by Zia Ur Rehman

March 22, 2012

KARACHI – An awareness campaign against atrocities by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has begun in Karachi, denouncing its inhumane and un-Islamic acts and declaring the militant group “fitna” (a sower of chaos and sedition).

”]Posters and handbills denouncing suicide attacks and the slaughter of civilians by TTP miscreants have been plastered onto walls throughout the city.

Anjuman-e-Muhibban Pakistan (AMP), an NGO whose name means Organisation of Lovers of Pakistan, launched the campaign.

AMP : Taliban are ‘Outside Islam’

The campaign seeks to spotlight the atrocities of the Taliban, which the Pakistani mainstream media generally ignore, said Kaleemullah, an AMP leader.

The posters reproduce edicts, or fatwas, by various religious scholars declaring the Taliban “outside Islam.” All Taliban acts violate the basic norms of Islam and humanity, the fatwas say.

“Beyond the differences of sect and schools of thoughts, we are launching the campaign because we think some elements in the form of Muslims are playing into the hands of anti-Muslim powers,” Kaleemullah said, adding the AMP would soon extend the campaign nationwide.

“Terrorists linked with the TTP are the enemies of humanity and Islam. These terrorist acts are haram (forbidden),” Kaleemullah told Central Asia Online. “The TTP, a dark force, is maligning Islam by its un-Islamic and inhumane acts like beheading, killing the innocent, suicide attacks and attacking mosques and Sufi shrines.”

He asked for more concrete steps to stop terrorism and the slaying of innocent Muslims.

“The majority of the religious scholars and prayers leaders don’t blame the Taliban for attacking innocent Muslims because of fear of TTP reprisal,” he said, “But enough is enough. Now it is high time that all religious scholars and civil society should unite against the Taliban and call them oppressors and un-Islamic.”

Public Response :

Those who have read the posters hail the AMP’s efforts and say it is high time to stand up against the Taliban.

“The Taliban, in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, are sending the wrong message to the world that Muslims are terrorists, but in reality, the Taliban are the enemies of Islam,” said Arshad Haleem, a student of Sindh Medical College, Karachi, as he read an AMP poster on a wall of his school.

The late religious scholar Maulana Hassan Jan was the first to publicly denounce Taliban violence, and he termed it un-Islamic. He was assassinated in retaliation in 2007, said Mufti Azam Khan, a Karachi-based religious teacher. After Jan was killed, a large number of ulema and other religious scholars became reluctant to denounce the Taliban openly, Khan said.

Religious and political parties that fail to condemn the Taliban’s atrocities either feared them or were working hand in glove with them, Khan told Central Asia Online.

“Our religious and political parties are issuing phony statements … about terrorist activities (by foreigners). … But the fact is that Pakistani militant outfits, especially TTP, are behind all the killings and attacks,” Kaleemullah said.

Militants are attacking civilians because the public rejects them and because of the military defeats they’ve suffered, he added.

“Killing the innocent and non-combatants, especially children and women, is clearly a violation of Islamic preaching,” Khan said.

Taliban Terror mostly kills Civilians :

In 2011, as many as 1,966 terrorist attacks killed 2,391 people and injured 4,389 in Pakistan, according to the Pakistan Security Report 2011, prepared by the Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), an Islamabad-based think tank. Taliban militants committed most of the violence.

The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) was the most volatile region, with 675 attacks in 2011, compared to 720 in 2010, the report said. In 2011, terrorist attacks there killed 612 people and wounded 1,190.

Pakistan suffered 45 suicide attacks in 2011, compared to 68 and 87 in 2010 and 2009, respectively, the PIPS report said. The TTP claimed responsibility for almost all of them, the report noted.

Those 45 suicide bombings killed 676 people and injured 1,462. Civilians accounted for most of the casualties, with 477 killed and 1,213 injured.

Taliban militants have defiled public places and those for religious events, including mosques, churches and shrines. Shia processions and Imambargahs, Ahmadi worship centres and missionary schools have also been attacked. In the last five years, 55 Pakistani places of worship have been attacked, and holy books of various faiths – including the Koran – have been incinerated in such attacks.

Taliban militants also target funerals. The most recent funeral bombing killed 18 in Badhaber March 12.