Not a very long time ago, the global sections in newspapers reported results of international summits and foundation of new governments in various countries; in short they celebrated the feeling of democracy and freedom. The situation differs today and it differs drastically. Photographs of a war torn Afghanistan and a battered and bruised Pakistan adorn the pages now. Article after article reporting deaths of innocent civilians, failure after failure of NATO and American military forces to get hold of any of the top notch terrorists that they seek and success after success of the Al-Qaeda and the Taliban at causing mayhem and getting away with it quite effortlessly forms a major portion of the beautification of news bulletins. The banned Afghan terrorist outfit the “Taliban” , the Afghan – Arab Islamist extremist “ Al-Qaeda” and the “ Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan” (TTP) have created a far grim state of affairs in Central Asia than any other effort towards doing so could have ever achieved. The aim of these extremist outfits and the methods adopted by them is very well known to the world, but the reason behind their galactic success rate remains a mystery and possibly a cure to the containment of terror.
The unrest caused in Afghanistan due to the clash of the Taliban with the American and NATO troops found a more shocking , horrifying and gruesome home in Pakistan with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) carrying on the legacy of their “brothers”, the Taliban and the Al-Qaeda. But the sharp difference in situations of terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan is the liberty and the authority with which these extremists operate in the respective nations. The movement and aggression of the TTP in Pakistan in pursuit of setting up their dream land of “Talibanistan”(that now covers south Waziristan, the entire Swat Valley and touches Peshawar) has been unparalleled by even the communist rebels of South America of the 20th Century. Reports of mounting dominance of the outfit only prove that it has become a force that has gone far beyond the control of the Pakistan government’s hand. The launch of a massive military offensive against the spread of the TTP by the Pakistani government in the Swat Valley in 2005 has proved shamelessly ineffective and hollow as reports of Pakistani army soldiers and police men surrendering without even firing a single bullet intensify like the blazing flames of a forest fire. The 10 day cease fire pact signed by the Pakistani government with the TTP allowing them to establish the Sharia in provinces that they control and President Zardari’s acknowledgement of the terrorist outfit’s intentions of taking over the entire state of Pakistan has put the future of not only Central Asia but of the whole world in a very unsafe position. Military victories have become achievements as easy as shooting quail for the TTP which is confirmed by events like the recent attack on Sri Lankan Cricket Team in Lahore, the complete devastation of crucial supply line to the NATO forces, not once but twice last December and the total destruction of Pakistani Army and Para-military forces in direct armed confrontations in the Swat Valley and Waziristan. The question that has left many analysts flabbergasted is why the Pakistani Army-which has equaled the Indian Army in the 1965 , 1971 and in the Kargil war if not in technological and tactical might, but at least in valour to the last man and to the last round -has fallen prey to the vengeance of extremist militia. Conclusions cannot help but be drawn that the success of the TTP under the leadership of “Baitullah Mehsood”, the major contribution has been made by the inefficiency of the Pakistan Army.
This inefficiency at containing the establishment of “Talibanistan” has many reasons, a very important one of which dates back to the regime of “General Zia-Ul-Haq.” On December 2nd 1978, General Zia-Ul-Haq enforced the “Nizam-e-Mustafa” or the Islamic System of Law in Pakistan. A key feature of this step among many others was the legalization of “Madarasa” or Islamic religious education. Any person imparted with Madarasa education (that emphasized more on religious education than other academic subjects and stressed on the supremacy of Islam over anything else) was perfectly eligible and qualified to join government services like the lucrative armed forces. Therefore, when a new batch of men started becoming soldiers of the Pakistan Army, they did so with very radical and fundamentalist beliefs. For a soldier in the Indian Army, the pride and protection of the country comes first, the protection of his family comes second and that of his religion comes a close third, while for the newly created Pakistani soldier, the pride of his religion always took the first place, then his country and then the family. This radical shift in the army that General Haq initiated three decades ago is in full effect now as the entire serving generation of Pakistani soldiers believes in the supremacy of Islam due to its strong “Madarasa” foundations. This very army in question played its role very efficiently in Balochistan and the FATA (Federally Administrated Tribal Areas) by curbing strong armed rebellions by people demanding a separate state, as the question there was of the preservation of national and territorial integrity of the state of Pakistan. But the Taliban demands restoration of the Islamic law or the Sharia in the country and works towards uplifting it as it wants, which does nothing but support the ethos that are etched into the army soldier’s veins i.e., supremacy of Islam over everything else. The Pakistani soldiers do not possess the will to fight the Taliban and have end up surrendering and siding with them, boosting the Taliban campaign exponentially. This proves the speculation of the complete eradication of the Taliban within days by the Pakistani forces if only the Pakistani elite sincerely plan to do so completely baseless as the problem lies at a much more fundamentalist level than just “power hungry politics” as believed by many.
Another issue that gets highlighted very often is the active involvement of the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) in the activities of “Mehsood” and his TTP as analysts believe that the Asif Ali Zardari led civilian government has lost all sorts of control over the ISI. The ISI had started gaining global importance during the U.S.A intervention of the Soviet Union’s socialist expansion in Afghanistan as it trained and funded the newly created “Mujahedin” militia. The ISI under the presidency of General Zia-Ul-Haq was being driven by staunch Islamic ideals and those ideals are still in existence as former General of ISI, General “Hamid Gul” exclaimed on the military offensive against radicals in the Red Mosque that it was a pity that youths being raised to take over the Red Fort (Delhi) ended up seizing the Red Mosque. The ISI and the Military top notch have managed to create such unending autonomous power for the respective organizations that today; they exist as billion dollar organizations all by themselves. The Intelligence Agency over the past two decades, has involved itself in private industrial affairs, gradually making itself less dependant on the government and now, not only does it stand independent of government finance, but it also stands unaccountable for and unanswerable to the government for its acts. A major section of the huge wealth amassed by the Pakistani military and the ISI ever since the nation initiated its proxy war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan comes from the illegal Narcotics Trade Industry based in Afghanistan. This industry despite being illegal is the source of money for Islamist extremists groups in the region and they see to it that the trafficking of drugs continues across the borders no matter what. The ISI being actively involved in the industry to fill its coffers ends up supporting these extremists groups. Thus, due to the tremendous profit earned in the Narcotics Trade and in their autonomous civil industrial ventures like sugar mills among others and the staunch Islamist principles that the organization abides by, it remains quite well off in a country faced with poverty, routine bombings, mass murders and only 43% literacy and chooses isolation and utter disregard for the policies of the Government.
Therefore, the confused, bloodstained and further deteriorating situation of Pakistan at the hands of fundamentalists groups only worsens everyday due to that very same fundamentalism being etched into the veins of those very people and organizations that are meant to destroy these groups and protect their nation.