A Rejoinder: Terrorists and their apologists


By Dr. S.M. Rahman

A Kashmiri woman crying over her dead - killed by Indian Army

Imtiaz Alam, editor of South Asian Journal, in his over-enthusiasm, has projected India as the peace-loving nation – by implication a great proponent of ‘Ahinsa’ and ‘non-violence’, and that it is the perfect ‘model’ in South Asia, as all its neighbors are at peace with it, except Pakistan, which is notorious, brutish and nourishes hatred and antipathy against it and is perpetually engaged in acts of terrorism in Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) and several other on-going insurgencies. The article appears, as if it was an Indian writer, quite proficient in art of propaganda and has used “card-stacking technique” of projecting only the positive elements and completely ignoring the dark realities that constitute the major truth.

I would say that silence could be the best answer to the ‘grandiose’ ideas he has of the ‘Indian society.’ With respect to the plight of the Muslims in India, I would expect the writer to read the book (if not read already),‘The Passive Voice’ by K.L. Gauba. He was a Muslim Congressite and against Pakistan’s creation, who migrated to India after the partition. This book though written a bit earlier, exhaustively covered the sad plight of the Muslims, as to how they were being discriminated against for employment in civil services, including police besides the armed forces. I distinctly remember that he mentioned about one Muslim scholar, a PhD from Banaras Hindu University who was serving as dispatch rider in one of the civil departments in Delhi. What has happened consequently is even more agonizing. I will not go into the recent surveys, suffice it to say that their plight is even lower than that of Dalits. Asra Nomani, one of the most liberated Muslim women and exceedingly pro-western, in her write-up has depicted the miserable plight of Indian Muslims, who are at the bottom of social hierarchy.

In one of the surveys in 1980’s, there were around 10,000 castes In India. Barun Mitra has written in an article India gone backward on castes. He is the director of liberty Institute – a think-tank in New Delhi and his article was published in India (reproduced by daily Nation, Pakistan, dated May 20, 2010). He writes: “Bhimrao, Ramji, Ambedkar, who chaired the committee that drafted Indian Constitution, was forbidden to touch water pots – as he was from a lower caste. Barely 40 years ago in New Delhi, it was not uncommon to find Brahman teachers, refusing to eat or drink if they were served by lower castes.”

I shall narrate one instance of one of my own students at Rajshahi University, Department of Psychology (former East Pakistan), who after the emergence of Bangladesh had gone to India for his doctorate in the University of Allahabad. When he had visited Lahore for a conference, he met me with incredible love and affection. When I asked him as to what were his experiences in India, he said, “one of the very shocking one was that, when I had submitted my thesis for the approval to the Professor (my supervisor), there was some errors to be corrected. He offered his pen, but to his bewilderment, the full Professor of the University refused taking pen from a Muslim as it would pollute him.” So the ‘myth of India’ which was so arduously created through the Indian media during the days when Bangladesh had not come into being, I thought that myth was eroded from his mind. There were many other ‘experiences’ which did not match with the ground realities. I am not touching much about the massacre of Muslims in Gujrat. How were they chopped off like carrots and radish? It is indeed very painful to recall the Ayodhiya episode of demolishing the historical Muslims mosque. Besides Muslims, Dalits, even Christians were not spared. How a Pope along with his family members were burnt alive inside the car at Orissa. Several other incidents of raping of Christian nuns and their killing, have come to light.

Over five lac soldiers in the IHK are not playing kabaddi? The atrocities being committed on their part are the worst instances of crime against humanity. If some radical Muslims reacted to such mega killings of over 80,000, the so called liberals tend to dub them as “terrorists”, completely forgetting that ‘state terrorism’, which is at the root of ‘radicalism’, and essentially reactive in nature. Every self-respecting citizen has a right to defend his freedom. Not to do it, is servility, which is repugnant to the adherents of Islamic faith. They will die rather than surrender. This is exactly what Afghan resistance is about. They may be fanatics, fundamentalists, whatever, but give them the credit that they served as iron force against the contemporary Super Powers, former Soviet Union and now the USA, the empire builders. Invasion of countries like Iraq and Afghanistan are blatant acts of aggression. Killing of millions of Muslims in Palestine, Kashmir, Afghanistan and Iraq are nothing but crimes against humanity, if justice at all prevailed in the World Order.

No community is safe at the hands of Indian State Machinery

If Kashmir issue were resolved Pakistani society would emerge as a paradise of peace. It has no extra territorial ambitions as India has. No doubt, there are differences among the Islamic faith just as there are so many denominations in Protestant faith, leaving alone the broad division between the Catholics and the Protestants. Allah has never designed the world for a monolithic order. The dignity of diversity is to be preserved. The miscreants, who are committing acts of terrorism, are essentially trying to fan divisions between Muslims. This is an age old strategy of balkanizing Muslims and atomizing them into as many splinter groups as possible. This is to break their unity. The terrorists are fully equipped with sophisticated weapons, which our police force does not possess. Where from are they coming? Who is funding them? These are the questions to be resolved through a well deliberated counter-terrorism strategy achieved through a broad consensus among the political parties.

Ironically, a ‘construct’ of ‘conspiracy’ has been created as a propaganda gimmick, in order to discredit any hypothesis/idea which is likely to be proven factual. It is a strategy of camouflaging facts and realities. There is thus a ‘big conspiracy’ against the so called ‘conspiracy theories.’ It is much easier to dismiss a reality by simply saying: “Ah! It is one of those ‘conspiracy theories.’ The terrorists, who are rampant in Pakistan, are not ‘Taliban’. Pakistani Taliban or Punjabi Taliban are some of the semantic manipulations to defame Pakistan as if it were an abode of radicals, fanatics and ‘terrorists.’. India on the other hand is free from such menace. That there are fissiparous trends in 17 or more Indian states is very shrewdly concealed. What about the Naxellites? They are overly active in quite a number of states, and that they are gaining in strength. India is finding it difficult to contain them. Were Indian forces not involved in fanning Tamil separatism in Sri Lanka?

Pakistan’s radicalism is a post 9/11 phenomenon. The society, otherwise was relatively quite peaceful, adhering to the middle –of-the-road approach to Islamic ideology. Unfortunately, General Ziaul Haq in order to perpetuate his hold, produced radical forces to fight against the former Soviet Union. USA patronized them and when the Red Army had left Afghanistan, USA quite callously abandoned the freedom fighters. If a national government comprising representatives of Pakhtuns, Tajiks, Uzbeks and other minorities would have been formed, Afghanistan would not have been in the state of chaos as it is . The fault is entirely of USA, which covertly wanted it to be fragmented through warlordism.

The “terrorists”, operating in Pakistan are no a ‘monolithic entity. These are those who during the Soviet war were radicalized by the inept policy of Ziaul Haq and later on the reactions against Pervez Musharraf’s very naively conceived policy of pleasing the US government by propounding the so called ‘enlightened moderation’, what actually meant, was to sheepishly adopt the western values, not realizing that Muslims could be very modern, yet they maintain the core values of their faith, which gives them their real ‘identity’ and respect among the comity of nations.

Now about the “Strategic Depth’, which is a straight forward concept to achieve attitudinal harmony between Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan, as very natural regional allies. A well deliberated geopolitical strategy has to be conceived creating mutual trust and harmony so that under conditions of peace, these countries reinforce each other’s prosperity through trade and cooperation and under crises, they act similarly as EU countries do. If any of the countries in EU, is attacked by an adversary, “it would be taken as if it were an attack on EU”, that is collectively they would protect each other. Why should it be a taboo for the Muslim countries, that they should not forge a ‘cohesive mutual paradigm of inter-existence.’? “Strategic Depth is never a narrow concept of “physical depth”, but a depth of security in all its dimensions. It is based on trust and a firm commitment to honour the dignity and identity of each other. No amount of propaganda can deter these countries to ultimately converge on a collective paradigm, which provides ‘strategic security.’ Too much voice is being raised against a legitimate concept – ‘Strategic Depth’ – as some one rightly said: “The higher the voice, the smaller the intellect.”

Dr S.M. Rahman is the Secretary General of FRIENDS, a Think Tank established by General Mirza Aslam Beg, former Chief of Staff, Pakistan Army. He has several books to his credit and papers published in different newspapers and journals.

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