The US and Pak-based terrorists

By K.N. Pandita

The US is showing no relent in its reproach of Pakistan for allowing safe haven to terrorists – individuals as well as organizations – operating in Afghanistan. There are many individuals involved in raising and transferring funds, and providing logistic support to terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda, Taliban and LeT that are either based or have their hideouts in Pakistani. Pakistan army and intelligence circles including some senior bureaucrats are well aware of these antics. At the end of the day elusive Osama bin Laden was captured in a house just few kilometres away from the GHQ in Rawalpindi.

Pronouncement of the Treasury contains details of their connections and the specific support they were rendering to these terrorist organizations in their bid to disrupt peace and order in other countries. They are primarily accused of raising funds and disbursing these among terrorist organizations enabling them to follow their terror agenda of mayhem and killing of innocent people in different parts of the world, particularly in the neighbouring Afghanistan and India.

The fact is that Pakistan-based terrorist organizations have developed a vast network in Asian, African and European continents mostly through their Diaspora. It is actually a vast resurgence movement of Islamists. The more radical among them have taken to gun as the means of establishing supremacy of Islam. They strongly believe that the Muslims are enjoined by the diktat of their scriptures to wage a jihad for the promotion and propagation of Islamic faith. In other words, they believe that only their faith has the sanction for survival and the rest cannot exist simultaneously and must be wiped off.

However, today what we call religious extremism and the jihad movement is actually a struggle within the Islamic fold between the orthodoxy and liberalism. This clash started soon after the large big conquests made by the Arabs of non-Semitic lands and peoples in the continent, particularly when Greek science and philosophy reached the nascent Muslims and they took great interest in logic as the key to all knowledge. The 11th century ushered in an era of logic which was gall to the orthodoxy, and hence the clash. With the passage of time and with feudalism remaining entrenched in Muslim lands in the Asian continent, orthodoxy maintained the upper hand in Islamic socio-political structures and the clergy or ecclesiastical chapter became the instrument of political power …

The problem with Pakistan is that it was created on the premise that Muslims will not live together with the people of other faiths, especially the Hinds in the Indian sub-continent because they are governed by a superior socio-political and economic order. Moreover, they are enjoined by the faith to make that order prevail in the world because Islam is no less a mission than a faith. Therefore, Pakistan, coming into being as a sequel to that understanding, enjoys the privilege of considering itself the champion of bringing that far-reaching change in the world polity. The meaning of Pakistan having “an Islamic bomb” has to be understood in that context.

A comprehensive and in-depth understanding of this line of thinking will make it clear that Kashmir issue is actually no-issue; it is only a ploy to undertake the execution of the real agenda of radical Islam.

The fault of the US is that it inducted the component of politics into its handling of Islam so as to serve her immediate but unimaginative interests. The US looked at Islam and the Islamic world from anti-Soviet prism and thereby gave a regrettable proof of its myopic vision of world outlook. There was a time when the US, particularly its intelligence agency, grossly interfered in the internal affairs of Iran and supported the then monarchy against the popular demand for a democratic arrangement. There was a time when the US considered Pakistan more aligned than the allies and gave outright support to Pakistani Generals who usurped power and authority by arbitrarily ousting democratically elected governments. America’s hegemonic attitude has bred anti-American venom among more sensitive segments of the Muslim ummah in many parts of the world especially the Khurasan region which has ultimately turned into a hotbed of bloody clashes and relentless fighting.

The question is that previously as well the US designated individuals and organizations. Has that penalizing changed the ground situation and has that contained regional or international terrorism? Of course, not. Will new sanctions bring about any palpable change in ground situation, perhaps not? From 9/11 to present day, the US has been demanding Pakistan to wind up terrorist structure on her soil. It cut no ice with Pakistanis. Continuing to issue such warnings is nothing less than their expression of frustration over debacles in Afghan war and hence making a mockery of the American super power status. Pakistani authorities unanimously interpret American pressure tactics as a sequel to the US-led NATO failure in Afghanistan. Recently Pakistani foreign minister is said to have accused the world’s largest and the strongest democracies “forming a nexus” against the Islamists, who, incidentally are no sympathisers of Westminster type democracy.

The simple question before the US and the West is this: Do you want democracy to survive the onslaught of radical Islam or not? This was the very question that world leaders we obliged to debate before they decided to go for the WW II. Therefore there is the need of handling radical Islam with new thinking, new understanding, new vision, new approach, new planning and new strategy. There is dire need of new alignments – regional as well as global – if Theo-fascism is to be defeated the way Nazism was. Tabling of a bill in the Congress seeking a ban on military aid to Pakistan is a reflection of new thinking and new approach in the US law making body.

The really effective force that can contain and dispel the blitzkrieg of radical Islam is the rational, tolerant and humane Islam which wants to be liberated from the siege. This is the line which India, a country with second largest Muslim population, is experimenting. If there is a nexus between the US and India along these parameters, it is a welcome development.

(The writer is the former Director of the Centre of Central Asian Studies at Kashmir University, India).
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