By Mujahid Husain, New Age Islam
December 05, 2013
Some informed agencies and individuals in Pakistan today have developed an impression that the selection of newly appointed army chief Gen Raheel Sharif, after the retirement of General Kayani, is a manifestation of the traditional political ideology held by the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Consequently, people are circulating rumors saying that the militant religious extremists warring with the state are also taken into consideration. No one has yet denied or retorted such reports. Neither the Pakistani army has come out with any reaction to them. Pakistani media’s campaign about this appointment has added fuel to the fire creating more interesting speculations and rumors about the issue. A purely institutional and professional position has been hyped so much that one finds nothing else to talk about. Many intellectuals are greatly wondered whether why they faced no reaction from the army. For many others, the surprise is that the appointment has been welcomed even by the extremist militants fighting in the tribal areas of the country. Nevertheless, the unverified statement issued by the extremists is aimed at expressing hate and disdain towards the former army chief rather than greeting the newly appointed one.
What the experts fear the most is the increasingly soft behavior of the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his party towards the local extremists, the instances of which abound in the center and Punjab. One such example was set by Nawaz Sharif’s younger brother and the chief minister of Punjab Miyan Shahbaz Sharif who humbly requested the local Taliban, during his regime, not to launch attacks on the state. Moreover, the Punjabi Taliban leader and the chief of a sectarian group, Malik Mohammad Ishaq was released in spite of countless serious charges against him. Owing to these incidents, the government of Punjab has been labeled as “extremist-friendly”. It is probable, given these worrying instances in the past that the Miyan brothers will carry on with their policy of extending support and privilege to the extremists. The Miyan brothers believe that this strategy will help them increase their duration of governance and will also earn their government immense popularity.
A very dangerous and crucial phenomenon that is being starkly ignored is growing acceptance of non-state entities and their militant activities among the Pakistani common masses. For instance, Tahreek-e-Insaf and Jamat-e-Islami leaders have very well known where the real forces lie and how to employ them. As a matter of fact, it is a big game of disassociating with the declining state and linking with the forces that have the potential to dominate.
Behind this entire scenario, the pivotal role was played by the predominant media of Pakistan actively engaged in its campaigning that all these problems of the country emanate from the corrupt Pakistani leaders’ hospitality towards the west. They believe that their leaders are playing tools in the hands of the western countries in a stark oblivion to the interests of the Pakistani state. Going by the perception prevailing in Pakistan, Western countries want to deprive Pakistan of its nuclear bombs, put an end to its Islamic identity and are trying to make it a slave to its neighboring Hindu country, India, and the anti-Arab state, Israel. This conception has been deeply imbedded and continuously nurtured in the minds of Pakistanis. Social media has added fuel to the fire by spreading a distorted and confused notion of patriotism endorsed and promoted by millions of jobless and depressed youths of Pakistan. Ironically, their patriotism is only translated into warring and hate-mongering. A Pakistani citizen is not a true patriot unless he/she demonstrates great disdain for India, Israel, America and all other western countries.
More interestingly, representatives of this sort of patriotism have now discovered some individuals within the land of Pakistan itself, who must be hated by them to every possible extent. For instance, such patriotic people of Pakistan are not ready to accept Asma Jahangir, the former head of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, as a Pakistani citizen. For they accuse her of playing in the hands of the enemy. The same treatment is meted out to the famed Pakistani journalist Najam Sethi, as he avoids lies and confusing statements and has developed a conception of international friends and foes completely different from what the overwhelming majority of Pakistan perceives. He does not like the extremist Islamists warring in Pakistan neither does Asma Jahangir, a woman who strongly criticizes religious coercion and discrimination prevailing in Pakistan. The renowned Pakistani scientist Pervez Hoodbhoy holds the same view that caused the extremists to threaten his life time and again. May be a seeker of paradise gets ready and kills him one day. Imtiyaz Aalam, who speaks for full liberty for Media in Pakistan, is also in their hit list, because he goes hard on many powerful entities.
On the other hand, Pakistani people, at large, are gearing up to participate in the communal wars. It seems as if they could go berserk any time. As for religious extremists, they are running in full swing, since they have been fully prepared and equipped with all the liberty and strength that they require to wage a large-scale war. Nawaz Sharif government began to be controlled to a large extent. Extremist groups are targeting the Shiite minority day in and day out in Kurram Agency, Karachi, Northern Areas and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). These militants are convinced that the state can do no harm to them, as the state missionary cooperate with them in most of the war-torn areas. They have got feasibilities and special convenience in prisons with the added advantage of being free to break them as soon as they increase in number. None has to worry about it. An instance was seen when the jails in Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan were broken and all the extremists who fled from there turned rebels against the very state. They are now more powerful than ever before and are committed to topple the government. The right wing extremists heading the predominant media of Pakistan have never brought these issues into discussion neither they put pressure on the government to take stern action against these terrorists.
The author of nine books including the recent "Punjabi Taliban", Mujahid Hussain writes a regular weekly column for New Age Islam. He has been contributing to leading papers as an investigative journalist for about two decades. His writings cover a vast panorama of topics concerning political and societal existence of Pakistan, a nation passing through difficult straits since a short time after its birth. With terrorism and security issues at local, regional, and global levels as his special area of study in recent years, Mujahid Hussain has earned a sizable readership in serious circles in Pakistan and abroad. Follower of an independent, non-partisan, and objective way of thinking, the author offers honest analysis of the challenges threatening communities, nations, and humanity at large.