in any relevant public office show any inclination to inform the public of what is or is not being done in their name.

Also read: Confusion over status of JuD, Haqqani network

Meanwhile, the conspiracy theories are growing more feverish: an outright ban, frozen bank accounts, restrictions on foreign travel of JuD leaders — whatever new measures have been taken, it has all been done at the behest of the US to placate an angry India and assist the Afghan government.

Such conspiracy theories do more than confuse the public; they strike at the heart of the consensus this country needs, that the fight against militancy is Pakistan’s own and not imposed by the outside world on a hapless nation.

All the confusion can be cleared up by a simple, authoritative statement by the interior ministry, or — given the implications for national security policy — by the Prime Minister’s Office. But, in a way that echoes the old practice here of saying one thing (or saying nothing) and doing another, the government has chosen to remain silent — just as the state alternates between remaining silent about drone strikes and condemning them.

Just as once upon a time the army-led security establishment cut clandestine — sometimes, public — deals with militant groups while claiming it was opposed to religiously inspired militant groups existing on Pakistani soil. And just as the state banned Lashkar-e-Taiba, but allowed it to first morph into Jamaatud Dawa and now, to some extent, into the Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation.

A simple path towards clarity — at least in terms of designation and profiles — in the present instance was offered by the Supreme Court on Thursday: make public the names of proscribed groups and translate anti-terrorism laws into local languages to increase awareness.

As the Supreme Court observed, often the public is unaware that groups operating as social welfare networks or collecting charity are in fact designated by the state to be terrorist groups. That has the effect of allowing the groups to grow and even gain public affection by pretending to be something they most certainly are not.

Perhaps it will be easier to begin to believe that the era of good militants/bad militants is over if the state can bring itself to name and ban all militant groups.

Published in Dawn January 24th , 2015

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Comments (44) Closed

Mohammad Saleem Jan 24, 2015 03:03am

Pakistani rulers should put the money where their mouths are. Otherwise, their clams and assertions remain worthless and just a bunch of hogwash.

Jalaluddin S. Hussain Jan 24, 2015 06:22am

The new Saudi King, should pressure the Big Powers, to resolve the many Middle Eastern disputes and help in lying down new industrial projects and establishing primary schools.

Instead of constructing luxurious hotels, the Saudi King must help in building a network of vocational and industrial schools, in the developing world.

Long live the recent changes in Saudi Arabia for the greater good of the masses of the world!

Pradeep Jan 24, 2015 06:59am

Either do it wholeheartedly or please don't do anything(by history that's absolutely fine).

Rocky Jan 24, 2015 07:04am

Controlling the militants is not so easy. However, with deliberate steps, it is possible over longer run.

shazia Jan 24, 2015 07:38am

I agree that these militant groups should be banned either they r good and bad. And govt should aware public clearly about these terrorist groups. moreover being Pakistanis we should have to play a vital role in the progress of a healthy Pakistan. While Pakistan is facing war like situation but people are still busy in corruption. If we all pay our duties faithfully I am sure that we can root out these militant groups and make our Pakistan a dreamland.

Muhammad Farooq, ON Canada Jan 24, 2015 07:57am

This is the whole point, despite long years of wars with terrorists government is not clear what it wants. So what could be the possible outcome of this war is anybody's guess.

Bernama Jan 24, 2015 09:04am

Freeze on bank account of JuD you can be pretty sure that there was hardly any money in it and most of it was withdraw before the announcement. JuD is capable of running its own bank.

Weirdity Jan 24, 2015 09:42am

These guys will ban the government. They are out of control.

Abdul Rehman, U.S.A. Jan 24, 2015 09:44am

The government and the politicians should have a clear policy about Pakistan to demonstrate to the world and the reason why so they could rely on those for a long time without any confusion.

Ronnie Jan 24, 2015 10:21am

Why ask the Government? Its the Establishment which controls the Terror Groups like Haqqanis/LeT/SSP/JuD/TTP as a matter of Foreign Policy. Till the establishment is sure, the facts wont be clear.

Ahmer Jan 24, 2015 11:26am

No half ban please. If it is worth doing, it is worth doing well.

Tahir A Jan 24, 2015 11:30am

Sadly the religious bigwigs are present in all walks of our society including the judiciary and military. I do respect Gen Raheel but make no mistake there must be several Zia-ul-Haq's in the ranks wagging their tails. So it is not a clear cut case of just rounding up the culprits.

olive Jan 24, 2015 11:49am

@Jalaluddin S. Hussain And stop aiding hardliners.

Shezad Jan 24, 2015 11:58am

Some of the comments are so naive.

These groups are not like some robots where all of their actions can be controlled. True the establishment have financed 'some' of these groups in the past, but some are still being financed by our enemies.

Good or bad, we need to get rid of them all and have some sort of governance within every acre of Pakistan.

Sunil Jan 24, 2015 12:07pm

It all in the hands of Pakistan interest, whether it wants to ban or not.

hellboy Jan 24, 2015 01:56pm

Pakistan is vulnerable in future by exposing the terror networks to world.India in this is bit ahead by supporting the terror networks against Pakistan not known to the world that much.

noodle Jan 24, 2015 02:41pm

@hellboy so be smart and not foolish is the morale of the story.

Ravi Sharma Jan 24, 2015 02:53pm

By not banning them you are asking India to create trouble for you, but it is your choice Pakistan.

Bro Jan 24, 2015 03:01pm

Government is just afraid to take comprehensive action, even after Peshawar?

colin Jan 24, 2015 03:48pm

Sad to say,while this article shows educated,reasoned and balanced Pakistanis exist,your Government representaives almost always sound confused and inarticulate or even contradicting each other.This is taking a kinder view. Harsher critics would accuse them of "being economical with the truth" or brazenly lying,in other words.

As you note,there seems to be no earthly reason why this should be so unless duplicity has just become enmeshed in their DNA.

.G O Gujjar Gujjar Jan 24, 2015 03:48pm

@Ravi Sharma There is ban or no ban, India is already troubling us by not only fabricating fake stories of "terror threat from Pakistan".

jogi Jan 24, 2015 03:56pm

it is a popular perception in Pakistan that India is financing TTP. Obviously JUD will not accept Indian money to work against Pakistan. Then what is the rationale to ban JUD. Remember JUD did commendable work during earthquake and flooding and drought. Pakistan has gone too far in promoting various proxies and some of the proxies are folklore.No body is willing to believe any ban. Change in mindset will be first indicated when killer of Gov. Taseer is given his due.

Arun Jan 24, 2015 05:28pm

Those praising Raheel Sharif and the few praising Nawaz Sharif should note: neither men have the guts to do what it takes to save Pakistan. History will put down all the military heroes - from Musharraf to Kayani to Sharif as those who each put a nail on Pakistan's coffin. It is still not too late, but courage is missing. Or perhaps simple common sense is missing.

Ganga Din Jan 24, 2015 07:06pm

I don't care about the semantics of who is banned and who is not banned. They are chameleons and can easily operate in disguise. When an ordinary person is able to move around freely without any fear of being killed, that would be the success of all this rhetoric.

vips Jan 24, 2015 08:10pm

Biggest enemy of Pakistan is with-in itself - these terror groups irrespective whether they do terror activity with-in its soil or foreign land - fiirst priority of government must be to take concrete steps to eliminate these completely and then collaborate with outside world including neighbours for economic development and peace relation....

Farhad Jan 24, 2015 08:21pm

why JUD / TTP Haqqni not banned until now ?

if you put above question to our PM he would say " hum aap kay liye hee to aye hain aur ab hum bullet trains shuru karnay wale hain ".

no sir, am asking about JUD/ TTPH .... then he would say " unfair question " or may be he would say " hum nay APC bulla lee hai aur tammam parties ka Ijlas aik ya dau dinoon mein ho ga " and his best shot is " committee tashkeel de di hai aur Ishaq Dar saab jald he aik press conference karein gay ". end.

Mahesh Kumar Jan 24, 2015 09:38pm

banned these movements please

Iqbal Jan 24, 2015 09:52pm

Looks like Obama stick is working on Pakistani rulers.

A.vjed Iban Jan 24, 2015 10:31pm

@Jalaluddin S. Hussain So-called democratically elected civilian governments which have been ruling over Pakistan for the past several years took over from military "dictators" and brought mafia dons to become presidents and prime ministers. The difference between the two types of govt.s is that the Generals when in power put the civilians in jails and brought stricter law and order and put a lot of civilian politicians in long term jail sentences. When civilians took over, they released all the criminal politicians and put tons and tons of taxpayers money and put it in their private bank accounts in foreign countries. Question: Which type of government do you prefer?


Sanjeev Kumar Yadav Jan 24, 2015 10:35pm

All it require is guts. Sadly Pakistani government nor military has guts to control these outlaws. I wonder how some people use religious sentiments at the cost of human lives and national interest.

pathanoo Jan 24, 2015 10:39pm

The answer to the title question is an emphatic "NO." But even if htese groups are banned that does not mean they will diminish in any way. they would just need new name on a new stationary. That's all.

Ahmer Jan 25, 2015 12:09am

Banning JuD is beyond the power of the current PML(N) Govt. On the other hand JuD might ban the Govt and pack the Sharif dynasty off to S Arabia.

Bilal Bhutt Jan 25, 2015 12:49am

In India there is JD(U) and in Pakistan it is JuD. Very similar in every way, both deals with terrorists.

Ijaz Jan 25, 2015 01:15am

Do we wonder why the rest of the world despairs at Pakistan? The accusation that Pakistan is insincere and double faced on terrorism is endorsed by the Government's behaviour on JuD and Haqqani network. We should ban and prosecute members of these groups not because America or anyone else says so, but because they cause immeasurable damage to Pakistan and its people.

To all those that look to Saudi Arabia and their new king, I have only one thing to say: do not put your faith in a country that has sponsored extremists in Pakistan and which treats Pakistanis in the Kingdom like dirt. They are no better muslims than your or me and arguably worse.

Devendra Sharma Jan 25, 2015 02:31am

The militant groups in Pakistan are very well equipped and very powerful. On the other front ISIS is knocking the door. If Pakistan will not take a strong action against these groups in time thinking that these groups are part of their strategy against India than it will be too late after words. Any time there after the same groups can join hands with ISIS.

Raj Jan 25, 2015 06:15am

Whether banned or not their days are numbered.

MG India Jan 25, 2015 06:49am

Why is Kashmir so important for Pakistan ? This is not that India is demolishing mosques and building temples or making Hindu settlements, in India whether you are Muslim or any other religion has the exact same rights given by the constitution, in fact if you are a minority quite frankly you enjoy more rights than the majority. All that being said why can Kashmir not be left to its current political control and focus on education, development, poverty and economy ? "An eye for an eye, the world will go blind".

Laeeq,NY Jan 25, 2015 07:08am

Government is in hot seat. Difficult to either make angry to these terrorist groups or fulfill the demands of USA. It shows governments reluctance to fight against the terrorists groups.

khan abbas Jan 25, 2015 07:15am

If Pakistan can realize that in short term they may be seem friendly to interests of Pakistan, in not so distant future they are bound to hurt the country; read the history of TTP and you will know.

Amir Ali Jan 25, 2015 08:54am

@Shezad If these thugs are funded by your enemies, they should be crushed and your government should not provide security and special trains for their meetings.

Amir Ali Jan 25, 2015 08:56am

@.G O Gujjar Gujjar Not just India, the whole world is. Just yesterday Obama said, that they will crush extremists from Pakistan to Paris. You think you are too smart when there are no grey cells left.

Sid Jan 25, 2015 12:29pm

Clearly not banned, otherwise they could not have held the recent rallies. These rallies are certainly not free.

Sid Jan 25, 2015 12:30pm

@Jalaluddin S. Hussain .... How about moving there and try how they treat south asian muslims. Please just try it before you praise them.

Muhammad Akhtar Jan 25, 2015 01:43pm

should be banned immediately and saeed should be hanged due to killing of young youth and brain washing.