The Siege of Lal Masjid: A ‘win-win’ situation for Musharraf’s global PR

mush-1.jpgIt was apparent from the very beginning that any operation on the Lal Masjid would lead either to the extraction or the elimination of the fanatical seminaries inside. And till now, the situation remains firmly in the hands of the forces besieging the mosque. The half a victory has been claimed as one of the two radical brothers has already been caught, although quite dramatically. While the other one is putting on a show of his own, if not a burqa. What he does next can only to be speculated but there is a unanimous feeling that the younger brother will have to surrender himself to the forces. The forces that comprise of the army, the rangers, the special services groups, armored vehicles, snipers, special operations groups and various other siege weapons. Or they will capture him from the mosque by forcefully infiltrating the compound. The probability of him dying in a gun battle is equally imminent, however such a case is not wished upon anyone in this world.

With his fire-brand speeches, fatwas, and Juma sermons, Choatay Maulana Abdul Rasheed and the Maulana beraderan had earned himselves notoriety, not only at home but also in the entire world. With the help of western media, all of this was kept under wraps to a good extent. This is where one realizes that a deeper alliance, or more appropriately, friendship exists between the President and the western coalition countries. From time to time, the General has been scrutinized and poked with questions and demands for not doing more in the war on terror, but seemingly it was all a part of the circus to push Mush to take actions against rebellious factions.

This might be his moment of glory!

gun-afp.jpgGen. Musharraf, was targeted yet again as someone attacked his aircraft today minutes before it was to take him to Turbat. Fortunately the terrorist miss-timed everything and ended up revealing his position. The terrorist fled the scene (on a motorbike) where an anti-aircraft gun, and an automatic machine gun where found. Reports have it that a person has already been caught in this separate drama on the other end of the national Capital. What doesn’t come to mind of many a people like me, is the fact that this might be another setup. How? I have no idea. In the same light, a lot of our blogger friends think that the Lal Masjid crackdown is nothing but a staged operation. Even though I hate jumping to conclusions, in the context of the reasons and arguments they give, it sounds quite plausible. Of course, the first one to jump at the opportunity to appreciate someone like Pres. Musharraf taking down mullahism would be the western media. Gordon Brown facing his own share of domestic problems took time out and called up Musharraf to appreciate his efforts in the Lal Masjid saga. Seems like Mr. Gordon Brown means business when they talk terrorism in their first telephonic chit chat. Good for our boy, he is doing quite well in his class.

mush-2.jpgHe has not only been a target of public anger for mishandling the Chief Justice issue, his love for the seat and the campaign for it have also been heavily disliked. People that are sick of crisis’s like these want to see a quick end to the Lal Masjid operation; a bloodless and peaceful one. A nation that feels insulted and misused by mullahs in general especially after this showdown, are now siding with the government’s stance to eliminate the elements inside Lal Masjid one way or the other. There is a scary undertone to every voice that asks, “When are they going to execute the operation?” But the people are not to be blamed for any of this, as what has transpired was not in any body’s control. I certainly believe that when I say the fervent students of Jamia Faridia, another seminary in E-7, confronted the rangers and the police positioned at Lal Masjid. A Ranger lost his life, a girl along with a few by-standers died with in an hour of the ensuing stoning, burning, and a mindless snatch and run at the buildings near by. The building of the Ministry of Environment was attacked and burned as a sign of protest. Not only that, a government run girls school was attacked too. Hence, as clich├Ęd as it may sound, the writ of the government was being challenged and action had to be taken.

mosque5_ap.jpgCurrently, Mushy’s men have captured one of the two brothers along with scores of supporters slowly coming out of that building, the armed forces have shown exemplary restraint in not targeting anyone on purpose, and repeated calls for ‘safely surrendering’ to the authorities outside. This in turn sends a message of how in control and composed the decision makers are.

Even if he’s not liked at home, Musharraf will certainly be hailed as companion supreme in the global war against terror. Either ways, this might be a ‘win win’ situation for his global repute!

Images used with the courtesy of BBC News, AFP, and AP.

4 Comments so far

  1. Farhan (unregistered) on July 7th, 2007 @ 12:31 am

    gr8, we are back to politics once again.

  2. d0ct0r (unregistered) on July 7th, 2007 @ 3:05 am

    americans are saying that we are pleased with the situation so far and pray for Mush’s prolonged life and are happy that he is safe n sound after the attack on his plane….

  3. Hasan Zuberi (unregistered) on July 7th, 2007 @ 4:26 pm

    Great post Phil.

    There are many questions, which will remain unanswered for-ever.

    1) Who supplied sophisticated armament to the mosque administration, right in the heart of Islamabad (surrounded by ministries, parliment, dimplomatic enclave, frmr Naval headquarters).

    2) What were our intelligence & law-enforcement agencies doing from last so many months ?

    … best guess busy snopping the CJ and opposition members.

    3) Who supplied Gas-masks & M-16 (which costs approx. 54K) to the militants, who seems as good in training as our SSG units.

    4) How come the so-called assasination attempt on Musharaf happened from a Military area (Chaklala)???

    As a PR professional … I salute Musharaf’s PR team … as they changed the public opinion, which was drastically against him in his favour, both locally & internationally.

  4. JAY (unregistered) on July 8th, 2007 @ 1:57 am

    All the way with Musharraf. May Allah protect him.

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