Geopolitics

It is Pakistan State Versus Islam
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 09 Oct , 2021

The demand for Pakistan was to secure homeland for Muslims. This was logically tenuous, as a sizeable chunk of Muslim population despite their pro-Pakistan proclivities chose to stay in India. In the 1946 elections, 86 percent of the Indian Muslims had voted for the Muslim League, but when they realized that they were unwelcome in the so-called Muslim homeland, they had no alternative but to stay back. Those who went to Pakistan from the unsettled areas, particularly UP and Bihar, became second class citizens, i.e. mohajirs, a pejorative term in Pakistan. It may be underscored that mohajirs were the true companions of Prophet Mohammad, who accompanied him from Mecca to Medina, i.e. Hijra. They were in fact the first converts to Islam and comprised Prophet Mohammad’s advisors and relatives. The founder of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, was himself a mohajir and a shia, both persecuted communities in Pakistan. The first Prime Minister of Pakistan Liaquat Ali Khan, a mohajir from UP, was assassinated in October 1951, only four years after the creation of Pakistan. Had he chosen to remain with his mother country India, he would have in all probability lived longer. With his assassination and Jinnah’s demise in September 1948, the pretense of homeland for Muslims was gone and the actual undercurrent of Islam asserted itself.

The momentum of jihad through its (Pakistan) history has hardly abated. In this momentum, constant splintering and mutation has been taking place.

Races Assert in Unexpected Ways

Once Pakistan was created, two things happened within Pakistan — first, the various races within Pakistan began to assert their identity, particularly the Punjabis with hegemonic tendencies. Races can be forgotten but they do not die, they slumber in the genes and surface in unexpected ways. That East Pakistan revolted and became Bangladesh, is because of this genetic truism with regard to races. Second, Pakistan since its inception began to incubate its own brand of Islam; anti-Ahmadiyya and anti-Shia in orientation. In 1953, there was vicious anti-Ahmadiyya riots in  Lahore in Pakistan, in which more than 2000 Ahmadiyyas were killed. The army under one Lt Gen Azam Khan, was called in to quell the riots. The General imposed martial law in the area. Thus began the tryst of Pakistan with direct and indirect rule of the Pakistan Army.Therefore, domestically as an institution, the very role of Pakistan Army, is predicated on its arbiter role in managing the various hues and segments of Political Islam within the country.The founding father of Pakistan, Jinnah, was miles away from spiritual Islam. Once he died it did not matter that a Shia created Pakistan, that the Ahamadiyyas were the pioneers of Pakistan movement. Chaudhry Sir Muhammad Zafarullah Khan, an Ahamadiyya, was the first foreign minister of Pakistan. He was considered brilliant as a diplomat, even by his detractors in India. There were anti-Ahamadiyyas riots countrywide again in 1974. Hundreds were killed. 13 mosques were torched and 20 destroyed.

Pakistan split because of racial differences in 1972. Two years later, Pakistan was again on fire because of Islamic theological reasons. 1974 anti-Ahamadiyya riots happened during the rule of a Sindhi Shia, ZA Bhutto. Four years, later he was hanged by a bigoted Sunni Army Officer, Gen Zia-ul-Haq. The General had migrated from Jallandhar to Pakistan’s Punjab. Such Punjabis are not branded mohajirs in Pakistan. The Punjabi race overshadows Islam in Pakistan or it can be said that Islam is a tool in the hands of ruling Punjabi elite. To assess Pakistan in the present context, it is necessary to understand the cocktail of race and Islam, as it impinges on the Pakistani state, Pakistani society, and the subcontinent as such, which most importantly includes Afghanistan.

A QUAD member, it is only reasonable for India to expect US led international sanctions to be imposed on Pakistan.

 The radical Islamic winds that blow in Afghanistan actually emanate from Pakistan. In the wake of Iranian Revolution in 1979, the Deobandi organization founded the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) to check Shia influence. Following which there were mutations to more extreme varieties like the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), then LeJ Alami. This was followed by Ahle-e-Haddis, a Wahabi organization. This organization spawned the LeT. Tahreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was impelled by the Pakistan military operations, i.e. Zarb-e-Azb. The very premise of these operations was the distinction that the Pakistan establishment drew between global jihadis and Pak sponsored jihadis, or to say, ‘Good Taliban’ and ‘Bad Taliban’. This impelled the victims of Pak military operations to form the TTP which on migration to Nangarahar province in Afghanistan, mutated into Islamic State. There they were joined by Pakistanis, who fought in Syria. Hafiz Saeed Khan was appointed its leader. In the IS Shura, out of the 12, nine were Pakistanis. Some Indians also subsequently joined the Islamic State Khorasan (IS-K). Though the Pakistani establishment managed to splinter the IS (K), and align with the Haqqani Group, a majority remained virulently anti-Pakistan, pro-Shariat and pro-caliphate.

It is Zulfikar Bhutto who set up the Afghan Cell in the foreign office and began to cultivate Afghan Islamists exiled in Pakistan. He is considered to be the progenitor of the Haqqani group. It was his daughter Benazir who created Taliban with the help of Jamiat-Ulema-Islam(JUI) a rival of JeI which allegedly abetted execution of her father. Initially,the JeI had had a big role in radicalizing Afghanistan. Later, of course Zia’s role is well documented. Most rulers in Pakistan, civil and military, contributed to the Islamization of Pakistan and the jihadisation of muslims .in the subcontinent.The process accentuated, and never attenuated.

Pakistan is beholden to jihad, jihad is not beholden to Pakistan.

Mutatiion and Momentum of Jihad

Jihad in the Af-Pak region has many hues. There are differences on the degree of anti-Americanism and anti-Shiaism between various groups. Mullah Bradar is despised by the Pakistani establishment and Haqqani group, because of his affinity to the US.  It was he, who was the spearhead for the talks with the US in Doha, and therefore is not only sidelined, but reportedly humiliated physically and otherwise.

The momentum of jihad through its history has hardly abated. In this momentum, constant splintering and mutation has been taking place.

In the wake of Iranian Revolution in 1979, the Deobandi organization in Pakistan founded the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) to check Shia influence. Following which there were mutations to more extreme verities like the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), then LeJ Alami. This was followed by Ahle-e-Haddis, a Wahabi organization. This organization spawned the LeT. Tahreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was impelled by the Pakistan military operations, i.e. Zarb-e-Azb. The very premise of these operations was the distinction that the Pakistan establishment drew between global jihadis and Pak sponsored jihadis, or to say, ‘Good Taliban’ and ‘Bad Taliban’. This impelled the victims of Pak military operations to form the TTP which on migration to Nangarahar province in Afghanistan, mutated into Islamic State. There they were joined by Pakistanis, who fought in Syria. Hafiz Saeed Khan was appointed its leader. In the IS Sura, out of the 12, nine were Pakistanis. Some Indians also subsequently joined the Islamic State Khorasan (IS-K). Though the Pakistani establishment managed to splinter the IS (K), and align with the Haqqani Group, a majority remained virulently anti-Pakistan, pro-Shariat and pro-caliphate.

Sanctions against Pakistan?

The Islamic construct of Pakistan reflects in the latest independent Congressmen Research Service (CRS) Report of the US. CRS is a bipartisan organization of the US Congress. The report says that there are twelve terrorist groups operating within and from Pakistan, of which five are oriented towards India. These twelve groups designated as foreign terrorist organizations, can be divided into five categories:-

    • Globally oriented
    • Afghanistan oriented
    • India oriented
    • Domestically oriented
    • Sectarian (anti-Shia)

The report categorically acknowledges that the LeT was responsible for Mumbai 26/11, JeM was the perpetrator of the 2001 attack on Indian Parliament, and HUJI formed in 1980 was rechristened as HM (Hizb-ul-Mujahideen) and since has been operating in Kashmir. Significantly, this report was released before the recent QUAD summit. It also acknowledged that Pakistan has not only provided safe havens to India and Afghanistan oriented terror groups, but has been facilitating attacks from its territory.

Shariat law is the final stage of Islamization. Punjab ruled Pakistan can buck this reality at its peril, but if it becomes a Shariat ruled country, it’s borders with Afghanistan would notionally melt, the difference between Pak Military and Taliban would disappear, and the distinction between state and non-state actors would dissolve and Pakistan as a state would implode…

Based on this unqualified castigation of Pakistani State for its terror activities, as a QUAD member, it is only reasonable for India to expect US led international sanctions to be imposed on Pakistan. For sharper focus on the strategic and geopolitical objectives of QUAD, India cannot afford to be distracted by Pakistan sponsored proxy war and terrorism.

Pakistan is Beholden to Jihad

Ever since Taliban usurped power in Afghanistan, there has been a spurt in terrorist attacks in the Af-Pak region. In August alone, in Pakistan, 35 attacks have taken place, all attributed to the TTP. Some 52 civilians were killed in these attacks. Islamabad is extremely nervous that with Taliban in power in Afghanistan, there may be spillover of jihadi terrorism in Pakistan, which may impact investment in the CPEC or the BRI. China has already invested USD 25 billion in power projects in the CPEC and is demanding greater security for these projects and the Chinese personnel. It may be recalled that in July this year, about a dozen Chinese workers were killed by a bomb attack in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa province. These workers were engaged in a hydroelectric project (Dasu project) and were travelling in a bus, when they were attacked by a suicide bomber.  This attack is again attributed to the TTP. Despite massive military operations against the TTP by Pak military and US ‘droning’, this global jihadi organization of anti-Pak orientation has survived. Its resurgence was ensured by Afghan-Taliban opened gates of the Bagaram jail for them to flee and regroup themselves.

This clearly reveals that Pakistan is beholden to jihad, jihad is not beholden to Pakistan.

On 04 Oct five Pakistan military personnel were killed in North Waziristan on the Af-Pak border. TTP accepted responsibility saying that the Pak military personnel were ambushed while on a raiding mission. The TTP has an estimated 6000 personnel and have sanctuaries in the eastern and western parts of Pakistan.This anti-Pak jihadi organization is quite active on the Af-Pak border. It is believed that the Afghan Taliban has facilitated a three weeks ceasefire between the military and the TTP. Imran has also been talking of cease-fire and has offered amnesty to TTP cadres who surrender, but the TTP spokesperson Mohd Khurasni that all the reports about cease-fire are baseless and vowed to relentlessly  and unremittingly attack the Pak military.He also said that the organization is solidly integrated.He out rightly rejected peace agreement with Pakistan. It is difficult to miss the travesty of times. Only few months ago the Pak establishment was overenthusiastic in offering mediation between US and Afghanistan Taliban, the roles have now reversed.It is indeed indicative of fast changing geopolitics. The TTP and Afghan Taliban have made Imran look so small!

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Who will stop Suicide Bombing?

There are enough indications that with Taliban in Kabul, ‘suicide bomber’ based jihadi terrorism will increase. This form of terrorism has sought to be further legitimized by the Taliban decision to raise a full battalion of suicide-bombers to be deployed in Badakhashan province on its border with Tajikistan. This has been confirmed by the Dy Governor Mullah Nissar Ahmedi. The Dy Governor said that such a battalion was used to dislodge the previous Afghan government. The new suicide-bomber battalion has been named Lashkar-e-Mansoori. ‘Suicide-bomber’ Jihad in the Af-Pak region has been legitimized as a legitimate form of warfare. Essentially, this warfare is based on deception and deceit. It is through  this particular warfare that Taliban has installed itself in Kabul and it is through this very form of warfare, that it has decided to secure its regime.

The clerics in our subcontinent as well as the Pakistan state or the ruling Taliban, do occasionally condemn suicide bombings not because they are appalled by mass murder, but because of scriptural reasons which considers suicide un-Islamic. The phenomenon of suicide bombing is endemic and common to all Jihadi groups. In most cases Muslims are ‘suicide bombing’Muslims. Just a few days back five civilians were killed in such an attack outside Idgah Masjid in Kabul, that too at a time when the memorial service in respect of the mother of Taliban spokesperson Zaibullah Mujhaid was going on.Well Taliban during its jihad against Karzai and Ghani regime regularly targeted funeral processions or proceedings.Invariably suicide bombings accelerated during the period of Ramzan. Mosques, religious gatherings, or funerals are no sentimental deterrence to suicide bombings, which actually indicates that it is part of Political Islam. The destruction of Bamiyan Buddha was also motivated by Political Islam.

Who should make Laws in Pakistan?

The TTP has categorically maintained that there can only be accommodation with the Pakistani State if the country is wholly and comprehensively ruled by Shariat. This was also the demand of Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM), which had captured Swat Valley in 2007.Even at the present juncture, no sooner Taliban drove away the Afghan government from Kabul, the head of the Lal Masjid in Islamabad, Maulana Abdul Aziz unfurled the flag of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and declared Pakistan as a Shariat ruled country. When the police took action he warned them of the reprisal by TTP. Pakistan by now is saturated with madrassas and mosques, it has formidable Jihadi producing seminaries in the world. Pak Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are totally radicalized. In this march of Islam, the next step is Shariat rule.We must recognize that Shariat law is the final stage of Islamization. Punjab ruled Pakistan can buck this reality at its peril, but if it becomes a Shariat ruled country, it’s borders with Afghanistan would notionally melt, the difference between Pak Military and Taliban would disappear, and the distinction between state and non-state actors would dissolve and Pakistan as a state would implode because Balochis and Sindhis do not share the same jihadi world view.Therefore, today’s Pakistan is torn between musalman and Islam.

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Conclusion

When we use terms like radical, political, extremist, fundamentalist with regard to Pakistan, we are essentially categorizing Pakistani brand of Islam, Islam as it is and Islam as interpreted by radicals, which most Pakistanis themselves don’t endorse.The prime mover of Pakistan is religion.It is religion which determines the world view of Punjabis and Pasthuns of Pakistan.In the Af-Pak region there is deadly combination of jihadism and tribalism. Religion has destroyed society and culture in Pakistan. Most importantly it has destroyed politics in Pakistan. A very significant segment feels that it is only Allah who has the right to make law, and the power to legislate was only with the Prophet. This  concept is the basis of Shariat. This  is where  democracy in Pakistan is at war with Islam.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

RSN Singh

is a former military intelligence officer who later served in the Research and Analysis Wing, or R&AW and author of books Asian Strategic and Military Perspective and The Military Factor in Pakistan. His latest book is The Unmaking of Nepal.

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One thought on “It is Pakistan State Versus Islam

  1. Politicians most of the time for their selfish motives have been the creator of radical, political, extremist, fundamentalist culminating into terrorist groups so has been very common in Pakistani politics.It is not Pakistan State Versus Islam but Pakistan State Vs Military and these groups pro-Shariat and pro-caliphate wanting Pakistan to be a lead Islamic country following the Sharia way of life.An enlightenig article about how the Taliban and the Haqqani group and others took birth.

    Read more at:
    http://www.indiandefencereview.com/news/it-is-pakistan-state-versus-islam/

    Read more at:
    http://www.indiandefencereview.com/news/it-is-pakistan-state-versus-islam/

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