Chechnya: Booming guns in the
In a recent statement,
Pakistan foreign ministry expressed Islamabad’s "deep concern over a situation
of humanitarian catastrophe in Chechnya." In response, Moscow recalled
the dismal record of human rights of Mohajirs, Shias, Ahmadis, and other
groups of Muslims in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan where, for the fourth
time in fifty years, namesake democracy has ended up in military rule.
Pakistan, the wishful patriarch of Muslim umma,
nurtures Islamic radicals at home with the notion of re-playing early caliphs
- Uthman and Omar - and carrying the banner of faith to the lands of infidelity.
Her militarized religious organizations have created a worldwide network
of volunteers for the implementation of their theocratic agenda. Running
almost a parallel government, they identify countries and regions where
their armed crusaders are to carry the sword of the faith, operate against
local governments and destabilize their institutions.
The contours of this Islamic agenda manifested
themselves in the deliberations of a three-day convention of Al Dawa wal
Ershad -- the fundamentalists’ umbrella organization -- held at Muridke
near Lahore in the first week of November last. Its chief told reporters
that Islamization of the entire world was their ultimate objective. Heads
of more than a dozen extremist Islamic religious organizations world over,
besides half a million delegates from Pakistan, participated in the convention.
Afghan war was the formative period for these
organizations when American money and arms flowed in enormous quantities
to back up the warring Islamic hordes. Pakistan, the main conduit, managed
pilfering of nearly one half of the stuff to the pleasure and patronage
of Uncle Sam.
With Soviet Union dismembered, with Islamic fundamentalist
crescendo on the rise, and with Pakistani Don Quixote scouting the junkyard
of the ummah, the Saudis seized a golden opportunity and floated the Wahhabi
brand of Sunni Islam as against the Khumeinite brand of Shia Islam. Saudi
monarchy opened its coffers on ar-Rabita, her second line international
support structure after the munificent Americans. Pakistan fished in the
war of sects. She brokered for lynch pin status in OIC: She undertook the
global mission of carrying the banner of Islam aloft, and to boot, her
ruling cliques responded to the tempting petrodollar booty waiting to be
plundered in Riyadh in the name of faith. Thus the Shias of Pakistan became
as oppressed a victim of her Islamism as the Kashmiri Pandits of Indian
But let us revert to Islamabad’s "concern about
Chechnyan humanitarian catastrophe."
The guerrillas invading the villages of Dagestan
have been identified as Wahhabi international force with Chechnyan elements
led by the Chechyn Islamic warlord of 1994-96 war, Shamil Basayev.
By August 12, 1999, more than 6,000 Dagestani inhabitants were forced to
flee their villages as a result of invasion by nearly 1,200 Wahhabi Chechnyan
The Wahhabi militias funded by Saudis and deployed
tactically by Pakistani ISI operatives, have two operational bases.
One is in Ferghana Valley in the the Central Asian State of Uzbekistan.
The other is in the Kunar province in Afghanistan where, during the Afghan
war, the CIA and the Saudis had jointly set up training camps for the mujahideen.
In October last, about a thousand Pakistani Wahhabi
theo-fascists entered into Kyrgyzstan via Tajikistan and took four Japanese
their hostage. They had planned to enter Uzbekistan and foment Wahhabi
uprising among the people. Tashkent recently accused the Wahhabi groups
of trying to kill President Islam Karimov in the bombing of the secretariat
because he refused to succumb to Wahhabi ideology.
During the Chechnyan war of 1994 - 96, fighters
from Lahore - based Wahhabi seminary, generally recruited for Kashmir jehad,
penetrated into Central Asia and headed towards North Caucasus. A Chechnyan
minority has traditionally lived in Jordan, and a small Chechnyn population
is studying in Pakistani Wahhabi and Deobandi seminaries. Incidentally,
Basayev’s lieutenant in Dagestan is said to be a Jordanian warrior.
In economic terms, Dagestan holds strategic position
for Russia. Being a Caspian littoral republic, an old oil pipeline allows
it to refine oil and produce petrochemicals. But its real strategic importance
is that it is a highway junction linking Moscow with North Caucasian independent
republics of Georgia and Azerbaijan.
Chechnyan warrior Basayev’s assault on Dagestan
is a move to gain an outlet to sea for landlocked Chechnya. The Chechnyan
Wahhabis seek merger of Dagestan with Chechnya to form an independent
Islamic Chechnya-Dagestan republic. With most of the 1500 oil wells of
Chechnya dried up, Basayev is desperately looking for alternate economic
Chechnya’s assault on Dagestan is also motivated
by sectarian considerations. North Caucasians are mostly Sunnis of Naqshbandi
order and revere the shrines of local Sufis as an alternative to distant
Mecca. The Wahhabi Sunni warriors, on the other hand, are intensely opposed
to shrine worship. The murder in Dagestan of her highest Sunni Naqshbandi
cleric, Abu Bakrov, in 1998 indicated the dangerous intentions of the Chechnyan
radicals against Dagestan.
Dagestan, one of the 21 autonomous republics of
the Russian federation and one of the five of them located in North Caucasius,
has an area of 20,000 square miles and a population of two million. There
are no fewer than forty nationalities speaking 29 languages and 40 dialects.
The Avars comprise only 30 per cent of population. The Volga Cossack concentration
is pro-Russia and the non-Muslim nationalities also prefer to be with Russia.
Dagestan has a complex mix of nationalities and a very small proportion
can support the Wahhabi thrust. Some Chechnyan warriors had actually taken
refuge in Dagestan’s mountain villages during the 1994-96 war.
Landlocked Chechnya, with an area of 5,790 square
miles and a population of less than a million, fought a secessionist war
against Russia ending up in a truce pending final settlement by the year
2004. Interestingly, the OIC has not favoured Chechnya’s secession from
Russian federation but has recommended a broad measure of autonomy for
Obviously, religious militias originating in Pakistani
seminaries are avowedly against peaceful coexistence among different nationalities
in regions and lands where they had floated or shall be floating their theo-fascist ideology.
In this background in which Russia’s vital interests
and territorial integrity are threatened, and a peaceful people in the
adjoining republic are made to submit to theocratic diktat at gun point,
there is no choice but to let the might of the state come into play. How
unfortunate that while the US uses all means, from missiles to economic
sanctions, to bring the culprit of African bomb blasts to book, she doles
out lessons of morality and human rights for Moscow to adhere to in rebellious
Chechnya. Pakistan has expressed her “ concern for humanitarian catastrophe”
in Chechnya. She may recollect that twice in five years did she send army
into Sindh province for “clean up operation” though there were no rebels
in Sindh with as comprehensive a war machine as the Chechnyas have. Only
innocent and defenceless citizens were hounded and hunted. What then should
be her immediate concern?