Is it a blind-spot or blindness to reality?
By Babar Ayaz
Terrorists who attacked the PNS Mehran on 5/22 knew the ‘security blind- spot.’ At least that’s what the Interior Minister Rehman Malik told the media soon after the operation. Further follow up reports confirmed his observation. Now the entire media is asking how the terrorists knew about this ‘blind-spot?’
The obvious conclusion is that the terrorists have some sympathisers inside the forces. This suspicion is further collaborated by the fact the routes and timings of the naval buses which came under attack a month ago were seemingly also compromised by some insiders. The attackers on GHQ had also insiders with them. Musharraf’s assassination attempts were also done with insiders’ help. Salman Taseer was assassinated by his guard abetted by his colleagues. So there is not one blind-spot we are talking about. It seems that many people among our security establishment, politicians and journalists are ‘BLIND’ to the bigger reality.
How many more soldiers, law enforcing agency’s jawans and civilians will have to give their blood to cure the ‘blindness’ of these officials; a section of politicians like Imran Khan; and journalists who are embedded with the establishment? They are blind because they cannot see that our security forces need spring cleaning. The security forces should realize that “Jihad fe sabillillah” which is their slogan is also the slogan of the terrorist organisations in the country. As matter of fact they have been taught so by the establishment.
A 35 feet blind-spot at the PNS Mehran can be covered to stop further physical intrusion of the terrorists. But the intrusion of the ideology of Jihad and establishing “Islamic Emirates of Pakistan” or an “Islamic Khilafat” in Pakistan cannot be stopped by any operational security measures. The model for this Islamic ‘Emirates’ or a ‘Khilafat’ is that of Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan.
What is not recognised at the civil-military policy-making level is that while the military is selectively fighting the terrorist organisations and thousands of our security personnel have been martyred, they have not challenged the ideology of Jihad. Thousands of mosques, madaris and religious organisations are preaching Jihad against the West and its allied governments in the Muslim countries. Aren’t we blind to this glaring fact?
Except for PPP, ANP and MQM others don’t even have the courage to stand up to condemn the Jihadi ideology which is fuelling the killing of thousands of Pakistanis. Just look back at the 5/2 incident only PPP and ANP had the courage to say that Osama was the enemy of the people of Pakistan and that Al Qaeda has damaged the Muslims image around the world.
The military establishment and right-wing politicians instead turned the debate to the violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty by the American choppers. Then all the media started beating the ‘effect’ – US intrusion – and completely underplayed ‘the cause’ — Osama had also violated the sovereignty of Pakistan. His Al Qaeda ideology fuelled terrorists organisations have caused more damage to Pakistan than any other foreign power.
The literate uneducated journalists, religious parties, a section of lawyers offered prayers for Osama, honoured murderer of Salman Taseer, and organised ‘dharnas’ (pickets) against drone attacks, but these blind people did not see the killings of the 95 FC young recruits, the 12 soldiers and technicians who laid their life at the PNS Mehran.
Now they have also a theory expounded by Imran Khan and some religious parties. They claim that Pakistan is suffering from terrorism because we decided to join hands with the US administration after 9/11. Let’s analyse Imran Khan first: he can be given the latitude of ignorance because when Pakistan had started this war in early 1979, he was playing cricket. And when he came back he landed in the hands of the people who gave him a tainted history lesson. Pakistan had started sending armed infiltrators in Afghanistan soon after the 1979 Saur Revolution led by left leaning Khalq and Parcham parties. The same parties were responsible for abolishing monarchy in Afghanistan and supported Daud to over-throw King Zahir Shah. Afghanistan had remained under the Soviet influence from the times of the Czar of Russia. It was training, arming and funding of Hikmatyar and other so-called Mujahideens which destablised the progressive Afghan government and sucked in the Soviet army into the war. The Soviet army had come on invitation of the legitimate Afghan government. It was only after the Soviets came in that General Zia ul Haq lured the US to support the intrusion. (Read Charlie Wilson’s War).
Zia and religious parties led by Jamaat-e-Islami were US allies then. The JI and other religious parties were divorced by the US once the Soviet Union dissolved and cold war was over. So when the Americans ask why are they against us they should know better it’s the divorced wives bickering.
A question can be asked here that if we were wrong to wage war against Afghanistan jointly with US in the 80s, then how are we right now to side with Washington’s war in Afghanistan? We should remember that Najibullah’s government survived about three years after the Soviet forces left. But we were the one who trained and funded the Taliban to take over the government. We opposed the Afghan government which wanted to turn into a modern democratic state and imposed a Taliban government which could only give them primitive medieval governance.
And when it came to choosing sides the same protégé Taliban government sacrificed the relations with Pakistan and future of Afghans to save Osama – a champion of a permanent Islamic revolution. We then started playing the double game and gave protection to the Taliban who are till today intruding in Afghanistan. They are the cause of drone attacks Sir; you remove them these attacks will stop.
We continue to dangerously mix religion with politics. The Pakistani establishment also started using Jihadi organisations to destablise India. A major mistake because it was bound to boomerang sooner than later. So the people who think that terrorism is because of drone attacks and our involvement in Afghanistan should not blindfold themselves in narrow nationalism gauze. They should face the reality that Pakistan is undoubtedly directly and indirectly involved in terrorist activities in our neighbour-hood using the Jihadi ideology. The same ideology has been turned by the terrorist groups who believe that the Pakistani establishment is the renegade of Islamic Jihadi movement. The same ideology is providing the terrorists support from with our security establishment.
So what is to be done? The security establishment should shun the Jihadi ideology and support to such groups; closely monitor that in the name of preaching Islam no hate mongering is indoctrinated to its rank and file; and purge the supporters of these organisations. The politicians should take the ideological challenge and develop a communication strategy scientifically to convince people that the terrorists have declared war against Pakistanis, using religion and that we have to stand united for building modern democratic secular Pakistan. It is not war against terrorism; it is defending Pakistanis from terrorism. Nothing short of that will work now. (firstname.lastname@example.org)