Archive for December, 2009
Tahir Bhai is very dear to me. Not just because he is a friend and from the same village but also because he is a very learned man and patriotic Pakistani. Although I can hardly agree with any of his analysis, I must say that his sincerity while analyzing the present day situation is beyond doubts. His write-up below was published in two national English dailies. The same article has been published in The News on Sunday with the heading “Changing Mindset” I picked it up for Talkhaba’s readers not because I agree with what he has tried to make us believe but because I want this article should be discussed. I do agree with some parts of this article. The parts to which I agree are in blue font while the points I disagree with are in RED font. My views are bracketed. Before you read the article read this news appeared in Daily Jang Karachi on 25th December 2009, the birthday of founder of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
There’s less and less support for militants
WEEKEND MAGAZINE (December 19 2009): The frequent terror strikes seem to have caused visible shifts in public opinion. Militants and their political supporters are increasingly loosing popular support in the backdrop of an emerging anti-private jihad consensus in the country. But the fact is people are afraid of the invisible enemy and most avoid making open hostile statements against the insurgents for fear of reprisal. [What is militancy, before that we will have to assess who is our enemy. It’s also hard to believe that all forces fighting our armies and attacking common people are Taliban. A must read article here enlighten us]
And that it is still a long way to go to achieve that terror/retaliation free environment in the country. Analysts say there are several positive signs. The security establishment has shunned its earlier policy of appeasement or support to the militants. Much of the political leadership has also given up its familiar reluctance to act against the militants. [The only ‘positive’ sign that the action by our own army against our own people has been legitimize through elements like Swati Taliban]
Religious-political parties, forced by the heat of anti-extremist sentiments, have reconciled their strategies and abandoned their Jihadi tones. [They had abandoned it the day a meerasi Army General sided with crusaders] There is increasing support to the security forces in militancy-hit zones [what is the sources, note army is a party and its press releases can not be called sources. Similarly Taliban is party so their version can not be sources.]. Jihadi charity boxes have disappeared from markets. Religious scholars avoid Jiahdi sermons. Most of the illegal FM radio stations, the biggest tool of extremist propaganda, have gone silent and so on.
Until recently, New Year nights’ programmes, cinema houses and billboards with women pictures were attacked. Music functions were forcefully stopped. Students were openly enticed to volunteer for ‘Jihad’ first in Afghanistan and then in Kashmir. Picture and video shows were organised profusely to attract youngsters to ‘Jihad’. [This was also abandoned many years before the American attack on the Muslims of Afghanistan. The reason better known to those used to organized these activities previously]
However, situation has changed now. Religious parties that once talked of hoisting national flag on the Red Fort of Delhi and threatened suicide attacks against foreign naval ships avoid similar outbursts. New Year nights and night-clubs are no more attacked by baton-wielding workers. ‘Kashmir has been left to the Kashmiris’. Religious parties don’t run any Jihadi training/fund raising campaigns any more.
“Save a minority comprising a few right wing/religious parties, majority population is no more interested in the Jihadi rhetoric and culture. This could be the beginning of a new era in Pakistan marked by more tolerance and moderation,” argued a political activist wishing not to be named.
Renowned analyst and religious scholar Dr Mohammad Farooq Khan said it was a happy development that around 99 percent of population and military and political leadership were on the same frequency on how to tackle the threat. [From where did he know about 99 percent population? Had he conducted any census?]
“We had been advocating since the last 15 years that private jihad is not only against Islam but is also a dangerous strategy. We are happy that finally the establishment and religious parties have realised it. They have practically given up their practical support to jihad though the latter would hardly accept it. No doubt they have done so after bad practical experiences and were late to do that, it is a welcome development anyway,” he said.
“Musharraf and the previous MMA-led NWFP government had shown criminal negligence vis-à-vis the Taliban in Malakand which made things difficult for the coming government. But happily the operations – ‘Rah-e-Rast’ in Swat and ‘Rah-e-Nijat’ in Waziristan – have been the most successful ever operations of the world history,” Khan added. [It’s shocking to read that only previous government had shown criminal negligence. Didn’t the writer read the statements of ANP leadership especially provincial minister information Iftikhar Hussain? Was the operation ‘Rah’e’Rast in swat started by ANP government or Army? Where has the bastard Mullah Fazalullah gone? What about the cases of Muslim Khan who was brought from America by the America and For America?]
Former chief secretary FATA and security expert Brigadier Mehmood Shah agreed that an anti-private jihad consensus was developing in society. “Swatis are now openly supporting the government but the situation in Waziristan is not that encouraging. There is general fear amongst the people there militants might come back in the area.”
“But one thing is for sure that people have overwhelmingly turned against the misuse of religion for political motives. It is in this background that the religious parties have shunned militant approaches. They simply cannot go against the tide. To save society from the threat of extremism and terrorism, a civil society movement like the one for restoration for judiciary is needed. Live media has exposed the religious parties to the nation.
The religious class in simply unable to lead the nation. Modern religious scholars and intellectuals should take the interpretation of religion from them,” he commented. Dr Begum Jan, chairperson tribal women welfare association, didn’t see any positive outcome any time soon. “We are just harvesting what we had sown years ago. Security situation is worse despite claims of victory in Malakand and I think the announced surge in US troops in Afghanistan would just add fuel to fire.” [ Pls correct that we are harvesting what our army had sown]
“But one development is encouraging to see. I saw in 2001 when Mullahs agitated against the US invasion in my area that they were given generous donations for onward supply to Afghan Taliban. But if these Mullahs ask for funds today, I am afraid the people would beat them rather,” she said. Begum Jan said the people of Waziristan and other agencies had suffered badly and they would never ever support the mullahs.
“Now we should save our children in the given scenario from religious seminaries and offer them religious education at home. The government should bring FATA at par with rest of the country through fast track and corruption free development schemes. It should provide jobs to the youth in the region to save them from extremists who give them lucrative offers in return for support,” she said.
Militancy hit areas like parts of Malakand division are experiencing shifts in general perceptions. Security agencies are having the greatest ever popular support.
Former federal minister and nationalist leader Afzal Khan Lala said people had supported the militants not out of love but for fear because they killed their opponents. “They may give even more support to army and the government if they are emboldened and ensured of safety. There is not yet hundred percent supports to security forces. For example, one of the two main tribes in Shah Dheri Kabal has formed a lashkar against the militants but the other is reluctant to do so.
The security forces have more communication and interaction with the general public,” he opined. Lala also chastised the religious parties for not opposing militants. He praised Army for getting the area rid of insurgents. Amir Muqam, president of the Pakistan Muslim League (Q) NWFP and a parliamentarian, observed how the nation could support those who killed their children, brothers and destroyed their businesses.
Muqam said that the army had established writ of the state for which the nation stood indebted to it. “But this now will have to be maintained by the civilian forces. Basic amenities would have to be provided and problems solved. There should be a sound plan to deal with the post-operation situation. There is still fear of return of militants. Militants after all have not been eliminated altogether. The government must safeguard those who side with it,” he said.
Sadullah Khan from Buner said the army has won us the area back. “It has done that in Swat and Waziristan too. The notion of invincibility of militants has been buried for ever.” An old man from Kabal Swat, wishing anonymity, said Swatis followed the extremists because they talked good.
“They disappointed us when they took over the area. We will never support them and would rather support the government. Let us hope that it would be the old tolerant Buner and Swat where different religious groups have lived peacefully for centuries,” he said. The man narrated a family of Syeds in his area commanded respect. “We always accepted their arbitration in our controversies. But the family joined the Taliban. And the people of the area then killed several of them with their own hands,” he said.
US president Barrack Obama also alluded to the fact in his last address. “In the past, there have been those in Pakistan who have argued that the struggle against extremism is not their fight. But in recent years, as innocents have been killed from Karachi to Islamabad, public opinion has turned,” he said. There is a growing national pride. “The tragedy was huge. The state acted like a mother.
Had it not come up to the expectations, the tragedy would have been more devastating. The militants wanted to create disbelief but miserably failed,” argued Shakir Khan, a former IDP from Swat. There were frequent desertions from the army and police in initial days. Around 80 percent persons in Swat and Buner had deserted for fear of militants. That trend has reversed. And recently there has been a new urge in the youngsters to join the security forces.
“When enemies are bent upon destroying the society, why should I lag behind? Though I didn’t want to join army or police in the past, I now am for it. I want to fight Pakistan’s enemies and take them head on,” declared Saeed Khan, a college student in Charsadda. Collection of donations by jihadi organisations has also declined. There are indeed Chanda boxes in shops and markets but these are of Sahara Trust, Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital and other genuine humanitarian organisations.
“The phenomenon has weakened for various reasons: People don’t like to give donations as they did in the past. They are fed up of a mushroom growth of jihadi outfits. Poverty is also a factor. They avoid it for fear of arrests too,” said a shopkeeper in Mardan who wished not to be named. Swat Taliban also collected huge sums through donations given by the people especially women. Jehanzeb from Mingora Swat said they didn’t know they would buy arms with their alms.
“They were given generous alms to build, as they had promised, mosques and madrassas. But look! Where did the money turn out at the end? We had no idea that they would buy arms with our money to wage war against Pakistan and kill our children,” he added. There were numerous FM channels in the air before the latest onslaught against the extremists in Malakand and the tribal belt. These were blatantly used for anti-state and extremist propaganda. Almost all of these stand closed now.
However minorities living in the Malakand and tribal belt have also been severely affected by the ongoing tensions. Buner and Swat had a sizable presence of Hindu and Sikh people. Atleast 15 families, including some known professionals, have migrated to India of late. Ashok Kapoor, the general secretary of the Hindu-Sikh Sudhar Sabha, said though the violence was not specific to them, minorities have suffered badly.
“We know how the minorities could be safe when majority was not. But that ensuing lack of security and slump in businesses has led to migration of quite a few of them to India is agonising to say the least. Jagdesh Lal, the son of Bhajan Lal, was kidnapped in 2003 but he is yet to return homes. Tilak Raj left Mingora for India when his brother was killed last Ramazan and his own life was endangered.
The family of Dr Mohan Kumar, a notable doctor from Buner, has also shifted to India. Dr Jian Parkash, also from Buner who ran a big hospital there, also plans to go because of his brother’s murder. Others are also considering departure which would be a tragedy if materialised. Pakistan is our country. We want to live here.” Kapoor said the mainstream population was very caring for their community. But community needs motivation, support and co-ordinated efforts on part of district administrations, NGOs and security forces to change their minds away from leaving the country.[These minorities may be right but it may be exception or the situation may be not that serious. Read the news uploaded as picture]
Siraj-ul-Haq, former senior minister and ex-amir of Jamat-e-Islami, however, declined to accept that jihadi culture had weakened and that new developments had forced them shun jihadi enticements. “Jihad continues in Afghanistan. We think that US interference there and in Pakistan is the root cause of the problems. We have started our jihad against the USA – the “go America go” campaign – by organising political rallies and train marches.”
Haq said JI believed in political and constitutional means. “JI never had any military wing. We don’t believe in under-ground activities. If any one thinks JI is a B-team of agencies, he should remove this misconception.”
by Shahnawaz Farooqi, Translated by Omar Javaid
If Americans had a News of similar proportions, which Muslims have at this point in time, it would have really sparked hundreds of hours of exclusive coverage on every news channels … thousands of discussions of different lengths would also have been aired, and around a thousand interviews of experts, politicians, analysts etc would have become a part of memory of viewers … all in a very short period of time. In addition to that, hundreds of documentaries of various lengths would have been made on the subject or been in the process of being produced. Last but not the least; this news would also have pushed Hollywood to start production of five to six mega budget movies.
So what’s the news?
Dear Readers! Americans and allies have been defeated by the freedom fighters/Mujahideens in Afghanistan. A news of historical proportions, isn’t it…!!!
A few years back, one fine day Americans learnt something similar … that Russians have been defeated by Mujahideens in Afghanistan; and when the news came, it sparked a parade of discussions, columns, interviews, documentaries and feature films, et al, like we are anticipating that it would have been the case now …
However despite knowing this, the behavior of Muslim Ummah is quite contrast and dumbfounding. They have a news of historic proportions, as already said, though it’s not making a headline, not even in an evening newspaper… This could be the height of our journalistic incapacity and intellectual slavery of independent media, and the same is also true for the entire Muslim Population, perhaps. Telling it is … we don’t even know how to even celebrate triumph … but why?
Some think that it’s the unavailability of sufficient financial resources, though I disagree. The problem, my friend, is with our priorities and misconceptions. We know people who can spend millions, if not billions, to erect Madrassahs or Masjids, however if you ask for their support to establish an independent TV channel, then they might not even spare a rupees. “It’s not a religious activity, isn’t it … would it bring bounties in Akhirah?”
It is questioned due to a common perception that mass media is a means to spread vulgarity and negativity etc; public clings to this perception despite realizing that media is indeed the most effective and efficient tool to manage and form perceptions or opinions. Ironically, concordantly, millions believes blindly that the ‘picture (read distortion) of reality’ shown by media is indeed ‘Reality’ and what it ignores either doesn’t exist or is irrelevant. This fact is saddening with far reaching consequences.
Albeit the sorry state of print or electronic media in general, we do have some exceptions to talk about. Take Al-Jazeerah for instance; doing a splendid job despite the rule of monarchist and dictators in the Middle Eastern countries it operates, where waking and radicalizing the population is more difficult then it seems. Al-Jazeerah, however have accomplished the unimaginable, and we must ask how?
Al-Jazeerah exposed the aggression of Israel, and it not only reported the details on bombings and attacks by oppressive force(s) (extra ‘s’ for its supporting allies), but also revealed the human sufferings caused as a result, the pains and suffering of people whose family members have been martyred, how they has been treated by authorities … it also reported the economic difficulties faced by them as a result, and eventualities on future of their children. Al-Jazeerah uncovered these issues with such a detail that it was never done before, sparking a reaction against Israelis and Americans.
If all the print and electronic media of Muslim world would have the spirit Al-Jazeerah had, then the ball game would have been very different, knowing the fact that the American and Allies in Afghanistan have been defeated. Our media could have then played a pivotal role in uplifting the moral of the Muslim Ummah, and would have in turn achieved a psychological victory against the so called imperial masters.
Muslim Ummah has been a sufferer of inferiority complex since a long time; blind folded by a perception that we are deprived of resources, wealth, technology, etc, which is why western civilization have all the power and might … but remain ignorant to the fact that an Ummah who can defeat two super powers in just twenty years, must have some extraordinary qualities.
People generally believe that Americans are fighting Afghans in Afghanistan, but that’s not really the case … in reality it’s a war being won by ‘Faith’ against ‘state of the art technology’, on one side and on the other, triumph of ‘intense desire to die for a cause’ (read martyrdom) against ‘world’s greatest military might’; it is undeniably changing the face of the history forever…
Despite all this, Muslim Ummah is unaware of the glory, and ironically we don’t even have a tool to wake ourselves from the slumber.
PESHAWAR – Seventeen officials serving in NWFP on various important posts are active members of the notorious American Khyber Club (AKC) that is believed to be a hotbed of conspiracies against Pakistan, highly placed sources informed TheNation on Sunday.
These officials are facilitating American diplomats, operatives of CIA and mercenaries of Blackwater in their activities stretched across the province and FATA. In reciprocation, the local officials get full support in getting lucrative postings, transfers and getting away with inquiries, etc, sources disclosed and added they are taken care by Americans who have tones of money on their disposal.
“Those who stand out in serving US interests are posted on the posts of their own choice despite lapse of tenure, and this speaks of increasing American influence in our internal matters,” an official said..
Their nominees get US visas in no time and the children as well as siblings of some officials are getting free education in prestigious institutions abroad.
These days serving American interests is more fruitful for anyone than serving interests of Pakistan, an official who was made OSD for an unforgivable crime of non-cooperation with foreigners told TheNation.
The top 17 officials who have made American Khyber Club their second home include nine from District Management Group (DMG), six officers representing Police Service of Pakistan (PSP), while two are in the Office Management Group (OMG).
The PSP officers who take pride in having personal relations with American operatives hail from Peshawar, Bannu, Lakki Marwat, Waziristan and Kohat. They have been spotted roaming around with foreigners in their bulletproof cars and holding secret meetings with them in their offices which is an open violation of rules and regulations, sources informed.
The DMG officials who are protecting US interests in the region hail from Peshawar, Nowshehra, Swabi, Mardan and Charsadda. They also use the American Khyber Club as their unofficial secretariat. The officials belonging to OMG and PSC Executive Group hail from Waziristan and Shabqadar.
Orders have been repeatedly circulated that government officials can’t meet foreigners (Americans) without prior approval from the authorities concerned but no one seems to be interested in abiding by the rules.
On the other hand, those who are not in the good books of the American Consulate have been given insignificant posts or have simply been made Officers on Special Duty (OSDs).
The sources informed that Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency has reported the matter to the highest authorities in Islamabad.