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Revered - but for what?

Updated May 18, 2010


Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest province which can overwhelm many of us with its vastness is still an enigma to most Pakistanis. The province is an hour’s drive from where I live in Karachi. For the longest time, I had been planning to go to Gwadar, in Balochistan, which is several hours’ drive away from Karachi. The plan materialised just last month as I ventured into the region along with friends, camera in hand. On our way to Gwadar, we stopped at Ormara, a port city located on the Makran coast. It was in Ormara where I came across – and hurriedly photographed – the Shaheed Aimal Kansi Masjid named after a Quetta-born Pakistani man who in 1993 shot and killed two Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employees near the entrance of the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Kasi then fled to Pakistan and was later handed over to US authorities in what many suggest a most treacherous manner. He was captured from Dera Ghazi Khan in 1997 and his arrest was reportedly facilitated by Awais Ahmad Khan Leghari, a Pakistani politician and former friend of Kansi, during the government of Nawaz Sharif. Kansi, who was first charged in absentia in 1993, was executed by the United States authorities on November 14, 2002. His body was then repatriated to Pakistan.

The most unfortunate conclusions from this entire episode are that:

a) Aimal Kansi was no shaheed by any stretch of the imagination and yet the likes of Fazlur Rehman would have us believe otherwise.

b) Sometimes, terrorists are revered enough to have mosques named after them.

By Raja Islam

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.