Remember when, immediately after the Lashkar-e-Taiba carried out the terror assault on the city of Mumbai in November 2008, a Pakistani Army corps commander called Taliban leaders Baitullah Mehsud and Mullah Fazlullah “patriots” during a briefing with senior Pakistani journalists? We do. Sadly, that sentiment runs deep in Pakistani military and government circles.
Yesterday, Maulana Attaur Rehman, Pakistan’s Tourism Minister, expressed his heartfelt adoration for the Taliban, who to him are the true standard bearers of Islam. Minister Rehman said this at a public forum. From Dawn:
Federal Minister for Tourism Maulana Attaur Rehman has said that Taliban are the true followers of Islamic ideology and the US has been creating hatred against them.
“Ulema and Taliban are the true followers of Islamic ideology and America is the biggest terrorist of the world, which is creating hatred against them,” said the minister while speaking at a public gathering in Allai here on Tuesday.
Mr Rehman said that the ongoing spate of terrorism could not be eliminated until the US and the world gave equal rights and respect to the Muslims.
“It is a misconception that ulema and Taliban are against coexistence of people with different religions, in fact it is America which is against the interfaith harmony to maintain its hegemony on the world,” said Mr Rehman, who belongs to the JUI-F.
Perhaps Minister Rehman should check into all of those mosques and religious processions the Taliban have attacked, often with suicide bombers, over the past three years. Many of the mosques are run by Sufis, or Shia, or Ahmadis, sects of Islam despised by the Taliban for being insufficiently Islamic (or in the case of the Ahmadis, heretical). How’s that for “coexistence of people with different religions”? The Taliban can’t even get along with their own.
As far as I can tell, Minister Rehman has not been chastised for his comments by Pakistan’s prime minister, its president, or the real ruler of Pakistan, Chief of Army Staff General Kayani.
A tiny bit of background on Minister Rehman: his brother, Fazl ur-Rehman, is the head of the JUI-F. That nasty Islamist political party runs hundreds of mosques in Pakistan which crank out Taliban cannon fodder. In fact, Fazl is widely credited with creating the Afghan Taliban by training many of its members in madrassas in Baluchistan province and northwestern Pakistan. Fazl led the opposition in parliament from 2004-2007. Despite his overt support for the Taliban, which continues to this day, he remains a free man in Pakistan.
And that, in a nutshell, is the extent of the problem we face when dealing with Pakistan.
Are you a dedicated reader of FDD's Long War Journal? Has our research benefitted you or your team over the years? Support our independent reporting and analysis today by considering a one-time or monthly donation. Thanks for reading! You can make a tax-deductible donation here.