Propaganda against North Waziristan Operation
By Sajjad Shaukat
On June 15, this year, Pakistan’s armed forces started a full scale operation “Zarb-e-Azb” against terrorists in North Wazirastan Agency.
In this regard, DG, ISPR, Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa said: “On the directions of the Government, Armed forces of Pakistan have launched a comprehensive operation against foreign and local terrorists who are hiding in sanctuaries in North Wazirastan Agency. He elaborated, “These terrorists had been waging a war against the state of Pakistan by disrupting our national life in all its dimensions, stunting our economic growth and causing enormous loss of life and property…with the support of the entire nation, these enemies will be denied space across the country.” He added, “These militants had perpetually terrorized the entire peace loving locals.” Chief of Army Staff, General Raheel Sharif also expressed similar views on June 16, saying that that military operation was aimed to eliminate all terrorists in North Wazirastan to get rid of the menace of terrorism.
On the one side, Pakistani jets has been bombing militants’ hideouts in North Waziristan, and killed more than 250 insurgents including foreign militants, while, on the other, an increase has been observed in the efforts of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to motivate functionaries and the locals by misguiding them against the armed forces. In this respect, the so-called TTP affiliated religious scholars have been issuing Fatwas (Religious verdict), calling for Jihad against Pakistani security forces, by using their traditional propaganda tools like FM Radios, repeaters, pamphlets, Mosque Khutbas etc. They are inciting the innocent Muslims for Jihad against Pak Army and by misinterpretation various incidents and developments like hanging over of Arab/Ajam Mujahideen, handing over of Dr Aafia Siddiqui by Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) to the US, killing of several children and women in Lal Masjid operation including religious scholars like Mufti Nizam-ud-Din Shamzai, Ghazi Abdul Rashid, Maulana Naseeb Khan, Maulana Yousaf Ludhyani, Maulana Hassan Jan, Haq Nawaz Jhangvi etc. and killing of more than 100 people and destruction of several mosques in North Wazirastan in security forces’ bombardment on 23 May 2014.
They propagate that military operations are being conducted in FATA on US dictations; therefore, Jihad against Pak security forces is justified and is compulsory—locals should dedicate their children for Jihad and financially support “Mujahideen.”
It is notable that since the present government had started the peace dialogue with the Taliban, the TTP had been acting upon a dual strategy, as sometimes, it accepted responsibility for its terror-attacks, but sometimes, it denied the same. In this context, TTP has refused that it was behind the some attacks, but it accepted responsibility when Taliban insurgents targeted the Rangers, Police and anti-polio workers in Karachi in wake of the peace talks. Similarly, Taliban had claimed responsibility for the brutal massacre of 23 personnel of the Frontier Constabulary who were abducted from Mohmand Agency, four years ago and later shifted to Afghanistan. Similarly, TTP had condemned the brutal assault on the church in Peshawar. But, afterwards, its spokesman had remarked that it was in accordance with Sharia (Islamic Jurisprudence) which indicated that the group was behind that ruthless attack.
Notably, terror attack at the Karachi airport terminal on June 8, 2013 which martyred more than 35 persons including those of the Ranger, police and the Civil Aviation Authority, came as a blow from the sky. After a gunbattle of several hours in which Pak Army also participated, 10 militants were killed, and the area was controlled successfully without any major damage. Weapons and explosive-material of the Indian origin were also recovered, which indicated foreign hands behind the episode. However, TTP and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan accepted responsibility for this attack.
Taking note of the Karachi airport attack, the government which was following a policy of appeasement toward the TTP and released many militants of the outfit decided to launch a military action against them.
Nevertheless, the victims of terror-attacks in Pakistan have been innocent men, women, and children. While, ruthless beheadings of the people, assaults on security personnel and prominent religious figures—blowing children schools and attacking the female teachers in order to deny education to girls, the militants also targeted cinemas and the places of worships. Their nefarious acts resulted into martyrdom of more than sixty thousand Pakistanis including security forces’ personnel. Besides, they also criticized the developmental projects carried out by Pak Army.
In some tribal areas and Swat, the Taliban leaders had created states within the state, and had been involved in a number of crimes such as drug-smuggling, forced marriages, hostage-takings for ransom and even car-snatching. In the Khyber agency, they are also indulged in murdering and torturing Shias in their majority areas, forcing them to flee. It was due to Taliban’s inhuman activities that in 2009, Pak Army ejected them from these regions through military operations.
As part of their atrocities, TTP also killed of Ulema (Religious scholars) like Maulana Hassan Jan who declared its activities as un-Islamic. TTP militants have been using suicide bombing as their main weapon against their own country by calling suicide bombers-the followers of Islam.
In this context, Imam-e-Kaaba, Sheikh Abdul Rahman during his visit to Pakistan and during his Khateeb-e-Hajj had clearly stated that suicide attacks are illegal (Haram). He explained, “Such acts fall under the category of crime and suicide bombers or attackers are destined to go to Hell…they represent enemy of Muslims and they commit crimes against humanity, while misguiding other Muslims.” Denouncing terrorism as un-Islamic, he pointed out that terrorists’ activities are part of a conspiracy to defame Islam and destroy Muslims.
In fact, background of TTP leaders is that they have neither attended any Madrassah, nor have attained religious education. Unfortunately, terrorists led by the TTP use Islam as their most effective mask. Their main demands include enforcement of Islamic system of governance by imposing Shariah laws in the country, ending diplomatic relations with US and western world and undertaking Jihad against the non-Muslims. They have become self-proclaimed campaigners of Islam, rejecting all dissenting views.
While Islam is a religion of universal application, as it emphasizes peace, democracy, moderation and human rights including tolerance of political groups, religious communities and sects which are in minority in a country.
The Constitution of 1973 which was unanimously adopted, clearly states that Pakistan is basically a democracy guided by the Islamic principles and values—no law would be made contrary to Quran and Sunnah.
Besides, 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 where both Muslims and non-Muslims were treated as citizens of equal status.
Having co-relationship with each other, Islam respects women, while democracy also advocates the same. Democratic system does not prohibit the religious parties or tribesmen to participate in elections. Laws of Sharia can best be put to practice through democratic system which does not make us un-Islamic or anti-Sharia.
Pakistan has to move along with the demands of modern time. Therefore, periodic reinterpretation of Islamic teachings, which is called Ijtihad is essential, as it could provide new perceptions to Islam in accordance with the changed world vision.
However, Jihad is a sacred obligation, but its real spirit needs to be understood clearly, as murdering innocent women and children is not Jihad. In fact, by implementing the instructions of their external masters, these Taliban and their banned affiliated groups are defaming Islam, concept of Jihad, and are weakening Pakistan.
It is mentionable that the TTP Chief Maulana Fazlullah had dismissed the proposed peace negotiations with the government as a “waste of time”, and vowed to target the prime minister, chief minister, chief of army staff and corpse commanders. Well-established in Afghanistan, with the tactical support of the US, in connivance with Indian RAW and Afghan spy service, the National Directorate of Security and Pakistani Taliban, Maulana Fazlullah—and these foreign agencies have been conducting various sorts of terrorist acts including ethnic and sectarian violence in Pakistan.
Nonetheless, true teachings of Islam, especially the Islamic history prove that the insurgents were suppressed and eliminated by the Islamic governments. As the TTP-led terrorists had accelerated their anti-social, undemocratic and un-Islamic practices, therefore, people from all segments of life wanted that a handful of terrorist elements must not be allowed to dictate their agenda and to impose their self-perceived ideology on the majority of Pakistanis. So, the right hour has come that Pakistan’s media, politicians and leaders of religious parties must show solidarity with the armed forces by also rejecting the propaganda of these zealots against the security forces in relation to the ongoing military operation in North Wazistan.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations