To the layman it was a heartrending tragedy; to the secularist it was a befitting lesson to all those simpletons who ceaselessly dream a Sharia based government in Pakistan; to the man in seminary it was a blow beyond limits, to the wardiwala it was a question of the writ of government. Lal mosque was more than this all. The story goes as far back as the creation of Pakistan.
At the time of inception of Pakistan, leaders at the front of Pakistan movement, in order to amass the support of credulous Muslim population, unequivocally gave the impression that Pakistan was being created as an Islamic state where Islamic ways of life would be promoted and sharia would be the supreme law of land. Majority of these so called Muslim leaders had hitherto served British very loyally and were as far away from Islamic way of life as could be imagined hence no question of their sincerity with the slogan of Islam. Muslims as a whole are emotional by nature so, seeing the hostile attitude of their fellow countrymen including Hindus and Sikhs, they vehemently supported the idea of a separate Islamic state even though a large number of them were at that time convinced that their leaders at the helm of affairs would not let them enforce Islamic sharia in the proposed Islamic state. Nevertheless Pakistan came into being with clouds of fear and expectations hovering over the new land of the pure.
As was foretold by some farsighted Ulema , Self-centered feudal lords wearing the garb of politics with their insatiable greed for power; unscrupulous bureaucrats and mercenary Generals trained in the art of servitude by the imperialists, were all the ill-fated Pakistan could get as its honorable rulers. They very masterfully exploited the idea of Islam in order to get to the throne. General public’s hue and cry and Ulema’s persistent efforts for realization of slogan of Islam in the country forced these rulers to introduce some Islamic provisions, though half-heartedly, into the constitution of Pakistan. After bowing down before public pressure they adopted their own intriguing machinations that were mastered to them by their Imperial patrons. They never allowed implementation of Islamic provisions and, by one way or the other, made it assure that not even a single provision get practically implemented in the country.
All this dillydallying was continue when came the darkest period of Pak history; the tyrannical rule (or in most precise words misrule) of Pervez Musharaf. Son of an accomplished dancer, Pervez Musharaf rose to the rank of a General by the sheer dint of his Machiavellian slyness and his wife’s alluring charms. After clinching the position of COAS (Chief of Army Staff) he dethroned democratically elected Nawaz Sharif and started the draconian rule of Boots and Guns with the ideal of Mustafa Kamal in his pointless mind. He aspired to change all the country according to the ideas and ideals of his dancer mother. Other than making Pakistan financially bankrupt; converting army an obsequious puppet in the hands of American imperialists, making judiciary a hostage to his unworthy whims; shattering the civilian infrastructure completely; he tried his best to dismantle the Islamic foundation of this country and for this he employed all his energy, powers and sources which were available in abundance to him in the form of capricious, self-serving politicians and promotion-hungry army officers. Taking cue from his foreign masters who consider madressahs a main hurdle in the way of their nefarious designs of converting Muslim societies into mindless vassals dancing to their filthy tunes, he started operations against these citadels of Islam in the name of reforms. But, by the grace of Allah Almighty, all his efforts and worthless harangue against madressahs proved futile. Certainly it was a miracle of this century that more than seven hundred thousand Boots and Guns together with countless so-called politicians and all the governmental machinery available to crush the madressah system couldn’t even eradicate a single madressah from the face of Pakistan. To the utter frustration of Musharaf, madressahs of Pakistan not only safeguarded their right to exist very successfully but also their spirit of freedom and outspokenness could not be abated by his ruthless actions. On the contrary, his tirade against Islamic way of life and his practical steps to promote culture of his masters into the land of Pakistan further strengthened the resolve of Islamists to defend their dear faith from all kinds of threats, overt or covert.
Nine eleven, the formative day when some valiant young guys struck America at heart by surprise, proved seminal not only for America but also for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Afghanistan, at that time, was being ruled by Taliban whose ideology of pure Islam and passion for universal Islamic brotherhood had alarmed western powers. Nine Eleven provided the much needed excuse to the Imperialists to try to uproot the nascent Islamic movement of Taliban. So they en mass attacked the sovereign nation of Afghanistan. Thus started the so called war against terror. Pakistani despot Musharaf saw in this war an opportunity to prolong his illegitimate rule. So, setting aside Pakistan’s sovereignty and pride he obsequiously turned the honorable country of Pakistan into a flattering concubine of lunatic crusaders. Pakistan’s earth and space was provided to the crusaders to kill innocent Afghan Muslims. Hundreds and thousands were massacred mercilessly in air attacks in Afghanistan with the happy help of Pakistan government. As if it was not enough, American rulers, frustrated by the resolute Afghan resistance, ordered their compliant servant Musharaf to stop Pakistani tribesmen from entering Afghanistan and helping their Afghan brethren in their jihad against crusaders. Musharaf was more than ready to do whatever was ordered to him. Pakistani army, tapping to the tunes of their vile commander, mindlessly commenced operations in tribal areas against their own countrymen whose only fault was their unwavering love for Islam and freedom. Countless tribal men, women and children were slaughtered by our Army in these operations just to please the American rulers. It is another story that how our tribal brethren who are fearless warriors of islam proved more than a match to this boastful army.
This worsening state of affairs was agonizing for every sensible Pakistani. Political parties on whose shoulders rest the responsibility of raising the voice against such detrimental actions of a tyrant, were in a state of recluse and had become so apprehensive and timid by the continuous oppression that no strong protest could come from their ranks. Religio-political parties, who have for the first time in the history of the country, gained a considerable number of seats in the national assembly (and that also in the name of Taliban) were enjoying the perks and privileges very keenly and were in no mood to endanger their position by displeasing the tyrant. Hence their lip service could not be counted as some serious opposition to the spiteful steps of Musharaf regime. Overall, It was a very terrible time for Pakistan. Evil clouds of oppression and despotism were hovering over the hapless sky of this miserable country. Every patriotic heart was full with grief and anger. Every mindful eye was bursting with tears. An air of despair and uncertainty prevailed and there was no ray of hope when came the pulpit of Lal Mosque to the rescue of the dwindling optimism of the nation.
From the pulpit of Lal Mosque Mualana Abdul Aziz and Ghazi Abdul Rasheed Shaheed raised the voice of the oppressed nation against the tyranny of the illegitimate dictator. They outspokenly revealed to the soldiers fighting in tribal areas that by killing their own people they were doing no service to the country and instead were axing the very foundation of Pakistan and that whoever of them dies for the sake of Musharaf’s imprudence would go straight to hell. By this way, when all voices were mute out of fear of the wicked dictator, came the dauntless voice of Lal Mosque. After candidly exposing the hollowness of Musharaf’s slogans of Pakistan First, pulpit of Lal mosque raised the issue of westernization of Pakistni society which was being promoted by Musharaf’s continuous encouragement. Islamabad was fast becoming a den of harlots and pimps. Every Sector of the capital was rife with pleasure houses. Lal mosque not only raised the voice against them but also took practical steps to stop this debauchery. Mushafar regime, which was a very generous patron of such activities, got extremely infuriated at this. In these actions of Lal mosque students it saw a death to his illegal and filthy rule. The emotional attachment of Musharaf with prostitutes and other folks of such ilk can be discerned in his fuming wrath of deploying a full brigade of Pakistan Army together with SSG to crush the voice of lal mosque. In ensuing operation hundreds of innocent students of Lal mosque and Jamia Hafsa were martyred in such an inhumane manner that no instance of this kind in human history can be traced. The ‘brave' soldiers of Pakistan Army who find it extremely frightening to move even an inch without the cover of air support in tribal areas, very diligently took part in the massacre of Lal Mosque. Gunship helicopters, Tanks, APCs every thing in possession of Pakistan army was used against Lal Mosque. Chemical weapons, which are strictly illegal even in international wars, were used excessively to silence the voice of righteousness and virtue. After ‘conquering’ Lal Mosque the triumphant soldiers of Pak army trampled the floor of Lal Mosque with their boots, desecrated the pages of Holy Quran shamelessly which have scattered by their bombing and shooting and proudly made signs of Victory. Thus a new medal was added to the shoulders of Pakistan army.
To a shallow mind Lal Mosque uprising was a simple question of the writ of government which was challenged by the students of Lal Mosque and Jamia Hafsa by their disturbing actions. But, to the enlightened mind, it was not just a rebellion against atrocities of an evil ruler but it was a new chapter in the history of the struggle for Sharia in Pakistan. By sacrificing their lives the students of Jamia Hafsa and Lal Mosque gave a clear message to the masses of Pakistan that Islamic sharia can not be imposed by just raising slogans and making lengthy speeches in cozy environs. Change in society can not be brought by just lip service. Islam considers it the greatest jihad to raise voice against a tyrant. When tenets of Islam are ignored in a Muslim society, when voice of virtue is suppressed cruelly, it is the duty of every Hussain to come open against the sitting Yazeed with out caring for his material strength come what may be.
Lal Mosque tragedy isn’t end of an uprising rather it is the first drop of the rain of revolution in Pakistan. Every revolution owes it inception to small scale incidents. Lal Mosque uprising was considered a misadventure of some fanatics by secularists but time would tell that this uprising proved a guiding star in the struggle for Islamic sharia in Pakistan. On the martyrdom of hundreds of our innocent brothers and sisters in Lal Mosque we are sad. Our hearts are crowded with regret and sorrow. But this pain is not on martyrdom for we believe that martyrdom is the greatest gift of Allah to his chosen few followers rather we are sorry for our cowardice that we couldn’t gather courage to go to the rescue of our besieged brothers and sisters in Lal Mosque. Our country is suffering economically, politically and socially for remaining a silent spectator to the bloodbath of Lal Mosque. We have shortage of electricity, wheat, gas, water. We have no working government. Our country is at the verge of disintegration. These are all symptoms of Allah’s wrath at our apathy. We should collectively atone for this dreadful sin of sitting idle by resolutely following the passionate zeal of Lal mosque martyrs for the enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan..
(originally posted as "Lal Mosque Uprising in Historical Perspective" at http://lalmosque.blogspot.com )