In 1947, Pakistan was born in the name of love for Islam, and then it fell in love with radical Islam. Only God, sorry Allah, can tell why and how it so easily turned into the worst India hater. Since 1980s it started infecting South Asia with fundamentalists and extremists produced in its terror factories. After the 9/11 terror attack in 2001 it started fighting against its own products alongside the US forces. Lately it started complaining to be the biggest victim of terror! Now luminaries in its Supreme Court are wondering if in the Constitution word “Islam” may be replaced with word “Secular” ! A great comedy show of side-effects of addiction to religion !!
Pakistan has earned a unique place in the world in the 6 decades of its existence. Born as a result of love for Islam, it has gone through several transformations – but, all in the wrong direction. Over all it is a misguided and confused nation, still searching for a sensible national goal other than hating India as well as an identity other than Islam. But, for all it did or didn’t do in past half century, the chances are good that it will remain a troublemaker in the sub-continent, at least for another half century. Like paranoid and isolated North Korea, Pakistan is the only other nation that threatens its foe (India) with nuclear attack.
Dichotomy is built so deeply in Pakistan’s psyche that experts are amazed. It started with something of a democracy, but always fell for military dictatorships; Islam should have kept united the country better than India’s Fevicol, but broke into two pieces in 1971; its population is less than the largest Indian province – Uttar Pradesh, but it always considered itself in competition with India; in the 1980s it discarded its own milder version of Islam in favour of radical Wahhabism of Saudi Arabia that came with petro dollars and trained maulwis; its terror camps kept producing extremists while its military was fighting the “war on terror” alongside Americans; it still sends its terror products across Indian borders and also claims to be the biggest victim of terror; now when all its institutions are badly infected with radicals its Supreme Court wonders if in the Constitution word “Islam” can be replaced with “Secular” !
Pakistan Becoming Wahhabistan!
In the 1980s, Pak military dictator Jia ul Haq decided to fulfil its historic dream (that also partitioned British India) of becoming a “True” Islamic State; nothing wrong with that idea, but his idea of “True” was Islamic fundamentalism, not Islamic spirituality. Instead of choosing some humane and home grown version of Islam like Sufism – that over centuries has produced numerous wonderful saints of Islamic flavor (called Pirs and Fakirs) who always preached peaceful coexistence of people of different faiths and beliefs – Jia chose Wahhabism of Saudi Arabia that is a “literal” philosophy without tolerance. Certainly, it was the best way to get close to the rich “Muslim brothers” of Gulf Islamic State and their petro-dollars.
While it infected the Pakistan establishment – particularly its military and secret service – with fundamentalists and radical elements and served his immediate purpose, it also caused long term harm in an important way. It paved the way for further weakening Pakistani democracy; with so many radical clergymen telling people to behave like Arab people of the 7th or 8th century. Children who grow up learning lessons of radicalism and hating non-believers, in the Gulf funded madarasas, can’t be expected to behave like people of modern age democracies. They are only good as human resource for Jehadi factories.
Becoming the Global Jehad Factory!
Events of past two decades clearly show that Pakistan successfully established itself as a global Jehad factory, when its best friend China became the global production house and best enemy India earned fame as global IT service center.
In the 1980s, Pakistan set up training centers to produce Islamic Jehadi fighters to fight the Russian occupiers in the Afghanistan. For the US, Pakistan became an extremely important country to be protected from any further communist advance. Money flew in not just from the US to protect its ‘vital ally”, but also from the Gulf to protect their “Islamic Brother” Pakistan from falling into “red” hands. Thus, groups like Al Qaeda and Talibans were born – trained in Pakistani training camps and armed with American weapons – with the sole idea of “bleeding the communists to death” and turning Afghanistan into Russians’ Vietnam.
Pakistan was basking in glory in 1989 when the Soviets decided to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan. More importantly it was a victory of its Islamic Jehadis; like Islam defeating communism. One enemy down, now it was time to address the archrival India. Hence, Pakistan started diverting the Jeahdis to Kashmir to create trouble, as part of its “bleed India” doctrine. This philosophy was born after the humiliating break up of Pakistan in 1971 and surrender of 93,000 Pak troops. True to its Islamic credentials, everything in Pakistan happens due to hate.
Thus, the infiltrated Jehadis “bled” India for almost the whole decade of 1990s. They first targeted Hindus; several lakh Kashmiri Hindus took refuge in different parts of the country. Then reflecting their “pure” Islamic identity they started attacking the Sufi shrines. Why? Because Sufi tradition of Islam sees humanity as one and has no problem with people who think differently. They don’t kill people and shout hysterically “God is Great”. They promote love and Goodwill for all. Such things are un-Islamic as they have been taught in the training camps. In fact, they were trained and brainwashed so well that they did not spare the Sufi shrines even in Pakistan !
In the meanwhile, after squabbling with different Jehadi groups, the Taliban grabbed power in Afghanistan and showed their understanding of Islam by destroying ancient Buddhist monuments and placed numerous restrictions against women and girls. They turned themselves into copycats of Wahhabi Bedouin tribal leaders of the past centuries and expected people to behave in the same way. Being “”literalists” their understanding of Islam remains limited to dictionary interpretation of Quran without context. Hence, they love to hate everything not written in the Holy Book!
They have been taught to see modern democracy as a disease spread by a virus that originated in the West. Even Islam has only one interpretation – their own, to which all must submit. In other words, “Only what I like is Islamic; the rest is un-Islamic.”
Reality Check – 9/11 Attack
The 9/11 attack in New York was a game changer. It jolted the Americans out of their smugness and illusion of invincibility. They could never imagine that Islamic extremism would one day reach their shore also and hit right in the heart. So far, they were not bothered about what the trained and armed Jehadis were doing in Pakistan or Afghanistan. They overlooked the power of hate and its use in the Jehadi factories to produce the most motivated and deadly human bombs. The likes of Osama Bin Laden remind humanity of the dangers of using religious fanaticism as political tool.
Pakistanis woke up from the fascinating dream scenario Jehadis have been enacting in the Kashmir Valley. It must have been an immense pleasure to indulge in “hurt India” campaign, and particularly after losing East Pakistan in 1971. It was now the time to be accountable. It soon became clear that Pakistan was the center of conspiracy for the American tragedy. This was a game changer. Soon the Americans invaded Afghanistan and threw out the Talibani rulers. Search for Osama and his clones further pushed them closer to the Pakistan establishment. As more and more terror attacks were traced to Pakistan, it earned fame as the terrorists’ hub of the world.
The frequent Drone attacks to hunt down suspected terrorists on the Pakistani soil not just badly compromised Pakistan’s sovereignty, they also allowed the Jehadi elements to turn public opinion against the Americans. The Pak establishment suddenly found itself in a peculiar situation: On the one side, the Americans were pressing it to attack the terror groups but if it cooperated the fundamentalists turned the public against it.
Angered by government’s cooperation with the US, various Jehadi factions started “bleeding” Pakistan through endless terror attacks throughout the country. They targeted everything: Schools, markets, shopping Malls, foreigners, police and military, and did not spare even the Mosques. The killing of Osama in 2011 on Pakistani soil by American commandos without involving Pakistani exposed its double game yet again before the international community.
World Worries more about Pak Nukes, than Pakistan !
Since its defence setup is badly infected with radical elements, world leaders are more worried about Pakistan’s nuclear arms falling in the hands of terror groups, than Pakistan. It is a serious global problem for the future because its main power centers, military and secret service, are already highly contaminated with fundamentalists. As its Gulf funded Madarasas keep brainwashing children and keep motivating them in the art of Jehadi hatred, its society will continue to radicalize still further.
It should be worrying India more than others. The 26 November 2008 Mumbai attack is an example of what the India-hater Islamists could try to do, led by the clones of Hafiz Sayeed and Lakhvi. In the meantime, rise of an Islamic State in the Gulf in 2014 – with the aim of creating a global Islamic Caliphate – is another disturbing development. An Islamic State of Pakistan in South Asia is the least desirable thing to happen in this part of the world. The most recent news is that the Pakistan Taliban has successfully tested a missile launch. The day is not far when they will graduate to more sophisticated technologies, thanks to their sympathisers in the Pak defence establishment.
There have been news reports that Pakistan plans to build 200 smaller nuclear devices. Sane people really wonder: what for?
Can Pak Ever Change Its Course?
The December 2014 school terror attack in Peshawar which killed over 140 children of army personnel was widely expected to force Pakistan to re-evaluate its love for terror outfits. But nothing much changed and nothing will change, at least not for the better.
If some judges in its Supreme Court are toying with the most unlikely idea of changing the Constitution to have a “Secular” nation, it will not change anything on the ground. They are actually raising the wider issue of separation of faith and politics, as for example Bangladesh did over 4 decades ago. I am often amazed when I see Muslims trying to interpret everything in terms of their religion – of course, out of context. That keeps them stuck in the past, in the world of 1400 years ago. This is a weird habit, at least to me.
I really wonder why no one talks of changing their own understanding of “Islam” so that it is not used for justifying hate and violence. If prophet’s words can inspire Sufi Muslims to love humanity, why others can’t learn that art? They can’t do so because they have never learned to search for the “essence” of Islam – which is spirituality. The numerous dargahs and majaars of Sufi saints, which attract people of all faiths, point to the solution of Pakistan’s Islamic quest.
But the real question is: What could possibly motivate Pakistan to do that?