Friday, 22 September 2017

Do we have a sound counter terrorism strategy?

Pakistan has made a great progress in contending internal terrorism for the last three years. Pakistan Army has conducted series of operations starting from “Zarb-e-Azb” to “Operation Raadul Fassad”. Due to these military actions, most of the terrorist absconded to neighboring Afghanistan or killed when showed confrontation. Now the regime has extended its control to tribal areas and trying to establish rule of law with strong presence of army. The suicide attacks and bombings in urban part of the country have reduced significantly.

Prior to start military actions, the government tried to engage these terror groups for a dialogue and peaceful surrender. At that time, both segment of the society, liberals and conservatives came up with different views. Liberals wanted military actions straight away while conservatives desired to bring these “angry brothers” back to mainstream society and address their grievances. When negotiation strategy failed and the extremists continued their malicious activities, the public realized that now this issue can only be dealt with gun not tongue. Although the government failed in bringing them to negotiation table but it helped to build public opinion in favour of military action, which was actually a great success, as in past, the military operations were not that successful due to public resistance at large.

After these series of operations, should we now safely believe that we have eliminated terrorism, heading towards a progressive future and going to be a respectable country in the world? Unfortunately, the answer is still a “NO

The current insurgency in Pakistan is not a political or ethnic conflict like there was Tamil insurgency in Sri Lanka or now Kashmir Issue between India and Pakistan, which can be resolved with political and military strategies. This issue is actually an ideological conflict sugar coated with religious beliefs. This is a mind-set who believes in such goals and objectives which, as per them, divinely right and obligated. They believe that strict adherence to their ideology is a divinely responsibility conferred on them by God.

This needs ideological interventions with counter narrative at strategic level not tactical approaches. Our current strategies are like curing a contagious disease while killing the infected patient. The infection is not only exists but rapidly spreading to others as well. Unfortunately, we are still not convinced that terrorism is a mind-set, which we have cultivated and still doing so through our education system and social structure. We are still teaching our children that, “Islam is spread with the might of sword” and “it can only be propagated through Jihad”. We drive the names of all our war nukes from Quran, Hadith and Muslim warriors and indirectly giving a message that tanks and missiles are divinely means of protecting Islam and the country. On all national days and events, we display weapons and missiles and indirectly inspiring our young generation towards extremism. This also gives an impression that the one and only success of Pakistan, as a nation, is making an “ATOM BOMB” and pile of other nukes.

Now a days our great minds in establishment started believing that mainstreaming of terror lords will further strengthen the gains in war against terrorism. This shows that we have not learned a single lesson from Zia era and its consequences to our society.  With this strategy, a bad Ehsanullah Ehasan becomes a good one over nightly when he blames India for all his deeds. A man on wanted posters in United Nation is on campaign posters in Pakistan. He is contesting elections with his own ideology of violence and Jihad. You will find so many such characters if you go through the profiles of candidates contested the recent by elections in NA 120 Lahore.

If we sincerely want to eliminate terrorism, we need to transform our curriculum, which is actually breeding the extremist mind-set in our educational institutions. Recent arrests of students in Karachi University and last year in IBA are some of the stunning example. We have to reforms the madrassah system, which is a parallel educational system with no control mechanism by the state.  We should revisit our internal and foreign policies and align them with the progressive world. Now it is high time to realize that the whole world cannot be wrong when they say that we need to be serious in our efforts in combating this issue. We should not use these elements for political and military gains and it should be clear that we cannot counter India and Afghanistan with such partners. We need to counter Indian interference with logical and diplomatic means not through Masood Azhar and Hafiz Saeed.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Pakistani Definition of Patriotism

Patriotism is a Latin word that drives from "Patriota" which means "country man".
The definition of patriotism as per oxford dictionary is "the vigorous support for one’s country". Generally, patriotism means "Attachment with your own country or homeland. The determinants of the said attachment are cultural, historical, ethnical or political affiliations. 
In Pakistan, the definition of patriotism neither complies with this universal definition nor with its determinants. The state definition of patriotism is “Pakistan came into being in the name of Islam, so our history, our ethnicity, our culture and political theory is Islam. So accepting and believing this without any deliberations is called patriotism”.
Soon after the partition, our indigenous brains (so called historians and mullahs) put their best efforts to indoctrinate the new generation with this tailor made patriotism rather chauvinism. They selected a particular sect of Islam as the official religion and the rest, according to them were second grade citizens and some even infidels. To glorify this newly invented ideology, they borrowed historical achievements and personalities from Arabs, Turks and Afghans and proclaimed it as our magnificent past. With this we broaden the boundaries of our patriotism and became part of a global so called Muslim Ummah.
As we had a different identity after the partition that was more Arabic and less indigenous Indian. India became like Mars or Jupiter for us. We told our new generation that we have no cultural or historical links with India therefore, India is the greatest enemy of Islam and Pakistan. We declared our geographical boundaries with India as “Ideological boarders” and rejected our own thousands of years old culture and history. We forgot that the most developed and advanced civilizations of the mankind were in Sindh and Taxila.
The Punjabi establishment in Army avowed that Pakistan Army is not only guarding our ideological boundaries but also protecting the Muslim Ummah from evil forces. With this narration, respecting army and accepting whatever they say became imperative for being patriotic. We never questioned the outcomes of 1948, 1965, 1971 and 1999 wars as it may jeopardize our patriotism. Using this definition of patriotism, army threw out the elected governments several times but we, being a patriotic citizen, distributed sweets in the streets of Pakistan.
As we have kept our ethnic identity at bay since the partition, so we blatantly called all the nationalists as traitors “Ghaddars”. With this, Bengalis, Balochi, Sindhi, Pashtuns, Kashmiri, Gilgit-Baltistani and Mahjirs became doubtful and suspicious citizens of this holy land. Being Punjabi was the only criteria or benchmark of judging the patriotism. The Punjabi establishment ruled East Pakistan as their colony for 24 years. Both Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the first prime minister of Pakistan Liaqat Ali Khan rejected the thousands of years old history and culture of Bengalis. In 1971 Gen. Niazi treated Bengalis like rats and raped hundreds of women in Dhaka and the result was creation of Bangladesh.

For a vibrant and progressive Pakistan, we need to revisit our definition of patriotism and accept that Pakistan’s existence is linked with a liberal and secular society. We need to admit that our history does not start from 1947 but it has a splendid past consisting of thousands of years. States have no religions and are responsible of the welfare of all the citizens irrespective of their faith cast and creed. Pakistan Army is a state institution and reporting to the chief executive of Pakistan. Their prime responsibility is to protect the geographical boundaries not the so called ideological boarders.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Who won 1965 war? Truth must prevail!

A million dollar question is who actually won 1965 War? India or Pakistan? For a factual and neutral answer, we have to explore the circumstances which actually put both the countries into this bloody war. In Pakistan we have two different narrations, one is the official Pakistan Study version which is essential to believe in order to be a true patriotic Pakistani and second one is the account of some left wing authors and intellectuals who always refute the official version and jeopardize their patriotism.
What we read in our curriculum books is a nice one which states that the coward Indian army attacked the international border near Lahore in the dark night with the aim of capturing Lahore. This was a betrayal, coward and irreverent effort of the enemy which our audacious and faithful forces crushed. Our Army destroyed many Indian aircrafts and ground troops. Some even announce that we had captured substantial parts of India along the border and control line.
Apart from the above two versions, there are neutral international authors and historians who describe otherwise. They say that one fine morning our generals thought that, the Muslim population of Indian held Kashmir is ready to revolt in favor of Pakistan. So this is the right time to infiltrate into Kashmir, create a revolt of locals and capture the whole of Kashmir. With this cheerful approach some generals planned an operation named "Operation Gibraltar". After planning and deliberations, our forces executed the operation and enter into the Indian held Kashmir with 40,000 Pak Army troops. In the first week of August 1965, the troops of Azad Kashmir Regimental Force crossed the Control Line and entered into the Indian held Kashmir across Pir Panjal range. The Indian Army was not prepared for this abrupt infiltration and met some heavy loses initially. Pakistan made progress in some areas including Poonch sector in Jammu. In retaliation, Indian Army on August 28, 1965 captured the strategic Haji Pir pass which was located some 8 km into the Pakistan held Kashmir. With this move of Indian Army, the Operation Gibraltar failed in achieving its objectives. Pakistan Army then started an another operation Grand Slam in an attempt to capture some major cities of Jammu but the Indian attack on international boarder in Lahore and Sialkot divided the efforts of Pakistan Army which resulted the failure of Operation Grand Slam as well.
 The experts say that both the countries faced heavy losses in this war but India has an upper hand due to the following reasons:
  • Pakistan has started the war to capture Indian held Kashmir and failed to do so
  • The losses of Pakistan, both man and material are more than India. See the details below:                     
Details of Losses
Territory Lost
540 Sq Km
Over 1,840 Sq Km

Some independent authors also give upper hand to India. (quoted from BBC website dated August 13, 2015) The US retired Diplomat Dennis Kux says "Although both sides lost heavily in men and material, and neither gained a decisive military advantage, India had the better of the war. Delhi achieved its basic goal of thwarting Pakistan's attempt to seize Kashmir by force. Pakistan gained nothing from a conflict which it had instigated."
 English historian John Keay: "The war lasted barely a month. Pakistan made gains in the Rajasthan desert but its main push against India's Jammu-Srinagar road link was repulsed and Indian tanks advanced to within a sight of Lahore. Both sides claimed victory but India had most to celebrate."

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Our Fabricated and Imported Heroes!

We have read about many pure and Islamic heroes in our curriculum books, poetry of our national poets and many other history books written after the partition of Sub-continent. The one and only great logic which our right wing intellectuals and authors teach us is that these were the great pious people who actually converted us to Islam as we were infidels.  Have we ever bothered to research about these so called heroes or explored the belief that they served Islam? Have these heroes like Muhammad Bin Qasim, Mehmud Ghaznivi, Muhammad Shahab-Ud- Din Ghori and so many others (unfortunately all are Arabs and Afghanis and non from our mother land) really converted us to Islam and saved us from the deepest part of the hell? But unfortunately this is not true and in fact these are not our heroes but invaders of our mother land.
 After the invention of two nation theory and creation of Pakistan, our so called politicians thought that if we have to convince our new generation that the Muslims were a single nation in subcontinent (although majority Muslims of Subcontinent didn’t agree on this) and Pakistan is a home for Muslims to practice its religion freely and independently, we have to surpass the nationality based on ethnics and geography. For that purpose they invented a fabricated Muslim history.These intellectuals tried their level  best to teach us that these legendary Islamic Heroes actually spread Islam in Sub-continent which is now a great Muslim nation in the world map. While fabricating the actual and true history with full patriotism and Islamic mood, they unfortunately forgot some basic and universal facts which are as under:
·         One of our so called heroes is Sultan Mehmood Ghaznvi who we believe that, served Islam in subcontinent. Mehmood was an Afghan warrior who Invaded Multan and killed thousands of Ismailia Muslims (a branch of Shia Islam). These Shia Muslims were obeying the Fatimid Khilafat of Egypt. The Fatimid Khilafat was spread in North Africa from Red Sea in the east to Atlantic Ocean in the west and ultimately made Egypt  the center of their Khilafat. They built Cairo City, Al Azhar University and Al Hakim Mosque in Egypt. They also patronized some great Muslim scientists like Ibni Al Hytham. After killing the Shias, Sultan Mehmood established Ghaznvi rule in some parts of subcontinent and according to our intellectuals this was a great service to Islam.
·         Our second so called great hero is Shahāb-ud-Din Muhammad Ghori, (we have named one of our Missile with his name). Our state sponsored historians told us that he was a great servant of Islam in Sub-continent. But the fact is that, In 1186 AD and 1187 AD Muhammad Ghori conquered Lahore with the support of a local Hindu ruler, he ended the Ghaznavid's Islamic rule and established his own. Again Ghori invaded an Islamic sultanate which was created by one of our hero and established his own rule and become our hero. Ghaznvis and Ghories were enemies of each other, but still both were the servant of Islam and are our heroes.
·         Muhammad Bin Qasim was a General of Walid Bin Abdul Malik, the Umayyad Caliph of Damascus. According to Mubarak Ali a great historian, the war between Muhammad Bin Qasim and Raja Dhahir of Sind in 712 AD was not a war of faith. Qasim was a general not an Islamic preacher and he has invaded Sindh just to expand the Umayyad rule. Mubrak Ali has also mentioned that the Islam had reached Sindh  through some preachers of Shia Islam before Muhammad Bin Qasim .
·         We have imported heroes not only from Arab and Afghanistan but from Greece as well. We are proudly declaring Alexander a great warrior and have given him a Muslim name “Sikander”  We never mentioned the bravery of Raja Porus who was a Punjabi local ruler from Sub-continent and strongly fought with Alexander to protect his mother land.
I have mentioned a few examples and there are many more which our political historians forgot to consider while inventing our Islamic history of subcontinent. Now the question is why the need of reinventing the history felt? In my opinion there are two reasons; one is to legitimize the two nation theory and second is to convince the new generation that the partition was a necessity to secure Islam in subcontinent.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

How Pakistan Became a Religious State? An account of situation before partition: Part 1

To understand how religion came into the politics of Subcontinent and resulted creation of Pakistan, Roderick Mathews, in his book Jinnah Vs Gandhi says “Gandhi began his career looking for a way to realize his religious aims in political terms, while Jinnah ended his career looking for a way to fulfil his political aims in religious terms. Both mixture of religion with politics and means with ends, produced drastic and momentous decisions that can only be described as misjudgments” (Jinnah Vs Gandhi page 39)

Although Mr. Gandhi who was leading Congress Party in British India, never believed the role of religion in politics but his way of life, teaching of non-violence and preaching of moral values  were a kind of religious mindset. Majority of the top leaders in Congress Party were all Hindu and some of them were even hardliners. Congress Party being a leading political power and Hinduism being a dominant religion of Subcontinent, resulted a political and social discomfort in minority groups which include Muslims, Sikh, Christian and Zoroastrians.

 In 1906 All India Muslim League came into being. In its initial period, Muslim League was not a totally monolithic Muslim majority party. Majority of the Muslims Ulma and Scholars opposed the idea. Even Muhammad Ali Jinnah was not convinced in such kind of division in Indian Subcontinent. 
Some of the Muslim leaders tried to unite the Muslims of Subcontinent around the definition of a single nation. There were no other strong geographical, ethnical and linguistic bases of this nationalism and the only base was religion. Therefore, the two nation theory came into being which asserted that Muslims and Hindu are two separate nations and cannot live together. This ultimately convinced Muhammad Ali Jinnah to demand a separate country for the Muslims of Subcontinent. Muhammad Ali Jinnah has his own interpretations of a Muslim Society which were not harmonized with majority of the hardliner Muslim scholars. For Jinnah, Islam was all about humanity, social justice and equality.

Jinnah’s idea of separate country was strongly opposed by the major Muslim Ulma which included the then Chief of Jamaat-I-Islami Mawalana Abul Ala Maududi. According to Maududi, Jinnah himself was not a full practicing Muslim with limited knowledge of Islam and Sharia. So he was not competent enough to create an independent Muslim country.  Some Muslim leaders like Mawlana Abul Kalam Azad opposed the idea on the basis of scattered Muslim population in subcontinent. According to him, a separate country consisting of the Muslim majority provinces will create problems for all those Muslims who were living in Hindu majority states (which were more in numbers then the Muslims living in Muslim majority provinces) will be in minority and suffer in future.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah kept the ideology of Pakistan as vague as possible. He never professed that Pakistan will only be an Islamic country nor denied it. The reason behind this vague strategy was to get the support of both liberals and conservative Muslims.  His clear stance might hamper any one of the group which ultimately jeopardize the whole movement. This vague strategy provided everyone an opportunity to interpret Jinnah’s vision of Pakistan for their own vested interest after the partition.  

In the initial period soon after the partition, Pakistan was a somewhat liberal and tolerant country but over a period of 68 years it became a theocratic and conservative state. How this happened, we will discuss in our next blog. Meanwhile, I will appreciate your comments and feedback on my blog page.
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Saturday, 23 May 2015

The Funny National Action Plan (NAP)

Currently our civil and military establishments are on the same page (at least both say so) for liberating our mother land from terrorists. Our politicians and generals at last started believing that this is not Uncle Sam’s war, this is actually our war. This was a big change which, both the fictions of our society, liberals and patriots, celebrated equally, the liberals being jubilant about the triumph of democracy and the patriots by praising the only Islamic Nuclear Army. The government chalked out a National Action Plan (NAP), which again, both the groups celebrated, Liberals pleased themselves with great national consensus happened and patriots, by thanking Chief of Army staff who forced the coward civilian government to make this happen. The government abolished the moratorium on death penalty and established military courts for speedy justice! Celebrations went to its new heights! The independent media started counting the hangings! One terrorist hanged in Faysalabad! Every one cheered up! The counting went on… two… three… four and so on….. Stopped at seven…..paused for a week. All those who were involved in attacks on a former army chief were hanged and the great civil and military leaders believed that enough justice has been done.
Thanks to the NAP for letting us know that, there were only seven terrorists throughout the country. Look at the biasness of the west and Uncle Sam, They are still considering our motherland a safe haven for terrorists in spite of the fact that we have only seven terrorists among 180 million Pakistanis! What an irony. Why are they still considering the Peshawar school and church incident, moon market blast and so many others in mosques and churches as an act of terrorism? Who said the person who killed Saman Taseer, a bloody civilian, in a busy market is a terrorist? We never terrorized by this incident and thanks to our Honorable Islamabad High court for reminding us that this was not an act of terrorism. So how can our government commit contempt of court while hanging all those who are involved in brutal killings of countless civilians in so many terrible incidents for the past two decades? At least being Islamic Republic of Pakistan, how can the government declare these well-wishers of the nation as terrorists as many of them even had provided opportunity to recite the Kalma before killing the masses?
Now our great National Action Plan is in action against the general public and strict accountability of civilians has been started. All those who were involved in crimes other than the terrorism, are hanging one by one now.