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Some thoughts on how to curb Pakistani militancy

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  • Some thoughts on how to curb Pakistani militancy

    Some thoughts on how to curb Pakistani militancy

    By Abdullah M. Adnan

    Monday, January 28, 2008

    Military rule and the "war on terror" are the two main culprits for the rise of militancy in Pakistan. A third factor, a dictator-foreign nexus - whereby a Western power covertly or overtly supports dictators or military rulers - adds fuel to the fire.

    Militancy surges under military rule. By putting restrictions on genuine political activity, dictatorial rule shuts the doors on peaceful expressions of dissent. It attempts to establish its writ by sheer force, and as a reaction, it gives rise to an urge among certain segments of society to advance their cause through strong-arm tactics. In this vein, militancy is not restricted to extremists; it becomes a prevalent mindset - although in varying degrees - among the general population.

    Religious political parties in Pakistan have been working rather unsuccessfully toward "Islamization" of the political system. They have succeeded neither in persuading the government to accept their demands, such as complete implementation of Islamic law, nor in coming to power themselves. The inability to make significant political advances in a democratic process, together with the militarized government setup, gives cause to those referred to as the "local Taliban" and to Al-Qaeda-influenced elements.

    The Red Mosque episode last year illustrated this problem. In April and May 2007, I met with Abdul Rashid Ghazi, the deputy chief of the mosque and its adjacent school, who was killed in the ensuing siege. I asked him about the legality and effectiveness of the methods employed by his students - such as taking hostages and threatening suicide attempts against government targets.

    He responded, "Our struggle may be viewed as a natural alternative to the almost complete failure of religious political parties and their approach." Referring to the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (United Action Forum), an alliance of religious parties, he said that the ruling elite would never meet their real demands - and would instead try to placate the religious parties by agreeing on peripheral issues such as writing an individual's religion in his or her passport.

    Claiming that the Red Mosque episode would lead the way for other such protests, Ghazi, also a university graduate and former United Nations official, assured me that although he threatened the use of force, he did not intend to resort to it. "Hopefully," I thought.

    Eventually, however, the government used force and the students responded in kind, giving extremists yet another excuse for increasing ruthlessness.

    Also contributing to the rise in militancy is the widespread resentment against the United States' military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq. Many Pakistanis feel that the US invaded a sovereign Muslim country on the pretext that it was providing refuge to Osama bin Laden, without having established his guilt in a court of law. Moreover, some contend that Washington invaded Afghanistan even though the Taliban offered to hand bin Laden over - as was reported at length by the media - to a third country, a group of countries, or to the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Furthermore, the reason for invading Iraq - its development of weapons of mass destruction - proved baseless.

    This lack of legal process, many extremists believe, justifies attacking American targets. Given the de facto military rule at home and two wars in the region, the situation in Pakistan is dire. The people of Pakistan love their army, but they do not approve of its meddling in politics. They do not hate the US, but they are angry with some of its policies.

    Ending the "dictator-foreign nexus" between the US and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf may also greatly help control and minimize the spiraling problem of militancy. Musharraf relinquished his military position only after being "re-elected" by the outgoing assembly. He then imposed emergency rule, dismissed the Supreme Court's judges - including the chief justice - and amended the constitution. To many, Musharraf acted with the tacit support of Washington during and after the imposed emergency. Without playing favorites, the US-led West has to be seen as sincerely championing the cause of democracy, instead of patting dictators on the back in self-interest.

    Addressing these three issues is the panacea for curbing militancy in Pakistan - and the sooner it is employed, the better.

    Abdullah M. Adnan is an Islamabad-based researcher and political analyst. THE DAILY STAR publishes this commentary in collaboration with the Common Ground News Service.
    The Daily Star - Opinion Articles - Some thoughts on how to curb Pakistani militancy

    Daily Star is from Lebanon.

    An interesting start - the problem is attributed to:

    1. Military rule

    2. the "war on terror"

    3. a Western power covertly or overtly supports dictators or military rulers

    The author apparently is appalled by the the "highhandedness" of Musharraf's regime that was highlighted by the media, the courts, the lawyers. clampdown on the media etc. He does not see that it is during Musharraf's regime that private TV channels came into being and that they were not too kind to Musharraf either! Therefore, while there maybe some reasons to feel what the writer feels, he should have been a bit more balanced.

    The religious parties have not been very successful in "Islamisation" not because of any manna from Heaven, but for what the writer claims highhandedness of the regime! This the writer seems to have conveniently overlooked.

    The Red Mosque character was anti Pakistan and that is about all! He is no messiah to lead sheep! Such a horror and anti human person and his asinine assertions are not worth the print!

    There is no doubt that there are quite a few who are against this War on Terror since they buy the Mullah line that it is a War Against Islam and that Islam is doomed. If indeed it was a War on Islam, then the West has greater lethal weapons that could snuff the world to Kingdom Come and not go through with this drudgery, especially when many in the western world have no time for political niceties.

    OBL surely could have been taken to a court of law - the ICJ is one wishes - but he is hiding like a seasoned criminal and fugitive from justice. One could judge him in absentia, but then it would again be taken as US highhandedness and a War on Islam! Catch 22!

    An interesting commentary nonetheless, even if a bit convoluted!

    The writer's solution is so earthshaking that it is a three liner!

    How sad that Musahrraf and the world does not have three line solutions.
    Last edited by Ray; 28 Jan 08,, 18:20.

    "Some have learnt many Tricks of sly Evasion, Instead of Truth they use Equivocation, And eke it out with mental Reservation, Which is to good Men an Abomination."

    I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to.


  • #2
    There is one easy way to curb terror in Pakistan
    Import those nifty weed vending machines from the US
    Once you're high dude you wont want to blow up any high rises
    For Gallifrey! For Victory! For the end of time itself!!