Sunday, August 22, 2010

Mulla Omar's new constitution

Mulla Omar's new constitution

S Iftikhar Murshed
The News, August 22, 2010

The Quran exhorts Muslims: "O you who have attained to faith! Why do you say one thing and do another? Most loathsome is it in the sight of God that you say what you do not do!" The timeless implications of this passage from the Holy Scripture is also relevant in the context of the promises made in the new constitution promulgated by Mulla Omar who professes to be the supreme leader of the Afghan Taliban.

The Aug 3, 2010 issue of the Quetta-based newspaper, Azadi, carried details of the 35-page document which contains 14 chapters and 85 clauses. Omar's constitution emphasises that jihad should be strictly in accordance with God's command and the sunnah (Traditions) and every mujahid should win a place in the hearts of the people. Three days later, Afghan police discovered the bodies of 10 unarmed medical aid workers who were killed in the northern province of Badakshan. Six of the slain men and women were foreign volunteers who had travelled half way across the globe to provide medical care to impoverished Afghan villagers. The Taliban proudly claimed responsibility.

Another clause in the new constitution cites the sharia and enjoins humane treatment of captured Afghan and foreign troops. It emphasises that the "cutting of ears, noses and lips is strictly forbidden." Despite this, the mutilated remains of two US marines taken prisoner in Logar province by the Taliban on July 23, 2010 were recovered five days later by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

The constitution stipulates that alleged informers and spies should not even be arrested unless they are first made aware of Islamic teachings, warned and given the opportunity to repent. Yet a few weeks earlier, a 7-year-old boy was hung on charges of spying. In July this year international media outlets reported that Mulla Omar had ordered his troops to kill or capture Afghan civilians, including women, who cooperate with ISAF.

There have been scores of similar incidents in the guise of jihad. Afghanistan bleeds but Pakistan bleeds no less. More people have died in Pakistan because of terrorist acts, perpetrated by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its supporters, in 2009 than in Afghanistan. Statistics compiled by the Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies reveal that 3,021 people were killed and 7,334 were injured in 2,586 terrorist attacks which included 87 suicide bombings. The tally for Afghanistan, according to a UN report, was 2,412 civilian deaths.

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