Original Articles

Lal Mosque: General Musharraf’s greatest achievement

By Omar Khattab

Pakistan’s overwhelmingly right-wing media and politicians have been condemning General Musharraf for taking action against the Islamofascists of the Lal Mosque. Even Chaudhury Shujat and Mushahid Hussain who were more pro-Musharraf during Musharraf’s presidency than the man himself have also claimed that they were never in favour of the now-notorious Lal Mosque action in which a few Islamofascists were killed.

General Musharraf did a lot of bad things. He broke law with impunity. He even violated the constitution of Pakistan (but with the support of his fellow generals and civilian ministers). But his action against the Islamofascist mullahs will be remembered as a glorious act of dealing with an evil which threatened to destroy Pakistan. This makes him Napoleonic.

The Lal Mosque men and women had created a state within a state. They began to occupy public places at will. They kidnapped Pakistani and foreign nationals including Pakistani policemen. The Ghazi brother, the two mullahs who were given the possession of the mosque by no less a person than General Zia, began to act as emperors of Pakistan giving order and defy laws of the land. In any sovereign country this cannot happen under any circumstance. A state within a state is impossible. The only way to end the state within a state is to destroy it. By ordering destruction of the Lal Mosque terrorists General Musharraf invoked the constitution of Pakistan which says that high treason is the greatest crime in Pakistan. Perhaps the Lal Mosque is the greatest achievement of Musharraf for which he can be forgiven all his crimes even his own suspension of the constitution.

One hopes that those who have become blind in their
hatred of Musharraf will take a fresh look at his great victory at Lal Mosque.

About the author

Omar Khattab


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  • Omar, I agree with you whole heartedly in that the Lal Mosque Operation was essential. The government had exhausted all options in dealing with the situation. As far as the politicians who criticise Musharraf are concerned, believe me they would have acted similarly. Their criticism is merely “siaasat” – blame the incumbent for taking an unpopular decision in order to create enough agitation to remove him from power when they would have acted identically. A relevant example is Mr. Nawaz Sharif’s decision to use extrajudicial measures and military tribunals to prosecute and execute members of MQM in the late 1990’s. Now, I do realize that MQM is a controversial party but given the choice between the goons that held Lal Mosque hostage and the TTP I would tend to think that MQM probably has a little more humanity.

    Recently, I also hear talk about Musharraf not taking the political parties on board when Pakistan enlisted its support in the War on Terror in 2001. This is another manifestation of “siaasat” – I distinctly remember all major political parties including PTI supporting the decision and coming on international channels pleading Musharraf’s case. Some of these politicians have also stated that they suffer from “selective amnesia” about their past lives. Perhaps this was another example.

    Musharraf will probably not return to Pakistan and is therefore safe. As far as his crimes and accountability are concerned, when someone as incompetent as Yahya Khan could lead a comfortable life after presiding over Pakistan’s break up I think Musharraf should be fine.

  • Omar, have you read this article by Ayesha Siddiqua

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Herald/148427274273#/notes/herald/the-pragmatist/172427547431 about Malik Riaz and his role in the Lal Masjid affair…

    regarding Lal Masjid I remember when Ejaz-ul-Haq would be appearing on tv laughing off the issue. Why did the govt allow the threat to build up for so long? Was it for domestic political gain or was it because they couldn’t act out of fear of public opinion? And could all the deaths have been avoided if they had taken the action earlier?