The silence in the Pakistani media about Hafiz Saeed’s mammoth rally in Lahore under the Minar-e-Pakistan is almost deafening. Next time Indian columnists write about the fabulously free and brave Pakistani media, I would really like to ask them, say what? Here is a man who is the master mind of the Mumbai terror attacks, who has a US bounty on his head and who is declaring from your most pious of monuments that it is time to relaunch Ghazwa-e-Hind and you do not find it necessary to have even one talk show or newspaper edit questioning it, let alone condemning it.

Indian police and paramilitary stand guard during a random search operation in Srinagar on December 6. Militants hurling grenades stormed an army camp in Kashmir on December 5, and killed 11 security officials. Pic/AFP
Indian police and paramilitary stand guard during a random search operation in Srinagar on December 6. Militants hurling grenades stormed an army camp in Kashmir on December 5, and killed 11 security officials. Pic/AFP

Why would the Pakistani media be silent? Because they are terrified of the ‘establishment’. Who can actually blame them — it is the most dangerous place in the world to be a journalist. And what about the puppet government? As security expert Sushant Sareen says, Nawaz Sharif has been reduced to a municipal commissioner, just cutting ribbons, inaugurating projects, which might never see the light of day. The PML-N administration provided ground support to the two day jamboree organised by the Jamaat-ud-dawa (JuD), better known as Lashkar-e-Taiba. Thousands of ‘commandos’ of the JuD provided security for the Jehadi Carnival at the Minar-e-Pakistan. An Urdu daily ‘Khabrein’ says, “Four activists of JuD were detained for having possible relationships with Indian secret agency RAW and had been sent to an unidentified place for further investigation.”

Pakistan Railways ran specially hired trains for those who wanted to hear the pearls of wisdom from the panelists at the murderers’ conference. And there was facility for sign language translation for the deaf and mute! Free food too and special enclosures for people from different provinces, in case fights broke out between sects and sex!

Then Hafiz Saeed thundered from the podium, “Nawaz Sharif, mai tujhe Allah ka hukum sunaata hoon…” Of course, he has a hotline to Allah who if we were to believe him, discusses matters such as Kashmir elections and peace talks with India. No really, that is just what he told his audience including his hideously talented social media team, which sent tweets flying out by the minute. One after another speaker threatened Ghazwa-e-Hind — the final apocalyptic war to conquer India. He linked the final jehadi war with Kashmir and the liberation of Bangladesh. Saeed said, “Ghazwa-e-Hind is inevitable, Kashmir will be freed, 1971 will be avenged and Ahmedabad Gujarat victims will get justice Inshallah.”

This wasn’t a rant of a ‘non-state actor’. He is very much part of the Pakistani establishment and this was being said at the Minar-e-Pakistan, no less. The monument marks the passing of the Lahore Resolution in 1940 by the All India Muslim League for the first time calling for a separate homeland for Muslims of India.

This was not an ordinary jalsa by a political party as in the past. This was by a jehadi tanzeem that vowed war against India and ‘liberation’ of Kashmir. It followed General Raheel Sharif’s comment in Karachi a day earlier where he talked about settlement of Kashmir issue as being necessary for peace in the region. General Sharif said Pakistan’s current enemy “lives within us and looks like us”. He added, “In contemporary geopolitics, the battles are no longer between state and non-state actors but are with supra-individuals, those individuals who exploit both the national and international space for their desired objectives. These supra-individuals have the capacity to manipulate networks, organisations and state institutions to create waves of instability and create discord at the centre of the state institutions. Explosions are still a viable tool of war, but implosions are the new defeat mechanisms.” In spite of uttering such wise words, he actively encouraged the JuD rally and the ‘supra-individual’ called Hafiz Saeed.

It is quite clear that overwhelming voting in Jammu and Kashmir in the first two phases has unnerved the pro-jehadi establishment in Pakistan. The terror strikes in Kashmir last week are a belated attempt to derail the process. Even if there is a drop in the polling percentage in the next round, it is quite clear that Kashmiris want to vote, want to be part of a democracy, not of a jehadi mob. Even if a large number of Kashmiris have pressed a NOTA button, the fact remains that they brought their voter identity cards, and stood in line patiently for their turn to exercise their democratic right.

They did not scream murder from monuments as is done in Pakistan. A hat tip to you, dear brave and hardy people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Smita Prakash is Editor, News at Asian News International. You can follow her on twitter @smitaprakash