Dr. Ajay Chrungoo 

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Dousing the Fires of Jihad in Pakistan

By Dr. Ajay Chrungoo

The new government in USA lead by President Obama has claimed to create a new regime of thinking to fight Islamic terrorism. The focus is gradually shifting from Iraq to Pakistan which is being gradually recognised as the epicentre of global terrorism. Adrian Leve and Catherine Scott-Clark in their work 'Deception' have reflected the view now shared by a large corpus of experts on international politics and terrorism when they say, “when politicians in London and Washington describe Musharraf as a key ally in the war on terror, what they really mean is that he is their only Islamic ally in the region. So with the White House and 10 Downing Street unable to countenance an alternative, Musharaff's Pakistan remains at the epicentre of terror, a disingenuous regime with its hands on the nuclear tiller".

The apprehensions in India that Barak Obama links the improvement in situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan to the solution of Kashmir problem have not died. But US governments categorical advice articulated by Obama himself that India is not a threat to Pakistan and that Pakistan needs to change its views about India creates a space for a new thinking on the region.

For the first time at least from a very optimistic and theoretical point of view one can venture to debate now that the problem of Pakistan is the nature of Pakistan itself. Unless this nature undergoes a transformation the motor which drives the polity in Pakistan to virulent anti-Americanism, compulsive hatred for India and voluntary embracing of Jihad, cannot to turned off. To think that Obama meant this when he urged Pakistan to change its outlook with regard to India is perhaps reading to much between and into the lines.

The release of 1.5 billion dollars of aid to Pakistan at this juncture once again pin points to the fact that USA has not as yet shunned the suicidal expediency with regard to Pakistan which has plagued its outlook to contain the global Islamic stridency and violence.  A former advisor to Bush Regime on weapons of Mass Distruction who lead researches tracking Pakistan's nuclear progress from its inception categorically states," Pakistan is top of the list. It is the number one threat to the world at this moment in time. If it all goes off, a nuclear bomb in a US or European city. I am sure we will find ourselves looking in Pakistan's direction."

Without generating a legitimate and vigorous introspection into the vital and important components of the polity in Pakistan, the financial bailout by USA only helps to nourish the vicious cycle of duplicity, deceit and deception which the Pakistani state has practised. To believe that the Pakistan Government and army have shunned ambivalence and duplicity and are rallying round to decisively counter radical Islam and its military might is very premature. To convey that the consent and compliance of Pakistani state in the war against Al Qaeda, Taliban and Muslim international is critical to US lead war on terror is fraught with the same consequences as has been the patronising of the Zia-ul-Haq regime and eventually Pervez Musharraf. How many time did President Bush describe Pervez Musharraf as 'his best friend' and the most important 'ally' in the war against terror. These dictators always thought that the US alliance with Pakistan was more critical than the concerns of USA on nuclear proliferation and the imperatives of global war on terror.

Many believe that USA is fully entrenched in Pakistan, has defanged the nuclear smuggling network run by notorious KRL from Kahuta and has taken control of at least that command centres of the Nuclear Bomb possessed by Pakistan. A few examples will suffice to make us re-examine our premises.

Pakistani military continued its nuclear procurements even after the smashing of the network of Dr Qader Khan. While Musharraf was negotiating AQ Khan's expulsions and eventual house arrest with Bush in New York, Pakistani Military establishment was continuing with the procurement of material related to nuclear proliferation. Asher Karni of Top-Cape Technology, a Captown firm that imported US electronic goods to South Africa, was asked by a Islamabad based firm which was only a front for Pakistani military, to procure thirty-six US manufactured oscilloscopes for Pakistan, costing $1.3 million Bush refused to raise the issue with Musharraf at Camp David on 24 June 2003. Three days later the South African company confirmed Islamabad that they had procured spark gaps in the US at $950 per piece. The first batch of sixty-six spark gaps arrived in South Africa on 8 Oct, 2004. That very day Richard Armitage and General Pervez Musharraf in Islamabad were having a discussion to finalise how to settle the A.Q Khan issue. On October 21,2003 Humayun Khan took the delivery of the first batch of spark gaps in Pakistan. The shipment was useless because customs agents and anti proliferation sleuths had switched the spark gaps for harmless components keeping the whole affair out of Musharraf's knowledge. The entire affair came to court in March 2005 in USA. Intriguingly the US State Department had closed down many requests to travel to Pakistan to interview Humayun Khan, who if extradiled and found guilty could have been jailed. It was openly reported that 'Suddenly the US government was affraid of offending Pakistan, its partner in war on terror," During Zia-ul-Haq's time also the US government had ambushed court cases, sealed them and those accused in smuggling equipment and material related to nuclear proliferation were allowed to leave USA.

General Musharraf took over the Khan's mill manufacturing nuclear components immediately after he had made himself President, restructuring it and transforming it into a world class facility with extraordinary input. In 2005 Lt. General Abdul Qayum Khan, the chairman of the mill said, "It was through Musharraf's daring, honest and visionary leadership that we have seized the moment". What did he mean was explained candidly by General KM Arif who had run the nuclear programme. He said about the nuclear business and the People's Steel Mill created by Dr Qader Khan as, "We have labs and the industry to rival the west. Once we sulked around. Now Pakistan is producing high-frequency invertors. They used to come from the UK and now we are selling them ourselves. Maraging  steel too. Once we struggled but now finally we are manufacturing it at People's Steel Mill and exporting it. It is better than you can get outside". Maraging Steel is used in high quality centrifuges used in enrichment of uranium. For Pakistan state to untemalise the view that USA will overlook its national interests to accommodate Pakistan is not a wishful state of mind the ground.

Proliferation experts have almost confirmed that Pakistan has continued to sell nuclear technology even after Musharraf became the best friend of Bush. Nobody has taken notice of the release of Dr Qader Khan from house arrest by the Pakistani courts under the supervision of Zardari government which has been having turbulent times and which cannot survive without the American support. Release of Khan is an affront which USA has swallowed as it has done many times in past to preserve its relation with Pakistan.

During the uncertainty in Pakistan caused by the lawyers long march the former Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharief said in an interview to an Indian channel that, "I am not worried about happenings in Swat. I am worried about what is happening in Baluchistan." The implications of the statement were ignored. The statement basically reflected the dominant view in Pakistan that does not view Islamisation and consequent radicalisation as a threat to National Unity and progress but sees the repressed subnational urges as the threat to Pakistan.

To see army operations in certain parts of Pakistan as a corrective applied by the Pakistan state to change itself is erroneous and the new US regime is perhaps committing this error. The army operations against Taliban and non-state actors is in essence a vicious struggle for control of power. In essence Pakistani army is seeking only to tame the non-state actors so that they agree to work within the discipline and parameters created by Pakistani  state more specifically the Pakistan Army. The Taliban and other Non State actors on the othre hand are exerting the pressures on Pakistani army to conform to the dictates of Pan Islamic vision and act as its sword arm. If Pakistani Army wins it will seek to play the determining role not only as a frontline Muslim state but also as a nuclear Muslim state to shape the politics which will be none other than Islamic. If Taliban and Al Qaeda win the will of Pakistani army, will be subassumed into their will. Both ways the space for egalitarian and moderate politics is either obliterated or exists only as a mirage. US has been chasing this mirage to its own determinant.

When Barak Obama says Pakistan has to change its outlook with regard to India does it mean a fundamental change in outlook or is it only diplomatic assurance to Pakistan that India has been forewarned of any misadventure while Pakistani Army is grappling with its internal menace.

If Barak Obama means a fundamental change then we will see restructuring and recasting of international debate in Pakistan. Pakistan in such a scenario will have to cease to be a Muslim pocket created in post War period as a twin brother of Israel to contain or divide Asia. To help Pakistan to recast its outlook means changing its character. Pakistan has to emerge as a country where pluralism takes roots on a principal of equality which cannot happen so far political Islam takes precedence in its National Vision. Pakistan even if it wishes to emerge as a polity on the principal of equality, cannot do so unless it delinks comprehensively from Kashmir. Kashmir is the cardinal expression of Pakistan being a frontline Muslim state for the expansion of Muslims power towards east. So Kashmir acts as a motor to drives the mills of Jihad. Any solution to Kashmir which placates Jihad will never help in dousing its fires. It well only act as its fuel for expanding to new frontiers.

Source: Kashmir Sentinel

 
 

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