The state turned a deaf ear to the civil society as well as voices from other quarters of the country when they expressed their opposition to the notorious Talibanisation in Pakistan’s premier industrial and financial centre — Karachi. After years, the world now remembers Karachi as a safe haven for major Taliban leaders. Densely populated areas, such as Sohrab Goth and Al-Asif Square, served as a shelter for Taliban leaders, and quite shockingly, remained scot-free.
Lower-middle class areas were not the only places that served as sanctuaries for militants; the menace escalated and expanded to posh areas as well. This resulted in rampancy of street crimes, bank robberies and kidnapping for ransom. The financial hub of the country became a playground of terrorism and the stakeholders witnessed it like silent spectators.
Extremism did not remain confine to the ‘city of light’; it was also being exported globally and enormously contributed to international terrorism. It emerged as a full-fledged market with its own investment and economics.
Ironically, while the children of these rich Islamists were studying in abroad, children from underprivileged families were being urged to get enrolled in Madaris. And the extremists who settled in foreign countries founded their own religious seminaries that radicalised the Pakistani diaspora in countries like UK and Canada.
These children, eventually, sponsored their parents and we saw Pakistan’s national l carrier carrying loads of clean-shaved extremist minds arriving and settling down in many parts of Canada.
The state turned a deaf ear to the civil society who expressed opposition to Talibanisation of Pakistan’s premier industrial and financial centre — Karachi
Due to the silent nature of dissemination of this ‘sweet poison’, the radicalisation of the youth remained unnoticed for years. It was only after some major incidents that it became a matter of public debate only to be disappeared soon.
After Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took over the reins, nothing concrete was done to tackle the growing issue. In fact, the PM spent much of his time in image-building and maintaining his celebrity status.
There are Canadians who are actually concerned about the looming threat of terrorism as the country continues to be inhabited by countless Muslim migrants who are inspired by extremist organisations. A report by Public Safety Canada stated that mass shooting at the Islamic Cultural Centre in Quebec City, where six men were killed, was an example of ‘attacks perpetrated by those who espouse extreme right-wing views’.
Meanwhile, another report by the federal government has warned of growing far-right movements on social media could translate into real-world violence.
In the very first year in government of Liberal Party, Iqra Khalid, Member Parliament of Pakistani origin introduced a motion M103 that calls on Ottawa to ‘condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination.’ Interestingly, though, while her motion claims, in a vague and general way, to be equally worried about virulent anti-Semitism or persecution of Christians, it only mentions Islamophobia categorically. Lorne Gunter, columnist at renowned tabloid Toronto Sun, questions in his article that who gets to define ‘Islamophobia?’ Does that mean an irrational fear of all Muslims based on a very real fear of several thousand radicals who truly do want to harm Western democracy? Or does it mean the much broader, politically-correct concept of Islamophobia, namely that anyone questioning whether Islam is a religion of peace is guilty of Islamophobia?
Interestingly, on my personal social media posts recently, I started noticing verbal abuse and hate by some new fellow Canadians of Pakistani origin, it reflected the same mindset that I just mentioned above, well I continued to monitor them and witnessed growing anger and sometimes really felt threatened.
The hater’s main targets seem to be my posts where I usually raise issues of Human Right Violations, Extra Judicial Killings by state organs in Pakistan, and openly condemn right wing mullahs who are spreading hate for minorities including Christian and Ahmadis. I hope that they are also being monitored by our own cybercrime cop if not CSIS.
The department, which oversees both CSIS and the RCMP, suggested Daesh or Al Qaeda-inspired individuals still represent the most significant threat — although the report noted that extremism ‘can stem from a range of ideologies.’
“The evolution from online hate to serious acts of politically-motivated violence with the intention of intimidating the public, or a segment of the public regarding its sense of security, could be considered a terrorism offence,” the report reads.
This danger is just not for Canadians but for a concern for neighbouring regional partners USA & Mexico as well, a right-wing Islamist politician Sheikh Rasheed who had been denied entry in USA was recently welcomed in Canada to raise funds. Can someone please start acting and do their jobs right?
I just would like to remind the social media haters of the fact that you still live in a Canada where we have no room for extremism and your activities, threats and violation of Canadian charter will not go unnoticed, a record is being compiled with help of like-minded friends who love peace in the world including Pakistan and Canada.
We will not allow this land to be fertile for terrorism and continue our ‘Jihad’ for fundamental rights of every human being as per Human Right Treaties that all civilised nation have signed and Canada believes in its letter and spirit.
The writer is a social and civil right activist and vocal on Human Right violations across the globe. He works as Host/Producer (Current Affairs) at a leading news channel of North America. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and tweets @anis_farooqui
Published in Daily Times, March 30th 2018.