Friday, December 27, 2013

Benazir Bhutto Gave Birth to the Taliban Movement

It has been six years since the Pakistan People's Party leader and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto left us. She was assassinated on December 27, 2007 after addressing an election rally at Liaquat Bagh in Rawalpindi.  It is believed that her assassination was ordered by Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani wing of the Taliban called the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Mehsud was later killed in a US drone strike in 2009. His successor Hakimullah Mensud unleashed a reign of terror in Pakistan starting in 2009 and met the same fate earlier this year. The TTP is an offshoot of the Taliban movement that became a well-organized force beginning in 1993 during Ms Bhutto's second term as prime minister.

Few Pakistanis know that the Taliban movement was midwifed by Benazir Bhutto and her right-hand man and interior minister Naseerullah Babar during her term in office in 1993-1996. Benazir is often referred to as the Mother of the Taliban because of her role in giving birth to the Taliban movement. Once born and nurtured by Benazir and Babar, the Taliban quickly became a force to be reckoned with. The Taliban under Mulla Omar's leadership defeated the Afghan Mujahedeen who had fought against the Soviets and quickly took control of much of Afghanistan in just a few years. The Taliban became so confident that they resisted Pakistan's pressure and refused to agree to the Durand Line as international Pak-Afghan border when they were in power in Kabul in 1990s.

Benzair Bhutto's contribution to the birth and growth of the Taliban movement has been described in significant detail by Ahmed Rashid in his highly trusted and best-selling book "The Taliban: Islam, Oil and The New Great Game in Central Asia". Rashid is considered an authority on the Taliban movement. On page 90 of the book, the author explains at some length how Maulana Fazal ur Rehman, the leader of Jamiat Ulema Islam (JUI-F), joined the Pakistan Peoples Party coalition led by Benazir and used the opportunity to set up hundreds of madrassahs along the Afghan-Pakistan border, including Dar-ul-Uloom Haqqania, the mother of all the Pakistani madrassahs that produced the Taliban, led by Maulana Sami-ul Haq. Mullah Omar, the Taliban Chief, graduated from Madrassa Haqqania before starting his movement. Tens of thousands of others came out of Haqqania and other madrassas to swell the ranks of the Afghan Taliban in 1990s.

Before Benazir decided to help create the Taliban, the Pakistani establishment (Army and ISI) favored the Afghan Mujahedeen leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar who was aligned with the Jamat-e-Islami, Maulana Fazl ur Rehman's main rival Islamic political party in Pakistan. Maulana Maudoodi, the founder of  Jamaat-e-Islami was considered a Kafir by many of Maulana Fazl ur Rehman's fellow Deobandis. Both Maulana Fazal and Benazir intensely disliked the Jamat-e-Islami leadership. Jamat-e-Islami had supported late Gen Zia ul Haq who executed Benazir's father and former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1979. Maulana Fazlur Rehman saw this as an opportunity to edge out Jamat-e-Islami by aligning himself with Benazir Bhutto to create and nurture the Taliban who opposed Gulbuddin Hikmetyar. Here's how Rashid describes Maulana Fazal's role in it:

"After the 1992 capture of Kabul by the Mujaheddin, the ISI continued to ignore the  (Maulana Fazal's) JUI's growing influence over the southern Pashtuns. The JUI was politically isolated at home, remaining in the opposition to the first Benazir Bhutto government (1988-90) and the first Nawaz Sharif government (1990-93). However in 1993 elections the JUI allied itself with the winning Pakistan People's Party (PPP) led by Benazir Bhutto, thus becoming a part of the ruling coalition. The JUI's access to the corridors of power for the first time allowed it to establish close links with the army, the ISI and the Interior Ministry under Naseerullah Babar. Babar was in search of a new Pashtun group which could revive the Pashtun fortunes in Afghanistan and give access to Pakistani trade with Central Asia through southern Afghanistan and the JUI offered him that opportunity. The JUI chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman was made Chairman of the National Assembly's Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, a position that enabled him to have influence on foreign policy for the first time. He was to use his position to visit Washington and European capitals to lobby for the Taliban and Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states to enlist their financial support."

Ahmad Rashid is not alone in his assessment of Benazir Bhutto's critical role in creating the Taliban. In "Ghost Wars", author Steve Coll says "Benazir Bhutto was suddenly the matron of a new Afghan faction (Taliban)."

Najam Sethi also agrees with it. In a 1995 piece he wrote on the situation in southern Afghanistan, Sethi dismissed denials by Bhutto's government of their involvement in building up the Taliban movement. Sethi wrote:

"The Taliban were nudged into action by General Babar last year when a Pakistani convoy to Turkmenistan was waylaid by rogue Mujahideen commanders in Kandahar. Since then, hundreds of “taliban” from north western Pakistan have made their way to Maulvi Mohammad Umar’s camps in Kandahar and beyond. How many among these tribals are actual Afghan “taliban” and how many are operating under their cover, we don’t know. But it would be naive to think that General Babar has withdrawn his “hand” from Taliban affairs. Nor can Maulana Fazlur Rahman’s “interest” in Taliban matters be fortuitous. Indeed, the maulana’s determination to play a role in the forthcoming Kabul negotiations would suggest that he has the blessings of Islamabad."

In a 2002 interview, Benazir Bhutto herself acknowledged her key role in creating the Taliban. She said, "Once I gave the go-ahead that they (Taliban) should get the money, I don't know how much money they were ultimately given ... I know it was a lot. It was just carte blanche." Obviously, Benazir Bhutto could not have pulled it off on her own. She had to have the cooperation of  Pakistan's powerful military and intelligence service to do it. It was arranged by her interior minister Naseerullah Khan Babar, a retired general. But the fact remains that it was her policy that shifted Pakistan's support away from the Afghan Mujahedeen (led by Gulbudin Hekmatyar who fought the Soviets) to the Taliban (led by Mullah Omar) as Pakistan's proxies in Afghanistan.

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Sept 11, 2001, it's now easy to see in hindsight that Benazir Bhutto's alliance with Maulana Fazlur Rehman's JUI and their joint policy of creating and nurturing the Taliban was fatal not only to herself but also to hundreds of thousands of Afghans and Pakistanis. It was a tragic policy error for which Pakistanis are continuing to pay a very high price. It seems that she learned nothing from the mistakes of her father who gave in to the demands of the religious right in 1970s only to be removed from power and hanged by them.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Nawaz Sharif's Silence on Taliban Terror in Inaugural Speech

Taliban vs. Pakistan

Ghost Wars By Steve Coll

Yet Another Peace Deal and Shia Blockade

Taliban By Ahmed Rashid

Taliban Insurgency in Swat

Musharraf's Treason Trial

General Kayani's Speech on Terror War Ownership

Impact of Youth Vote and Taliban Violence on Elections 2013

Imran Khan's Social Media Campaign

Pakistan Elections 2013 Predictions 

Why is Democracy Failing in Pakistan?

Viewpoint From Overseas-Vimeo 

Viewpoint From Overseas-Youtube 

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

If Machiavelli was alive today he would have been so proud.Now that's realpolitik right here. She reminds me of Golda Meir, how she and the Israeli establishment became overconfident due to six days war,confident that they can handle all their arab neighbours any given day, until yom kipur way. Same way Bhutto thought since pakistan play a role in kicking back soviet union it has the capacity to play kingmaker again. Heh its seems nations born in 1947 suffer from similar leadership problems, among other things.

Atiq said...

Najam Sethi agrees with your analysis..Zia and Nawaz favored Hikmatyar. BB's Babar cuddled Taliban...post from 1995:

...The evidence, however, would seem to suggest a more complex situation. The Taliban were nudged into action by General Babar last year when a Pakistani convoy to Turkmenistan was waylaid by rogue Mujahideen commanders in Kandahar. Since then, hundreds of “taliban” from north western Pakistan have made their way to Maulvi Mohammad Umar’s camps in Kandahar and beyond. How many among these tribals are actual Afghan “taliban” and how many are operating under their cover, we don’t know. But it would be naive to think that General Babar has withdrawn his “hand” from Taliban affairs. Nor can Maulana Fazlur Rahman’s “interest” in Taliban matters be fortuitous. Indeed, the maulana’s determination to play a role in the forthcoming Kabul negotiations would suggest that he has the blessings of Islamabad.

Mr Mistiri’s plans, too, have benefitted from the Taliban’s northward march to Kabul. By sending Mr Hekmatyar packing from Charasiab, the Taliban have given the UN leverage to enter into more “realistic” power-sharing negotiations with the stubborn Hizbe Islami. The same sort of fate awaits the Hizbe Wahdat, which finds itself squeezed between the forces of the Taliban and President Rabbani in south-west Kabul. It is therefore no coincidence that Mr Rabbani’s forces have opened their heavy guns on the Hizbe Wahdat on the eve of the transfer of power on March 21st in order to make the Shias more responsive to “reason”.

President Rabbani has also benefited from the rise of the Taliban. He was able to seek a postponement of the transfer of power last month by arguing that the Taliban should also participate in power-sharing. This way Mr Rabbani hopes to ensure that the share of the Royalists and the extremists in any future government will be diluted in his favour. That the Taliban are no longer insisting upon Mr Rabbani’s withdrawal from Kabul as a precondition to the transfer of power implies some sort of implicit “understanding” between these two forces.

That said, it is clear that the Taliban are increasingly beginning to acquire independence from outside forces and are in the process of formulating a political agenda of their own. Whether this eventually meets with the approval of President Rabbani, the UN and Pakistan remains to be seen. If it doesn’t, then we may expect more trouble ahead.

The Taliban are a Pushtun force largely derived from southern Afghanistan. The Taliban leaders also share the same Islamic philosophy as the Sunni Deobandis. In a multi-ethnic, multi-sectarian country like Afghanistan, this doesn’t auger well. The predominant Tajiks and Uzbeks of northern Afghanistan are unlikely to allow the Taliban to impose their hegemony on Afghanistan. There are thus bound to be conflicting passions ahead.

More ominously, we need to pause and consider the potential “demonstration” effect of the Taliban on Pakistan. Many of the Deobandi madrassas which have supplied a chunk of the Taliban force are based in Pakistan’s Balochistan province where their students have been ideologically “trained” by Maulana Fazlur Rahman’s JUI which still doesn’t accept the legitimacy of the birth of Pakistan. The JUI, in turn, is the party which gave birth to the extremist Deobandi organisation, the Sipah i Sahaba, which has wrought sectarian havoc in the Punjab. The “success” of the Taliban in Afghanistan, therefore, may lead to the dominance of the Deobandi militant school of thought in Pakistan. This development is likely to be more virulent for Pakistan’s body politic than an earlier aberration: Pakistan’s previous support of Mr Hekmatyar during the Zia ul Haq and Nawaz Sharif years has led to the strengthening of the Jamaat i Islami in the country..


http://www.najamsethi.com/in-the-shadow-of-the-taliban/

Oostur said...

This was ridiculous exaggeration and engagement in hyperbole.
Certainly, did not expect it from Riaz.
Then again, this is Fox era.

Riaz Haq said...

Oostur: "This was ridiculous exaggeration and engagement in hyperbole.
Certainly, did not expect it from Riaz.
Then again, this is Fox era."

I know it challenges your pre-conceived notions. It's hard to accept it in spite of the evidence

Siraj said...

nearly all books on Taliban starts with BB and Gen nasseer ula babar s name.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Express Tribune report o the death of Naseerullah Babar:

Major-General (retd) Naseerullah Babar, who was known for his role in the operation against the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and widely seen as the brains behind the Taliban in Afghanistan, passed away on January 10 in Peshawar.
He reportedly had an attack of paralysis on Sunday and was admitted to Combined Military Hospital (CMH) Peshawar, where he died early on Monday. He was buried in his ancestral graveyard in Pirpai, Nowshera, on Monday afternoon. His funeral was attended by many prominent political and government functionaries.
He was 82 and is survived by his wife and daughter.
Born in 1928, Babar served in the Pakistan Army from 1948 to 1974 and joined the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in the 1970s. He also served as inspector general of the Frontier Corps, as well as governor of the North West Frontier Province (now Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa) from 1975 to 1977.
He was considered to be extremely close to the late Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, and served as interior minister during her second tenure. It was at this time that the government decided to launch an operation against the MQM, one that saw the streets of Karachi turn into a battlefield.
“Regardless of how grave the situation was, he would remain cool and unfazed. Even during the operation he would go out on the streets and visit affected areas himself,” one journalist recalled. “Benazir Bhutto treated him with a lot of respect and trusted him completely. She would always address him as Babar Sahib,” he said.
Senior PPP leader Taj Haider said Babar was “very brave and had a great deal of integrity.” In the years following the dismissal of Benazir’s second government, Babar remained close to the PPP leader. “He was very perturbed about her security when she returned in 2007,” Haider recalled.
Babar’s role in propping up and supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan was also pivotal. He made no bones about the fact that he was the father of the Taliban and commanded respect within the Taliban leadership. However, the sources say, Babar looked at Taliban as a ‘strategic and political ally’, not an organisation he was ideologically connected to, and believed a Taliban government could help Pakistan strategically.
Babar’s connection with Afghanistan spanned several decades. Several books, including Steve Coll’s Ghost Warsand Ahmed Rashid’s Descent into Chaos, mention that Babar trained Afghan leaders such as Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Ahmed Shah Massoud in the 1970s to launch a guerrilla movement.
In his twilight years, Babar distanced himself from the PPP over the issue of the controversial National Reconciliation Ordinance – of which he was a bitter critic – choosing to leave the party and formally end his political career.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/101748/naseerullah-babar-passes-away/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Toronto Star piece on Benazir Bhutto's contribution to the creation of the Taliban:

In 1991, Pakistan's intelligence services stashed a massive cache of assault rifles and ammunition at a secret weapons dump in Spin Boldak, rushing armaments across the border as a (phony) deadline loomed for ending direct supply of their favoured combatants in Afghanistan's civil war.
Seventeen tunnels beneath the dump contained enough weaponry to arm thousands of soldiers.
Three years later, the Taliban broke the depot open and handed out rifles – still wrapped in plastic – to volunteers summoned from local madrassas, an incident documented in the authoritative book Ghost Wars.
Within 24 hours, the Taliban captured Kandahar, Mullah Omar took possession of the governor's headquarters, and the airport was seized – with its six MiG-21 fighter jets, four Mi-17 transport helicopters, fleet of tanks and armed personnel carriers.
The Taliban gutting of Afghanistan was on, nearly all opponents swept aside, Kabul falling with barely a whimper.
As Ghost Wars author Steve Coll so dryly put it: "Benazir Bhutto was suddenly the matron of a new Afghan faction."
The late – twice – but no longer future prime minister of Pakistan was far, far from a stupid woman. The Taliban was a gamble she took, cunningly if not without considerable trepidation – and certainly at the behest of a powerful intelligence service, the ISI, she feared but had to accommodate, in the doomed hope of retaining office.
But make no mistake: The woman who is now being so widely mourned – assassinated last week, perhaps by the very elements she empowered more than a decade ago – was nurturing stepmother to terrorists incubated under her watch; the same Islamist fanatics she inveighed against during the election campaign that came to a screeching halt in the calamitous assault on her motorcade.
She was a brave woman, without question, but Bhutto was much to blame for the tinderbox that Pakistan became during her exile in Dubai and London – the toxic military entanglement with the Taliban – having helped to create a monster that not even the sponsoring ISI can control any longer.
For years, during her second tenure as PM, Bhutto lied brazenly to Washington about the extent to which Pakistan, with her approval, was covertly arming and funding the Taliban. As Bhutto admitted in a 2002 interview: "Once I gave the go-ahead that they should get the money, I don't know how much money they were ultimately given ... I know it was a lot. It was just carte blanche."
For Bhutto, the objective was to keep a new Afghanistan yoked to Pakistan and out of India's orbit. (Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud was considered far too Delhi-friendly.) Out of this relationship would flow the riches of a Pakistan-controlled trucking industry circumventing Kabul – a modern Silk Road trade incorporating the markets of Central Asia – the never realized gas pipeline from Turkmenistan, and training camps, off the Pakistan reservation, for fighters deployed to Kashmir.
Bhutto had an economic and political vision for Pakistan, one that depended largely on creating a compliant client state next door. It all got away from her, as it did also from the ISI. Indeed.....


http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2008/01/02/bhutto_helped_create_taliban_monster.html

http://books.google.com/books?id=ToYxFL5wmBIC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Stephen+Coll+Ghost+Wars&hl=en&sa=X&ei=qXK-Uom7BdXsoASbzYDYAw&ved=0CDwQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Benazir%20Bhutto&f=false

Suhail said...

If Benazir is the mother of Taliban, the father can be anyone of JUI(F), JUI(S), JI and others from shades of the Wahabi sect of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Benazir being a Shia, Taliban can thus be termed as the illegitimate offspring of Wahabi and Shia parentage.

Talpur said...

yes so its pretty much he said, she said. Not a slam dunk - etc

Riaz Haq said...

Talpur: "yes so its pretty much he said, she said. Not a slam dunk - etc"

No. In 2002, #BenazirBhutto said she approved #Taliban in 94. "Once I gave the go-ahead..it was just carte blanche."

Talpur said...

sir, you make it sound like if she purposely "made" it-that is not correct analysis&no serious author endorses it

Riaz Haq said...

Talpur: "sir, you make it sound like if she purposely "made" it-that is not correct analysis&no serious author endorses it"

It was a tragic mistake by Benazir Bhutto. Regardless, Taliban remain part of her legacy that still bleeds Pakistan

Talpur said...

Taliban are a tragic mistake - there's no doubt of that.

Ras said...

Bilawal declares war against Taliban at start of political career - DAWN.COM

www.dawn.com

In a fiery speech to mark BB’s death anniversary, Bilawal Zardari indicated start of political careers of her heirs.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1076726/bilawal-declares-war-against-taliban-at-start-of-political-career

Ras said...

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari makes a fiery speech, declares war on Taliban, attacks "Buzdil Khan" for "morning Hakimullah Mehsud", says "tsunami can not be brought about by pouring water in four lotas"

http://www.dawn.com/news/1076726/bilawal-declares-war-against-taliban-at-start-of-political-career

Shams said...

Is there any proof that the TTP was a brainchild of Benazir's as Riaz noted in his "blah-g"

Riaz Haq said...

Shams: " Is there any proof that the TTP was a brainchild of Benazir's as Riaz noted in his "blah-g" "

TTP is an offshoot of the Taliban. If there were no Taliban movement which Benazir Bhutto created in 1993-1996, there would be no TTP today.

Ahmad Rashid is not alone in his assessment of Benazir Bhutto's critical role in creating the Taliban. In "Ghost Wars", author Steve Coll says "Benazir Bhutto was suddenly the matron of a new Afghan faction (Taliban)." Najam Sethi also agrees with it. In a 2002 interview, Benazir Bhutto herself acknowledged her role in creating the Taliban. She said, "Once I gave the go-ahead that they (Taliban) should get the money, I don't know how much money they were ultimately given ... I know it was a lot. It was just carte blanche."

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a News story on Haqqani's book "Magnificent Delusions":

ISLAMABAD: Husain Haqqani, former Pakistan ambassador to US, has claimed in his latest book — Magnificent Delusions — that Benazir Bhutto during her visit to the United States in 1989 as the Prime Minister of Pakistan committed to Washington that Islamabad would not produce an atomic bomb.
Haqqani said the nuclear programme continued and the country was enriching uranium in violation of Pakistan’s commitment to the US, as the then tough opposition of Nawaz Sharif distracted Benazir Bhutto.

He wrote: “The United States had also learned that Pakistan was enriching uranium in violation of Zia’s promise of capping enrichment at 5 percent, and Bhutto was unable to promise that enrichment would be capped. Bush agreed to certify one last time that Pakistan did not possess nuclear weapons in return for Bhutto’s commitment that Pakistan would not produce an atomic bomb, but while the tough opposition that Sharif put up at home distracted her, Pakistan violated that commitment without her full knowledge.”
He added that Benazir Bhutto asserted later that she was told about Pakistan’s nuclear enrichment programme but not informed of the exact level of enrichment.
Haqqani said during her state visit to Washington in June 1989 Bhutto received a warm welcome at the White House. She also became the only Pakistani prime minister to be invited to address a joint session of the Congress.
“The US media recognised Bhutto’s “claim on American backing” on the ground of her adherence to democracy and moderation in the Islamic world. But in private talks with US officials she realised that the Americans did not think she was fully in control, and they could not offer her any help in asserting authority.”
Later the CIA analysts had concluded that Pakistan had taken the final step toward “possession” of a nuclear weapon by machining uranium metal into bomb cores.
Washington was certain that “Pakistan had crossed the line.” But the then President Ghulam Ishaq Khan and the then Army Chief General Mirza Aslam Beg told the visiting Robert Gates that Pakistan’s nuclear capability had not advanced.
“Unless Pakistan melted down the bomb cores that it had produced, Gates warned, ‘Bush would not be able to issue the Pressler Amendment certification needed to permit the continued flow of military and economic aid.’ When the Pakistanis denied that they had ‘crossed the line,’ Gates commented, ‘If it waddles like a duck, if it quacks like a duck, then maybe it is a duck.’”
Then Husain Haqqani in his book ruled: “The Pakistanis had lied to Gates on both issues he raised in Islamabad. Although Bhutto was the best disposed toward the United States among Pakistan’s major power players, she did not control the levers of power. The State Department and the CIA did not see any advantage in trying to secure the Pakistan military’s subordination to an elected civilian; instead, they effectively leaned in the military’s favour by directly discussing major issues with Beg and other generals, assuming that the military could deliver on key issues of US interest—Afghanistan, nuclear weapons, and security in South Asia.”


http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-125866-Haqqani-reveals-what-Benazir-Bhutto-had-promised-the-US-on-nukes

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Christian Science Monitor report on teaching of science at a major madrassa in Pakistan's FATA region:

Anwarul Haq, a frail, bespectacled cleric, sits before a class of attentive students in Darul Uloom Haqqania, one of Pakistan’s many madrassas, or Islamic seminaries. His class of 1,400 students is the most senior of 4,000 enrollees at Darul Uloom, an hour's drive from Peshawar.

The students follow a 500-year-old curriculum adopted across South Asia. The oversized book used in Mr. Haq's class, a collection of ahadith, or sayings attributed to the prophet Muhammad, is centuries old and written in Arabic. Commentary written in Urdu in present-day India fills the margins.

“This country was built on Islam, the idea of following God's teachings. Here we are learning how to do that,” says Haq.

RECOMMENDED: How much do you know about Pakistan? Take this quiz.

What students learn, and don’t learn, in thousands of such private seminaries is a matter of concern for Pakistan’s government. Under a national security policy unveiled last month, Pakistan aims to bring madrassas under tighter state control, update their curricula to tone down extremist views, and introduce subjects like mathematics and science. The goal is to turn out graduates capable of getting decent jobs who won’t be tempted to join the Taliban or other militant groups.

“Graduates stand in between two worlds,” says Nafisa Shah, a lawmaker from the ruling Pakistan Muslim League. When they don't get jobs, she says, “they become vulnerable [to recruitment by militants].”

Pakistan currently has a tenuous ceasefire with homegrown Taliban militants and has released scores of suspected militants and accomplices in confidence-building measures. Still, terrorist attacks have continued by splinter groups the Taliban claim not to control. On Apr. 9, 21 people were killed in a blast at a fruit market in Islamabad.

Advanced degrees

Fears that Pakistan’s madrassas are breeding grounds for extremism are nothing new. After 9/11, the US government funded a $100 million madrassa reform program that met widespread hostility and failed to make much headway.

Clerics have scoffed at the government’s new security policy and point out that they’ve already instituted the kind of reforms the government advocates. Darul Uloom offers advanced specializations in Islamic law that Pakistan’s universities accept as Master's degrees, and runs computer labs for students.

Other madrassas have also upgraded their curriculum so that students, who spend much of their time memorizing the Quran, get a broader secular education. Most pupils are from poor backgrounds: madrassas offer free education, housing, and food.

Moreover, experts say the threat of militancy comes mostly from what students learn in their spare time, especially in hundreds of underground madrassas that are beyond the reach of both the clerics and the state. ...


http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-South-Central/2014/0415/Pakistan-s-Islamic-seminaries-pair-science-with-the-Quran