View Full Version : Troubled course of a nation built on Islam

08-21-2006, 01:16 PM
The Daily Telegraph (Australia)
August 15, 2006 Tuesday
HEADLINE: Troubled course of a nation built on Islam

Pakistan has become a breeding ground for terror groups. KEITH SUTER charts the background:

Pakistan is on the international frontline in the war on terror. The arrests in Britain and Pakistan of suspected terrorists with Pakistani connections has again focused attention on the country's links with Islamic extremists.

The country is already accused of hiding Osama bin Laden on the border with Afghanistan. It also secretly produced the first Islamic nuclear bombs, with the leading scientist selling his material on the international black market to Libya, Iran and North Korea.

The arrests in the past few days have been a different story. This time the Pakistani Government gave the leads to the British and US intelligence agencies. The arrests are a matter of pride for the Pakistan administration.

But the arrests have added to domestic hostility to the Government. Some Pakistanis disagree with their government's role in the international war on terror -- they oppose US policies.

President Pervez Musharraf is under daily threat of assassination. His removal may result in an extremist leader taking over. But Pakistan was born out of religious extremism. Some people hoped to avoid it but they failed.

Pakistan and India were born from the same British colony. Mohandas Gandhi's campaign for the colony's independence in the 1930s was based on creating a multicultural and multi-religious country. But a quarter of the sub-continent's population were Muslim and many wanted their own nation. The Muslims had run India before the British colonists arrived and they wanted, centuries later, to recreate a Muslim state.

Despite Gandhi's pleas for peace and national unity, there was much sectarian strife.

A moderate Muslim leader, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, tried to bridge the gap between Muslims and the Hindu-dominated nationalist group, the Indian National Congress. Eventually he gave up and sided with the Muslims, who wanted their own homeland.

The British decided to get out of the subcontinent in 1947 and they agreed to divide it. About eight million Muslims fled from India to Pakistan and about eight million Hindus and Sikhs fled from Pakistan (about 500,000 people were killed either in their homes or on their journey). But about 10 million Hindus remained in Pakistan and 40 million Muslims stayed in India.

India has flourished as a multi-religious democracy -- the world's largest. There are now 105 million Muslims in India -- about 11 per cent of the population. It has had Muslim presidents; it has been a democratic success story.

But Pakistan (the name means holy land) has had dictatorships for most of its history. The military has always claimed a special role in running the country because it has been the best-organised part of the state. This situation emerged at the time of independence, when there was little in the way of civilian political institutions other than imperial bureaucrats.

The British created Pakistan with two wings, divided by northern India, with no common land corridor. The British claimed that the common Islamic faith would hold both wings together. But East Pakistan, being distant from the national capital in West Pakistan, demanded more self-government.

The demands over the years were met by repression. In 1971 East Pakistan rebelled and won its war of independence. It is now Bangladesh, one of the world's poorest countries.

West Pakistan (now just Pakistan) was humiliated by losing East Pakistan. It was angry at India's support for the East Pakistanis.

Pakistani-Indian tensions have existed since independence. They have disputed borders (notably in Kashmir) and India has suspected Pakistanis of supporting Islamic terrorist attacks in India.

The two countries were also on different sides in the Cold War. India developed close ties with the Soviet Union and the US developed close ties with Pakistan.

The US created a network of military alliances to encircle the Soviet Union to ''contain'' it. In 1953 it signed the first lot of military agreements with Pakistan to supply military equipment.

In 1979 the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. It had rebellious Islamic territories along its southern border and it feared that Afghani Islamic fundamentalists would inflame radical religious demands.

The Soviet Union soon became bogged down trying to crush

rebels. The US armed the southern Afghani rebels through the Pakistani intelligence service. Other Muslims joined in the struggle against the communist superpower, including Osama bin Laden, who created a base (al-Qaeda) for assisting the guerrillas.

The Soviet Union was driven out of Afghanistan in the late 1980s. This was an early part of its eventual total collapse. Moscow began losing its grip on its empire.

The end of the Cold War changed the political landscape again. The US had little need for the backward, undemocratic Pakistan. It improved its relations with India, with its flourishing economy and booming technology industry (India has the world's second-largest English-speaking scientific workforce, after the US). Meanwhile, India no longer had any need for Soviet-style central planning so it developed its own pro-Western market reforms.

Pakistan was left outside by the US in the new era. It was an embarrassing relic of a bygone era.

Then after September 11, 2001, the US had a sudden need for Pakistan again. The country became a base from which to launch raids over the border into Afghanistan in the hunt for al-Qaeda terrorists. That search, of course, is ongoing.

The second need of the US was for the Pakistan Government to clamp down on the extremist Islamic groups that had always thrived there. These groups had now gone global, developing their own networks for training and learning from each other.

Third, the US wanted controls on Pakistan's network of Islamic-based schools, the madrassas. It is said that students attending some of these schools receive an anti-Western education. British authorities have argued that some of them have become terrorist factories.

But Musharraf has a dangerous path to tread. He has tried to please the Americans but many of his own citizens are angry at US policy in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

His intelligence service helped bin Laden in the war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan but is now expected to help find or kill bin Laden. Meanwhile, President Musharraf is under constant threat of assassination from extremists within Pakistan who disapprove of his links with the US.

08-21-2006, 01:20 PM

It would be nice to be able to stop having to thank the Pakistan government for its help in uncovering terrorist plots. Certainly,

Islamabad deserves everyone's heart-felt gratitude for starting the arrests that foiled last week's plot to blow up transatlantic

airliners. While it is true that that plot was based in the UK, and the two people Pakistan initially arrested were Britons of Pakistani

descent, the government singled out Islamabad for its "help and co-operation".

Nonetheless, Pakistan appears again and again as at least a transmission belt, if not an engine, of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism.

Three years ago the man held to be the al-Qaeda logistics planner for the 2001 attacks in the US, and for an attempted 1995 plan to

blow up aircraft over the Pacific, was arrested in Pakistan. Two years ago, a Pakistan computer engineer was arrested for relaying

e-mails related to a putative attack on Heathrow. Last year, two of the British Muslims involved in the London Underground and

bus bombings were found to have visited Pakistan a few months earlier.

Since September 11 2001 Pakistan says it has arrested hundreds of al-Qaeda operatives but that is because it has so many to

choose from, as the result of a series of factors. Some relate to its history and geography. As a country carved out of undivided

India on the basis of Islam, it was always going to be susceptible to any Muslim fundamentalism, as to a lesser degree is

Bangladesh on the other side of the subcontinent. Pakistan's rugged north-west frontier was outlaw country long before jihad there

was fomented by the US and Pakistan against the Soviet occupiers of Afghanistan and mutated into the Taliban. The latter, and to

some extent al-Qaeda, were seen by many Pakistanis as more of a problem for the west than for themselves.

As well as this blowback from the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan of the 1980s, Pakistan, and particularly its army, is still reaping

the consequences of its long-time support of extremists in the state of Kashmir it disputes with India. Like his predecessor, General

Zia ul-Haq, Pakistan's ruler, General Pervez Musharraf put himself in hock to Islamist politicians. He has used the latter to push the

mainstream civilian politicians, former prime ministers Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto, to the political periphery.

After last year's London bombings, Gen Musharraf promised to crack down on the more dubious madrassas that were getting

suspect British visitors. But he is in a weak position to do this because these religious schools are part of the Islamic politicians'

constituency. The general, who has survived three assassination attempts, plays up his weakness, portraying himself as afragile last

bastion against the jihadis. Yet if he does not push back more against fundamentalism, he may one day not even be in a position to

pass on terrorist tip-offs.

08-22-2006, 01:15 AM
First of all I will like to thanks Zorawar for his post.....

It was something great to know

It is also helpful for other people to know what is going in Pakistan on matter of terrorism....

US is equally responsible for terrorism, without their help OSAMA or Talibani would have not existed in this world.... Now its there responsibility to take them in control, if they think they are super power then have to take initiative and lead the world to finish terrorism & to prove their supremacy.... other wise they are more scared nation than any other nation... India is dealing with terrorisim from many year for us its a part of life....India is a largest democratic country who give equal importance to all religion.... India is a secular country as per our constitution.... earlier when India was shouting in UN nobody was thinking about terrorism.... what happen now... when itís started in all USA & other European Nation..... They come to know...

In Hindi we say jo boyegaa vohii paayega... (i.e. what ever you will plant same thing you will get).

Its useless to do any thing in name of Jihad in India....Even Muslim knows whatís there in our Law and constitution.

No one is slave here in India, every one gets equal opportunity. Muslim also get but its up to them to take that opportunity.... People have to think by being transparent... One bad thing is that, being India is a secular nation... Mind of few Indianís are not secular......

All Indian can only be secular if every Indian child is taught secularism from their childhood by their family .

We Indian are Still better in matter of religion than any other nation.....

Those Muslim who had migrated during the partition of Indian in 1947 they are considered as Mujahir in Pakistan, they are not given equal opportunity and they are not trusted in Pakistan ...

But in India no one is Mujahir all are given equal right....& they get equal opportunity.

People need Peace and they want to grow, terrorism is not going to help any one. & terrorism is not solution of any political issue.

Jee-O Aur Jeenay Do
(i.e Live and Allow other to live)

Itís me always Secular Indian