As you may already know, a few men opened fire on a vehicle carrying Hamid Saeed Kazmi, Pakistan’s Minister of Religious Affairs & Minorities, in Islamabad yesterday. The gunmen severely wounded the Minister and his driver was killed instantly.
I was deeply saddened by this news and it really hit home for me as my father, Ijaz Ul Haq, was the Minister of Religious Affairs & Minorities prior to Kazmi. During his time as Minister he received several death threats, as well as escaping a few assassination attempts. Our house was also attacked by suicide bombers from his constituency in December ’07.
I spoke to my father this morning and he has contributed a short piece for ‘Chasing Thoughts’ below:
“This tragic incident has been very upsetting and a big lapse on part of the security agencies. The Ministry of Religious Affairs is an extremely sensitive department and needs to be handled with care, as it tends to host most of the discussions and public appearances regarding terrorism.
There may be a few reasons as to why this attack occurred. In this past year, Kazmi has hit hard against the private Hajj tour operators, even going so far as to say that these tour operators were minting even more money than drug peddlers. Another reason for the assassination attempt could be Kazmi’s attitude towards the Deobandi sect of Islam. Kazmi recently sidelined the Deobandis in a very important meeting of the Pakistani Ulema. They no doubt viewed this as a bad signal for peace and harmony. As you may already know, the Deobandi school of thought represents about 30% of the Pakistani population and Deobandis own around 75% of Madrasas in Pakistan. Additionally, 90% of the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan are Deobandis.
This attack should be highly condemned and is a huge negligence on the part of the government for failing to provide proper security to the Minister while Zardari, Gilani, and Rehman Malik have three times the level of protocol usually assigned to a government official. It has been very upsetting to see that while our country is in the grip of terrorism, our so-called leaders are busy globe trotting. Zardari and Gilani have been planning aimless and seemingly futile visits to other parts of the world rather than strategizing and focusing on the security of the nation as well as the national agenda. “
– Ijaz Ul Haq