Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Pakistan's Growing Insurgency

In recent years, militant groups in the beautiful Swat valley, led by radical cleric Maulana Fazlullah, have been attacking and killing civilians as well as security forces in scenic Swat. In some 60 villages, the militants have set up a de facto "parallel government" with Islamic courts imposing sharia law. The region is effectively under militant control despite the presence of 20,000 Pakistani troops. Local opponents of the militants have been harshly critical of Pakistani civil society for its lack of concern for their plight as well as critical of the military and provincial government for their ineffective measures for controlling the tide of militancy. It should be noted that in May, 2008, the NWFP government led by Pashtoon Nationalists attempted to appease the Swat militants by agreeing to allow their version of Shariah to be imposed in Swat valley.

Media reports indicate that the Taliban are enforcing a complete ban on female education in the Swat district. Some 400 private schools enrolling 40,000 girls have been shut down. At least 10 girls' schools that tried to open after the January 15, 2009 deadline by the Taliban were blown up by the militants in the town of Mingora, the headquarters of the Swat district. "More than 170 schools have been bombed or burned, along with other government-owned buildings."

There is widespread sorrow and outrage in Pakistan over the ongoing situation in Swat and other parts of Pakistan which are being threatened by a growing insurgency. Let us put these troubling events in perspective.

Throughout human history, there have been bloody insurgencies. The Ridda wars in the early days of Islam during the first Caliph Aboobakr's rule were fought to defeat an insurgency that threatened the existence of Islamic state soon after Prophet Muhammad's death.

For those of us living in US or UK, let’s not ignore the history of prolonged and extremely violent civil wars fought by these two nations in earlier times.

The situation today is no different in South Asia. Just look in Pakistan’s neighborhood for comparison. The beautiful island nation of Sri Lanka has had a long and bloody insurgency by a Tamil separatist group LTTE, initially created, trained and funded by Indian Intelligence agency RAW. Still very active, the Sri Lanka war marked the beginning of the suicide bombing as a tactic to rattle the government and population and it has claimed tens thousands of lives.

In India, a Maoist group calling themselves the “Naxalites” have exploited growing economic disparities in India to carve out a “red corridor” of activity that runs from the Nepalese border to the jungles of central India. Fighting in thirteen of India’s twenty-eight provinces and boasting between 10,000 and 20,000 dedicated followers, the Naxalites pose India’s biggest internal security threat. In contrast to the scattered actions of Kashmiris, the Naxalites are in every way a traditional communist insurgency. UC Berkeley Professor Chhibber has described the total absence of any legitimate civil authority in large parts of India that remind of the parts of Pakistan's FATA region. The Indian government relies on private militias to enter such Maoist-controlled areas for limited purpose and duration, when absolutely needed.

Since 1989 more than 80,000 have died in insurgencies in Kashmir and the northeastern states. Manmohan Singh himself has called the Maoist insurgency centered on the state of Chhattisgarh the biggest internal security threat to India since independence. The Maoists, however, are confined to rural areas; their bold tactics haven't rattled Indian middle-class confidence in recent years as much as the bomb attacks in major cities have, according to Indian writer Pankaj Mishra.

As the insurgencies intensify, the domestic and international critics of Pakistani military are growing louder. A large part of the criticism stems from the military's role in national affairs that has not always been in the best interest of the people. Many Pakistanis have significant grievances against the past actions of the military. But this harsh criticism is clearly not helpful in dealing with the current challenges. Among the various institutions in Pakistan, we must recognize that the military, backed by a comprehensive political strategy, is the only strong institution capable of dealing with both internal and external threats at this time in the nation's history. That is not to say that seek a purely military solution. The primary purpose of counterinsurgency operations should be to protect the ordinary citizens and neutralize the hard-core terrorists with the help of the population. It requires a strategy to win the support of the people rather than just to kill or capture the terrorists.

The best thing for Pakistanis is to have courage and patience and not give up hope in the face of extreme difficulty. Counterinsurgency is something very difficult for the conventional army of any nation, designed, equipped and trained mainly to fight conventional wars. But Pakistani military and civilian leadership are learning from their experience and they can and will eventually defeat the insurgents, if the people of Pakistan support their efforts by words and deeds. It is much easier to criticize and express dismay at these events than to actually deal with such events effectively. Despondency is our worst enemy. Let us ignore the prophets of doom and gloom and not allow ourselves to be demoralized.

Related Links:

Appeasement by Nationalists in Swat

Maoist Insurgency in India

Ridda Wars

Sri Lanka's Civil War

Obama's Kashmir Focus

Masters of Suicide Bombing

Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan and Pakistan

India's Research and Analysis Wing


Anonymous said...

Your thoughts about LTTE & RAW nexus are wrong. I don't know from where FAS got that report, but RAW has no reason to support LTTE. Sri Lanka has always been a friendly nation to India. Aiding LTTE would have been a huge blunder, which any sensible organization would avoid. It is true that LTTE does get a limited support from some elements within Tamilnadu. Most of the times it is opposition party in TN govt, which tries to get some polotical advantage by openly supporting so called "tamil cause". But thats all LTTE gets.
Secondly, your thoughts of lawless areas in India are incomplete. There may be some parts which are very remote, and there has been less development. But certainly not comparable to FATA. FATA is something which is very extreme, safe haven for terrorism. Even though naxalites do leverage remote areas, their area of influence are very small.

By the way, today I heard a news that Taliban has openly threatened to attack Islamabad & Lahore. They said that they are planning that from last 2 years. Clearly they do not have enough strengh to do so, but their confidense seems sky high. They also stuck posters in Islamabad. How are Pakistani people looking at this? Is there a nexus between some elements of your army & Taliban?

Riaz Haq said...

Peaceful Indian,

You assert, "Your thoughts about LTTE & RAW nexus are wrong. I don't know from where FAS got that report, but RAW has no reason to support LTTE. Sri Lanka has always been a friendly nation to India"

This is from Jain Commission report: "During the course of its investigation the Jain Commission received testimony on the official Indian support to the various Sri Lankan Tamil armed groups in Tamil Nadu. From 1981, RAW and the Intelligence Bureau established a network of as many as 30 training bases for these groups in India. Centers were also established at the high-security military installation of Chakrata, near Dehra Dun, and in the Ramakrishna Puram area of New Delhi. This clandestine support to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), some of whom were on the payroll of RAW, was later suspended. Starting in late 1986 the Research and Analysis Wing focused surveillance on the LTTE which was expanding ties with Tamil Nadu separatist groups. Rajiv Gandhi sought to establish good relations with the LTTE, even after the Indian Peace Keeping Force [IPKF] experience in Sri Lanka. But the Indian intelligence community failed to accurately assess the character of the LTTE and its orientation India and its political leaders. The LTTE assassination of Rajiv Gandhi was apparently motivated by fears of a possible re-induction of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka and a crackdown on the LTTE network in Tamil Nadu."

You also suggest, "There may be some parts which are very remote, and there has been less development. But certainly not comparable to FATA. FATA is something which is very extreme, safe haven for terrorism."

The source of my data is a presentation at Asia Society by India expert Dr. Pradeep Chhibber of UC Berkeley. Please read: http://www.asiasociety.org/visit/sanfrancisco/ASNC_newsletter_fall%202008-FINAL.pdf

You ask, "Is there a nexus between some elements of your army & Taliban?"

It is possible that there are links with some retired military personnel who helped groom the Taliban fighters in the 1980s/90s. But I think the military has been thoroughly purged of such elements in the aftermath of 911.

Anonymous said...

Why such peace loving people,beautiful people have turned violent?
They have not Sir.The people over there want Islamic Laws,Islamic Shariat to be enforced.What is wrong with it?Even the Pakistani Constitution describes that all laws should be in accordance with Quran and Sunnat.And there is more valid reasons for introducing Shariat laws in Swat.Before merger with Pakistan,these laws were already implemented there.It was only after merger with Pakistan that people witnessed crimes in Swat,Few prostitutes,few theft cases,young ones smoking pots,all these events disturbed people.As he made people to realise that their old peaceful days could come back by enforcing Islamic Sharia,that is why Sufi Muhammad was so popular.That is why his son in law Fazlullah is a hero.Fazlullah stammers while talking,but is an outstanding speaker,very popular particularly with female.In his speeches he has been telling women about their rights in Islam,about their right of owning property,share in inheritance,duties of husbands etc.When he asks for money ,women come forward with their Jewellery.

I ,want to cut it short,but can tell you that the problem of Swat(And whole Pakistan)can be solved overnight.

Riaz Haq said...


You ask , "Why such peace loving people,beautiful people have turned violent?
Then you assert, "They have not Sir.The people over there want Islamic Laws,Islamic Shariat to be enforced."

Najam, Have you been following the events in Swat? Do you condone the actions of Fazlullah and his gang in burnings, bombings and beheadings?

Is this the way to bring about Shariah? Is this how you persuade people to your way of thinking? Who will be the beneficiary of such heinous acts committed in the name of Islam? Don't tell me everybody else is doing it. Don't start blaming kafirs and foreigners. Think about how you can claim higher moral ground for Islam and Muslims.

Please don't respond in a knee jerk fashion. Reflect on my questions before answering.

Ray Lightning said...


These fundamentalist Islamists were nurtured by the Pak army from their very initial days. There is a strategic advantage that these militia provide Pakistan : that is to put Afghan nationalism into check. As you know, a strong and fervent nationalism in Afghanistan threatens the existence of Pakistan, because there are bound to be border disputes over the Pashtun inhabited areas. These violent Islamists have thus been a useful tool to murder nationalist politicians in NWFP (specifically from the Khudai-khidmatgar movement) or in Afghanistan.

Now the trouble is that these boys have grown too big for their masters. It is probable that the Pak army, in one way or the other, still controls large sections of the Taliban militia. But several Taliban groups are securing their own finances through a carefully cultivated network in the drug mafia. As you know, international illegal drug trade is worth billions of dollars and most of the illegal opium is grown in the borderlands of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

If this cultivation is under threat (due to NATO offensive), the militia have to move to a safe place which ensures a proper cultivation and steady supply of the crop. The occupation of Swat is a critical move in this regard. Currently, the Pak army has a choice of engaging directly in a battle with a massive drug mafia of the world or by slyly allowing these groups to do their thing. It has opted for the latter.

The techniques that the Swat militia use to terrorize the locals are exactly the same techniques that were long tested by the drug mafia to psychologically weaken the local populations : beheadings, digging people from the graves, turning public squares into blood baths, murdering politicians, artists and generally installing a reign of terror and hopelessness. The story is quite familiar to the bad-lands of drug cultivation : be it Colombia or Mexico.

Anonymous said...

Riaz, I have doubts about this guy Najam. If Najam is the uncle of Faz-lullah, then he deserves to be beheaded because his composition indicates that he is an educated person.... while his dear nephew is against education(?)

Riaz Haq said...


Pakistani Army had no Islamist leanings prior to Zia's regime in the 1980s. In fact, the Army officer corps was considered quite liberal by most Pakistanis. The sharp turn the right was engineered by Zia with CIA assistance to fight off the Soviets.

There is no evidence of poppy being a major issue on the Pak side of the border. It is, however, probable that some of the smuggled drugs find their way through Pakistan to foreign destinations.

Fazalullah's group is not part of the mainstream Taliban movement. Nor is he known as leader of a drug cartel. His father-in-law and his gang were routed by Pak Army earlier this decade. Fazlulllah has mainly reconstituted during the last year because of the misguided policy of appeasement by the nationalist now in power in NWFP.

Anonymous said...

"Is this the way to bring about Shariah? Is this how you persuade people to your way of thinking? Who will be the beneficiary of such heinous acts committed in the name of Islam? Don't tell me everybody else is doing it. Don't start blaming kafirs and foreigners. Think about how you can claim higher moral ground for Islam and Muslims."

Absolutely agree. When such leaders try to unite people under the name of religion, they have their own polotical motives. Religion invariably gets them at least some support, which they would not get otherwise. Such elements must be crushed with no mercy.

Unknown said...

In order to effectively deal with insurgency, it is necessary to find out the reasons for it and develop the counter insurgency strategy accordingly.

Here is one viewpoint as to what the real causes can be:

During the Afghan war of the 1980s a host of Islamic fighters gathered from all over the world, particularly from the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa into Afghanistan (and Pakistan) to fight the Russians. These people focused simply on fighting, and were left high and dry when the Soviet forces left Afghanistan. The new Afghan dispensation had no place for them as the governance was naturally handed over to the natives and the aliens were expected go back to their homelands. This was not workable as a) they were not acceptable in their home countries and b) after the success in the war their expectations were to rule their destiny and not become subservient to traditional authority.

These groups remained in Afghanistan and soon discovered that with their armament and wealth accumulated during the Afghan war, the best place to set up rule was Pakistan. Reasons being:
- with its greedy political leaders and cattle like parliamentarians, it is easy to buy the way into power.
- being just adjacent to Afghanistan, it is easy to apply militancy when needed.
- with a big segment of civil society emotionally unstable and having a self destructive mindset, manipulating public opinion is easy.

This was smart thinking on their part and progress on track till 9/11 when Pakistan became the epicenter of American geopolitics. The original plans were no longer workable, so a new strategy of insurgency within Pakistan adopted to carve out an area of influence (their worst case scenario) or to take over the entire country (their best case scenario).

Now coming to the counter insurgency plans, obviously presuming coordinated actions between the political government and Army, both in the short term and long term:

Given the above reasoning, the insurgents are not rag tag fighters but well equipped organized militias with its soldiers better paid than the Pakistan Army soldiers, operating to implement a well defined agenda. So the counter insurgency strategy, combining dialogue and force, has the following alternatives/ constraints:
1- The commonly propounded viewpoint that the insurgents are sincere misguided people, harming the country out of ignorance and should be brought into mainstream by counseling and offering some concessions, will not work.
2- To go for a total elimination of insurgency. This means a long term total commitment and efficiency of operations on the part of all major political parties, Army and the civil society to achieve this objective. The downside is that if these are missing then the whole country will be taken over by insurgency.
3- To go for containment. To concentrate the country's military strength and economic resources into effectively stabilizing and developing the country to the maximum practicable extent. Towards this end even let some areas temporarily go into the control of militants. The underlying principle being that the militants should organize their own defenses against the US and NATO forces. If the militants succeed against them, they will consolidate their rule in those parts. If they fail, the territory will fall back to Pakistan, devastated but governable..

These are no easy choices and the way forward requires a realistic assessment of the current situation coupled with effective implementation of a well thought out strategy.

The above analysis is simply an attempt to explain the causes of Pakistan's present insurgency, based on recent history, and cannot be proved or disproved beyond doubt to reach a consensus. So it is irrelevant to enter into an argument as to its correctness. Instead for something constructive to come out of it, I would suggest that those entering into this discussion and in disagreement, come up with other reasons to explain the happenings. This approach can lead to a better understanding of the situation for every one.

Anonymous said...

Dear friends,
I find postings on this blog very interesting and very open and rational.

Can rational people of pakistan like contributers in this blog throw a light on the following.

- Do an average pakistani believs that history of india and history of pakistan is same till 1947. As i have seen official sites of both india and pakistan about there history and there is drastic conflict of opinion.

Either of two is definitely wrong as it is very logical to say that these two contries share same past.

Main points of diffenence
- Pakistan do not official believe that there was any hindu past of pakistan.
- Average Indian(hindu) believes that India was attacked by Moh. Gori and Moh. Gazni. and see them in negative context which is opposite of pakistan belief.

Truth Seeker Indian Hindu

Riaz Haq said...

Here's the latest from Swat/NWFP in Pakistan:

The government (of Pakistan) agreed to impose Islamic law and suspend a military offensive across much of northwest Pakistan on Monday in concessions aimed at pacifying the Taliban insurgency spreading from the border region to the country’s interior.

The Swat situation is very difficult and complex, partly due to dithering by the federal and provincial governments who have a confused strategy giving mixed signals to the militants. And the militants themselves are divided between father-in-law Sufi Mohammad and son-in-law Fazalullah. But they seem less divided than the rest of Pakistan in achieving their goals.

The situation is further exacerbated by the presence of US troops and the almost daily killings by US predator drones that undermine support for Pakistan’s government and military.

A complex situation like Swat requires strong consensus on a coherent strategy with both political and military components working hand-in-hand with the support of Pakistani people. Unfortunately Pakistan’s response to the situation has been very confused. It has neither consensus nor coherence. So the militants have gained an upper hand.

I think we are in a long struggle for control between the Taliban and their version of Shariah and modern civil society based on democratic principles. The Taliban clearly have an upper hand for the moment, at least in Swat. They are not likely to be satisfied with just Swat. They’ll soon be aiming for the entire NWFP and then the rest of Pakistan.

Unless the governments in the region learn to deal with such insurgencies, I fear that the entire region will descend into chaos and larger civil war. It can only lead to one thing: A cry by ordinary Pakistanis for an authoritarian military dictatorship that uses repression and organized death squads to restore some semblance of order at the cost of a lot of basic freedoms. The question will be as to who can fill the vacuum? The repressive Taliban or autocratic military generals? Pakistanis will most likely be forced to trade whatever freedoms they have for more security.

Unknown said...

To the Truth Seeker Indian Hindu:

The history of the subcontinent is obviously the same till 1947, the difference is the average Indian and Pakistani perception of the same. Now that another 60 years have passed admist fraying emotionalism of each party trying to prove itself right, the historical perspectives have become even more distorted. So it is almost impossible to find rational answers to the points of difference pointed out by the Truth Seeker, but seeking these answers is not relevant too.

With over 60 years gone by, the definition of a Pakistani is a person who was born, or whose children were born, within the frontiers of this country. All such persons, irrespective of their religion or religous sect, are equally stakeholders in the country and thereby equal as citizens. Since the future of all such persons is linked to the progress or retrogression in the country so it is logical that they act towards the country's betterment which will lead to better lives for themselves and their generations to come.

This should be the perception of the average Pakistani who I agree is still not fully conscious of it but with time is becoming so. In fact this realization is growing faster in the wake of 9/11. Whether Ghouri or Ghaznavi was good or bad does not matter, and moreso cannot be logically established by an average Indian or Pakistani. This debate shoud be left to the students of history who are trained to analyze conflicting history writings objectively.

Will appreciate if Indians can comment on what the Indian perceptions should be and what these actually are.

Unknown said...

On the Swat situation: The agreement with TSNM can be part of the containment strategy. It is to be noted that Sufi Mohammad and TSNM is a pre-2001 Afghan war entity and certainly different from TTP (the conglomerate of multinational Islamic groups displaced from Afghanistan in the 2001 war) which is leading the Swat insurgency. Sufi Mohammad is negotiating with TTP to reach a solution which may also be reached, but this will not affect the long term TTP plans. However, if it is a containment strategy on Pakistan's part, then in future counter insugency actions there will be more of American/ NATO role and lesser Pakistan Army engagement

Anonymous said...

Dear Suhail,

There is nothing created out of vaccum,
Differences do have a begining and to find solutions one need to understand the root cause.

What i believe is Indian subcontinent(India, Paksitan and Banglaseh)have the potential to
become world LEDAERS as the area was in some 1700 AD.

Only if we can solve our mutual differencs,
insecurties and concerns.

I am firm believer that Only as a Combined region we all can develop and prosporous and not individually as nation.

Truth Seeker Indian Hindu

Anonymous said...

To the Truth Seeker Indian Hindu:

The history of the subcontinent is obviously the same till 1947, the difference is the average Indian and Pakistani perception of the same. Now that another 60 years have passed admist fraying emotionalism of each party trying to prove itself right, the historical perspectives have become even more distorted. So it is almost impossible to find rational answers to the points of difference pointed out by the Truth Seeker, but seeking these answers is not relevant too.

With over 60 years gone by, the definition of a Pakistani is a person who was born, or whose children were born, within the frontiers of this country. All such persons, irrespective of their religion or religous sect, are equally stakeholders in the country and thereby equal as citizens. Since the future of all such persons is linked to the progress or retrogression in the country so it is logical that they act towards the country's betterment which will lead to better lives for themselves and their generations to come.

This should be the perception of the average Pakistani who I agree is still not fully conscious of it but with time is becoming so. In fact this realization is growing faster in the wake of 9/11. Whether Ghouri or Ghaznavi was good or bad does not matter, and moreso cannot be logically established by an average Indian or Pakistani. This debate shoud be left to the students of history who are trained to analyze conflicting history writings objectively.

Will appreciate if Indians can comment on what the Indian perceptions should be and what these actually are.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistani Ambassador Haqqani's opinion published in USA Today.

Opposing view: We're not ceding ground
Pakistan remains committed to fighting and defeating terrorism.

By Husain Haqqani

The talks between the government of Pakistan's Northwest Frontier province and supporters of traditional Islamic law in the Swat Valley should not be viewed as a concession to the Taliban. The arrangement in Swat is a local solution to a local problem that was being exploited by Taliban and al-Qaeda supporters from outside the region.

The democratic Pakistani government is not ceding ground to militants. It is attempting to build consensus against them. After all, governing is about consensus and compromise.

Pakistan remains committed to fighting terrorism, militancy and extremism.

While almost all of the world views terrorism with fear and fascination, the women, men and children of Pakistan have been dying by the thousands, innocent victims of an insurrection whose goal is the destruction of Pakistan. As President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani have repeatedly said, this is our war, and we intend to fight and defeat terrorism.

Over the past year, the lawlessness and anarchy of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, bordering Afghanistan, have spread to other parts of our nation, most notably to the beautiful Swat Valley. What was once the "Switzerland of Pakistan" has become its Beirut. The former princely state of Swat was always somewhat different from the rest of Pakistan — much more traditional, much more conservative before and after its merger into Pakistan in 1969.

Swat has been deteriorating by the month. The people have been forced to choose between exile or submission to the most fanatical and often barbaric extremism. Our goal is clear. We are attempting to drive a wedge between al-Qaeda and the militant Taliban on the one hand, and Swat's indigenous movement that seeks to restore traditional law in the district. This is part of a pragmatic military and political strategy to turn our native populations against the terrorists, to isolate and marginalize the terrorists.

Pakistan's attempts to satisfy some of the concerns of local groups are conditional on their commitment to peace and the laying down of their arms. Although some technical amendments to existing regulations would allow for some elements of Islamic legal principles practiced locally throughout history, public mandatory education of girls would be guaranteed and protected.

Husain Haqqani is Pakistan's ambassador to the United States.

Unknown said...


Fully agree on both points, which I think also contain indicators to the root cause as well as the solution, as follows:

1- Indian subcontinent (India, Pakistan and Bangladesh) was the most prosperous region in the world till around 1700 AD. It was called the Jewel in the Crown of the British Empire for the same reason. For this same reason, invaders right from the start to the British kept invading and ruling the subcontinent. The question arises as to why despite being the most prosperous part of the world, the subcontinent failed to secure itself from invaders repeatedly. I think this is the root cause of the insecurity ingrained on the subcontinent psyche. A rational answer to this question will provide the means to eliminate the root cause. I can't think of any and will appreciate if you can share the answer with me if you find one.

2- Only as a combined region we all can develop and be prosperous and not individually as a nation. Very correct and for this unified approach, the driving force will be achieved if we set prosperity as our prime national objective. Towards this objective better relations will develop and with increasing prosperity, mutual understanding and trust will set in. I think this is a more workable solution than trying to build consensus on history.

Anonymous said...

The prosperity of people of a country depends upon justice.In the absence of social justice no country can progress....rather it gets disintegrated.The problem here is not the implementation of sharia laws but the main problem faced by every pakistani these days is justice.When the rules for the rich and influential are different from those for the poor then these kinds of situation can erupt anywhere.People of Swat need justice and so are the people of Islamabad,Quetta or Lahore.It's just that they are led by those who think they can find prosperity in the implementation of Sharia laws.When we have a President who is there due to NRO then why aren't we not recociliating with Fazlullah.I am not a supporter of these father-in-law and son-in-law but the root cause is justice.You just implement social justice in whatever form let it be Sharia laws and then see how peaceful this area becomes.

Anonymous said...

Dear Suhail and Mahreen,

It is really great to see that you see some rationality in my thoughts.I also very much agree on Mahreen thoughts of social justice.

Suhail agreed with your thoughts about root cause.Yes this region must have be having inbuilt weakness and hipocracy and there
is no denying fact that in fall prey to invaders.

I can continue for complete elimination of root cause but let me take your approach to dealing with 'CURRENT'

What India have as a problem against social injustice is "Maoist",and i think i can say this is comparable to problem pakistan is facing
in there tribal part.

Root cause for both India and Pakistan(including bangladesh) and Hence this region.
Let me call this region as ("BIP").

During the birth of these two nations in 1947,the transfer of power actually happened in such a way that
power still remained in hands on selected few.

Despite the region becoming individual democracies in western dictionary.
The fact at grass root level is that there were two basic social strata that were formed;
1. Rich,Middle Class Upper middle class and a few which have access to education so that they can uplift them.
2. The poor and the very poor and those with no access to any education.

People in class 1 were goverened by modern democracy principals.People in Class 2 were goverened still by local lords be it
resudial fudal lords , tribeshead or whosoever.The people in class 1 were supposed to act in leading role so maximum of class 2 can uplift them.

But here is where problem comes ,People in class 1 finds themselves inferior to so called "westeren civilization"
They start blindly aping west so that can be treated equally with west and did whatever to come at par to west.This whatever included Corruption and Exploitation of class2

The BIP region thus become a stage of class struggle and not a developmental race.I have also observed that in pakistan class 1 generally includes Punjabis whereas
India at least here is true soverign as class 1 incldes all regions.

Going towards solution ,

BIP region has to stop aping west and its solution as the solution to this region problems.

We have to invent solutions and not borrow or ape them.For me i see solutions looking back in time when BIP was number 1 and
managed by system set in by all greatest including hindus and muslims equally (Ashok,Akbar,Sher shah suri,etc)and that is why what i believe is that if do not have common past
we cannot invent solutions.
Let me also iterate the fact that
So called hinduism, the way it was followed pratically had a lot of dogma and hipocrary that lead to down fall
of the way it was followed.And "BIP" have seen a great muslim rulars like Akbar during whose time
this was the golden land.

My point is that the solution for this region has to be religion independent.That is why i condemn what happened in swat.
At the same time it has to be independent of western bias.

And here lies the conflict,we have differences over past so cant look backwards for solution.
West has no solution for the region so cant look there also.

So ............ we may need to look with in.


Unknown said...


I'd like to add the following to your last message:

On the root cause: besides inbuilt hypocrisy, another important factor is the highly idealist, emotionally unstable mindset of a large segment of populace in BIP because of which people cannot see reality around them and cannot think rationally. This leads to self destruction rather than self preservation, and this is exactly what is happening now. It must have been the same all along so very easy for invaders to subjugate people who are already on a self destructive path.

On social injustice: The root cause of Maoist Naxalites and Islamist Jehadis is the same, that is economic deprivation which leads to social injustice. The very valid reason being that the rich and upper middle classes are only westernized in appearance. In essence they are even more dogmatic, guided by false convictions, than the poor. This is corroborated by the fact the prosperous, well educated middle classes are the bastions of muslim and hindu fundamentalism in the respective countries. The solution obviously lies in economic uplift and provision of social justice to the poor. Economic uplift is only possible if the countries are developed enough to make good usage of the immense human resources of the region which are presently going waste, thereby increasing their productivity. One economic indicator is the per capita GNP, which of these countries is among the lowest in the world. To get out of third world, the per capita GNP should be more than $1000 per annum. Closely following this should be equitable distribution of wealth to reduce social inequality and injustice. However, without the increased GNP, equitable destribution of wealth is senseless; what will be achieved is equal distribution of poverty which is undesirable as it further reduces the GNP.

On the solutions: good rulers like Ashok, Akbar, Sher Shah Suri etc were characterized by their qualities of good governance; and obviously this quality is independent of religion. Another point of note is that good governance is the ultimate objective; monarchy, dictatorship or democracy is only the route to its achievement and not an end in itself. I fully endorse TSIH views that the solution must be homegrown to suit our collective psyche, and independent of religion. For good governance we must come out of our conviction that western style democracy is the only workable system so we must adopt it. Since it does not suit our collective psyche, we only end up aping it; thereby not gaining the objective of good governance which is achieved through it in the west. A glaring example is the personality cult in the BIP politics which is a monarchist trait, totally out of place in modern democracies.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for more thoughts,
Just some more points to add that, its just not western democracy but we need to target western lifestyle (which is based on artificial enegy and unnecessary consumption).

I find many solutions when i see our lifestyle back in time.


Anonymous said...

India learnts its lesson of supporting terrorist / freedom fighter LTTE by paying the price of the Rajeev life. I donot see after that there is any assistance from india what so ever. Proof of the pudding is the eating that the LTTE has been driven to the walls as the logistic and other support from the southern india was completely stopped by india inspite of noise from the tamil population. However there is no such learning after the death of Bhutto nor any action from government. Rather it is giving away to the pressure of the extremist / freedom fighters [ rambo iii]

Riaz Haq said...


You say, "However there is no such learning after the death of Bhutto nor any action from government. Rather it is giving away to the pressure of the extremist / freedom fighters [ rambo iii]"

You are embellishing the truth to make your point. The defeat of pro-Talib forces in the election is ample proof that the extremists do not have broad support. Predator strikes by US killing civilians regularly do affect people's perception and undermine opposition to the Taliban.

Riaz Haq said...

India(49) has more than twice as many billionaires as Japan (22) which is a far richer country.

Indian and UNICEF officials concur that Indians are much worse off than Pakistanis and Bangladeshis in basic nutrition and sanitation.

Meanwhile, India is worse than Bangladesh and Pakistan when it comes to nourishment and is showing little improvement in the area despite big money being spent on it, says Planning Commission member Syeda Hameed.

India might be an emerging economic power, but it is way behind Pakistan, Bangladesh and even Afghanistan in providing basic sanitation facilities, a key reason behind the death of 2.1 million children under five in the country.Lizette Burgers, chief water and environment sanitation of the UNICEF, said India is making progress in providing sanitation but it lags behind most of the other countries in South Asia.

Most of the 8-9% growth has fattened the bottom line of a small percentage of India's population, with the rest getting poorer. India's Gini Index has increased from about 32 to 36 from 2000 to 2007.

India now has 100 million more people living below the poverty line than in 2004, according to official estimates released on Sunday. The poverty rate has risen to 37.2 percent of the population from 27.5 percent in 2004, according to a Reuters report.

The rising gap between abject poverty and obscene wealth in India is fueling anger, and insurgencies such as the Maoists'.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are excerpts from an Op Ed by Huma Yousuf today in Pakistan's Dawn newspaper:

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has announced that his country is not ‘pushing’ Pakistan to make this move, while Nato has declared that the timing and strategy of the operation are to be fully of the Pakistan Army’s choosing.

This magnanimity does not signal a shift in policy, nor does it indicate that the US has truly come to trust Pakistan as an equal partner in its prolonged war against terror. No, western security forces are backing off from plans to launch the offensive because it’s going to be messy, very messy.

North Waziristan has long been home to Hafiz Gul Bahadur’s militant group, which has struck two peace accords with the Pakistan government (in 2006 and 2008) and therefore refrains from launching attacks against government and army personnel and property in Fata or elsewhere. Previously, Bahadur has prevented other militants, including Baitullah Mehsud, from launching attacks against Pakistan from his territory, and is responsible for expelling many Arab and Central Asian militants from the agencies.

In return for this cooperation, the Bahadur group has been allowed to flourish and is now well-entrenched in North Waziristan: it runs a parallel administration boasting recruiting offices for militants, training camps, madressahs, separate courts and jails and its own taxation policy. If an offensive in the tribal agency disrupts the Bahadur group, the army will face a well-armed and well-organised force that will no longer have any reason to keep foreign fighters at bay.

North Waziristan also serves as a base for the Jalaluddin Haqqani network, which primarily targets coalition forces in Afghanistan. The Haqqanis are old friends of Pakistan’s intelligence agencies, and continue to be cultivated as contacts that could prove useful as political allies in a post-US Afghanistan. This network, too, has not attacked the Pakistani state, but may change its modus operandi if a military operation were to be directed against its fighters.

As practically the only one of Fata’s seven agencies that has not been the site of a military operation, North Waziristan has recently seen an influx of TTP (Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan) militants fleeing army action elsewhere. Indeed, a list of all the groups whose activities have been traced to the tribal agency reads like a who’s who of regional militancy. The agency is also believed to be the hiding place of Al Qaeda leaders such as Osama bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri.


A limited operation will also rule out the need to bring more troops into the vicinity (there are currently about 140,000 troops in the agency, mostly stationed in Miramshah). This is important because military action in Fata since 2005 has earned the ire of non-combatant agency residents who complain they have lost more lives and property because of army action rather than the militant presence.

This perception has fuelled the rate of militant recruitment in the area, and the last thing the North Waziristan operation should do is win more youngsters over to the militant cause. To this end, the army should work with the civilian government to raise enough funds beforehand to accommodate the IDPs who will escape the operation, and to compensate civilians for property damage.

More importantly, the army should also limit US involvement in the form of sustained drone attacks in any operation. This must be Pakistan’s fight, fought on Pakistan’s terms, with Pakistan’s best interests in mind.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Reuters' report Pakistani efforts to de-radicalize the Tliban:

Hazrat Gul spent two years in detention for allegedly aiding the Pakistani Taliban when they publicly flogged and beheaded people during a reign of terror in the scenic Swat Valley.

Now he wiles away his time in pristine classrooms, a Pakistani flag pin on his crisp uniform, learning about word processing, carpentry and car repairs at the Mashal de-radicalisation centre run by the army.

Part of a carrot and stick approach to battling militancy in the strategic U.S. ally, the aim is to cleanse minds of extremist thoughts through vocational training, and turn men like Gul into productive citizens who support the state.

The success of the programme will ultimately hinge, however, on the the ability of the government, widely seen as incompetent and corrupt, to help the de-radicalisation graduates find jobs.

“If a sincere leadership comes to this country, that will solve the problems,” said Gul, 42, one of the Mashal students. “Today the leadership is not sincere. The same problems will be there.”

Pakistan’s military drove militants out of Swat in 2009. Mashal is in the building which used to be the headquarters of the militants from where they imposed there austere version of Islam.

Eventually, the army realised it couldn’t secure long-term peace with bullets alone.

So military officers, trainers, moderate clerics and psychologists were chosen to run three-month courses designed to erase “radical thoughts” of those accused of aiding the Taliban.

Students like Mohammad Inam, 28, a former assistant engineer, give the school a good report card.

“The environment is very good. Our teachers work very hard with us. They talk to us about peace, about terrorism and how that is not right,” said Inam, in the presence of a military officer. “God willing, we will go out and serve our country and our nation.”

School officials say about 1,000 people have graduated since the initiative began two years ago, and that only 10 percent were not cleared for release.

Officials concede that their “students” are not hardened militants who killed. Mostly, they provided the Taliban with water, food or shelter, or beat people.
Outside Mashal’s classroom, there are signs that not everyone is embracing the new approach.

Soldiers led a hooded man into a truck while three others looked on through the barred windows of what appeared to be a cell at the compound.

Conditions still seem ripe for Fazlulah and his lieutenants, who have vowed to make a comeback, to recruit people.

Pakistani officials estimated after the army operation expelled the Taliban that over $1 billion would be needed to revive the local economy and rebuild infrastructure.

Residents like Ajab Noor, 61, who sent two of his sons abroad to work, doubt the population of about 1.3 million will ever benefit from those funds.

“People have no options. They either go outside the country to work, or they join militants who promise them many things,” he said at a street market in Swat’s capital, Mingora.

A member of a state-backed anti-Taliban militia believes two boys in his village had graduated from a de-radicalisation centre and ran away to rejoin the Taliban.

“I told the military, ‘you are nurturing the offspring of snakes’. But they did not listen,” he said.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's an NPR story on Pakistani Women's campaign against radicalization:

Qadeem is a political scientist who left academia several years ago to found an organization she called PAIMAN - meaning promise. It focuses on young men who are vulnerable to militancy, especially the enticement of being paid to fight.

Mossarat Qadeem is in Washington, D.C. this week, leading a delegation of women activists from Pakistan, meeting with congressmen, aid agencies and civil society organizations. She joined us in our studio.

Good morning.

MOSSARAT QADEEM: Good morning.

MONTAGNE: How much influence do mothers have over their sons when it comes to their sons being vulnerable to radicalization, extremism?

QADEEM: In Pashtun society, a women - and particularly a madam - is very well-respected. And people - like the sons - they do listen to the mothers. But age is also very important, because I - we only work with the age group of 14 to 21, 22. That means they're influenced very easily and quickly outside where they can be influenced inside the house, as well, very easily. And once a mother is convinced, I think, you convince the whole family, the whole community then.

MONTAGNE: Could you give me an example of one mother and one son; one son who was in some way pulled into the orbit of extremism and they found their way to you?

QADEEM: One of the mothers, she was living in Swat, you know, she was being chased and followed by so many people because her son was in the hideout. She was in tears and she said, it's my son. I didn't even know, he didn't know because he was just selling them. He was just helping them and we didn't know that these are the people who are going to harm the community. And then we just told her that we will give you safety and security. We will, of course, talk to the authorities and so on. And we tried to discuss it with her that she should call the son; we would like to talk to him. She said he would never meet. We will never like to meet you. So one night she called me. I think it was nine o'clock - I live in Islamabad - then she said my son is here; would you like to meet him? So I went there the next morning and I sat with the boy in the kitchen. And we were having breakfast on the floor of the kitchen, and I just asked him why is he putting his life at risk? And he just pushed the plate and he said I could not have this food, and it's because of their help that I now am sitting with you and having this plate of food in front of me. And...

MONTAGNE: Because he was being paid.

QADEEM: He was being paid. I said OK, now if we give you a good skill where you can earn a decent livelihood and you will be given protection and security and you can give the same to your family - because look at your mother, she's already like, you know, running for her life. So what we usually do, we train these people. We do a lot of psychosocial counseling and then we offer them some skills. And then we place them.

MONTAGNE: When you say we place them, you place them into jobs.

QADEEM: Yes. And now 79 of these boys - whom I will not say that they were all extremists like or they were in the hideouts or they were with the Taliban, but they were really much like, you know, under the influence of this idology and some of them really were working with some of the groups. Seventy-nine of them are transformed, they have been rehabilitated, they are reintegrated. So my plea here, is that there is way. So if the drones are stopped and the amount of money that is being spent on the drone can be converted into schools, hospitals and economic opportunities for everyone in that society and community, believe me, you will find people who will be transformed because we need to provide them alternatives. An alternative is missing.