On October 10th, 2013, the Taliban sympathetic Nawaz Government, yet again, arrested Former President Musharraf for the crime of being the President of Pakistan and Chief of Pakistan Army at the time the Red Mosque operation was successfully conducted against defiant hard core militants, extremists, terrorists and abductors, who were hiding in the Red Mosque.
The Nawaz Government’s claim that they have acted in the Red Mosque matter to satisfy a court order could not be further from the truth. It is also important to underscore that, while the Pakistan Government has arrested the Former President, it has thus far failed to bring to justice militants that were named in 2007 in forty-two (42) separate First Information Reports (FIRs) registered to seek redress in abducting 7 Chinese expats, killing 13 Pakistan Army soldiers and paramilitary troops, and taking hostage Islamabad policemen, while hoarding, brandishing and using illegal weapons to cause physical harm and destruction to State and private property.
A judicial commission was formed by the Government of Pakistan, which in April 2013, confirmed the following forgotten facts relevant to the Red Mosque standoff:
On 6th April, 2007, ‘Enforcement of Shariah Conference’ was held in Red Mosque, and it was decided that a Shariah Court comprising of 10 Muftis (religious men) would be set up, and the Court would determine punishment for those found following anti-Islamic practices. Addressing the conference, Maulana Aziz, the militant Cleric of Red Mosque, announced enforcement of Shariah law in Islamabad and warned the Musharraf government of suicide attacks, if challenged.
On 15th April, 2007, the students of Red Mosque rehearsed for combat in a compound adjacent to the mosque.
On 17th April, 2007, Red Mosque militants declared Red Mosque and its surroundings as ‘no go’ areas for Pakistan security forces.
On 2nd May, 2007, Imam Mecca (Chief Cleric) of Saudi Arabia, after visiting the Red Mosque, stated in the presence of a government, no individual can establish his own Shariah Court and it was unfortunate the Red Mosque leader, Maulana Ghazi, was ignoring the advice of religious scholars and the Government to surrender.
On 3rd May, 2007, Maulana Ghazi Abdul Rasheed threatened female students of Quaid-e-Azaam University and said acid will be thrown on their face.
On 18th May, 2007, Red Mosque militants kidnapped 4 policemen.
On 30th May, 2007, Maulana Aziz warned the Musharraf government he had several suicide bombers inside the mosque.
On 16th June, 2007, Maulana Aziz issued a “decree of death” against the staff of a local magazine for publishing a fashion shoot.
On 22nd June, 2007, female vigilantes of Red Mosque kidnapped 7 Chinese women and 2 men for running a beauty salon and also kidnapped a woman for allegedly running a brothel.
Red Mosque militants regularly vandalized shops and also stormed Government buildings, damaging public and private property. They also killed a paramilitary soldier deployed outside the mosque, and severely injured a photographer of a private TV channel.
Maulana Abdul Qayyum, spokesman of Red Mosque, publicly announced that suicide bombers of Red Mosque had been permitted to find targets and strike at-will.
It is a travesty that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is following a dangerous path in criminalizing the acts of the Musharraf Government, which were meant to enforce the Writ of State. Whether this is an attempt to appease extremists or an action driven by a personal vendetta, it is emboldening terrorists, demoralizing the already stretched security forces of Pakistan, and putting Nawaz Sharif squarely on the side of the militants.
These are ominous signs and, for now, terrorists are winning in Pakistan.
Raza Bokhari is the International Spokesperson for General Pervez Musharraf, the Former President of Pakistan. He is a Trustee of the Foreign Policy Research Institute, Vice Chairman of the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia and Past President of Pakistani American Public Affairs Committee. The views expressed here are his own.