Life attacks on JUI-F chief reveal gulf between militants and sympathetic Pak politicians

April 1st, 2011 - 5:45 pm ICT by ANI  

Taliban Islamabad, April 1(ANI): The back-to-back assassination attempts on Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman depict the growing disdain of Islamic militants towards even sympathetic political leaders in Pakistan.

Maulana Fazl escaped two life attempts within a span of 24 hours when two suicide bombers blew up their explosives- one in Swabi on Wednesday, and the second in Charsadda on Thursday- both blasts occurring at places where the JUI-F chief was expected to address public gatherings.

Pakistani religious parties have been quite vocal in their opposition to the United States and progressive domestic policies, such as reforming the country’s draconian blasphemy law, which critics say are used to target religious minorities.

But that is not always enough to shield them from attacks from more hardcore groups like the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (Pakistan Taliban), says retired General Talat Masood, a security analyst.

Many have accused the Pakistan Taliban for the attacks, but no group has claimed responsibility so far.

While the two suicide bombings demonstrate a gulf between Pakistan’s mainstream religious parties and more hard-line militants, who are inherently opposed to the political process, the attacks may also have resulted from specific doubts about the sincerity of Maulana Fazl ’s promises to extremists about him being on their side, say experts.

“I think [militants] consider him to be playing a double game and think he’s not truly for them. While he says he supports them, they think he has no principles and no ideology per se and exploits both sides to his personal advantage,” the Christian Science Monitor quoted General Masood, as saying.

Maulana Fazl’s political base lies in the conservative Khyber Pakhtunkwa province in northwest Pakistan near Afghanistan, and there is often an overlap between his party’s grassroots supporters and militant groups, said Badar Alam, editor of Pakistan’s Herald magazine and an expert on militancy.

According to Alam, the very fact that Maulana Fazl leads a political party whose six MPs were a part of the ruling coalition led by the center-left Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) until last December, may have angered his political base. (ANI)

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