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Propaganda against North Waziristan Operation By Sajjad Shaukat

                                   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 Waziristan Agency.

In this regard, DG, ISPR, Gen. AsimSaleemBajwasaid: “On the directions of the Government, Armed forces of Pakistan have launched a Unknowncomprehensive 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 likehanging over of Arab/Ajam Mujahideen, handing over of Dr AafiaSiddiqui 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 thedevelopmental 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 Mulla Fazlulla 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 Waziristan.

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

Email: [email protected]


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Fall of Dhaka – an international conspiracy

Fall of Dhaka – an international conspiracy

Asif Haroon Raja

In united India, Muslim majority East Bengal was the poorest with lowest percentages of urbanization, industrialization, literacy and per capita income. It was kept economically and socially backward by Hindu Zamindars and was a hinterland of Calcutta utilized for 200 years to provide raw materials for the industries in Hindu dominated West Bengal. Division of Bengal and Calcutta becoming part of West Bengal in 1947 further worsened East Bengal’s socio-economic condition.

Bharat detested the ”two-nation theory” ever since its conception and was bent upon disproving it, as this theory ultimately gave birth to Pakistan. India took advantage of the absurd shape of moth eaten Pakistan, in which East Pakistan was separated from the western wing by 1000 miles of Indian Territory and with no land corridor to link the two provinces. There were plans as old as 1947 to agitate the minds of the Bengalis so that the first blow to the “two-nation theory” could be delivered in the form of severing Pakistan’s eastern wing in a matter of one generation from the time of independence. A strong Pakistan – the envisioned fort of Islam – did not suit India, former Soviet Union and Israel, which viewed Pakistan as a future threat to their ideologies.

In order to hide their crimes against the Muslims of Bengal during the British rule in India, Indians worked upon a systematic plan to wash off the memories of the pre-partition days and to put the entire responsibility of impoverishment of East Pakistan on the rulers of West Pakistan. They took full advantage of their geographical contiguity and succeeded in winning over prominent Bengali figures of their choice and also made good use of the affluent Hindu population in that province. They exploited East Pakistan’s differences in language, dress, habits, food and culture from other provinces of Pakistan and subtly convinced them that their cultural links were with West Bengal and not with West Pakistan. They took 24 years to wean away the people of East Pakistan from the concept of united Pakistan and to make them look towards India – their erstwhile tormentors – to help them gain independence.

The Indian strategy to humble Pakistan was drawn out extremely well. The agitation in East Pakistan provided a fertile ground for India to launch a well-orchestrated propaganda to weaken and break up the province from West Pakistan. They established early links with Bengalis, trained them and used them as cannon fodder to wear down the Pakistani troops. The nine months insurgency was fully supported by the Indian Army and their support to the rebels was well known to the world powers. Having failed to realise their objective through the Mukti Bahini, the Indian Army decided to step in at a time when the small contingent of Pakistan Army had been exhausted and suffered from immense tactical, operational and logistic problems. Despite all the advantages to her favour, India still did not want to do it at its own but sought assistance from the former Soviet Union, which gave them all out back up support. Even the US Congress and CIA from whom we expected help were also involved; they took steps that were detrimental for Pakistan.

By that time the insurrection activities in East Pakistan had reached such a high pitch that the Pakistan Army was forced to fight on internal and external fronts concurrently. The Indian diplomacy was also at its best during this period. Mrs. Indira Gandhi through her diplomatic finesse, succeeded in drumming up refugees problem and portraying the military regime in Pakistan as brutal and fascist, thereby justifying India’s military intervention to restore normalcy. India’s superior diplomatic activity had turned this war into heroic act to liberate the Bengalis from the torturous clutches of a militant Pakistan. On the other hand Pakistan was left practically friendless and isolated and its traditional friends neutralised. The whole world quietly and helplessly witnessed the dismemberment process. As a consequence, the inevitable happened. The age-old dream of the Indians came true. Pakistan was brutally disfigured on the fateful day of December 16, 1971. Under the overwhelming odds, no Army in the world could have done any better.

No one doubts that the fall of Dacca in 1971 was the result of machination of the enemies of Islam. Pakistan was made the victim of a methodically planned international conspiracy. Notwithstanding the ignominious role of outside powers, we cannot go on blaming others for our shortfalls. Conspiracies hit governments that are corrupt and lack the character traits of sound leadership. The surrender in East Pakistan was no less than a conspiracy in itself. Those decision-making co-conspirators contributed to the shameful surrender of 45000 Pakistan Army and paramilitary soldiers.

East Pakistan grew up as a misled nation easily swayed by the Hindu brainwashing. Their emotional nature saw Indian Hindus as their saviours against their pre-supposed ‘West Pakistani Masters’. This is where they blundered and demonstrated political naivety and unawareness. The misled emotional Bengali political leaders exploited the poverty and illiteracy of the masses of East Pakistan. Matiur Rehman in his book “Bangladesh Today, An Indictment and a Lament, News and Media Ltd, London N4 3EF, 1978, page 8”, aptly puts across the point. ‘What made both external conspiracy and aggression possible was the existence within of a group of people led by Mujibur Rehman who were prepared to sell their country’s independence’. It is a fact of history that only 9% Bengali Muslims under the sway of Mujibur Rahman wanted independence.  

India and the Hindus residing in former East Pakistan sowed the seeds of destruction of East Pakistan and the self-serving politicians of Pakistan nurtured the crop. The circumstances between 1948 and 1971 appearing on the political canvas of Pakistan placed a shallow political and military leadership in the saddle during the 1971 crisis, which could not save the sinking ship. While the sinking could be delayed but the final outcome was inevitable. It is generally believed that prolonging the war by another fortnight or so and allowing the United Nations to find some workable solution could avoid the premature surrender and thus save the honour of Pakistan Army. Unfortunately, we as a nation have failed to carry out true and objective analysis of losing East Pakistan. Hamoodur Rehman Commission Report that had ascertained the military causes of the debacle remained a hidden document till as late as 31 December 2000.

General Yahya Khan’s ill-fated two and a half-year rule from March 1969 to December 1971 hastened the process of fragmentation of Pakistan. Sheikh Mujibur Rehman and ZA Bhutto worked hard to make the Indian game plan of amputating Pakistan succeed. Mujib duly patronised by India misled the otherwise loyal people of East Pakistan from the concept of united Pakistan. Bengali nationalism that had peaked in the wake of postponement of National Assembly inaugural session scheduled for 3rd March 1971 could not be reined in despite concerted efforts by the military regime to assuage their aggravated feelings. Sowing of seeds of conspiracy to its final flowering in 1971 had been leavened by the creed of Bengali nationalism. The military crackdown on 25 March led to parting of ways and from that time onward; the gulf between the two wings kept widening till the tenuous chord snapped in December 1971.

It was irony of fate that the very people who were in the vanguard of Pakistan Movement took up arms to destroy the very country, which they themselves had helped to create. The people of East Bengal accepted India, from whose shackles freedom was achieved in August 1947 after such a long struggle, as a saviour and a mentor. Mujib started a witch-hunt against so-called collaborators. It didn’t take long for the people of Bangladesh to realize that they were duped. A military coup led by Maj Farooq and Maj Rashid killed Mujib and his 23 family members and dumped their bodies in a mass grave in August 1975.

Instead of taking revenge from those who had killed her father and family members, Hasina Wajid chose to persecute Jamaat-e-Islami members who had remained loyal to the concept of one Pakistan till the very end. Hanging aged Jamaat chief Abdul Quader Molla on dubious charges of rape and mass murder after 42 years has saddened everyone in Pakistan and brought the rampaging Islamists in Bangladesh on the streets. They assert that it was a political murder and will be avenged. Hasina’s days in power are numbered and the countdown has begun.    

The writer is a retired Brig, defence analyst, columnist and author of ‘Maarka Hilli’ and ‘Roots of 1971 Tragedy’. [email protected]

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