Within days of the arrest of some terrorists by the CID in Karachi, a group of terrorists was able to get together and attack CID headquarters with automatic weapons and a huge truck bomb. Obviously, these are not isolated disgruntled individuals taking revenge for the latest drone attack. They are well organized, well trained and well supplied with arms, ammunition, technical capability and intelligence. How did that come about? I had a Facebook exchange after the news which maybe relevant to the question and led to this article.
First some background: A very intelligent senior journalist in Pakistan had complained that we are suffering in the war on terror and the US is asking us to "do more" without realizing how hard things are. The notion that we are being unfairly asked to “do more” and things would be fine if that was not done is a common feeling in Pakistan. My reply follows.
According to this popular version of events, the US and other powers got a military dictator to arm and train these maniacs (no Pakistani interest in this scheme is implied), then things sort of coasted along happily for 12 years, then came 9-11 (frequently believed to be a Mossad-CIA operation) and the US turned around and said: “We want them dead now”. Since then, the refrain goes, we have been dutifully trying to kill these maniacs and the current Pakistani government in particular is trying its best to kill them and it is unfair of the US to ask us to "do more".
I think this version of events misses some points.
First of all, the jihadi project was indeed a CIA project, but it was also our project from the very beginning. America wanted Russia humbled in Afghanistan. We wanted that humbling to be done by Islamist jihadis under our control and some of “us” had the foresight and brilliance to see in this an opportunity to settle scores with India and establish permanent control over domestic Pakistani politics and so on and so forth.
Second, after the CIA finished its dirty business in Afghanistan and left, “we” multiplied the jihadi infrastructure by 10. We redirected it to Kashmir and spread it throughout Pakistan. Of course the westoxicated burger-jihadi middle class had very little notion of what was going on. These were serious things, handled by serious people in the security establishment, not shared with the rest of the country except on a “need to know basis”. It is disingenuous to think the multiplication of jihadi militias throughout the 1990s was also America's fault (though the US did ignore it—perhaps because they thought it improved their leverage over India, perhaps because they were busy with other things). Then, after 9-11 (which was not an inside job in my view), “we” (meaning our security services) protected good jihadis and failed to go after the indoctrination or finance pipelines because “we" wanted the infrastructure kept alive, both for domestic use and for future use against India.
Third, the current government may be "doing more", but how will "doing less" help in this situation? And if the army is now on board with stopping this menace (and I think it may be that their leaders indeed are on board by now, though the rank and file is being fed a diet of anti-Indian and anti-Israeli propaganda to justify this action) then why are army-sponsored PR operators and ex-generals and admirals still writing op-eds as if the jihadis are our heroes and America is the enemy?
These things indicate that the urge to maintain a jihadi option (for domestic use as much as for use against India) is still alive and well.
Of course, even if the rickety state apparatus does decide to go all out against the jihadis, the process will be neither pretty nor quick. There is no simple way to put the genie back into the bottle. The half million who are already trained (Arif Jamal's figure in Shadow Wars) will have to be dealt with. Luckily, some have already moved on to other occupations and others have become simple criminals, busy with kidnapping and armed robbery. But the more committed ones will have to be disarmed and jailed or killed. And in order to do that the state will have to shut down their financing, crack down on their above-ground supporters and win the battle of ideas in the minds of the public (and improve its functioning in general and make it less unjust, a problem it shares with India's rickety state).
None of this can succeed if the state's own paid propagandists are busy spreading confusion and propaganda that undermines the psy-ops effort. It will also not succeed if the army is simultaneously trying to protect assets for other uses (because the “good jihadis” don’t seem to understand the distinction and frequently help out the “bad jihadis”). It will also not succeed if Saudi and Gulf financing is not being intercepted. In short, it will not stop unless the India-centric, zero-sum national security mindset is changed and the armed forces give up their totalitarian domestic political ambitions. The continued existence of these ambitions necessitates that a good part of the jihadi pipeline be protected.
For proof of this, you need to look no further than Musharraf’s moronic interviews with Der Spiegel and, more recently, at the Atlantic council. In fact if you put this latest interview together with Admiral Fasih Bokhari's article you can see that the generals who are America's great white hope in Pakistan are perhaps more dangerous and deluded than the illiterate and corrupt gangsters that give the civilian political parties a bad name. But, military men being military men, no Pentagon general seems to be able to resist the sight of a man in a finely starched uniform, especially if he also likes whisky (the one sure sign of "enlightened moderation", if the diplomatic reports of the US embassy from the last 50 years are any guide).
Unless we can wean the army off these twin ambitions (alliance with the mullahs in domestic politics and anti-Indian hatred as an organizing principle), we are in for much worse than this.
Omar Ali is a Pakistani-American physician who also moderates the “Asiapeace” discussion group on the internet.
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
Hope voices like that of Omar Ali get louder before the "Land of the Pure" gets imploded by the Jehadi project.
India desires a situation, where for India's foreign policy and security issues , Pakistan becomes a non entity.
However, for Pakistan, India is the only entity.
It's a dilemma that cannot be easily solved.
Of course, “this version misses some points,” -- rather it misses some very fundamental points. The jihadi project might have been agreed by the C.I.A., but it certainly was the brain child of Pakistan army or rather of the ISI. “We wanted that humbling to be done……” – The elaboration could not have been put more clearly and honestly by any writer in the world. “Perhaps because they thought it increased their leverage over India,” I wouldn’t think the Americans are that far-sighted. Their foreign policy is rather a very messy one for a long-long time. It would suffice to say that they passionately believe in the present tense and are not like the British, they once were, in planning far into the future. Their aim achieved, they left Afghanistan and left behind the most dangerous weaponry, of the time, with their trusted one, without even stock-taking. And that situation was a clear sign for Pakistan to go berserk and settle score with India, by whom they have been humiliated three times in the last twenty-four years.
“then why are army-sponsored PR operators and ex-generals and ex-admirals…..?
It is not a mystery at all. It has something to do with human nature with negative and diabolical aspirations. Having said that, this attitude is acceptable from ordinary human beings including an ordinary citizen of Pakistan, but not from people of great responsibility. It puzzles every sane citizen of the sub-continent, why the Pakistani establishment is so obsessed with the idea of possessing Kashmir, and in the process they might even, and hope not, destroy the very existence of their sovereign nation. And of course, to their belief they have to make a case for the gullible, and so continue to ask or even coerce their ex-general and ex-admirals to make their contribution. After all, even the ex-generals and ex-admirals have a strong bond with their juniors, who run the country presently.
“And in order to do that the state will have to……” That truly is a horrendous job, and it requires the will of a very tall leadership. Pakistan has been contemplating with the idea of a native Mustafa Kamal, but till such a leader is born in the “land of the pure” the present administration has to do with whatever is available locally. It is a very sad picture I am afraid, but who suffers, the people of Pakistan. “In short, it will not stop unless India-centric……..—Do one needs to add a further elaboration to this most honest observation?
We can only pray to God almighty that some good sense, pragmatism, honesty and respect for fellow human beings, let those human beings be Pakistanis, prevails on these generals and realization of the possibility of greatness which really has alluded them so far, is around the corner if only they look with their own eyes and not with eyes of their friends, who happens to be the enemy of their enemy. There is a need for soul searching collectively for Pakistan as a nation, and to that their cannot be a greater inspiration than Allama Iqbal’s following couplet;
Apne Man Mein Doob Kar Paja Surag-E-Zindgi
Tu Agar Mera Nahin Banta Na Ban, Apna To Ban
Pak state and Govt works for Lashkar-e-toiba.
Pakistanis and their supporters here talk of 9/11 always but never metion 26/11 .
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