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Archive for August, 2009

Islam and its tolerance of historical “enemies.”

Prophet Mohammed(SAW) when he settled in Medina with his followers was to constitute a city-state in which Muslims, Jews, Christians, pagan Arabs all entered into a social contract. The constitutional law of the first” Muslim” state succeeded in was a confederacy as a sequence of the multiplicity of the population groups which meant: To Muslims their religion and to the Jews their religion; to Christians their religion, and there would be benevolence and justice to all. This also meant that the non-Muslims possessed the right to vote in the election of the head of the state as they elected Prophet Mohammed(SAW) as their political head. In Islamic states, non-Muslim communities had always enjoyed a judicial autonomy, not only for personal status but also for all affairs of life including civil, penal and others. Judicial powers were delegated to Christian priests and the Jewish hakham in the reign of many caliphs. In the time of Prophet Mohammed (SAW), the Jews of Medina had their synagogue and educational institute and in the treaty with the Christians of Narjan, Prophet gave a guarantee not only for the security of person and property of the inhabitant’s but left the nomination of bishops and priests to the Christian community itself.

altIn an Islamic state, non-Muslims constitute a protected community and it is therefore the duty of the governments to protect their legitimate interests and only thing that they are not permitted is to interfere in the Islamic jurisprudence.

The spirit finds its opportunity in the natural, the material and even in the secular; there is no such thing as a profane in the world. As Prophet Mohammed (SAW) so beautifully put it: “The Whole world is a mosque”. The available record show that Prophet Mohammed (SAW) was always especially tolerant of Christians and in 628 in Median, he granted a Charter to the Monastery of ST. Catherine, guaranteeing the safety of their persons, houses and in places of worship. They were not to be converted to Islam by force as conversion is forbidden and was detested by the Prophet. Christian women married to Muslims could follow their own religion and Muslims were encouraged to help in the repair of their churches. The Jews however received a different treatment since they had always conspired, created insidious troubles (fitna) and sided with the Querish of Mecca and supported them in contravention of earlier treaty obligation with Prophet (pubh) in attacking Muslims settled in Medina. These Jews were deeply distrusted and strongly resented for their inherent hatred and treachery against Islam and Muslims. But they were free In the 7th century because of Islam’s magnanimity and equity in justice to all its citizens of the expanding caliphate, Nestorians and Monophysite Christians of Egypt and Syria embraced Islam because of the prejudicial and racist treatment of the treatment of the Romans.

The first task taken by the Prophet (SAW) in Madinah (even before having a sigh of relief from tiresome Meccan period) was to create and establish an atmosphere of peace and brotherhood unparalleled in the annals of human history. Before the arrival of the Prophet in the Madinah, two tribes ‘ Aus’ and ‘Khazraj’ lived there and two were sworn enemies of each other and fought for supremacy for centuries (blood still dripping from their swords). Prophet brought with him not only a band of pious and righteous companions but also a practical message of affection which sowed the seeds of fraternity and brotherhood between the warring tribes of Aus and Khazraj on the one hand and between the emigrants of Madinah on the other. The Quran sums it up:

“and behold fast, all together, unto the bond with God and do not draw apart from one another. And, remember the blessing which God has bestowed upon you: how, when you were enemies, He brought your hearts together, so that through His blessings you became brethren; and (how, when you were on the brink of fiery abyss, he saved you from it”. (3.103)

Enemies of Islam did not allow Prophet and his followers to live in peace in Madinah. Just after one year in peace of their migration, a strong army of one thousand warriors descended upon Madinah to “finish off Islam fro ever”. it was under these extremely hard conditions, when the existence of Islam and Muslims was at stake that under divine command Muslim were ‘allowed’ to fight for the cause of their faith. Even in such trying conditions, they were made to abide by certain laws and regulations, in contrast to the established traditions, ” In war everything is fair”.

“And fight in the cause of Allah against those who wage war against you, but do not transgress the limit, for verily, Allah does not love the transgressors” (2:190).

It was in conformity with the previous relation: “Permission (to fight)is given to those against whom war is being waged and, verily, God has indeed the power to succour them”. Those who have been driven from their homelands against all rights for no reason than their saying, “Our Sustainer is God”.
This clearly shows that Islamic war is defensive and can not be offensive. According, Muhammed laid down strict rules of war that included prohibitions against the harming civilians, including women, children, elders and against destroying crops, trees and livestock. Many wars were fought between the pagans Makkhans and the Muslim community of medinah. A well known Muslim convert from Britain , Lord Headly Al farooq, while throwing light on these wars says that the geographical locations of the first three battles established that Makkans were the aggressors and the Muslims: Badr: 30 miles medinah (about 220 miles from makkah)
11) Uhud: 12 miles from Madinah (240 miles from Makkah0
111) Khandaq: (or trench) : in this battle Madinah city was circled by the army of confederates.

In certain extraordinary situations even some pre-emptive measures against the hostile enemies of humanity (Nimrods, Pharaohs, Chingezs, Hulagos, Hitler,, Americans, Zionists) bent on destroying peace and inflicting terror and hardship on the innocent human lives become the need of the hour. These measures cannot be considered to disturb the peace but become inevitable to re-establish world order.

Islam being religion of nature even takes care of such situations and may allow certain measures to make it ideological and geographical frontiers secure by subduing the evil and satanic forces bent on destroying the moral, ethical and peaceful fabric of the society. Since Islam condemns anarchy and subversion, such matters have not been left to the individuals but to the Islamic states to decide. In such circumstances, it becomes necessary to preserve decent values, create just and equitable society where weak and
“Permission (to fight)is given to those against whom war is being waged and, verily, God has indeed the power to succour them”. Those who have been driven from their homelands against all rights for no reason than their saying, “Our Sustainer is God”.
This clearly shows that Islamic war is defensive and can not be offensive. According, Muhammed laid down strict rules of war that included prohibitions against the harming civilians, including women, children, elders and against destroying crops, trees and livestock. Many wars were fought between the pagans Makkhans and the Muslim community of medinah. A well known Muslim convert from Britain , Lord Headly Al farooq, while throwing light on these wars says that the geographical locations of the first three battles established that Makkans were the aggressors and the Muslims: Badr: 30 miles medinah (about 220 miles from makkah)
11) Uhud: 12 miles from Madinah (240 miles from Makkah0
111) Khandaq: (or trench) : in this battle Madinah city was circled by the army of confederates.
In certain extraordinary situations even some pre-emptive measures against the hostile enemies of humanity (Nimrods, Pharaohs, Chingezs, Hulagos, Hitler,, Americans, Zionists) bent on destroying peace and inflicting terror and hardship on the innocent human lives become the need of the hour. These measures cannot be considered to disturb the peace but become inevitable to re-establish world order. Islam being religion of nature even takes care of such situations and may allow certain measures to make it ideological and geographical frontiers secure by subduing the evil and satanic forces bent on destroying the moral, ethical and peaceful fabric of the society. Since e society where weak and vulnerable are not exploited and the cruel and unjust are punished and humanity gets rid of the bunch of exploiters, tyrants and oppressors who hold the society to ransom to fulfil their designs. Islam is the religion of peace but it will not acquiesce in wrongdoing, cruelty and oppression, otherwise world will be taken over by ‘devils’ and demons’ . I cannot allow its followers to be mere spectators in a situation where wicked and sinful live in peace and enjoy plenty and pious, the righteous and the upright are condemned to privation and suffering. ” Moral knowledge according to the teaching of Islam, automatically forces a moral responsibility upon man. A mere platonic discernment between Right and wrong, without an urge to promote the right and destroy the wrong is a gross immorality itself.

It is a well known historical fact at the advent of Islam there were three Jewish tribes who lived in Yathrib (later Medina), as well as other Jewish settlements further to the north, the most important of which were Khaybar and Fadak. It is also generally accepted that at first the Prophet Muhammad hoped that the Jews of Yathrib, as followers of a divine religion, would show understanding of the new monotheistic religion, Islam. However, as soon as these tribes realized that Islam was being firmly established and gaining power, they adopted an actively hostile attitude, and the final result of the struggle was the disappearance of these Jewish communities from Arabia proper.

Jewish leaders to organized against the Muslims an alliance with the hostile forces including Quresh of Mecca.. The leaders named included three from the Banu al-Nadir and two of the tribe of Wa’il, another Jewish tribe; together with other Jewish fellow-tribesmen unnamed. Having persuaded the neighbouring Bedouin tribes of Ghatafan, Murra, Fazara, Sulaym, and Ashja’ to take up arms, they now proceeded to Mecca where they succeeded in persuading the Quraysh. Having gathered together a besieging force, one of the Nadir leaders, Huyayy b. Akhtab, in effect forced himself on the third Jewish tribe still in Medina, the Banu Qurayza, and, against the better judgement of their leader, Ka’b b. Asad, he persuaded them to break faith with the Prophet in the hope, presented as a certainty, that the Muslims would not stand up to the combined attacking forces and that Qurayza and the other Jews would be restored to independent supremacy. The siege of Medina failed and the Jewish tribes suffered for their part in the whole operation.

In considering details of the story of Banu Qurayza as told by the descendants of that tribe, we may note the following similar details in the account of Josephus:

(i) According to Josephus,34 Alexander, who ruled in Jerusalem before Herod the Great, hung upon crosses 800 Jewish captives, and slaughtered their wives and children before their eyes.

(ii) Similarly, large numbers were killed by others.

(iii) Important details of the two stories are remarkably similar, particularly the numbers of those killed. At Masada the number of those who died at the end was 960.35 The hot-headed sicarii who were eventually also killed numbered 600.36 We also read that when they reached the point of despair they were addressed by their leader Eleazar (precisely as Ka’b b. Asad addressed the Banu Qurayza),37 who suggested to them the killing of their women and children. At the ultimate point of complete despair the plan of killing each other to the last man was proposed.

Clearly the similarity of details is most striking. Not only are the suggestions of mass suicide similar but even the numbers are almost the same. Even the same names occur in both accounts. There is Phineas, and Azar b. Azar,38 just as Eleazar addressed the Jews besieged in Masada.

However, the story, in my view, has its origins in earlier events. Is can be shown that it reproduces similar stories which survived from the account of the Jewish rebellion against the Romans, which ended in the destruction of the temple in the year AD. 73, the night of the Jewish zealots and sicarii to the rock fortress of Masada, and the final liquidation of the besieged. Stories of their experience were naturally transmitted by Jewish survivors who fled south. Indeed one of the more plausible theories of the origin of the Jews of Medina is that they came after the Jewish wars. This was the theory preferred by the late Professor Guillaume.33

As is well known, the source of the details of the Jewish wars is Flavius Josephus, himself a Jew and a contemporary witness who held office under the Romans, who disapproved of certain actions which some of the rebels committed, but who nevertheless never ceased to be a Jew at heart. It is in his writings that we read of details which are closely similar to those transmitted to us in the Sira about the actions and the resistance of the Jews, except that now we see the responsibility for the actions placed on the Muslims.

. Prophet Mohammed in his entire prophetic life engaged in war only on three occasions. All the other incidents described as ghazwa [battles in which Mohammed supposedly participated] were in actual fact examples of avoidance of war and not instances of involvement in battle. There were only three instances of Muslims really entering the field of battles: Badr, Uhud and Hunayn. In all these battles, it is estimated that 263 Muslims were martyred and nearly three times the number of non-believers were killed. The Prophet was compelled to take arms as all attempts of avoidance failed and self-defense was the only option. Furthermore, these battles lasted only for half a day, each beginning from noon and ending with the setting of the sun. Thus it would be proper to say that the Prophet in his entire life span actively engaged in war for a total of a day and a half. It is true to say that that the Prophet observed the principle of non-violence throughout his 23 [year] prophetic career, except for one and a half days. He believed that violent method invariably invokes ego that results in breakdown of the social equilibrium. He was pragmatic, foresighted and also a brilliant thinker. After the battle [of] Badr, about 70 of the unbelievers were taken as prisoners. They were educated people and the Prophet announced that if any of them would teach 10 Muslim children how to read and write, he would be freed. This was the first school in the history of Islam in which all of the students were Muslims and all of the teachers were from the enemy rank … Islam is an entirely tolerant religion. Islam says tolerance is the only basis for peace in a society and where tolerance is absent, peace will be non-existent. Islam also preaches nothing but peace and harmony all around. Let me also say that Islam also rules out the concept of community superiority for any given group and even Muslims have been told that salvation by Islamic standards depends upon the individual’s own actions, and that it is not the prerogative of any group. With regard to the command of war in Islam, it is true that certain verses in the Quran convey the command to do battle (Qital 22:39). What the special circumstances are which justify the issuance of and compliance with this command we learn from our study of the Quran. The first point to be noted is that aggression or the launching of an offensive by the believers is not totally forbidden. It is permissible but with certain provisos. We are clearly commanded in the Quran: Fight for the sake of God those that fight against you, but do not be aggressive. Only defensive war is permitted in which aggression is committed by some other party so that the believers have to fight in self-defense. Initiating hostility is not permitted for Muslims. Furthermore in the case of the offensive being launched by an opposing group, the believers are not supposed to retaliate immediately. Rather, in the beginning all efforts are to be made to avert war, and only when avoidance has become impossible is battle to be resorted to inevitable in defence.

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MAY GOD HAVE MERCY ON PAKISTAN

altlong live pakistan1The Cabinet Meeting was to be held – the ADC inquires, “Sir what will be served in the meeting…Tea or Coffee?”alt

Sir looked up and replied sternly…the ADC was taken aback! “Whichever of the Ministers wish to have tea or coffee should drink it before leaving his home or when he returns home. The Nation’s money is for the Nation and not for the Ministers!”

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War on terror has had a debilitating impact on Pakistan

War on terror which commenced in the aftermath of 9/11 and in which Pakistan became the frontline state has had a debilitating impact on political, social, religious and economic aspects.

altBy diverting bulk of our resources towards futile war, business, tourism, sports and economy crashed. Flow of investment dried up due to security reasons. Pakistan lost over $ 35 billion, its foreign exchange and exchange rate dwindled rapidly, stock market nosedived, and inflation surged resulting in skyrocketing of price spiral of daily commodities. With no money left to pay the IPPs, the country plunged into darkness and load shedding hours stretched from 8 to 16 hours in a day. Corruption touched new heights governance standards declined. The begging bowl that had been put away was once again spread before the IMF to bail out the country from its acute economic crisis. Foreign sponsored covert operations, suicide attacks and drone attacks compounded the problems. On top of it, premier institutions like the army and the ISI were subjected to insinuations and blame game accusing them of not doing enough and for harboring terrorists. Despite employing army in restive Waziristan, Bajaur Hangu, Darra, Khyber and Swat in 2008, militants duly supported by foreign agencies gained strength and enlarged their areas of influence.

By the time the military was re-launched in Malakand Division in April, the militants were well-stocked, well-financed, well-entrenched, well-prepared and indoctrinated. Swat militants had overcome fear of the army after their two prolonged engagements and were in high spirits. Large numbers of suicide bombers were waiting in the wings to strike at military targets. Their sponsors had calculated that the army would get irretrievably entangled in Swat for a long time thereby quickening the pace of complete destabilization of Pakistan. Exodus of about 3 million IDPs added to their joys since they assessed that it would be impossible for an impoverished state already burdened with multiple loads to handle the IDPs.

Quick and astounding successes made by the army poured cold water on their nefarious designs. Looking back one can see a world of difference in overall security situation existing till April and what it is today. Swat defences have been overturned and extremely volatile situation brought under control. IDPs are returning to their homes in large numbers and hustle and bustle of major towns of Swat has recommenced. Out of 5000 militants over 2000 have been killed and each day more are either killed or arrested. Sizeable numbers of would-be suicide bombers of tender age have also been arrested because of which spate of suicide attacks have been controlled. Quite a few including some commanders are surrendering voluntarily while hideouts and arms dumps in mountains are being discovered with regularity. Space for foreign terrorists and RAW agents is getting choked. Having dismantled the defences and network in Swat, Lower Dir, Buner and Bajaur, mopping up operations are continuing. Pre-emptive actions are also going on in Mohmand and Aurakzai Agencies which were being converted into new battlegrounds. Darra Adam Khel, an outpost of Baitullah under Afridi and Khyber Agency are also being tackled. Troops are positioned in North and South Waziristan and Baitullah is being systematically encircled. None of the militant commanders in two Waziristans are in any position to dictate terms to the army. Rather they are on the receiving end. Troops have been placed along the border contiguous to Helmand Province where US-UK forces have mounted an operation to prevent spillover effect into Pashtun belt of Balochistan.

While capture of a tactical objective or area target is relatively easier, its retention is much more difficult. The army has not only to protect the area freed from the control of militants but also entire route to allow free movement. Soldiers have to remain on high alert 24 hours a day for months to prevent re-entry of militants, sudden raids and suicide attacks and keeping long supply routes clear of IEDs. Their task becomes more complicated when it comes to differentiating between friend and foe, where great majority of locals are peace loving citizens and militants are few in number. Dressed alike and speaking the same language, the only subtle dissimilarity between a militant and a non-militant is that former carries a weapon but throws it away the moment he finds himself cornered and gets merged among locals. He patiently keeps looking for unguarded moments or vulnerable spots, lobs a grenade or fires a burst from his weapon and quickly vanishes. Provision of intelligence by the locals to the military is the best safety measure to offset surprise factor. Fixing well concealed IEDs all along the route frequented by military doesn’t require any skill or labor but road clearance is an extremely laborious and hazardous work. Mountainous ridgelines covered with high shrubs and thick cluster of trees where he has spent his lifetime provide him escape route. Like migratory Pawindas, they leave their locale and shift to safer areas if the tide turns against them and trickle back on need basis to keep the pot on the boil. Identification of suicide bombers usually aged between 12 and 16 years among sea of humanity is very difficult. In short, it is not a game of one-sided hunting by the army but both sides are hunters, each adept in field craft and art of firing. There are no fixed battle lines or fixed fronts to defend. The faceless enemy skilled in guerrilla warfare has the advantage of appearing from any direction at any time. Locals provide him the means to survive and operate. Once he loses the support of locals, he is like a fish out of water. Hence the urgent need to win over the complete confidence of locals.

All pleasures of life have been snatched away by selfish imperialist powers pursuing global agenda at the cost of Pakistan. Since 2002, people are living in a state of insecurity, fear and despair with no light at the end of long tunnel. Our detractors too engrossed in pursuit of their agenda are least concerned about the cries and anguish of 170 million people of Pakistan.. Rehabilitation of 3 million IDPs and reconstruction of destroyed homes and property as a result of army operations is a colossal burden which Pakistan is unable to bear. The world is apathetic to the woes of Pakistan and has extended very little assistance as against what it had promised in Tokyo meeting. Deprived segments of Pakistan are paying a huge price to safeguard interests of superpower and the elites of the country. Apathy of the ruling class can be judged from the painful fact that 22% of annual budge is spent on how tospend the budget and 70% of unspent budget each year is pilfered or spent on unproductive projects. Corruption has scaled new heights and lifestyle of the opulent class has become ostentatious. It is this class of the dirty rich aligned with western powers, which is the cause of real trouble. These parasites have never allowed Pakistan to become a welfare state as envisaged by our founding father. Their greed and lust for power and pelf has become insatiable. The dangerous security situation having been retrieved from the precipice, it is now for political leadership to quickly restore civil administration in areas cleared by the army, undertake rehabilitation and reconstruction works in affected areas and go all out to win the hearts and minds of the traumatized people who have gone through hell. Gains made by the army at a heavy cost must not be frittered away.

The writer is a defence and political analyst based at Rawalpindi and author of several books.Email:ah.raja@yahoo.com

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How The West Is Trying To Harness, the Indian/Pakistan Sub-Continent.

alt

How The West Is Trying To Harness

The Indian/Pakistan Sub-Continent

By Joel Skousen

India and Pakistan are the focus of a lot of foreign policy attention in recent years–and for good reason: Both are rival nuclear powers as well as long-time client states of competing world powers Russia and China, respectively. However, during the last three decades the US has made extensive covert inroads–first into Pakistan–and then into India.

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Once a Brig. Imtiaz Always a Brig. Imtiaz

Monday, August 31, 2009

Once a Brig. Imtiaz Always a Brig. Imtiaz

Brig. Imtiaz former DG IB has done a great job adding another interesting yet annoying episode to the Pakistani political drama.
Brig. Imtiaz was an army intelligence operative who was forced to retire after being held responsible for the infamous “Operation Midnight Jackals” designed to destabilize the first Benazir Bhutto administration. He was put in charge of the Intelligence Bureau by the first Nawaz Shareef administration in 1990. He has allegedly been involved with numerous high profile scandals of the 80’s and 90’s most of which are well documented. He was convicted on corruption charges in 2001 and was sent to jail. On August 23 he went on a live talk show joined on the phone by Lt. Gen. (Rtd.) Naseer Akhtar who was the Corps Commander Karachi overseeing the 1992 military operation against MQM. The two made several confessions and retracted past claims and eventually closed their double act by concluding that MQM never had any separatist designs and maps of the alleged independent state Jinnahpur were fake and were never found from MQM headquarters in Karachi. The MQM representative then put in a weak altmelodramatic performance and the show ended.
Since then Brig Imtiaz has been on every talk show on Pakistan’s news media. The matter has been spiced up by another former DG of ISI Lt. Gen. (Rtd.) Asad Durrani who has re-launched his story about bribing politicians.
This has taken over most of the air time on Pakistani news media, the little time remaining has been dedicated to sugar, flour, electricity and other ongoing crisis.
MQM’s response so far has been off the mark by miles, since they chose to launch a political attack on Nawaz Shareef who was the Prime Minister at the time of this Operation and have completely ignored the Military establishment for its role. They have also decided not to talk about the much more vicious operation led by Lt. Gen. (Rtd.) Naseerullah Babar during the second Benazir Bhutto administration.
As a Karachiite I understand that there are reasons to believe that MQM did not have separatist designs, as a Pakistani who believes in Democracy as the way forward for Pakistan I cannot think of a reason to believe in anything that Brig. Imtiaz has to say.
Then on August 29 Brig. Imtiaz squared off against former Governor of Punjab Ghulam Mustafa Khar on another live talk show to debate him on his alleged involvement with the “London Plan” of 1983, Brig. Imtiaz re-launched this controversy during his August 23 interview. The debate was almost 90 minutes long during which both men aggressively stuck to their previously stated positions and former Gov. Khar managed to fit in some insulting comments about Brig. Imtiaz. We as a nation don’t really know how to debate, we just get angry and raise our voices, so I don’t blame former Gov. Khar for his foul mouthed aggression. During the whole time the flustered moderator kept turning from side to side struggling to pronounce the word “conspiracy”. All in all a complete waste of time.
The stories from Brig. Imtiaz and his former (or current?) colleagues further enforce the following points I made on December 20, 2008:
“- Pakistan has never had a real run of democracy, those who use the 90’s as evidence of incompetence of the political forces overlook the fact that just like now the elected governments back then were not free to make decisions they did not have the powers to run the country and the decision making process was blatantly influenced by a certain organization which should be working for the government.
– Elected representatives of the people were arrested, exiled, deported and disgraced in every possible manner, the dictators in all cases got safe passages or glorious funerals with no accountability.
– There is a well defined system in place to derail every democratic government within the first year of its formation.”
Brig. Imtiaz and his kind are the system that derails democracy.
We can further analyze all of this and try to understand all that is being disclosed but one has to stop and wonder why are these being discussed now, a failed plan from 1983, a military operation from 1992, and formation of IJI from 1990?
We have also got to think what is not being discussed? Trial of Gen. (Rtd.) Pervez Musharraf.
I have no doubt in my mind that all of these controversies are being created or re-launched to distract the media and the general public from the issue of holding Gen. (Rtd.) Musharraf liable under Article 6. Brig. Imtiaz is not doing the nation any favors, he should remove himself from public eye and may be write a book or consider gardening. Once a Brig. Imtiaz always a Brig. Imtiaz – a mere distraction. I believe Pakistanis are smart enough to see through all of this and bring the focus back on the real issues. In the meanwhile I choose to remain optimistic and passionate about Pakistan.

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