Daily Times Editorial 30 October 2019

Islamabad DC — the last line of defence


Maulana Fazlur Rehman has been moving towards Islamabad from Karachi. The procession he leads has been swelling and it has multiple partners. His guards have shown impressive skills at managing crowds, reflecting the fact that they have been well trained.
It is a long journey that may sap energies of the participants. The weather is harsh and not in favour of such adventures. The Maulana has exhausted all government endeavors to wean him off from this ill-timed move, which the people of Pakistan, in general, and residents of Islamabad, in particular, shall be victims of.
Time and time again different parties come and lay siege to Islamabad for whatever reasons – political, religious or otherwise. Every such siege results in shrinking movement and unlimited anxiety for the residents of the federal capital.
The PTI government is using different tools to deal with the situation. But one of the key safeguards against any disruptions is the written agreement that Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Muhammad Hamza Shafqaat managed to ink with the clerics.
It clearly states that the marchers shall stay in the area designated for them and cause no violence in return for the government to give them way to enter Islamabad. Before Islamabad, the provincial government of Punjab will face the uphill task of managing the procession. Activists of the PML-N and caravans from Balochistan will likely join them at different cities.
Hence, it will be important for the provincial government to make sure that violence does not erupt at any place.
Before and after all political steps, DC Hamza Shafqaat remains the last line of defence. It seems he sticks to the principle of never inviting conflict but being prepared for one always. Containers have been placed around all important points on each and every road of Islamabad, but no road other than some points in Red Zone has yet been closed.
Reinforcements have been called in Islamabad from all over the country to deal with any escalation in the situation as the Maualana will be around on Friday. It is laudable that Hamza Shafqaat has been constantly making the citizens aware of latest developments on social media and scuttling all chances of creation of panic in the city.
It is however a gigantic task to manage such big crowds but we hope that the federal government will be up to it.


Baghdadi’s elimination

With the elimination of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the founder-leader of the Islamic State, a gory chapter of genocide, rape, abduction, beheading and terror has come to an end. From its inception till his end, ISIS and its offshoots wreaked havoc on the people and armies of Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and now Pakistan.
Though the Islamic State has yet to confirm the news, US President Donald Trump announced the ‘died like a dog’ end of the dreaded terrorist. US Special Forces raided a village in Idlib on Saturday. The two-hour long operation on a compound culminated with the suicide of Baghdadi when he was surrounded in a dead-end tunnel. He blew himself up and also killed three of his sons. Turkey and Syria have greeted the news while Russia and Iran have shown skepticism on the announcement. Baghdadi, who has rarely been seen in public since his phenomenal rise to notoriety in 2014 when he announced the establishment of caliphate in Mosul, has already been in the headlines because of his death reports. In 2107, he denounced such reports through a video message. This time, the high profile development was shared by none other than the US president, so it should be believed that Trump announced the news after establishing its authenticity. Also, the Islamic State, which has been on the run after the fall of Mosul and Raqqa, has yet to deny or confirm the development.
Beghdadi announced his notorious course in July 2014 from Mosul’s grand al-Nuri mosque. Soon, his self-styled caliphate snatched territories from Deir Ezzor in Syria to Mosul in Iraq with Raqqa its de facto capital. The propaganda of the Islamic State lured young people, both men and women, from around the world, who joined the killing spree against Syrian and Iraqi people and armies.
The version of Islam of the Islamic State harmed Muslims all over the world. Thankfully, the Islamic State is on the run, and hopefully, it will be wiped out. But this is the time to examine the rise of the militant wing and how to prevent such tragedies in the future. Baghdadi was inspired by Al Qaeda in Iraq and after the elimination of its leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, in 2006, he took over the militant group. On the other side, the US troops who killed Zarqawi, as well as the world, felt that with the death of Zarqawi Al Qaeda in Iraq had come to an end. The rise and fall of Baghdadi leaves this valuable lesson that the death of the ringleader does not end the radicalisation. It may soon show its ugly head in some other part of the world. This is an ongoing fight

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