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Islam and Politics ( 28 Sept 2014, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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The Crisis In Pakistan Is Deepening: Will the Pak Establishment be able to face the mounting Insurgencies?



By Mujahid Hussain, New Age Islam

29 September, 2014

It seems as if Pakistan is turning fast into a state deeply steeped in violence and political disturbance. Political turmoil and religious extremism are on the rise. The Prime Minister and his party hold that the ongoing political unrest is of no vital significance and that engaging with this issue would be just wastage of time. On the other hand, Army Chief General Raheel Shareef has repeatedly stated that the anchors of religious terrorism in the region, Taliban and its allies have been expelled from Waziristan and that the army will continue to trace them out in every part of the country to eliminate them. The communal and sectarian conflicts in Pakistan today reached an extent that any city or village may be set on fire any time. A very recent instance is the sectarian killing which happened in the ongoing week. It’s noteworthy that the rector of a madrasa, Taleemul Quran known for its communal identity has been killed in the incident. Subsequently, the city fell in the clutches of violent sectarian elements.

The local administration has blocked all news of this nature because the news spread across the country can benefit sectarian and extremist elements of the country. Given the above statements of Pakistan's prime minister and army chief and supreme commander, everything is fine or is ameliorating. But if we take in account the ground realities, regardless of these announcements and political statements, many questions arise in our minds.             

For instance, all the news we have received about the on-going military operation “Zarb-e-Azb” emanated only from the source of information supplied by the Pakistani army.  Going by the reports and data it has released, the centres of terrorists in the North Waziristan have been almost completely eliminated. But questions on the Zarb-e-Azb operation are being raised by the outsiders and not from within. The US has clearly stated that the Zarbe-e-Azb operation miserably failed to achieve the goals it set. It also said that the operation is not going to prove effective against the Haqqani network. Some analysts have also expressed similar concerns over the operation’s ineffectiveness. They opine that the operation was initiated with a few limited and “selected” targets in its view, to the exclusion of various dangerous elements that are detrimental to not only the state of Pakistan but the entire world. However, it can be hoped that the Pakistan army will do something to dispel all such suspicions and misconceptions about the Zarb-e-Azb operation. Luckily, the army successfully hit the targets at the very outset and we did not see any violent terrorist reactions in the backdrop of the operation much against the fears that it initially created. A few minor and isolated incidents of terror cannot be seen as a considerable and worrying reaction to it. For the terrorist reactions that came in the backdrop of earlier wars against terrorism ware of different nature.                      

However, it seems too early to consider this kind of temporary 'cleaning' a decisive action. Because the past of terrorists tells us that they were able to successfully strengthen themselves in the same areas where they were eliminated. Not only that, they also managed to control more and more areas with no big difficulty. The real and prime concern for the state should be the complete elimination of all possibilities for the terrorists to control an area. This will turn a temporary ‘cleaning’ into a permanent victory. However, it goes without saying that the present atmosphere is not sufficient enough to achieve this permanent victory. In view of the internal and external situations, it can be felt that the extremism still has the ability to take roots in any area, while sectarian tensions and regional conflicts and all other such factors may play the most vital role in paving the way.

On the other hand, the political turmoil has raised its ugly head and it is hard to tackle the question as to how the political situation in Pakistan will become cool and smooth. Both political and semi-political forces are engaged in demonstration of their power in Islamabad. Imran Khan has partially succeeded as he appears successful in giving a new dynamic from and spirit to his protests that have continued for forty days. This was particularly seen in a large gathering that he held in Karachi in the last week.

Once again, efforts are being made to record Imran Khan’s success and the Pakistani government’s failure. Half of the credit goes to the Tahirul Qadri-led Pakistan Awami Tahrik and Minhajul Quran. Their activists and protestors, who have set an example in their organisational skills and discipline, are spellbound by their spiritual and religious leader Dr. Tahirul Qadri and his speeches. No doubt, Dr. Qadri is an embodiment of a keen desire for political power and opportunism but he cannot be just ignored. He has got a knack for maintaining organisational and financial discipline and thus he evokes deep respect and devotion in his activists that is not going to defeat him ultimately. His activists’ extreme devotion to him was displayed when fourteen of them were killed for him at the hands of Pakistani police at the headquarters of Minhajul Quran in Lahore.     

At a time when the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), on one hand, is taking roots in Pakistan by disseminating its literature and pamphlets among its people and Taliban groups in Peshawar, on the other, have started suicide attacks, the weakness creeping in the state is crystal clear.  

Political and sectarian divides in the administration and the provincial non-cooperation have doubled the problems of the central government. If the Taliban groups get organised and start attacking Pakistan, the troubles of Pakistan will be maximised paving the way for political tensions to spread far and wide. The situation in Karachi is deteriorating further because the local administration is unable to stop the killers of all kinds.

Sectarian killings and attacks on minorities across the country continue unabated. According to the latest reports, an Ahmadi doctor was killed in Mirpur Khas. This was the second incident of the Ahmadis being killed in the city. What is to be seen next is how long the good news of current political and administrative developments will last and how they shape the things and prevent possible potential conflicts in future.


The author of nine books including the recent "Punjabi Taliban", Mujahid Hussain writes a regular weekly column for New Age Islam. He is also chief of New Age Islam Brussels Bureau. 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.

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