Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pakistan's Drift into Extremism, Allah, the Army, and America's War on Terror !!

War on Terror is getting bloodier, resulting into bleeding Pakistan, dying civilians, bomb blasts, insecurity and killing of innocent civilians.

Pakistanis generally believe that war on terror is imposed by Bush on Pakistan; invasion of Afghanistan is a scheme of US, India and Israel to destabilize Pakistan resulting in the break up and ultimate capture of nuclear weapons.

It is well known that Islamists have always been used to extend Pakistani influence in Afghanistan, it has always been considered Pakistani backyard that provides strategic depth.

It is also believed that in an environment of distrust and insecurity, it is imperative for Pakistani security agencies to find proxies to minimize insecurity posed by regional powers.

To buy security various groups were recruited as proxies “Sept 09 Newsline Magazine writes”, Madrassas nurturing armies of young Islamic militants ready to embrace martyrdom have been on the rise for years in the Punjab. In fact, South Punjab has become the hub of jihadism. Yet, some how, there are still many people in Pakistan who refuse to acknowledge this threat.

Four major militant outfits, the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT), are all comfortably ensconced in South Punjab (see article “Brothers in Arms” in Newsline). Sources claim that there are about 5,000 to 9,000 youth from South Punjab fighting in Afghanistan and Waziristan. A renowned Pakistani researcher, Hassan Abbas cites a figure of 2,000 youth engaged in Waziristan”.

To me, it is logical that actions should be the by products of strategy, it is well known that strategically the extremist outfits have never been considered a threat by Pakistani security thinkers.

US so far failed to address the security mindset, failed to remove their insecurities. Instead of addressing the issue at strategic level, US focus is too narrow, pushing reluctant Pakistan to act, forced to cooperate at tactical level. In short US failed to buy security for Pakistan and it seems two allies are pursuing different goals, relationship lacks goal alignment.

Recent Hillary Clinton visit to Pakistan demonstrate that instead of focusing on changing the mindset , Ms Clinton again pushes reluctant Pakistan, New York Times writes, “ Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, on a visit meant to improve relations with Pakistan, strongly suggested Thursday that some Pakistani officials bore responsibility for allowing terrorists from Al Qaeda to operate from safe havens along this country’s frontier.

“I find it hard to believe that nobody in your government knows where they are, and couldn’t get to them if they really wanted to,” she said to a group of Pakistani journalists on her second day here. “Maybe that’s the case; maybe they’re not gettable. I don’t know.”

US actions requires two pronged approach, alter the mindset that finds security for Pakistan in nurturing the extremists.

US should work on convincing Pakistan that it is not in their benefit to use extremists, -help in buying them security esp. Indo-Pak ties and Afghanistan.

On the other hand, problem is so deep; Can Pakistan affords to detach itself from religious ideology, security mindset visualizes the world through religious glasses, it means choosing friends and foes on the basis of religion?? Can it survive as democratic secular, non interfering welfare state, having peaceful relations with neighboring countries or national security state is the answer???

It is complex, only a win-win approach is going to be fruitful, US strategy must buy Pakistan security, otherwise any action imposed, may have random results.

Extremist monster will haunt Pakistani society, region and result in an insecure world. It is time to act before it is too late.

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