Mutiny in Pakistan

October 31, 2009

By Padmini Arhant

The terror networks scattered around Pakistan have joined forces with Al-Qaida and Pakistani Talibans to challenge the fragile central power in Islamabad. October has been the bloodiest month with a spate of suicide bombings and explosions in different cities including the audacious attacks against the military headquarters heightened by a hostage crisis.

Major cities like Lahore, Rawalpindi, Peshawar and Islamabad have been the fair game for the militants seeking vengeance towards the Pakistani military operation against the domiciled Talibans in the South Waziristan, the lawless region controlled by the terror groups.

When the country’s military and the intelligence that is constitutionally limited to national defense expand their role in civilian affairs through military coups, aiding and abetting in the assassinations of Political candidates, orchestrating terrorist activities in foreign nations, the backlash is accordingly serious and consequential. Naturally, the monsters raised by the Pakistani ISI and the ‘esteemed’ military are now giving them the run for the money.

In a newly awakened moment, the Pakistani military is grappling to contain the pre-meditated and the impromptu domestic terrorisms originally nurtured by the institutions with the central government turning a blind eye to the flames that has evolved into an inferno at the present time.

The conspiracy base for a significant terror attacks suffered and averted around the world by most democracies are unequivocally linked to the Pakistani networks. In fact, the recent hostage situation at the Pakistani military compound reportedly (Source- Pakistani media) had three defense personnel full-fledged involvement in the hostile takeover.

Unfortunately, the innocent civilians endure the human and economic losses from the senseless violence regardless of the sources being either home-grown or external. The widespread terror activities across the nuclear nation are symbolic of the notorious organizations’ objective to undermine the government that is historically replaced by the military coups in Pakistan.

It’s rather intriguing that the Pakistani intelligence, noted as the reliable agency within the country’s political hierarchy, has sharply declined in the entrusted intelligence services to protect the nation and prevent any harm to the neighbors in Iran, Afghanistan, India or the farther away United States.

On the other hand, although the latest Pakistani aggressive military action in the Swat Valley against the local tribal forces representing the Pakistani Talibans claimed to be effective, the mass population has been displaced with a unique ‘refugee’ status in their homeland. The populace frustrations are justified with comments such as “when the American dollar trickles in, the Pakistani military stunt is displayed to charm the foreign donor.”

Any drastic measures viz. the drone attacks and continuous shelling pursued by the local and the foreign governments against the terror networks producing immense civilian casualties…alternatively, the chaos from the lack of humanitarian provisions is likely to facilitate a fertile ground for terror recruitments of the desolate victims.

Likewise, the Saudi Arabia financed ‘Madrassas,’ the schools attended by the children of the poorer segment have been highly controversial especially in Pakistan due to the dominance in the form of Deobandi, Wahhabi and Salafi Islamic elements.

Madrassas, – A generic Arabic/Urdu term for ‘schools’ in the Islamic nations around the world have maintained the reputation of a ‘regular’ school, teaching educational and vocational skills to the disadvantaged as well as the secular minorities in the society.

Nevertheless, the madrassas run by the extreme religious authorities mainly in Pakistan has become the bone of contention after September 11, 2001.

The reports indicate that since independence in 1947, the madrassas in Pakistan have risen from 200 to over an estimated 40,000, with the unofficial madrassas in the country anywhere between 10,000 and 13,000 comprising approximately 2.0 million students.

Further, in the 1980’s – the Pakistani government deployed militants in Kashmir and Afghanistan believed to have attended the madrassas inculcating fundamentalism in the curriculum. A sizeable proportion of students in these institutions were the neglected local and refugee population from the Soviet era Afghanistan and neighboring Baluchistan.

On a broader aspect, the madrassas appear to be serving the deserving population with the required basic education and religious/cultural appreciation. Appropriately, the Zardari-Gilani administration could establish uniformity in the madrassas resembling the national public/private educational system.

What is the reason behind Pakistan’s mutiny?

Two sources are predominantly responsible for the political instability in Pakistan. They are the Western intervention in Pakistan’s political system and the joint opposition to the Western intrusion by the Pakistani military and the intelligence alike. As a result, the real stakeholders, the people in the society are subject to systemic abuse of power in the inherently fractured political gamut.

The Western powers admire and search for the political candidates in awe with western ideology. Hence, they cherry pick those individuals as the preferred heads of the government in these regions, in spite of their nominees’ past failures, political scandals and most relevantly the paradoxical personal background revealing them as the Western proxies in the nation with an overwhelming majority in abject poverty, inadequate literacy and illiteracy.

Moreover, the Western selection criteria based on their candidates’ foreign affiliations viz. a U.S. or Western educated, failing that a longtime resident with Western work experience etc. for political successions in the diametrically different cultures is perceived by the locals as the dismissal or invalidation of their society.

On the flipside – the Pakistani military, the ISI and the local political factions in abhorrence to the Western choices constantly attempt to sabotage the ‘so-called’ democratic elections. If the Western appointed political candidates survive the electoral processes, then the listed oppositions ensure the limited life span of such governments not barring the restricted authority on foreign policy and nuclear site management.

The people in Pakistan clearly understand that the elections in their country are a mere charade with an inevitable political casualty resulting from the western backed candidates’ insincere declaration to reform the fundamentally corrupt political structure.

It’s important to highlight that the moral and ethical degradation are not necessarily exclusive to Kabul, Islamabad, Middle East, Africa…the contemporary world politics is plagued by corruption, cronyism and power clenching with an utter disregard for the people’s plight that is conspicuous in the policy decisions at the state, national and international level.

Politics is a game where the key players i.e. the people are used and abused for political gains. When it’s not convenient, they are considered to be a threat to the political status and financial security by some elected officials in their unconstitutional and unconscionable commitment to derail progress.

The United States health care fiasco serves as a good example in this context.

Pakistan’s current mayhem is self-inflicted precisely from the military and the intelligence reigning control over the U.S and other Western democracy backed puppet governments. When the national intelligence in cohort with the various terror networks are implicated for terror activities in foreign soil and the authorities ‘supposedly’ in power grant immunity to every imaginable terror group, criminal elements, terror masterminds, then the outcome is bound to backfire.

The matter worsened when the supreme court justices were fired by the former President Parvez Musharraf clarifying the above point that, the political figures do not hesitate to violate the constitution in order to remain in power. Under the same presidency, the world’s most wanted Osama Bin Laden was provided the medical treatment while the nuclear arsenal dealer A.Q.Khan, revered as the ‘Father of the Nuclear Pakistan,’ sheltered in a ‘Royal comfort’ to satisfy the minimal legality for a monumental criminal activity.

United States in return rewarded the Musharraf government with billions of dollars in aid and greeted the President as the strongest ‘ally’ in the newly invented ‘war on terror.’ When the ally, for most part chose to remain oblivious in the grand mission to capture the 9/11 terror chief or eradicate the terror movements around the country as they were not obligatory to account for the ten billion dollars and more in financial compensation by the American tax payers.

That raises the question against the U.S. intelligence and their ingenuity in the contentious issue of global terrorism when the American public was repeatedly alerted with the various terrifying color codes during the Bush-Cheney administration that stood by and let the dwarf develop into a giant. Meanwhile, the pleasantries and medal of honor bestowed upon each other in Washington for masquerading the facts as fiction.

Recently, the Congress approved 1.5 billion dollars each year over the next five years in financial aid to curb terrorism in Pakistan created a pandemonium in the Pakistani political circuit expressing the stipulations in the bill as an insult to Pakistani sovereignty.

Interestingly, the political forces’ objection was anchored on the meaningful requirement to alienate the military operation from the ‘democratically’ elected government role essentially strengthening the sovereignty and empowering the people in the nation governance.

The heated debates and the subsequent Pakistani dignitaries’ visit to Washington to discuss against the legitimate legislative conditions confirm the reality on the Pakistan military dominance in the government. Furthermore, the recipients’ demand to make the substantial donations with no strings attached has been a dangerous precedence in the terror related policy between the U.S and Pakistan.

Pakistan’s relations with the neighbors all around have been extremely volatile, tensions have escalated along the borders with Iran, and Afghanistan compared to the relatively calmer Kashmir front. Not surprisingly, the critics were swift in their finger pointing at the arch nemesis India and the benefactor United States, held responsible for Pakistan’s status quo when the people of both nations have been the victims of brutal terror attacks and continuous plotting against the respective national interests.

Is there hope for Pakistan to emerge from the present quagmire?

Absolutely. It’s only achievable through the active participation of the ‘moderates’ in the society that is prevalent in the economic activities…however, not visible in the political or social reform. Pakistan has tremendous intellectual talent and leadership skills at its disposal. The reason for its obscurity is the deprivation of equal opportunities to people across the diverse socio-economic spectrum, due to the western influence and military interference in the frail democratic system.

Pakistan’s salvage rests in the hands of the far sighted and reasonable minds seeking harmony and not acrimony with its neighbors and the international community. The peaceful convergence of the moderate thinkers and the youth population brimming with ideas can be an indomitable force in dealing with the humongous problems facing the nation and lead the country towards a credible democracy.

The leadership in Pakistan can ease the burden on the society by softening the rhetoric towards nations eternally viewed as ‘political rivals,’ particularly India, a strategy created by the vengeful ‘British Raj’ (British rule) as a token gift to the Indian sub-continent upon being ousted from the region.

Pakistan and India would not be independent if not for the iron will of the single entity, Mahatma Gandhi to free the region from the burgeoning colonial occupation and relentless effort to unite the sparring Hindu and Muslim factions that ultimately ended in the leader sacrificing his life for the cause.

Sadly, the terror attacks launched against civilians around the globe yielded fatalities among people of Islamic faith as well. India being the second largest Muslim nation in the world, the impact is even greater when one Muslim vows to destroy the life of another across the border.

After gaining independence on August 14, 1947, Is Pakistan really a free nation today?

A country mired with incessant violence and political turmoil needs to pause and reflect on the course of actions that has led to the regrettable carnage and devastation with no end in sight thus far.

Therefore, it’s poignant for the Pakistani society at the crossroads to disavow divisiveness and embrace solidarity within and around itself.

The only beneficiaries from Pakistan’s disintegration threatening the national and global security are the despots of the terror organizations and the profit oriented military industry complex.

Pakistan can rise and shine again with the solemn oath to pursue peace and resurrect the due progress it is entitled to in the twenty first century.

I convey my best wishes to the people of Pakistan and pray for their peaceful existence.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant


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