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The War Within Islam ( 5 March 2013, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Can The Pakistan Army Stop Communalists And Extremists?



By Mujahid Hussain, New Age Islam

March 6, 2013

Many analysts believe that finally army will take a turn and overpower all the religious extremists and communal killers who are causing irreparable damage to the state. Some of them are even convinced that whatever has been happening to the Shias and other minorities in Pakistan is the handiwork of the enemies of Islam and Pakistan.  Those who have a strong intuition and a spiritually blissful heart can clearly envision that those sneaking into the Shia minority population of Pakistan and carrying out attacks on them are either the agents of the Indian Hindus or have the support of anti-Islam America and Israel. 

These people having such strong views include pious intellectuals, paper tigers in the media, patriotic ex-generals of the army and higher officials who are unable to understand that these trained Muslim Jihadis with a particular communal and extremist mindset and ideology have been indulging in bloodshed only to please God and the prophet. There is a rising number of people who, to maintain balance, say that they are actually ignorant and misled people who are unaware of the true teachings of the religion and so they are making the mission of the enemy successful by cutting the throat of other Muslims.

Obviously such views and theories are quite encouraging for the common people frightened at the present situation. This way the killers waiting in ambush keep on accomplishing their task and also the intellectuals and the passionate followers of Islam go on with their usual rants.

The matter has gone beyond rants and hypotheses and the state is on the brink of collapse. The painful situation has also become intolerable because it has become almost impossible to find people who can stand face to face to the violent religiosity and communal mindset. Can the law enforcing agencies who work under the officials arrest any killer or the lower courts who are weaker than those officials give punishment to those killers in view of their own security when the home minister of Pakistan provides arms license and financial assistance to the leaders of the Jihadi organisations through his closest relative and the chief minister of the largest province of the country and the law minister of his cabinet makes arrangements for all the facilities and payments worth lakhs of rupees to the killers of the minorities in Pakistan? In such a situation, one can only laugh at the naivety of those who expect the army and the intelligence agencies to wipe out violent religious and communal forces.

The army in Pakistan cannot crackdown on the extremist religious and communal organisations because the intelligence wings of the army which are considered the brain of the army regard them as ‘assets’ and expect these ‘assets’ to come to their aid in case of any border crisis or tension with the neighbours. There is no doubt in the fact that these assets have proved worthy but since the time this national asset has attained dominance in the tribal areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, it is busy in carrying out a counter attack instead of providing aid. Replying to my question in Brussels immediately after the death of Osama bin Laden, the spokesman of Pakistan army Maj. Gen Athar Abbas had clearly admitted that they did not want to wage anti-terrorism war in Punjab and could not lay hands on those organisations which had been and still were involved in the ongoing jihad in Kashmir. This can give an idea of the helplessness and the wrong notions of the army and of what the definition of threat in view of its decision making personnel and their priorities were.

The communal and sectarian violence does not seem to come to an end because it has the unanimity of the majority who at first consider such horrible incidents the handiwork of some foreign hand and secondly, it has their silent approval; silent approval in the sense that this majority is suffering from sectarian bias and is not the least bit perturbed at the ethnic cleansing of the people belonging to the religious and sectarian beliefs other than theirs. When it is announced from the parapets of the mosques everyday that the followers of a particular sect have been excluded from Islam and have stabbed in the heart of Islam in connivance with the enemies of Islam, the development of hatred for the targeted religious and sectarian minorities is but natural.

Hundreds of books can be found in Pakistan in which Muslims having beliefs other than the majority Muslims have been declared Kafirs by quoting references. Innumerable preachers regularly announce in the loudest possible voice that the followers of such and such sects are the worst kind of Kafirs and therefore having any kind of social relations with them is not lawful. How can then it be expected that any movement will take place on the general level that will drive the communal forces away?

There can be no doubt in that in democratic states politicians politicking in the name of common people have to play a distinct role to bring about any change among the general people. So how can we expect these politicians to come forward and become a part of any public movement against extremists and communalists when these representatives of the people cannot come to the legislative assemblies without the help of the religious extremists and communalists? That’s why I could not help saying that the ethnic cleansing of the minorities of Pakistan is going on with the mutual consent of the majority and the powerful institutions. How can those who are afraid of pointing fingers at such killers (who are admitting loudly that they have committed the murders) join any movement of expressing hatred or displeasure against any killer group?

It does not matter if we do not want to touch the sanctity of the ancient myths but at least we can pinpoint the element that provokes the sects of Islam in our country to adopt a lethal attitude against each other. There should be an objective discussion on the outlines of this lethal attitude which has assumed the status of a sectarian basis. But since the warring sects of Pakistan have become very aggressive, no one can be found for such a discussion. When after the deaths of Shias in Quetta, the leader of the Tahreek-e-Insaf Party, Imaran Khan took the name of the killer gang Lashkar-e-Jhangvi publicly; many in Pakistan were shocked though the spokesman of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi was screaming to the world that they had targeted Shias including women and children in Quetta.

Actually the places where such lethal ideologies are stuffed in minds are madrasas that are spread across the country where the poison of sectarianism is injected into tender minds. But can a single person in the entire country raise the voice demanding a revision of the syllabi of these madrasas? Can a deputy commissioner or a district official conduct an inquiry into the curricular activities of the madrasas under his jurisdiction or can atleast stop the fiery mullahs from delivering incendiary speeches against other sects? What can be done when the home minister, chief minister and law minister are busy aiding and abetting the communalists and extremists?

Apparently, the home minister is the head of the Rangers but it should also be borne in mind that practically the Rangers are under the command of the General of the Army and the army general will give importance to the army head instead of a weak home minister. Similar is the case with the Frontiers Corpse and other similar law enforcing agencies.

Those who think that the army will fix the incidents of religious violence and sectarian conflicts in Pakistan in no time should also keep the destruction of all the provincial headquarters of the ISI. Whatever happened to the most sensitive defence installations of Pakistan in Mehran and Kamerah bases should also be kept in mind. They should also not forget the horrible deaths of Major General Alvi and Mushtaque Baig because all this was committed by the same forces who are today indulging in sectarian bloodshed. The Pakistan army has to make humble requests to Hafiz Sayeed of Lashkar-e-Taiba, Ishaque Malik of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Ahmad Ludhianvi of Sipah-e-Sahaba for the release of their kidnapped soldiers after every attack on the headquarters of the army.

How can those at the mercy of the leadership of the communalists for the release of their own officials provide protection to the weak and helpless minorities of Pakistan?

The author of nine books including the recently published book ‘Punjabi Taliban’, Mujahid Hussain writes a regular column for New Age Islam. He has been writing for various newspapers as an investigative journalist for the last two decades. His writings cover a wide range of issues involving Pakistan. In recent years, local, regional and international affairs relating to terrorism and security have been the subject of his study.