Awake, arise or be forever fallen!

October 2, 2011 Leave a comment

By Engr Nasir Jamal

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011%5C10%5C02%5Cstory_2-10-2011_pg7_5

Pakistan was to be a country where the Muslims of the subcontinent could fashion their lives according to the principles of Islam. This was the driving force behind the idea of the Two Nations Theory. The Hindus aimed at dominating the political power once the British left. The Muslims leaders jolted by the upcoming bleak future for their community voiced their concerns by demanding a separate homeland.

It is an irony of fate that the country that was achieved in the name of Islam and the Muslim ideals was made to suffer badly in the name of Islam. The Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had spoken clearly in his speech to the constituent assembly on 1947 that every man will be an equal citizen of Pakistan. He had said in unequivocal terms that “in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State.”
It is unfortunate that the Quaid-i-Azam could not live long enough to put the country on the road to progress and prosperity. The dream seen by the leaders of the Pakistan Movement turned sour, and political power fell in the hands of feudal lords and corrupt civil and military bureaucrats. The dirty game political intrigues and conspiracies that started soon with the death of the Quaid-i-Azam has never stopped.
It was the result of one such courtly intrigue that General Zia sacked the elected government in 1977 and continued to cling to power until 1988 when he died as a result of a plane crash. It was during the oppressive regime of General Zia that the Union of Soviet and Socialist Republics of Russia (USSR) invaded and occupied Afghanistan. The jihad was imposed on the people of Pakistan. It is interesting to note that it was the western powers that called for a holy jihad against the Russia.
Dollars began to come, and we all know it very well how General Zia rejected the money earlier given for the services rendered to the western interests as the “peanut.”
It was during those days that Pakistan saw an exponential increase in madrasahs where training for jihad was given. The trained jihadists were sent to Afghanistan to fight a proxy war for the US and other allied power. The USSR finally withdrew from Afghanistan in 1988 and with this the involvement of the United States and other western powers also came to sudden end.
The jihad soon spilled over in Pakistan and armed groups started challenging the writ of the government in the tribal agencies and other areas where they had influence. With the absence of the perennial flow of dollars from the United States, these groups started criminal activities such as kidnappings, extortion and smuggling. It is unfortunate that these heavily armed groups that had fought a proxy war for the US were used by certain unscrupulous elements in our country for achieving some short-term objectives.
One such group that has shot into prominence recently is the Haqqani network. Top ranking officials of the United States have alleged that the Haqqani network headed by Jalaluddin Haqqani is being used by the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI to wage a proxy war in Afghanistan. Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff has directly accused the network for its role in the deadly attack on the US embassy in Afghanistan.
Threats of a conflict with the United States, the only superpower in the world, cannot be ruled out under present circumstances. Some are saying that the United States must be told clearly that Pakistan is a sovereign country and hence any adventurism on the part of the US will be counter-productive. But can we become too straightforward to a country on whose benevolence and financial aid we are always beholden?
It is time that the leaders of Pakistan in general and the people of Pakistan, in particular, think deeply as to how they want to run the country. It is obvious that we as a nation and a country have been making serious mistakes in the past. The seeds of religious intolerance, extremism, bigotry and hatred have brought forth bitter fruits. We allowed ourselves to be misled by petty Islamist slogans, and the situation has come to such a sorry pass that here in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan the Muslims are killing the Muslims without any compunction.
Pakistan that had to emerge as a leader in the Muslim world perhaps in the fields of education and science has become a seething cauldron of religious extremism and hatred. Intolerance has grown to such an extent that innocent people are put to death for having a different point of view. The bloody murder of Governor Salam Taseer is the Punjab is a sharp reminder of the pervasiveness of the extremist elements in our society.
The Taliban were called as “our children” by some of our leaders. They used to take pride in their creation. They have now become a killing machine devoid of any common sense and regard for Islam and its noble principles. They have been killing innocent people in Pakistan without any remorse. Suicide bomb blasts have become so commonplace and we as a nation have become so hard-hearted by the frequent occurrences of such deadly attacks that we do not give much importance to them unless the death count is very high.
The Taliban have spread their evil presence in the settled areas of the country as well. Even big cities like Karachi have become a breeding ground for new recruits. Recently, a report was published in an Urdu newspaper published simultaneously from Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad that the Taliban have strengthened their positions in the metropolitan city of Karachi. The report made a startling revelation that the target killings in the Karachi were deliberately started in order to divert the attention of the law-enforcing agencies.
The presence of the Taliban in Karachi and their ever increasing influence in certain areas should be an eye-opener for the people that have real power in the country. The threat was forewarned, but it was not given due attention because of political expediency. A large number of Taliban commanders with heavy cache of arms have been arrested from various areas of Karachi. No wonder that the highly sensitive Mehran base of the Pakistan Navy was attacked in such a planned manner, and the assailants were able to inflict heavy damage to the navy installation. Our enemies are closing in on us from all sides. They are propagating in the world that the religious extremism is growing in Pakistan unboundedly. The world is being told that the nuclear weapon in Pakistan can fall in the hands of religious extremists who could use it against western targets. Here in Pakistan we tend to live in a state of denial. We deny and safely assume that the threat does not exist at all. Awake, arise or be for ever fallen!

The writer can be reached at mallicknasir@gmail.com

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