The government failure to act quickly after the devastating Pakistan earthquake has only strengthened popular support for Islamic groups which provided rapid and efficient aid operations. A hearts and minds update from The Telegraph:
A growing number of Islamist leaders say the earthquake was divine retribution for the pro-US policy of President Pervez Musharraf and have renewed calls for Islamic law to be implemented.
In NWFP, a controversial Taliban-style bill has been revived by the ruling six-party religious alliance, the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA). The provincial justice minister, Malik Zafar Azam, said the earthquake was the result of God’s wrath at man’s misdeeds. The new law would appoint a watchdog called Hisba, or Accountability, to uphold Islamic values.
His words were echoed by another Islamist politician in the province, Prof Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, leader of the Jama’atud Dawa.
He said: “Even un-Islamic elements have admitted that these [Islamist] religious organisations are working for the cause of humanity.
“We will set up villages of 100 tents each. They will have dispensaries and mosques.”
He added: “We must enforce Islamic law in the country “¦ the earthquake is a punishment for what the rulers have done to please the United States.”