Free lessons on failures
Following the murder of another liberal blogger, Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) is going to be the sixth jihadist outfit to be banned in Bangladesh. Is this good enough to stem the sharp rise in religious extremism the country has witnessed in the recent past? If Bangladesh goes by the example set by Pakistan, then it will be a futile exercise. By any standard, Pakistan takes pride in banning the largest number of jihadi outfits and groups, but for what? You find them back in business the very next week under a new name. Banning an outfit for name’s sake is not going to solve Bangladesh’s creeping problems with religious extremism. Banning a group shall mean real crackdown against its members, sympathisers, financers, publications, space on social media, disrupting its welfare network and others.
In Pakistan, these so-called banned outfits don’t care for their official status; they take out impressive rallies in metropolitans, their leaders address large public meetings, some leaders even enlighten lawyers’ bar councils, run extensive social welfare networks and most interestingly you will always find them, when needed, organising rallies in support of armed forces. No need to ponder any further why crops commanders meetings never condemn such ‘supportive’ gestures.
Bangladesh has to make one transparent decision: that there is no good or bad religious extremist and that it needs to go for them without any hesitation. Banning outfits is an area wherein Bangladesh may learn from Pakistan’s failures. We have plenty of expertise on this subject to share whoever wants to continue with a downhill journey.
Masood Khan Jubail, Saudi Arabia