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Radicalisation Of Pakistan And Global Terrorism History Essay

In Pakistan, the relation between Islam and state has been a matter of great controversy. From the time of its inception, the opinion in the country has remained divided as to whether Pakistan is to be an ‘shariah’ state or a ‘secular’ Muslim-majority state. Jinnah’s pronouncement of 11 August 1947 explicitly envisaged creation of a secular state in Pakistan. In doing so he was representing religious diversity of Pakistani society and plurality of Pakistani culture. But the Ulema (Clergy) considered it a betrayal of the cause for which the South Asian subcontinent was partitioned into two sovereign states.

2. Alas the traumatic events of 1971, culminating in the abject surrender of Pakistan armed forces in East Pakistan, did jolt the nation. Since the military ruler of the time, General Yahya Khan, and some of his close associates were notorious as drunkards and womanizers, the people blamed their waywardness as responsible for the disaster.

3. Under pressure from the religious parties, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who assumed power after the East Pakistan debacle, agreed to declare Islam the state religion of Pakistan in the Constitution of 1973.

4. Considering himself firmly entrenched in the office, Bhutto advised President Fazle Elahi Chaudhry in the first week of January 1977 to dissolve the National Assembly and appoint 7 March as the date for next general elections. In no time the hitherto divided opposition joined hands to form the Pakistan National Alliance (PNA). The workers of Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) and the pupils belonging to the madrassas of Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Islam (JUI)) spearheaded the PNA agitation to remove Bhutto from power.

5. In the early hours of that date the Chief of Army Staff, General Mohammad Zia-ul Haq, imposed martial law on the country. In his very first address to the nation on 5 July 1977, General Zia stated:

“I must say that the spirit of Islam demonstrated during the recent movement was commendable. It proved that Pakistan, which was created in the name of Islam, will continue to survive only if it sticks to Islam. I consider the introduction of Islamic system as an essential prerequisite for the country.” General Zia had no qualms in exploiting the fair name of Islam for his political ends, i.e., survival at all cost; and JI had no scruples in supporting the most ruthless military ruler of Pakistan in his design to self-perpetuate himself [v] .

6. In 1979, General Zia also promulgated Zakat and Ushr Ordinance that authorized the government to deduct what may be referred to as Islamic wealth tax at the rate of 2½ % from bank deposits that fall under the category of savings. The amount so deducted was to be distributed amongst the needy through some 32,000 zakat committees. Those who became members of these committees developed a vested interest in prolongation of Zia’s rule.

7. In line with his ‘Islamization’ program, General Zia constituted in 1980 a Shariat Bench in each of the High Court’s with the power to declare as repugnant to Islam any existing law, excluding fiscal laws. Subsequently, in the same year, a Federal Shariat Court (FSC) was established to replace provincial Shariat Benches probably to simplify the structure of the judiciary and avoid pronouncement of conflicting judgments on matters related to shariah. The FSC also had appellate jurisdiction in cases decided at lower levels under the shariah laws. The final judicial authority in the shariah matters was to be the Shariat Bench of the Supreme Court. This brought about great elevation in the position of the ulema and they reached the corridors of power.

8. In the field of education, the Quranic verses were used to describe natural laws and phenomena in textbooks of physical sciences. The subject of Pakistan Studies became a vehicle for creating hatred towards the Hindu community and the students were indoctrinated in so-called ‘ideology of Pakistan’, for which truth was compromised and history murdered. The textbooks of Islamiat became a source of controversy between various sects of Islam. The degrees conferred by madrassas were made equivalent to university degrees, on the basis of which appointments were made in educational institutions. There was talk of opening of separate girls’ universities. Urdu was made medium of instruction in government schools that effectively closed the minds of students by placing constraints on their access to knowledge [vi] .

9. Pakistani jihadist military program was developed and continuously maintained by a succession of military governments who, lacking other legitimacy, have created a special warrior culture that provides the basic fuel for terrorist organizations. The warrior values have thoroughly permeated Pakistan’s religious organisations. Thus the country’s religious leaders no longer need to find the Islamic texts to justify violence [vii] .

10. For those who speak of Pakistan as a failed state, it is enough to remind them that it is more of a n example of failed leadership. After the passing of the founding fathers there was no one to assume the responsibility of modern governance, leading to the freewheeling activity of the most obscurantist and irresponsible people ever to lay claims to the state leadership. Since the time of Zia-ul-Haq Pakistan had allowed itself to fall victim to the ambitions of Islamists and their jihadi shock troops [viii] .

Taliban's trail leads to Pakistan

11. The Idea of creation of Taliban to use it to achieve Pakistan’s strategic objective in Afghanistan was the brain wave of retired Major General Nasirullah Babar. The former director-general of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Lieutenant-General Hamid Gul, nicknamed the "godfather of the Taliban", is believed to be behind moves to help the Taliban establish a base in Pakistan's autonomous Pashtun tribal belt, which borders eastern Afghanistan.

12. Already, many Pashtun Taliban are believed to have settled in the tribal areas following their hasty withdrawals from first Mazar-e-Sharif, Kabul and then Kandahar. It is believed that the Taliban split into a number of wings in order to establish political clout in the tribal area. One group, comprising diplomats and some lower-ranked ministers in the previous Afghanistan government, announced in a press conference as having split from the Taliban, but it refused to condemn either Taliban leader Mullah Omar or Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda network [ix] .

13. Independent reports from Islamabad and Peshawar suggest that Osama Bin Laden, who suffers from renal deficiency, has been periodically undergoing dialysis in Peshawar military hospital with the knowledge and approval of the ISI [x] .

Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)

14. The intelligence community of Pakistan, which was once described by the "Frontier Post" of Peshawar (May 18, 1994) as its "invisible government" and by the "Dawn" of Karachi (April 25, 1994) as "our secret godfathers”, consists of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the ISI. While the IB comes under the Interior Minister, the ISI is part of the Ministry of Defence (MOD). Each wing of the Armed Forces has also its own intelligence directorate for tactical MI.

15. Initially, the ISI had no role in the collection of internal political intelligence except in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK) and the Northern Areas (NA--Gilgit and Baltistan). Ayub Khan, suspecting the loyalty and objectivity of the Bengali police officers in the Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau (SIB) of the IB in Dacca, the capital of the then East Pakistan, entrusted the ISI with the responsibility for the collection of internal political intelligence in East Pakistan.

16. Zia-ul-Haq expanded the internal intelligence responsibilities of the ISI by making it responsible not only for the collection of intelligence about the activities of the Sindhi nationalist elements in Sindh and for monitoring the activities of Shia organisations all over the country after the success of the Iranian Revolution in 1979, but also for keeping surveillance on the leaders of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) of Mrs.Benazir Bhutto and its allies which had started the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD) in the early 1980s.

17. The Afghan war of the 1980s saw the enhancement of the covert action capabilities of the ISI by the CIA. A number of officers from the ISI's Covert Action Division received training in the US and many covert action experts of the CIA were attached to the ISI to guide it in its operations against the Soviet troops by using the Afghan Mujahideen, Islamic fundamentalists of Pakistan and Arab volunteers. Osama bin Laden, Mir Aimal Kansi, who assassinated two CIA officers outside their office in Langley, US, in 1993, Ramzi Yousef and his accomplices involved in the New York World Trade Centre explosion in February, 1993, the leaders of the Muslim separatist movement in the southern Philippines and even many of the narcotics smugglers of Pakistan were the products of the ISI-CIA collaboration in Afghanistan.

18. The encouragement of opium cultivation and heroin production and smuggling was also an offshoot of this co-operation. The CIA, through the ISI, promoted the smuggling of heroin into Afghanistan in order to make the Soviet troops heroin addicts. Once the Soviet troops were withdrawn in 1988, these heroin smugglers started smuggling the drugs to the West, with the complicity of the ISI. The heroin dollars have largely contributed to preventing the Pakistani economy from collapsing and enabling the ISI to divert the jehadi hordes from Afghanistan to J & K after 1989 and keeping them well motivated and well-equipped.

19. In their efforts to maintain law and order in Pakistan and weaken nationalist and religious elements and political parties disliked by the army, the ISI and the army followed a policy of divide and rule. This task force has encouraged not only religious political organisations such as the Jamaat-e-Islami (JEI) of Qazi Hussain Ahmed, the Jamiat-ul-Ulema Islam (JUI) of Maulana Fazlur Rahman etc, but also sectarian organisations such as the Sipah Sahaba and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi of Riaz Basra, living under the protection of the Taliban and bin Laden in Kandahar in Afghanistan, to extend their activities to Sindh.

20. As a result of the policy of divide and rule followed in Sindh by the ISI under Musharraf, one is seeing in Pakistan for the first time sectarian violence inside the Sunni community between the Sunnis of the Deobandi faith belonging to the Sipah Sahaba and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and the Sunnis of the more tolerant Barelvi faith belonging to the Sunni Tehrik formed in the early 1990s to counter the growing Wahabi influence on Islam in Pakistan and the Almi Tanzeem Ahle Sunnat formed in 1998 by Pir Afzal Qadri of Mararian Sharif in Gujrat, Punjab, to counter the activities of the Deobandi Army of Islam headed by Lt.Gen.Mohammed Aziz, Corps Commander, Lahore [xi] .

Lethal Cocktail of ISI, Taliban & Al-Qaeda

21. According to Janes International Digest, western intelligence had convincing evidence that a large number of Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters had crossed over to Pakistan from Afghanistan. The fear of cross border US attacks compelled the ISI to shift the al-Qaeda into Pakistan Punjab and Pakistan occupied Kashmir (POK). After Faislabad raid the US doubted Musharraf’s ability to combat terrorism.

22. Pakistan had shifted many terrorist training camps to Afghanistan from POK in 1994. Many warlords came under the influence of ISI, which supported the Taliban against the Northern Alliance. The Taliban captured Kabul in 1996. They were power intoxicated and wanted to spread their operations through jihad. Pakistan’s para military forces, the Northern Light Infantry and the Taliban forces fought against the Indian Armed Forces in the Kargil war in 1999. The Taliban refused to withdraw from Kargil even when ordered by the then Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. After the Kargil war the militants who entered Kashmir were not mercenaries but highly motivated Taliban soldiers. They formed themselves into suicide squads and attacked Indian para military and army bases. The primary outfits having Taliban and operating in Kashmir include JeM, LeT, Al-Badr and HUM [xii] .

Pakistani Terrorism

23. Policy makers in Pakistan believed that India’s conventional military superiority enabled it to defend its claim to Kashmir indefinitely. The uprising and concurrent collapse of Soviet Union that occurred in part due to Moscow’s disaster at the hands of Islamist fighters in Afghanistan fostered the belief that India would not be able to manage the restive Muslim population in Kashmir. Pakistan’s nuclear program also was a vital part of Islamabad’s calculus leading it to conclude that it could foster intense insurgency with little fear of Indian military escalation.

24. To encourage the uprising, Islamabad provided a vast range of assistance to insurgents, including the diplomatic and political support as well sanctuary, arms and training. Pakistan exploited the apparatus it had set up in the 1980s to channel support to anti-Soviet Mujahedeen in Afghanistan, instead directing it towards Kashmir. Pakistan sought to wage a guerilla war on India.

25. All leading Kashmiri militant groups have bases in Pakistan. The JKLF originally made its home on the Pakistani side. Hizb-ul-Mujahedeen was based in Pakistan’s NWFP; Lashkar-e-Tayyeba(LET) was headquartered in Muridke, which is near the city of Lahore in Pakistan; and Harkat-ul-Mujahedeen and Jaish-e-Mohammad was based in Muzaffarabad on Pakistan’s side of Kashmir border. This allows the militants to recruit, train, plan, proselytize and enjoy the respite of Indian counterinsurgency efforts.

26. Pakistani officials also helped train Kashmiri militants directly. Retired Pakistani army officers and non commissioned officers who were supposedly moonlighting from their regular duties instructed recruits in guerilla warfare, evasion techniques and use of light arms. By 2001 Pakistan was running more than 90 militant training camps. Much of the training occurred in Afghanistan under the eyes of the Pakistan backed Taliban and al-Qaeda. In Afghanistan various militant groups forged ties to each other as well as to the international jihadists linked to al-Qaeda.

27. Assistance in planning was another vital contribution. The ISI helped militants cross the fortified and patrolled line of control from the base camps in Pakistan. Pakistan also finances the guerillas. Although precise figures are not available, common estimates range from $40 million to as high as $ 250 million annually. This money in turn help recruit many poor Pakistanis who had few other opportunities.

28. Pakistan also bolsters the militant manpower, by recruitment and transit of Pakistani and foreign volunteers seeking to fight in Kashmir. India claimed that in 2002 over 60% of the militants were from foreign nationals – a number that has varied between 1,000 and 2,500 in recent years. The Pakistani government worked with the Taliban and with international jihadist organizations such as al-Qaeda to send foreign militants to Kashmir.

29. As Robert Wirsing notes after reviewing various Pakistani denials of assistance, “When all is said and done, however, there is very little likelihood that many infiltrators have made their way across the Line of control (LOC) into Indian Kashmir without the knowledge and active cooperation of the Pakistan army, of the Afghanistan seasoned ISI and, indeed, of key elements of bureaucracies of Pakistan [xiii] .


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