And the creeps are creeping fast. “The creeping coup,” by Zaffar Abbas in Dawn, with thanks to Sr. Soph:
ISLAMABAD, March 30: The primary theatre of battle may still be North and South Waziristan, as evidenced by the Pakistani Taliban’s recent bloody assault on the settled town of Tank that borders the tribal areas. But the events of the last few days in Islamabad are more disturbing in some ways, suggesting as they do that creeping Talibanisation is now a reality across the country. Indeed the Lal Masjid brigade, as it has come to be known, has every right to celebrate. Tuesday”s showdown with the police was its second major success of the year. First its women’s wing, comprising hundreds of burqa-clad and baton-wielding students, occupied a children’s library in the federal capital in January.
Now both the men’s and women’s wings of this emerging brand of the Pakistani Taliban have started to impose new rules of morality by forcibly shutting down video and music shops in Islamabad, and by abducting women whom they believe are engaged in “˜immoral” activities.
Situated in an area where the prime minister’s secretariat and seat of power is on one side, and the headquarters of the country”s premier intelligence agency, the ISI, on the other, Lal Masjid and its adjacent Hafsa madressah have not only managed to enforce the Taliban-style system of “˜moral policing” in matters of “˜vice and virtue”, to date they remain in control of the situation.
But who are these people, and why are the government and the security services finding it so hard to enforce the rule of law? Is it that the government really wants to avoid bloodshed because hundreds, if not thousands, of women are part of this violent brigade? Or is it a reflection of some kind of infighting in the establishment where one faction still has a soft corner for their former Islamist allies?