PAKISTAN: Government is silent in the wake of call for nuclear jihad by religious extremist

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has consistently reported in the recent weeks on the issue of the government’s refusal to take action on the incitement to murder and civil disobedience by religious extremists. Several high profile cases have been reported on both matters by the AHRC and other international NGOs, however, the government has taken no action to either arrest or halt the messages of hatred and intimidation. Mullahs are openly using the loud speaker systems of their Mosques to broadcast their messages of hatred which is, itself, against the law. However, once again the government has not made any attempt to prevent this.

Taking advantage of the government’s appeasement policy towards religious intolerance and the killing of people, the extremists have openly started preaching the use of nuclear weapons against a neighbouring country in the name of Jihad. Now in a recent and shocking incident in Lahore on February 6, 2011, an extremist by the name of Hafiz Saeed, the leader of the Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD), spoke in a public rally of 20,000 people calling for Jihad in the form of a nuclear war against India. Saeed is wanted in connection with the bombings in Mumbai and the JuD itself is banned in Pakistan. However, once again the government has turned a blind eye and taken no action to either arrest this man or control the situation. This is, indeed a routine attitude of the government. In an effort to fend off responsibility for the bombings Saeed accused India of masterminding the attacks for political gain.

In his speech to the crowd Saeed said, “I want to give a message to (Prime Minister) Manmohan Singh–quit Kashmir or get ready to face a war…….The jihad should continue as long as Kashmir remains under Indian occupation”. He went on to say that there would be “no problem if the fighting leads to nuclear war between Pakistan and India”.

It is already bad enough that the government takes no action against religious extremists calling for the death of anyone they feel might be against their version of Islam but here we have a situation where a person wanted in connection with terrorism is openly calling for Jihad, a holy war against a sovereign nation and a nuclear war at that!

It is incomprehensible that any sovereign government, elected by the people, and with the mandate and obligation to protect the people, would allow such a public announcement to be made. The government of Asif Ali Zadari must seriously examine its policy of appeasement towards religious extremists. When a government takes no action against the call for Jihad that might result in a nuclear war it must realise that other governments, especially neighbouring governments will be watching the situation closely. In an attempt to avoid further trouble at home, Zadari might just be calling down more trouble on the innocents of a country that is now being intimidated by religious extremists.

By tolerating such threats of the use of nuclear weapons it seems that the government does not fully appreciate the horror of a nuclear attack. They only need examine the pictures of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to experience the devastation and misery caused, a misery that lingers even today 66 years after the bombs were dropped. Nuclear radiation has no respect for borders and the Jihadists may be calling down death and destruction on the people of the entire continent, not only their ‘enemies’. What is the point of turning the prize they seek, Kashmir, into a nuclear waste dump?

The most dangerous interpretation of such announcements would be that the nuclear assets of the country are not in safe hands and Muslim extremists have or can have access to these weapons. By failing to reign in the extremists and stop their messages of hate the government is, in fact, colluding with them.

War mongering in the name of religion or any other cause is a crime against humanity and this is especially so when it may result in a nuclear war. The government must immediately take uncompromising action against those militants who are openly calling for the use of nuclear weapons against a neighbouring country. Humanity cannot and will not sit idle and watch two nations destroy, not only themselves, but threaten the entire world with destruction. The government of Pakistan must not only ensure that the country’s nuclear weapons are safe from extremists but also assure the rest of the world that this is so.

The AHRC urges the government of Pakistan to take immediate action against the extremists. Cases must be filed against them and they must be arrested, charged and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Their speeches of hate and their war mongering must be halted forthwith.

About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation that monitors human rights in Asia, documents violations and advocates for justice and institutional reform to ensure the protection and promotion of these rights. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.