Pakistan being the breeding ground of potential terror recruits became evident with fresh protests against the re-publication of cartoons of Prophet Muhammad by Charlie Hebdo magazine and anti-Shia protests in Karachi, Global Watch Analysis reported.
The recent protests against the re-publication of cartoons of Prophet Muhammad by Charlie Hebdo magazine and anti-Shia protests in Pakistan affirmed the country being breeding ground of potential terror recruits, Global Watch Analysis reported.
According to a report by Roland Jacquard, Chairman of Roland Jacquard Global Security Consulting (RJGSC), published in Global Watch Analysis, the Charlie Hebdo magazine had re-published the cartoons of Prophet Muhammad on September 2, which was the trial date of the January 2015 terror attack at the Charlie Hebdo office and the Hyper Cacher of Porte de Bagnolet in Paris.
Upon the re-publication of cartoons of Prophet Muhammad by Charlie Hebdo magazine on September 2, Iran and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation issued strong statements condemning the move. Even Al Qaeda had issued a veiled threat to the magazine, warning the 2015 attack was not a "one off". However, the majority of protests were seen in Pakistan.
Jacquard said that the strongest and most virulent backlash against France was witnessed in Pakistan, where radical Islamist groups took to the streets to protest, calling for the expulsion of the French Ambassador Marc Barety and suspension of diplomatic ties with France.
The protests led by Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), a radical political party established in 2015, were held in various cities like Islamabad, Multan and Karachi, with the French flag being burnt across the country. Along with this, the party also ran a hateful social media campaign "calling for jihad against those committing blasphemy".
Besides, Maulana Abdul Waseh, head of the Islamist group Jamaat Ulema e lslami Baluchistan, had called the publication of cartoons a blatant act of terrorism. Similarly, Tahafuz-e-Khatm-e-Nabuwat Conference called the makers of the 'blasphemous caricatures' as the biggest terrorists.
Jacquard quoted Pakistan's Foreign Office's statement as saying, "Such a deliberate act to offend the sentiments of billions of Muslims cannot be justified as an exercise in press freedom or freedom of expression."
This comes after a recent rally in Karachi wherein thousands of people participated in a massive anti-Shia demonstration, sparking fears that it could lead to a fresh round of sectarian violence in Pakistan.
Social media in the country was filled with posts, stunning photographs and videos of the protest, in which a sea of protestors was seen chanting "Shias are Kaffir" (disbelievers) and holding banners of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, a terrorist organisation, linked to the killing of Shias over the years. The hashtag #ShiaGenocide soon began trending on Pakistani social media.
Jacquard said, "Most worrying is that these protests are a re-iteration of the fact that terror/Islamic radical groups in Pakistan can carry out their activities without any restraint and often with the support of the State authorities. Another issue that should concern the democratic and secular world is the country's blasphemy laws, under which members of the minority religious groups, mainly Christians and Hindus, are often sentenced to death by Pakistan's courts on frivolous charges of blasphemy."
He further said that the recent anti-France protests in Pakistan are a warning signal that the country might soon "emerge as the largest breeding ground of potential terror recruits".
Urging countries to join hands against Pakistan, he said, "As more and more countries face the challenges of Islamic radicalisation, it is important that a combined approach be developed by countries sharing democratic ideals, in the West and even within the Islamic world, to face up to nations like Pakistan which pose a serious threat to world peace and security. And the first step towards this combined approach would be to stop seeing these countries as normal partners in bilateral and multinational engagement and trade."