Our War against Invisible Enemy

By Sajjad ShaukatCOAS

In the past few years, many serious crises erupted in Pakistan when leaders of some political parties and media anchors spread rumours that army will impose martial law in the country. But Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani acted upon the principle of non-interference in politics. While, people witnessed that the coalition government completed its tenure of five years. These internal elements also misguided the general masses that war against terrorism is American war, which our Army is fighting. However, these misperceptions need appropriate analysis.

In this regard, on April 30, this year, the most important speech, delivered by Gen. Kayani on the occasion of (Martyrs’ Day) Youm-e-Shuhada made clear the role of Army in relation to democracy and war against terrorism.

While referring to the sacrifices of the armed forces, Rangers, police, Frontier Constabulary, Levies, journalists and people who became victims of extremism and terrorism, Gen. Kayani said that the war the army was fighting was Pakistan’s war and that the anti-democratic forces would never be acceptable. He clarified that even in democratic states, treason and uprisings against the state have never been tolerated and in such struggles their armed forces have had unflinching support of the masses.

Regrettably, some senseless analysts presumed that Gen. Kayani said it in favour of former President Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s much publicized treason trial.

Gen. Kayani explained, “I assure you that we stand committed to assist and support the free, fair and peaceful elections…this support shall solely be aimed at strengthening democracy and rule of law…linked to prosperity of the nation.”  He stressed a greater political consensus and a clear policy to tackle extremism and terrorism.

It is mentionable that by following the realistic approach, after the 9/11 tragedy, like other small countries, Pakistan joined the US war against terrorism because the latter was facing multiple problems of grave nature besides hostile factor of India. In case of refusal, the US-led major states which have strong hold on the UN Security Council, and its financial institutes could impose sanctions on Islamabad. These powers could even attack Pakistan, and India could be beneficiary. Notably, every time, IMF and World Bank give loans to Pakistan after the green signal of America.

Since then, by setting aside the ‘realpolitik’, and noting the bomb blasts, suicide attacks, targeted killings, sectarian violence etc., Pakistan’s political and religious leaders started propagating that under US pressure, Pak Army and country’s intelligence agencies have been waging American war against terrorism. In this context, instead of grasping reality, these internal entitles have neglected a number of factors. In fact, like other less developed countries, Pakistan has multiple crises of serious nature. Despite it, Islamabad has rejected American duress on a number of occasions. Within a few years, when the US-led NATO forces felt that they are failing in coping with the Taliban, they started false allegations against Pak Army and country’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of supporting the militants in Afghanistan, while emphasising to ‘do more’ against the insurgents by ignoring the internal backlash. Differences increased between Islamabad and Washington because ISI thwarted the anti-Pakistan activities of the agents of Blackwater and CIA. In this respect, vacation of the Shamsi Airbase, closure of NATO ground supply routes through its territory to Afghanistan for seven months, refusal of military operation in North Waziristan, Pakistan’s inauguration the gas pipeline project with Iran in wake of US threat of sanctions and hading over the control of Gwader seaport to China show that Islamabad has rejected the US duress.

Although Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its affiliated militant outfits have conducted high-profile terror-attacks on the civil and military installations of Pakistan including sectarian killings and assaults on the security forces, yet they have accelerated their subversive acts to sabotage the forthcoming polls by targeting the election-sites of the political parties and killing the independent candidates. They have killed many leaders and workers of the Awami National Party (ANP), Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Pakistan Peoples Party through suicide attacks and bomb blasts.

While accepting responsibility, TTP not only felt pride for latest terror-assaults, but has also threatened to continue such attacks in future. Meanwhile, in the recent days, the TTP militants distributed pamphlets in Buner, Peshawar and different areas of Karachi, warning citizens against attending political rallies and casting their votes at polling stations. TTP spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan said that democracy was un-Islamic, western system of government, and was the agenda of secular forces in Pakistan.

But, Islam is a religion of universal application, as it emphasises peace, democracy, moderation and human rights including tolerance of political groups, religious communities and sects.

In this respect, addressing the Constituent Assembly on August, 11 1947, Quaid-i-Azam who wanted Pakistan as a democratic state, said that he did not want Pakistan to be a theocratic state. He wanted Pakistan to be a liberal, secular and progressive state.

Besides, Islamic laws can be implemented through a system of governance, hence, elections are essential for placing the elected representatives to make rules and govern in any part of the country. Laws of Sharia (Islamic Jurisprudence) can best be put to practice through democratic system which does not make us un-Islamic or anti-Sharia. In fact, it is a representative system which is based upon equality of all the people, ensuring enforcement of rule of law through an independent justice.

Pakistan has to move along with the demands of modern time. Therefore, periodic reinterpretation of Islamic teachings is essential. Such movement is called Ijtihad, which could provide new perceptions to Islam in accordance with the changed world vision.

Notably, by condemning the TTP insurgents’ inhuman activities, more than 60 Islamic scholars recently clarified in their joint fatwa (edict) that “killing of innocent people, target killings and suicide bombings including sectarianism are nor Jihad”, and “are against the spirit of Islam…the terrorists’ self-adopted interpretation of Islam was nothing but ignorance and digression from the actual teachings of the religion.” Unlike the Taliban, they elaborated; “Islam does not forbid women’s education.” No doubt, these Taliban and their linked groups are defaming Islam and are weakening Pakistan.

In fact, based in Afghanistan, secret agencies like American CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad are supporting TTP, Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and other similar militant groups to sabotage the democratic system and to create chaotic situation in Pakistan, as the latter is the only nuclear country in the Islamic world. A continued wave of terror-assaults on the places of worships, security forces, sectarian violence etc. is also part of the same plot against Pakistan. For the purpose, especially, RAW has hired the services of Indian Muslims who have well-penetrated in the BLA, TTP, Jundollah, (God’s soldiers) and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi which have been conducting subversive acts in various regions of the country.

Pakistan’s civil and military leadership has repeatedly disclosed that militants along with huge cache of arms are being sent to Pakistan from Afghanistan.

So far, these terrorists have killed more than 5000 personnel of the security forces and 40000 innocent people including huge collateral damage. They have also destroyed thousands of schools.

Now, people from all segments of society including politicians have realised that a handful of terrorist elements must not be allowed to impose their self-perceived ideology through acts of sabotage in the country.

In this connection, in the same speech, Gen. Kayani pointed out, “I would like to ask that if a small faction wants to enforce its distorted ideology over the entire Nation by taking up arms…defies the constitution, the democratic process and considers all forms of bloodshed justified, then, does the fight against this enemy of the state constitute someone else’s war?”

Nevertheless, Pakistan’s security agencies are fighting a ‘different war’ with the invisible enemy.  It is a war in which offence knows its target, but defence does not know. Army and security agencies cannot wage this war alone, as it is everyone’s war. This new style war demands strong cooperation of the media, political and religious leaders including general masses with the security forces and intelligence agencies in order to castigate the self-motivated designs of the Taliban and their affiliated militants.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Affairs

Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com

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