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Pakistan Press (25 Jan 2016 NewAgeIslam.Com)



Breaking Free Of the Primitive Mindset That Continues To Oppress Women and Justify Terrorism: New Age Islam's Selection 25 January 2016




New Age Islam Edit Bureau

15 January 2016

Breaking Free Of the Primitive Mindset That Continues To Oppress Women and Justify Terrorism

By Sabina Khan

Who Wants Peace In Pakistan?

By Munir Akram

Lamentation of an American Muslim

By Saira Wasif

A Black Cloud Looms Over Nangarhar

By S Mubashir Noor

The Pakistani Diaspora in the US

By Dr Zamurrad Awan

The Afghan Connection

By Cyril Almeida

Compiled By New Age Islam Edit Bureau

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Breaking Free Of the Primitive Mindset That Continues To Oppress Women and Justify Terrorism

By Sabina Khan

January 24, 2016

Pakistan’s path to becoming a developed country relies upon breaking free of the primitive mindset that continues to oppress women and justify terrorism. So far 2016, declared to be the year when terrorism shall end, is off to a torrid start with the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) opposing the anti-child marriage bill as ‘blasphemous’ and a terrorist attack on a university in Charsadda. The CII is an advisory body and thus it only chimes in on select bills. When it does provide recommendations, many are not followed by the government. However, when it comes to issues like rights of women, child marriages and rape, guidance from the Council is adhered to without question. And then, as happens too often in our culture, men in our society end up using religion to keep women subservient. The National Assembly gets a free pass as women and children continue to suffer. Paedophilia is a crime in the rest of the world and should be looked upon with disgust in Pakistan as well instead of being ignored under the guise of religious/cultural norms.

Furthermore, as long as the likes of Abdul Aziz of Lal Masjid fame are allowed to roam around free, there is clearly a problem with the government’s mindset. The girls’ madrasa of the Lal Masjid released a video pledging allegiance to the Islamic State and its leader. Just about any other nation in the world would have arrested these students, who openly voiced support for those who engage in rape and sex slavery. No military operation can eradicate this primitive mindset. It is fuelled by an obsession with a regressive ideology and an antiquated belief that women are sub-humans. Any organisation or madrasa holding such views should ideally be disbanded. But that’s not likely to happen anytime soon.

It is important to remember that the CII was established in 1962 as an advisory body. Since then, each subsequent amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan dealt a significant blow to any visions of the country blossoming into a liberal, democratic state. From Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto imposing prohibition in the 1970s to General Ziaul Haq’s fanaticism, Pakistan has regressed. Each amendment further intertwined a certain interpretation of religion deep into the state’s laws and wreaked havoc on the rights of minorities and women.

As is the common practice, following the Charsadda attack, a day of mourning was declared for the victims and vows were made to wipe out terrorism. People will be hanged and prayers will be offered. But none of these actions have any permanence. They don’t do anything significant to tackle the extremist mindset. At the heart of the problem is the financial and ideological influence of nations that promote child marriage, trample upon women’s rights and even prohibit them from driving. A far cry indeed from the Quaid-e-Azam’s words: “I have always maintained that no nation can ever be worthy of its existence that cannot take its women along with men. No struggle can ever succeed without women participating side by side with men. There are two powers in the world. One is the sword and the other, the pen. However, there is a third power stronger than both, that of the women.”

Source: tribune.com.pk/story/1033429/breaking-free-of-the-primitive-mindset/

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Who Wants Peace In Pakistan?

By Munir Akram

January 24, 2016

IN his final State of the Union address, US President Obama predicted a decade of instability in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Af-Pak was always a bad construct for policy formulation. There are obvious security linkages between Afghanistan and Pakistan. But the circumstances and prospects of the two countries are significantly different.

Predicting continued instability in Afghanistan is an easy call. The Kabul government is beset by internal division and an insurgency that has momentum. Given the preconditions posed by Kabul, the recently created quadrilateral forum will find it difficult to get the Afghan Taliban to the table let alone secure an agreement for peace. A turbulent and fractured Afghanistan is the most likely prospect for the foreseeable future.

Pakistan is a different story. It has undertaken a massive and comprehensive counterterrorism campaign targeting the TTP, sectarian groups and political gangs. Action has now been taken also against a rogue pro-Kashmiri organisation. Terrorist and criminal violence has been dramatically reduced.

There are several external drivers of violence that need to be neutralised.

Unfortunately, as illustrated by the assault on the Charsadda university, it is premature to celebrate. To break the back of terrorism in Pakistan, the kinetic campaign will need to be continued for a considerable period and the social, economic and other components of the National Action Plan fully implemented.

However, national actions will not be sufficient to defeat terrorism. There are several external drivers of violence that need to be neutralised.

The TTP is the self-confessed culprit in the Charsadda terrorist attack. With 180,000 troops deployed on its western borders, Pakistan has crushed or chased out most of the TTP militants from most of its territory. Small groups hide ‘in the open’, in inaccessible valleys or in Afghan refugee camps. However, the major threat arises from the infiltration of TTP terrorists from their safe havens in Afghanistan.

While Pakistan has offered to help in promoting reconciliation between Kabul and the Afghan Taliban, there is little evidence of reciprocal action by Kabul to eliminate the TTP safe havens or to control cross-border infiltration. Kabul has refused to even revive the coordination mechanisms for border monitoring that were created with the US-Nato command.

Certain circles in Kabul, such as the National Directorate of Intelligence, are known to have collaborated with the TTP and sponsored Baloch insurgents to destabilise Pakistan. They were also responsible for scuttling the Murree talks and then blaming Pakistan for escalated insurgent attacks from Kabul to Kunduz. Now, they are asking Pakistan to attack the Afghan Taliban unless they agree to come to the negotiating table. This would bring Afghanistan’s war to Pakistan.

Islamabad must reassert its demand for action against the TTP by Kabul and its international patrons. If such cooperation is not forthcoming, Pakistan will need to consider unilateral actions to eliminate the TTP safe havens in Afghanistan. Peace and security within Pakistan is also influenced by the policies and actions of several other external powers.

Historically, the US has contributed, wittingly or unwittingly, to Pakistan’s destabilisation since the anti-Soviet Afghan war. The rump US-Nato force in Afghanistan is essential to prop up the tottering Kabul government. Obama is wisely averse to resuming a larger military role in Afghanistan. A Republican president, however, may be more adventurist, especially if driven by the misplaced desire to counter China’s growing influence and interests in the region. In this context, it is relevant to evaluate whether the US shares China’s vision that peace and prosperity can be promoted in Pakistan and the region through the implementation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

India’s policies are more predictable. It has openly opposed the CPEC enterprise and is chary of China’s growing role in the region. Notwithstanding the Lahore embrace and the likely resumption of the Comprehensive Dialogue, India remains the godfather of anti-Pakistan elements in Afghanistan and can be expected to continue to encourage and support them in their use of the TTP and Baloch dissidents to spread mischief and turmoil in Pakistan. Since Pakistan is now constrained from playing the ‘Kashmir card’, it cannot hope to neutralise India’s subversive activities on the negotiating table; they will have to be defeated through direct action against the militants and muscular diplomacy with Kabul and its patrons.

Given Pakistan’s denominational composition, Iran’s policies will have an impact on Pakistan’s internal stability. Following its nuclear agreement with the major powers and the removal of international sanctions, Iran can be expected to remain on good behaviour on issues which do not affect its core interests. Tehran’s priorities are to retain its dominant influence in Syria, Iraq and the Levant; neutralise Saudi-led Sunni strategies, and maximise the economic benefits flowing from the lifting of sanctions. Iran can benefit from CPEC connectivity and closer linkages with China. However, Iran has a strategic relationship with India. A US-India-Iran axis is improbable, but not inconceivable. Pakistan needs to engage Iran and ensure that it does not try to play the sectarian card in Pakistan or attempt to forestall Pakistan’s emergence as China’s strategic link to the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf.

The GCC states have been Pakistan’s closest friends and benefactors. Relations were unfortunately frayed by the clumsy manner in which Pakistan spurned the Arab coalition that has intervened in Yemen. Since then, Pakistan has mended fences with Saudi Arabia. Similar conciliation with the UAE is outstanding. Some have conjectured that the UAE would consider Gwadar’s role in CPEC as a threat to Dubai’s commercial pre-eminence. In further exchanges with the GCC states, Pakistan should reassure them that CPEC will add, not detract, from their prosperity. But Islamabad’s first priority should be to secure an effective end to the flow of funds to sectarian and extremist groups from certain Gulf States.

It is only through such full-spectrum diplomacy, defence and deterrence that Pakistan can prove Obama wrong and achieve the peace and stability which is indispensable to implement the CPEC realise rapid growth and emerge as Asia’s newest economic ‘Tiger’.

Munir Akram is a former Pakistan ambassador to the UN.

Source: dawn.com/news/1234994/who-wants-peace-in-pakistan

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Lamentation of an American Muslim

By Saira Wasif

January 25, 2016

I live in a world where my existence, my way of life and above all my religious practices are monitored and questioned on a daily basis. I am ridiculed for wearing a Hijab. I get curious looks for having a long beard. I am constantly under scrutiny if my name starts with Mohammed. My roots instantly draw verbal fire from people to and fro because I am considered a terrorist by default or sympathetic to the cause. I am a taboo to hang out with because I am a Muslim.

Who do I blame for creating a nemesis like al Qaeda, Islamic State (IS), the emerging lone wolves who are going postal or the vast number of disgruntled youth turning to violent resorts to appease their fragmented and misguided ideologies? It takes them down a path of destruction but for Pakistani expatriates and Muslim residents classification starts at colour, moves on to race and ends dramatically but definitely on religion.

The Islamic teachings I was brought up with differ greatly from the ones seen in social reflections today. Jihad/holy war was intended for the perseverance of faith and personal safety, not for the mindless killing spree by these psychos who claim to spread the word of God by forcing their agenda on young girls lured into their stronghold via popular social and volunteer networks. The projection of Islam by those possessing a violent mindset is a tragedy of errors philosophically, theologically and practically.

Back then and even now Islamic teachings were the guiding beacon that helped to keep spirituality confined between the Almighty and ourselves thereby not conforming to a boastful display of religiosity that creates an imbalance between daily lifestyle and ritualism. Muslim faith is about respecting and upholding the rights of parents, siblings, blood relations, neighbours, teachers, the orphaned, widows, the needy or even a by-stander who deserves a smile and a touch of kindness. I grew up knowing Islam as the ultimate guide to living in harmony with myself and those around me. Now, at the turn of the tide, I see a contorted rendition of Islamic ideology and its principal doctrine. Using the sacred words of the Quran to voice propaganda is what Islam has been reduced to by the modern day terrorist. Chanting Allah hu Akbar before taking a life has done irreparable damage to the fabric of Muslim communities worldwide. I see hatred pouring out for my faith on forums and blogs, and I repeatedly question my decision of leaving behind a culture to settle in a place where I had hoped for a better life. What these fanatics fail to realise is that the brunt of their selfish acts is felt by peaceful Islamic communities far and wide. The struggle for a peaceful integration in multicultural societies goes down the drain and we are thrown back to the very point from hence we started.

We are the numero uno priority for 2016 presidential candidates as well. Everyone wants to ride the censure train and folks like us who have given years of our lives working and establishing roots are thrown in the blame pit to get bullied in our work places or threatened in the middle of the day. The promises this political system wants to deliver will only make it worse for white-collar people like us. We may not be active participants in the murderous rampage but we surely will be treated and reprimanded as one.

I am not bullied because I am fat. I am not even harassed by the brown of my skin or the accent that distinguishes me from the rest; I am bullied because I am a Muslim. I am called a terrorist because I choose to remain a Muslim. I am handcuffed because I conform to a specific stereotype. I am constantly under scrutiny as I could be the next potential suicide bomber in the making. My religion and I are the latest things to show up on your television set. There may be training grounds and sleeper cells for all sorts of doctrines but the supposed biggest problem in the US that needs to be dealt with turns out to be Muslims and unless we are deported or leave the country of our own free will like that lanky kid Ahmed, the US can never get rid of all the violence that mars its streets, especially all the racial killings and police brutality (all puns intended). We are given the highest coverage available to mankind if there is one slip and there will only be fleeting mention if a young Muslim couple is gunned down over a parking spot issue. What is missing is the chant “Let us light a pyre and hang all the Muslims like the ill-famed Salem witches of ol’”.

I see no end to this debacle. We are trying our best to make a life for our children, to make them a working cog of this machine. Whatever insecurities and grievances the world has against the US, there should be a better way to solve them. Are we the collateral damage to be sacrificed for the good of many? Life will never be the same in the land of opportunities; life will never be plain sailing from here onwards. Let us just hope the rolling tide does not choke the humanity out of these fine folks.

Saira Wasif is a freelance columnist

SourceZdailytimes.com.pk/opinion/25-Jan-2016/lamentation-of-an-american-muslim

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A Black Cloud Looms Over Nangarhar

By S Mubashir Noor

January 25, 2016

More Afghan peace talks without a ceasefire is like putting the cart before the horse. How can the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG), comprising Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and the US, expect a different outcome from previous tries without the Taliban halting attacks? Could it be that this multilateral confab exists for a multinational threat, meaning Islamic State (IS), and peace in Afghanistan would be a pleasant byproduct?

The QCG probably realised three things after its second meeting in Kabul on January 18. One, that the word Taliban as a collective noun no longer represents the monolithic, militant entity of Mullah Omar’s heyday. Two, Pakistan only has a few Taliban factions under its thumb to nudge towards detente or use as proxies against IS. Three, the self-styled Khorasan province of IS (IS-K) is becoming a real headache in Nangarhar. Consequently, the quartet’s first order of business may be to form another “coalition of the willing”, terrorists and peaceniks alike, to strangle IS-K before it turns into a transnational threat for Asia.

For a long time, international actors took the ostrich approach towards IS-K because it suited the status quo to keep their heads firmly buried in the sand. It was only after the group released a gory propaganda clip titled ‘Khorasan: the graveyard of the apostates’ in December that alarm bells started ringing. The US State Department now classifies IS-K as a bonafide menace but, until August last year, Washington dismissed the militants as “operationally emergent” but largely inconsequential. Moreover, an unnamed US counter-terrorism official gloated to ABC News in September that IS-K and the Taliban “fighting each other makes our job easier”.

Such hopes of mutually assured destruction waned quickly. As IS-K continues to wrest territory in Nangarhar, Washington warns the group is past its “initial exploratory phase” and poised to wreak substantial havoc. To prove this, IS-K struck both Pakistan’s consulate and an Afghan tribal elders meeting in Jalalabad within the space of a few days in mid-January, leaving over 20 soldiers and civilians dead.

The Taliban, for their part, fret that IS-K could eclipse them as the primary antagonists in Afghanistan, thereby eroding hard-earned leverage to gain self-rule in the southern provinces. This fear propelled last year’s vicious spring offensive that continues through winter without pause. Tellingly, Russian media reported that the new Taliban chief, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, met President Vladimir Putin in Tajikistan last September to solicit Moscow’s aid in defeating IS-K. The former’s vanishing act after an internecine gun-battle in Quetta last month, however, dents the Taliban’s attempts to appear united.

Though suspicion clouds Pakistan’s motives every time new Afghan peace talks surface, Islamabad now has real interest in shoring up Kabul. On December 29, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah revealed the arrest of six IS-K militants from Daska and the discovery of a jihadist training camp nearby. Up to that point, Islamabad had outright denied reports that last year’s Safoora Goth massacre was IS-K’s doing, emphasising “no footprint” of the Middle Eastern group existed in Pakistan.

After Sanaullah’s sobering announcement, the state can dither no more on proactively culling these home-grown mutants. The last thing Pakistan needs, then, is a new jihadist nursery in Nangarhar, a stone’s throw away from its perpetually restive tribal areas, and especially as the Torkham crossing point is vital for trade. Also, with ground officially broken on the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, energy-starved Islamabad may need to nuance its ‘strategic depth’ doctrine to stay in lockstep with QCG partners.

Other quartet members have their own reasons for desiring a stable Afghanistan. US President Barack Obama, for example, needs IS-K liquidated to protect the sacrifices of over 2,300 US soldiers killed during Operation Enduring Freedom and to ensure that Afghan militancy does not snowball on his watch in an election year. Russia, meanwhile, admits that its interests “objectively coincide” with the Taliban on IS-K and that channels for intelligence sharing are operational. Though they make strange bedfellows, Moscow’s primary concern right now is to prevent a militancy spill over into its “near abroad”.

China, similarly, fears for Xinjiang’s stability if the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) fighters in IS-K ranks return home and escalate the ongoing insurgency. Beijing, of course, also has significant economic interests tied to the region. Other than high-stakes investments in Afghan minerals and fossil fuels, a stable Afghanistan is critical for China’s new Silk Road ambitions.

The QCG will huddle anew on February 6 in Islamabad, again without Taliban representation. Curiously, if the group was worthy of invitation last July, what has changed? The only plausible explanation is that IS-K has leapfrogged the Taliban as a regional security nightmare. That said, the spate of suicide bombings timed around QCG talks suggests the Taliban will not take this demotion lying down. Sadly, yet another bloody year has begun.

S Mubashir Noor is a freelance columnist and audio engineer based in Islamabad

Source: dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/25-Jan-2016/a-black-cloud-looms-over-nangarhar

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The Pakistani Diaspora in the US

By Dr Zamurrad Awan

January 25, 2016

The recent outbursts by Donald Trump, a Republican front-runner presidential candidate, have created a stir amongst the Muslim expatriate community, including Pakistanis. Trump has called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the US”. Before this, he had suggested the registration of Muslim Americans and strict surveillance of their mosques. In the prevailing atmosphere of Islamophobia, Pakistani Americans feel not only left out from the mainstream but also have the impression that they have been singled out as a religious/ethnic minority. Trump and those who are like-minded in the Republican Party (GOP) keep tagging terrorism to Muslims and can hardly differentiate between an individual act and the entire Muslim community as such. Such a mind-set has pushed the Muslim community towards the defensive as they feel insecure, suspected and, at times discriminated against based on religion and nationality. Under the given circumstances, which ultimately will determine the comfort level of Pakistani expatriates, the complexities of their assimilation within American society need to be evaluated. According to the US Immigration and Naturalisation Service, till late 1960, there were around 2,500 Pakistanis, a number that today has increased to almost 500,000 making them one of the largest growing ethnic minorities in the country.

The majority of Pakistani immigrants in the US are from the urban-based middle-class, especially from Punjab (particularly Lahore) and Sindh (mainly Karachi). In the US, the majority of the Pakistani diaspora resides in metropolitan cities like New York, New Jersey, Houston, California, Washington D C and Dallas (Texas). Depending on how effectively a family is able to transform its values, most of the Pakistani diaspora not only shows the trend to attain higher education but is also ambitious to achieve professional excellence in their chosen fields.

Although the Pakistani diaspora is strongly linked to the cultural traditions and religious values of its native land, simultaneously, they struggle to assimilate in western culture, creating a hybrid between the host and home country. Nevertheless, the assimilation pattern of the first, second and third generation is diversified in terms of cultural adaptation and religious flexibility. The integration process of the second and third generation of this community has been comparatively smooth and quick, as compared to the first because of various reasons. Nevertheless, one fact needs to be reckoned and that is that, across generations, the Pakistani diaspora has maintained its cultural identity and has tried to operate in the middle stream, through which they are capable of integrating. For example, in family related matters, particularly regarding marriage, unlike the first and second generation, third generation Pakistani Americans prefer unarranged marriages (where the potential couple finalise the decision to marry after meeting and talking, irrespective of the family pressure) over arranged marriages. However, the acceptance of love marriage with other religious and ethnic groups is still not fully recognised.

Despite cultural assimilation, Pakistanis, through various means, strongly preserve their religious identity, which is Islam, especially when it comes to religious festivals and matrimonial matters. The religious practices of the Pakistani Muslim population had never been perceived as a threat for the security of the host country before September 11, 2001. Although not a single hijacker was a Pakistani national but the common American citizen, because of lack of information, irrespective of making a distinction between a militant and real Islam, has become suspicious about the activities of Muslim immigrants, including Pakistanis. According to the FBI’s data, the hate crimes against Muslims and their mosques have increased significantly in 2015; there have been 63 recorded attacks on mosques. After November 2015’s Paris attack and December 2015’s San Bernardino shooting in California, within one week of December, 19 hate crimes against Muslims were recorded. This is the reinforcement of Islamphobia in American society to its greatest height, which has not only posed serious threats for the Pakistani Muslim community in the US but also presents a serious challenge for the American leadership.

The American leadership also needs to distinguish between an individual act of terrorism and community conduct as they perceived the shooting by a 23-year-old South Korean citizen on April 16, 2007, in Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, resulting in the loss of 32 lives, as an individual act. An encouraging aspect in this context is that the Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, commented, “It is important that we do not listen to the voices, including those coming from Republican candidates for president, who would paint with such a broad brush, who would want us to somehow isolate, register Muslims, go after Islam. Our enemies are these criminal killers, who misuse a religion in order to recruit people, and give them the training to go out and kill more people.” Similar views have been expressed by other Democratic leaders. The most articulate response came from internationally known American former professional boxer Muhammad Ali as he stated, “I am a Muslim and there is nothing Islamic about killing innocent people in Paris, San Bernardino or anywhere else in the world. True Muslims know that the ruthless violence of so-called Islamic jihadists goes against the very tenets of our religion. Stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda.”

Assessing the growing hatred against Muslims in the US, the American leadership has a serious responsibility to uphold American values, which vow for it to be a liberal society safeguarding the freedom of religion. It cannot be overlooked that Muslim Americans are a constructive part of American society as successful engineers, doctors, businessmen and philanthropists. It is generally believed that better sense will prevail amongst common Americans as there is a strong likelihood that in the coming presidential primaries, the hard liners and the Muslim haters will be rejected by the electorate.

Dr Zamurrad Awan is an assistant professor at the Forman Christian College, Lahore

dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/25-Jan-2016/the-pakistani-diaspora-in-the-us

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The Afghan Connection

By Cyril Almeida

January 24, 2016

SO, now what? Let’s be realistic about the terribleness. Realistic, admittedly, as only non-victims can be.

It was Charsadda. It was a fraction of APS. And it wasn’t little kids. It’s a troubling assumption, but we can only assume they’d rather have hit something else.

Another APS. A proper military school. Maybe a mall. Probably a big city. But revenge was wrought on a place most of us can’t locate on a map.

Who in this world really believes that Afghanistan will ever be stable? Now or possibly ever?

Yet, it’s an old pattern. When they can’t get to the hits they really want, they go after something else. When hard targets become difficult, they go for soft ones.

When schools become better protected, they’ll hit a mall. When airbases become impossible, they’ll go back to bus stands.

But Charsadda is important. Because not all terrorist attacks are the same. Know what happened in Khyber a day before? Or was it Peshawar? Quetta wasn’t even a blip.

All lives may be equal, but terrorism knows the difference. A small hit on a hard target in Karachi equals a big hit on a soft target in Charsadda.

An attack that takes out a large number of soldiers equals an attack that takes out a few kids. And there’s nothing — nothing — like a Fidayeen attack on children.

It is the purest form of terror. For obvious reasons. They aren’t dying in a second. Not like in an explosion. They see the terror. They know what’s coming. They watch their friends die.

Here’s the question, though: the Taliban seem to have figured us out, but have we figured them out?

The most frightening part of Charsadda wasn’t the attack — it was the response. Not the QRFs and the ISPR pressers. But where instantly it was decided the attack came from: Afghanistan. And because who was blamed: Umar Mansour.

The heart sinks when you hear Afghanistan. Not because of NDS or RAW or whatever else is fashionable to blame. For a more straightforward reason: who in this world really believes that Afghanistan will ever be stable? Now or possibly ever?

And even if Afghanistan is ever stable, just look at the border in the east. It is a border like no other. Barbed, fenced, mined, locked-down; soldiers and patrols ready to shoot anyone, no questions asked. And yet Pathankot happened.

If Pathankot can happen 68 years in, what in the hell is the possibility of thwarting a serious attack from Afghanistan — now or ever?

And then there’s the guy who’s been blamed: Umar Mansour. Umar who?

Not all threats from Afghanistan can’t be dismantled. Back in the day, there was a Riaz Basra and an Akram Lahori.

They terrorised Punjab before decamping to Afghanistan. Khost, as legend has it. That’s where our pals, the Haqqanis, were hanging out. Back when the Taliban were in charge.

(We’ll come back to that.)

But they were eventually taken out and difficult to replace. A Riaz Basra is not born every day.

Umar Mansour is scary because he’s a nobody. Not in a terrorist sense. He sounds like a terrible man. Scary in a replication sense.

Before Umar Mansour there was Maulana Fill-in-the-blanks X. After Umar Mansour, there’ll be a Mullah Fill-in-the-blanks Y. Umar Mansour is like your eternal Al Qaeda No 3s.

There’ll always be another Umar Mansour.

When wickedness is dreamt up in Afghanistan and executed by an eminently replaceable sort, what hope, really, is there for stability in Pakistan?

And here’s where the unpleasant question needs to be asked. What in the hell kind of Afghanistan are we trying to recreate?

Sure, the Americans decided they wanted no part of it any longer and are willing to cut whatever deal possible. Sure, the Afghan government knows it’s mired in the impossible and wants any deal it can get before state collapse.

Sure, Pakistan has been earnest and helpful in the quest for a deal. But what in God’s name are we really doing? Just work through it.

Right now, the Afghan government is unable or unwilling to sort out the anti-Pakistan militants who’ve found sanctuary in its eastern provinces. Fine.

They — the Afghan government — want something from us just now, so that gives us leverage. That’s why Raheel can ring up Kabul to demand and the Americans to complain.

They have to listen, we have to deal; it’s a win-win scenario — right now. But let’s imagine a deal gets made.

Afghanistan is either effectively carved up or the Taliban are given a bunch of seats in Kabul. Then what, re our enemies in Afghanistan?

The incentive for the Afghan government — the non-Taliban elements — to help us out would disappear. They’ll have what they want and they’ll probably tell us to go talk to the Taliban.

It would even make some kind of sense — after all, the terror threat to Pakistan from Afghan soil would mostly emanate from areas our friends, the Taliban, are either controlling or influential in.

So, over to the Taliban we’ll go. Guys, help us out.

At that point, what’s their incentive to help us out? They’d have outlasted two superpowers, won power a decade-and-a-half apart and need us less than ever.

And, let’s not forget, we’d be asking them to crush their ideological companions. The very folk who, most recently, would have helped them fight against IS and the like.

Why would they do it? And what would be our leverage if they don’t want to?

Yes, but what’s the alternative, the boys here will ask. Well, have a look at Charsadda and ask yourself this:

Is faux-stability in Afghanistan worth horror in Pakistan?

Cyril Almeida is a member of staff.

Source: www.dawn.com/news/1234993/the-afghan-connection

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/pakistan-press/new-age-islam-edit-bureau/breaking-free-of-the-primitive-mindset-that-continues-to-oppress-women-and-justify-terrorism--new-age-islam-s-selection-25-january-2016/d/106107






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