Schoolchildren at the Ad-Dawah school run by the Jamaat-ud-Dawah in Muridke. Arif Ali—AFP
Pakistan’s schools and universities have an indoctrination problem
A new terrorist organization, the Ansarul Sharia (Helpers of Sharia), has struck Karachi and nearly succeeded in its attempt to kill the MQM’s leader of the opposition in Sindh Assembly, Khwaja Izharul Hassan, on Eid-ul-Azha. Its chief, arrested by security forces, is Dr. Abdullah Hashmi, a 28-year-old Masters in Applied Physics who was a teacher at Karachi University. Hashmi has revealed that the gang has a dozen activists, all university-level students, who want the imposition of Islam across Pakistan as a “complete code of life.” He also admitted that the MQM leader was targeted because he had shown tendency to follow “Western concepts.”
A recent debate on local media concluded that Pakistan’s defense was “60 to 80 percent” impregnable, but its clear that the country is 100 percent “defenseless” in the face of those who would kill for a “complete code of life.” The phrase has been part of Pakistan’s vernacular since 1947 and is found in school textbooks as an affirmation of the ideology of Pakistan. It is today the “sharia” slogan of Islamism, coming to the fore during the so-called Arab Spring.
A mob of university students in Mardan recently killed fellow pupil Mashal Khan, in part because they disapproved of his writings in favor of secularism and Western ideals. Ansarul Sharia in Karachi is pursuing the same ideological goal, joining Al Qaeda and Islamic State to gain influence, and killing policemen in Karachi to make its mark on the city’s terrorist landscape.
In a recent study, the Sindh Police Counter-Terrorism Department found that of 500 inmates, 64 held master’s degrees and another 70 had bachelor’s degrees. Similarly, a female medical student from Hyderabad joined the Islamic State because she felt moved by their teachings and was going to detonate explosives in Pakistan before police captured her. This mindset isn’t new, as explained by Senator Rehman Malik in The News on Thursday: “In the first attempt on the life of Benazir [Bhutto] in Karachi the message was that she was a woman and had no right to rule an Islamic country; and that she was a Shia who was pro-West.”