The party’s president, Abdul Hadi Awang said PAS would support the Government's move to fight terrorism in South-East Asia, but the root causes of terrorism must be identified. In that way, government action against terrorism can then be conducted fairly.
He likened the allegations against Azahari to the lies made against Iraq having weapons of mass destructions. His reason for this comparison has been based on the lack of evidence to indicate Azahari’s involvement in the terrorist bombings. In other words, Hadi Awang reckons the accusations of Azahari being a terrorist have been all lies.
Indeed, Abdul Hadi Awang demanded a fair investigation, and not for the Indons to be cowed by the US. Apparently, from his arguments, the accusations against Azahari have been a US plot. He blamed the Americans for carrying out its global agenda of imperialism.
It’s disappointing but predictable that PAS would hesitate to applaud or just support the Indon’s success in eliminating Azahari or just remain silent. It is also predictable that PAS would be under 'political' and ideological pressures to come out publicly to defend Azahari - see Malayisakini's Azahari slaying - PAS under ideological pressure.
Ideological pressure? Why? Is PAS' ideology terrorism or Islam?
The late Azahari has many sympathizers among Malaysians Muslims. I have seen their comments on some Malaysian blogsites, some initially with sheer disbelief that Azahari had been slain, and then some with religious rationalisation on his departed soul somewhat akin to the Buddhist belief of reincarnation. Apparently they have been desperate to want Azahari somehow not to die.
Some Muslims in Malaysia also respect Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) as a brethren Islamic political party. Thus, according to their proclivity, what Azahari, a JI top echelon bloke, had done must be good and in accordance with the will of God.
|armed militants of Jemaah Islamiyah|
Whatever ideology PAS may profess to subscribe to, in the final analysis, it is still a political party, which needs to keep an eye on potential voters for the next Malaysian election. It reckons it can do that best by shoring up its Islamic credentials through defending Azahari, a JI terrorist operative and a Malaysian Muslim.
PAS wants it both ways, to be seen as a responsible law abiding political party supporting a universally accepted need for strong anti-terrorism measures, and at the same time giving comfort to its many pro-Azahari supporters by posing as a champion for Azahari, or at least his ‘good’ name.
I draw the distinction between insurgents (or freedom fighters) and terrorists. Indonesia is a sovereign nation administered by a democratically elected government comprising its own citizens. Where is its need for insurgents?
I am afraid that makes Azahari and his bombing campaigns fall into the second group, namely that he was a terrorist perpetrating acts of terrorism.
If PAS lacks the conviction to stand against murderous terrorists it is then not ready to assume the position of a responsible government. Indeed some Malaysians suspect PAS has been supporting the Muslim secessionists in southern Thailand, principally because those secessionists are Muslims (and also kinfolk), much to the anger of Thailand and the embarrassment of the Malaysian federal government. Unofficially, most Malaysians know that Thai Muslim secessionists have operated into Thailand from safe havens in Malaysia's northeastern state.
Unfortunately for an Islamic party like PAS, it is captive to its own ideology or professed ideology. It doesn't want to be seen to be retreating from its obligatory (blind) support for any Islamic group. Perhaps it might have believed it may experience support difficulties if it remains silent over the slaying of Azahari, seen by some PAS supporters as an Islamic hero in the same mode as Osama bin Laden.
I wonder what Anwar Ibrahim, former Deputy PM of Malaysia, would say, as Anwar has mentioned that he will be campaigning for PAS in a state by-election. Does he share Hadi Awang’s views on Dr Azahari?