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Pakistan's Militarized Religious Organizations

At the Muridke convention of Markaz-e-dawa wa’l-Ershad, more than 300,000 people, including delegates from Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Libya, Afghanistan, Chechnya, UAE etc. gathered together. The world media, and particularly the media in the US, paid scant attention to the event. Of course, the CNN did highlight it in parts.

The convention is known for fanatical ideology it propagates and hatred and animosity it incites against other religions like Hinduism and Judaism.

Mian Nawaz Sharif was removed by a military coup before he disallowed holding of the convention. After taking the reins of power in his hands, General Musharraf, announced continued support to Kashmir insurgency. He didn’t disallow  convention. In fact, he was invited to attend it though he could not.

A week before the actual convention began, leaders of various extremist Islamic organizations in Pakistan issued statements, which are a clear indication of the ideology they pursue. Most of these statements were given to the Urdu press of Pakistan because Urdu papers have enormous circulation in that country. We reproduce below only a few brief excerpts from their statements by way of specimen:

“ Mohammad Usman, Nazim-e-Ala, Hizbul Mujahideen, addressing a press conference in Kahuta on Oct 28 disclosed that about 15,000 militants of 15 militant outfits were fighting on the fronts of Srinagar, Ladakh, Kupwara and Jammu” (Nawa-e-Waqt 29.10. 99).

“ Addressing a gathering at Mirpur on Oct. 30, Maulana Mufti Mohammad Yunus, central Amir, all J&K Ahl-e-Sunnat said that to clash with the storms of the evil and power corridors of infidelity had been the basic mission of their leaders and ancestors. It was not far when India would also dismember like Russia and the flag of Islam would be hoisted not only in Srinagar but in Delhi as well.” (Nawa-e-Waqt 31.10.99)

“ Addressing a press conference at Isakhail on Oct 29, M. Hamza, Amir al-Badr said the militants had changed their war strategy to disintegrate India like Russia. Even the houses of Indian Army officers in India would not be safe.” (Ausaf 30. 10.99)

“According to a report, a contingent of Pak Army comprising 50 Commandos and 3 Army officers would look after the security arrangements of Markaz-e-Dawa convention under the command of a Captain. In an interview at Muridke on Oct 30, Prof. Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, Amir of the organization claimed that Kashmir would be liberated after ousting the last Hindu usurper from Muslim dominated areas. With the army takeover in Pakistan, Kashmir issue would be solved shortly and there were positive expectations from the military regimes. Special militant squads, in the name of Ibn-eTayyima had been formed to give tough resistance to Indian troops.” (Khabrain 31.10.99)

“Asif Anjum alias Hussain Muawia, a leader of Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen’s Karwan-e-Khalil-bin-Walid said at Mirpur on Oct. 26 that liberation of Kashmir was not far away.  He claimed that they could hoist the flag of Islam not only in Kashmir but also in Delhi, if the Muslim youth picked up the Kalashnikov unitedly. He said that Pakistan army and militants would work together for this cause. KKBW militants pledged to continue jihad till the liberation of Kashmir. They threatened to destroy the USA if it devised any unholy plan against Osama-bin-Laden.” (Jang 29.10.99)

These excerpts reveal the mindset of the fanatical groups in Pakistan, whose activities are not only tolerated but actually encouraged by the present military government. Any intensive study into the fuller statements will show that in Pakistan, the religious extremists have hijacked the government and it is they who rule the roost. The leaders of these organizations have no qualms of conscience in stating publicly that their armed terrorists are destabilising legally constituted governments in different parts of the world.

A close study of developments in Pakistan since August last is interesting. On August 28, 1999, the Security Council discussed in an open debate the Taliban offensive in Panjsher valley in Afghanistan. Security Council Chairman said, “Pakistani troops were fighting alongside the Taliban.”  Shortly before Security Council’s remarks, Moscow had levelled charges against Pakistan that “Pakistanis were taking part in the Wahhabi war against Daghestan.” Some Russian newspapers even named the Pakistani commander who was training Chechen Avar rebels in the Caucasian mountains.

 Pakistani officials denied both the charges, first at the Security Council and then in Moscow. But hardly had a week gone by when a thousand Islamic guerrillas raised in Pakistan entered Kyrgyzstan from Tajikistan and took four Japanese workers hostage. Their aim was to enter Uzbekistan to fight the government of President Islam Karimov who had refused to succumb to Wahhabi ideology. Simultaneous with the intrusion, the CIS conference against Islamic terrorism was being held in Bishkek, and China happened to be among the participants.

Soon after Pakistan’s Kargil misadventure, India captured a North Korean ship carrying cases filled with Scud missile blueprints meant for Pakistan in return for Pakistan’s bomb technology. Again, Islamabad denied involvement.

All these developments show that Pakistan has embarked on a grandiose design of raising the Islamic Caliphate extending over the length and breadth of the Asian Continent. Althougth she denies her hand in the export of terrorists and terrorism, yet she has a style of her own to say that she has a hand in all these perfidies. In regard to Kashmir, Pakistan denies official participation in the activities of the ‘mujahideen’ but she does not deny their training inside Pakistan. Likewise, Pakistan denies supporting Taliban but she does not and cannot deny training them in Pakistani seminaries, and helping them sneak into Afghanistan or Kashmir. Thus Pakistan officially denies the unofficial support she gives to foment terrorist organizations on her soil.

Pakistan learnt deniability from Afghan war. Her denying involvement in Afghan war was accepted by the world willy-nilly because she had received unequivocal support from the US with a role of her own in Afghan war. Once the jihad in Afghanistan was over, the armed brigands needed new operational field otherwise they would direct their guns on Pakistan. Islamabad opened the Kashmir front for them, and it is now the tenth year that Kashmir is bleeding.

Pakistan-based religious militia leaders have begun threatening governments of some foreign countries also as is evident from the excerpts given above. A time may come when they can threaten even the legally constituted governments within Pakistan. The factor of these extremists religious militias and organizations has already helped Pakistan military to oust a popular government. They welcomed the coup and are expecting the Pakistan Army to collaborate with them to take Kashmir, to hoist the Islamic flag in New Delhi, to destroy USA and to establish Islamic faith and rule all over the world.

To this purpose the present military regime supports them and will not impose curbs. It cannot because the things have gone beyond the stage of control. In fact after his return from his meeting with President Clinton in the context of Kargil, the deposed Prime Minister of Pakistan had begun to understand the gravity of situation created by the religious extremists and their military wings in Pakistan. He had come to know that they wanted the regulars in Pakistan to go permanently to their barracks and leave the field open for them to establish the Islamic Caliphate. He could not take a big step to curb them. All that he could do was to issue just a brief and moderate statement that Taliban were giving training to Pakistani extremists in camps based in Afghanistan. This one statement, as true as it could be, contributed to his doom.

The world community needs to anticipate the consequences of  militarization of Pakistani society and its known objectives. After Nazism, this theo-fascism is the biggest threat to the civilized world. Pakistan is a nuclear state with nuclear weapons in the hands of her military that has ousted the democratic government. It is time that the international community under the aegis of the United Nations takes a decisive step to eradicate the menace. President Yeltsin issued a tough statement in the background of the facts that speak for themselves. Other international actors cannot turn their face away from a harsh reality. In particular, the US must understand that Osama bin Laden & Co. are not her real enemy: the real enemy is the phenomenon that creates and sustains the ideology of people propounded by Osama and his cohorts. The US knows that the finger shall first point inwardly.

 

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World Kashmiri Pandit Conference, 1993
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