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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What do Pakistanis perceive about their National Security ? Part III

This is the last concluding part in this series.

In the two previous posts I had discussed about international isolation of Pakistan and the lack of control over non-state actors. I argued that while international isolation of Pakistan was true, the concept of 'non-state actors' was a fig leaf to cover the state's employment of jihadi terrorists through the Pakistani Army (PA) against India especially and other nations as well. I also argued that the apparent lack of control over the 'non-state actors', which the Group-of-50 commented about {"Seeing Beyond Perceptions" in The Nation }, was simply an internecine feud (or, more precisely the Fourth Jihad since c. 1979).

The Group-of-50 went on to say, analyzing the current situation, that there were other important national security concerns such as penetration of foreign influence in Pakistan's domestic media, lack of Pakistan's outreach to international media, and the ability of foreign intelligence agencies to penetrate into Pakistan's socio-political fabric.

Let us now look at some of these other concerns.

    Penetration of foreign influence in Pakistan's domestic media

I am really at a loss to understand what the group meant by domestic media being influenced by foreign entities. The following enjoyed by the English-language-media is abysmally low in Pakistan, a country dominated by vernacular press. This is true of both the print and the electronic media. There is nothing surprising in this as it is true of almost any other country. The factors that distinguish the vernacular Pakistani media from similar media in most other countries are their utter lack of objectivity, their extremism, crudeness and excess dependence on exotic conspiracy theories. Among the vernacular media, it is the Urdu media that rules the roost within Pakistan. Anybody who has followed the Pakistani TV news channels or the Urdu newspapers and weeklies would know how virulent and venomous their views are. They echo the jihadi mindset and act as mouthpieces of these extremist organizations spinning out conspiracy theories to suit their viewpoint. The excellent English-language weekly, The Friday Times, published from Lahore has a section devoted to the Urdu press which it aptly calls as 'Nuggets from the Urdu Press', standing in mute testimony to the characteristics of the Urdu media in Pakistan that I have listed above. Late last year, Pakistan's only 24X7 English news channel, Express 24/7 closed shop as it could not be made "self-sustaining from a financial and commercial standpoint". English-language newspapers are read by less than 1% of the population and their circulation numbers are peanuts (to borrow from Gen. Zia-ul-Haq) compared to their Urdu counterparts. Apart from these dailies, weeklies and fortnightlies, there is a significant circulation of jihadi material from various jihadi terrorist tanzeems. For example, Jama'at-ud-Dawah (JuD, better known as Lashkar-e-Tayba or LeT) publishes a weekly newspaper, Ghazwa and a monthly magazine Majalah al Dawa which circulate 200,000 copies. Maulana Masood Azhar's Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) publishes a weekly magazine Zarb-i-Momin and the sectarian terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi(LeJ) publishes Intiqam-i-Haq. True to its deviant nature, all these publications are banned in Pakistan but are freely available in news stalls in addition to being distributed by volunteers. Moreover, GoP (Government of Pakistan) has not taken any effort to seize these material or prevent their distribution. That is the usual Pakistani perfidy. Besides, Pakistan has been the deadliest nation for journalists in c. 2010, a distinction it appears to have easily retained in c. 2011 as well with some high profile assassinations (such as Syed Saleem Shahzad of Asia Times Online or Wali Khan Babar of Geo News TV), attacks against and kidnappings of journalists who were considered as not toeing the line of the PA, the ISI and the terrorist groups, and attacks against offices of private TV channels, and local Press Clubs.

I would therefore assume that when the Group-of-50 talk of 'foreign influence of local media', they refer to the widespread viewership of Indian entertainment channels in Hindi and the Hindi movies. The Group-of-50 might have thought of these as 'cultural invasion' by India aimed at subverting the nation from within. The central concern, from demanding a separate Muslim electorate (from Viceroy Minto in c. 1904) to the demands for keeping 'Indian cultural invasion' at bay, is the exclusivist policy of the founding fathers of Pakistan and their successors. This exclusion is hoped by the 'Establishment' and the clerics to preserve the purity of this Islamic nation, a la Nazis who had similar notions of Aryan purity under Adolf Hitler. It has been said that the Nazis were radicals in the garb of the traditionalists. In their scheme of things based on the Aryan Master Race, moral obligations are owed only to them but not to the inferior races. The Nazi attack on the Jews stemmed from their presumption that they were superior and were committing all atrocities (which to them were glorious deeds) for the common good of the superior community. The genocide by the Pakistani Army in the then East Pakistan is along similar lines as the holocaust that killed millions of Jews in Nazi Germany. Apart from the hatred for the infidel Hindus, it was the contempt that the 'meat-eating, tall, fair and handsome' West Pakistanis had for the 'rice-and-fish eating, small, dark and ugly' Bengalis that drove the policy makers in West Pakistan and the West Pakistani army to launch a massive genocidal programme. Pakistani clerics associate any perceived “moral decadence” such as music, dance, drama and films in Pakistan as a bad influence from India and un-Islamic. For most Pakistanis, dance forms like Bharatnatyam and Kathak which were once freely practised in these areas have become unIslamic and Gen. Zia-ul-Haq’s regime banned them and even today, one needs a government permission to stage a public dance programme.

It is obvious therefore that when the Group-of-50 laments about invasion of foreign influence in local media, they refer to the Indian influence. And, why do they think that Indian cultural influence is a concern for their national security ? The reason is not far to seek. The severest problem for Pakistan since independence has been its 'identity'. Jinnah, Iqbal and others divided India claiming that the Hindus and Muslims constituted two different nations because 'culture, civilization, language, literature, art, architecture, names, nomenclature, sense of value, proportions, legal laws, moral codes, customs, calendar, history, tradition, aptitudes and ambitions' all differed diametrically between these two. Unfortunately, this was largely untrue as Muslims of India were converts from Hinduism (like Jinnah or Allama Iqbal themselves) and were bound to India culturally, historically, geographically, civilizationally, linguistically, traditionally and in every other way possible. Having developed this fraudulent theory, Jinnah and his cohorts had to prove it and sustain it too. Thus, linkages with India needed to be shunned. Since “national identity” is derived from such things as culture, heritage, history, experiences etc. and since all these were inextricably linked with India, Pakistani leaders sought to redefine their 'identity'. Various organs of the Pakistani government therefore developed and propagated the myth of Pakistanis being of Central Asian or Middle Eastern or Turkish origin, depending upon circumstances or imagination, in order to avoid having anything to do with their “Indianness”.

It is this fear of people rediscovering their Indianness (especially Bhartiya) that drives the Group-of-50 to voice 'foreign influence in domestic media' as a security concern. The PA has skillfully exploited such paranoia and the repetition of the same by the Group-of-50 perhaps confirms my suspicion about who the sponsors of this group could be.

    Lack of Pakistan's outreach to international media

One needs to understand the Pakistani society to appreciate why the Group-of-50 thinks the above is a serious security concern. Pakistan is constrained by fierce notions of ghairat (honour) and izzat (dignity). Frequently, Pakistani politicians invoke ‘honour and dignity’ (H&D)to justify their actions. This is not surprising in a feudal and biradari (clannish affinity) based society dominated by landlords and tribal chiefs. This system is deeply entrenched and no attempt has been made to eliminate these practices. This is why there is still widespread use of such abominable evils as karo-kari, swara etc. and the Lahore High Court in circa 1994 allowed such murders as sanctioned by the Hadith. The court opined, “Although in existing laws there is no concession for momentary insanity but those implicated in ‘honour’ killings are worthy of some concession since ‘honour’ killings cannot be considered the same as a murder in cold blood.” { Ghulam Yasin Ghulam vs the State 1994 PLD 392 (Lahore)} Senators in the National and Provincial Assemblies have openly supported such honour killings to the point of even dismissing a gruesome case of burying alive in July 2008 of five women as natural and lawful tribal tradition. Honour is also the reason that even when the Pakistani military got defeated by India in various wars, they were depicted to the Pakistanis as great victories instead. And the people who had been brought up on the invincibility of Muslims and the cowardice of the Hindus simply gulped them without asking questions. The end result of the conflicts were presented as machinations by the evil Indians or the Western powers or an alliance of both.

Thus, after the surrender of 93000 Pakistani soldiers and on the eve of his departure to Simla for signing a Peace Deal and release of the PoWs (Prisoners-of-War), Z.A. Bhutto thundered about a thousand-year war with India. Upon his return to Lahore from Simla, he had the gall to say “We lost a political war and not a military engagement.” Ayub Khan’s ratio of ten Indian soldiers equaling one Pakistani soldier and Ms. Benazir Bhutto’s redefinition of the same ratio to a hundred as well as Musharraf’s assertion that Pakistani space scientists and engineers were better than those of the ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) and how Pakistanis speak better English than the Indians were attempts to preserve the honour and dignity.

It was in the same vein that the COAS of the Pakistani Army, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kiyani handed over to the US Administration a 14-page set of demands during the strategic dialogue in Washington D.C. in October, 2010. This was eerily similar to the set of outrageous demands that the vanquished Pakistani Army asked Z.A. Bhutto to present to the victorious Indian leaders when there were 93,000 Pakistani POWs in Indian hands after the massive defeat and surrender in December, 1971. The ridiculous flag-lowering and gate-closing ceremony at the Wagah border every evening is another manifestation of the Pakistani H&D business. The Indian suggestion to do away with this ceremony altogether has been rejected by Pakistan because an important spectacle of H&D would then be lost to the Pakistani masses. Pakistanis believe that their H&D not only lies in presenting a better image of their nation than what is portrayed otherwise in international media, but most importantly, it lies in being portrayed as superior to India. That was why the slain Punjab Governor, Salman Taseer tweeted before his assassination that the Indians were making fools of themselves when an Indian rocket failed, forgetting other notable Indian achievements in space science and technology for several decades now and that failures are not uncommon in the tough conditions of space as all space-faring nations know. Gen. Kayani made this overwhelming H&D aspect very clear when he said, as talks to normalize trade relations were going on between India and Pakistan at Islamabad, "The nation’s honour and integrity will not be traded in exchange for prosperity". He also said in another context that "welfare of the people at the cost of national honour" was unacceptable to him. Of course, the definition of what constitutes 'national honour' comes from the PA, not from the elected government as otherwise there is no need for an Army chief to comment on these matters. It came as no surprise therefore when in December 2010, in the aftermath of the WikiLeaks expose of diplomatic cables to and from the US embassies worldwide and the State Department, Pakistan fabricated fake cables to malign Indian Army and India. For example, the fake cables were quoted by Pakistani newspapers to describe senior Indian generals as vain, egotistical and genocidal; they said India's government is secretly allied with Hindu fundamentalists; and they claimed Indian spies are covertly supporting Islamist militants in Pakistan's tribal belt and Balochistan. It did not take much to blow off these fake stories anyway.

For the same reasons of ‘honour and dignity’, Pakistan blames India for domestic terrorism. For example, after the Ashura Shia Procession in Karachi was attacked by Sunni sectarian suicide bombers two years back, and the well-prepared Shias retaliated and torched all the shops and establishments surrounding the bombed out place resulting in losses worth billions of Pakistani Rupees, Pakistan conveniently blamed it on India. The H&D-obsessed Pakistani belief is that 'no Muslim could do such horrible things to another Muslim' and so the corollary to follow is that the evil Hindu from India must have carried these out. One wants to ask these people then why a certain Brig. Zia-ul-Haq inflicted such a massive and bloody carnage on the Muslim Palestinian refugees in Jordan. Why did the PA kill millions of East Pakistani Muslims and drive out even more millions to Hindu India during that genocidal spree in 1971 ? Why does TTP (Tehreek-e-Taleban Pakistan) claim to have launched a war on the PA, ISI and the Pakistani government and those fellow Pakistani Muslims who support the CIA ?

The Group-of-50 should have therefore advised the 'Establishment' to achieve real honour and dignity rather than a fake one by presenting a better image of Pakistan through a mere manipulation of the international media.

    Whose War on Terror is it ?

The report by the Group-of-50 goes on to refer to the ambiguities as to whose war Pakistan was fighting resulting in a huge perceptional gap between the national policy (both political and military) and public opinion.

Such are the wages of sin. In my previous post, we saw the earlier and on-going jihads involving the PA. The sin is the enduring hostility with India. Everything else is tied to that. It was this hostility that drove Pakistan to develop a close alliance with the Americans even at the cost of other brotherly Islamic nations such as Egypt or Saudi Arabia. It was this hostility that sought Pakistan to establish a friendly relationship with a Godless Communist China even while claiming to be at the vanguard of Islam and targetting to assume the mantle of ummah leadership. It has been this hostility that has allowed Pakistan to concede space on its independent policies and even sovereignty to these states as well as Saudi Arabia. It has been this hostility that has been the sole cause for employing jihadism and terrorism as state policies and seeing absolutely nothing wrong in pursuing these tools wholeheartedly. It is this hostility that has corrupted the minds of young and impressionable students with false history, false religiosity and intolerance. It is this hostility that has led the State to abdicate itself to the armed forces. It is this hostility that demands a false sense of honour and dignity. It is this hostility that leads to Pakistan punching way above its weight with all the attendant problems. It is this hostility that blinds its planners keeping its people mired in poverty while allocating disproportionate amount of funds to the armed forces. It is this hostility that has given rise to dozens of terrorist outfits who now terrorize not only India but also the region. The wages of the sin are the blowback to Pakistan itself from these jihadi terrorists themselves, the tag of a 'failing' or even a 'failed' state where nobody wants to invest, the sliding human development indices, the choicest epithets and adjectives that are freely used to describe Pakistan which this H&D loving country is unable to do anything about, the economic mess which is worsening by the day, the reluctance of the once-close friends to lend a helping hand in the way they have done countless times before and above all the complete lack of faith in the future of Pakistan by their very people themselves.

The only set of people who believe in a bright future for the nuclear-armed Pakistan are the jihadi terrorists and the political wings of various Islamist parties to which the jihadi groups may be allied or act as extensions. They have once again united under a common banner, 'Difaa-e-Pakistan Council' (Defence of Pakistan Council, DPC). This is clearly a PA and ISI created organization comprising of Islamist political parties, jihadi terrorist outfits, jihad supporting ex PA Generals et al. Once again, the PA is feeling that it is destined to play a major role in settling the Afghanistan issue as it slowly reaches a climax. The PA wants to get rid of the PPP government, install a more acceptable Islamist group in PPP's place, leverage the US (using carrots and sticks) to gain primacy in Afghanistan, and keep India out of Afghanistan. The same evil players (personalities and/or organizations) who setup the anti-Benazir Bhutto Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (or, IJI) in 1988 have forged the alliance this time too. The DPC wants to create a mass movement against the US, against its Afghan campaign and malign the Americans as part of an evil group of Hindus, Christians and Jews. They would then insinuate the PPP government as traitors supporting the Americans. The timing of the creation of DPC is a straight giveaway as to its sponsorship and aims.

The Group-of-50 has echoed similar sentiments. One can therefore say that the recommendations of the Group-of-50 are nothing but a signal disservice to Pakistan. But, Pakistan seems determined not to learn from the past and seems determined to do more and more of the same destructive policies that it has pursued since its founding fathers in the Muslim League of pre-Partition days decided upon a particular line of action vis-a-vis Hindu India.

PS: If one reads the tea-leaves, India should be watchful of imminent terror strikes. Such a strike may force the Indian Army to launch punitive strikes against Pakistan. The PPP government will then be forced to take a stand on the developing situation, caught as it surely would be between Indian counter-attack and Western pressure. In fact, I would even expect the PA & the ISI to leave enough tantalizing evidence to link their involvement in the terror act so that there would positively be retribution by India as GoI (Government of India) has already said that anymore attack (after 26/11) would invite punishment. The PA can use that opportunity to consolidate its position and achieve its tactical goals. It may also miscalculate (as it has done several time before without learning any lesson therefrom) that a terrified US (and possibly China) would step-in to diffuse the situation by demanding restraint from India (or by threatening to open another front in the Indian east, in the case of China). The PA might have war-gamed that it has a better chance in either case and all its domestic objectives could also be met.

Links to Part-I & Part-II

Thursday, January 5, 2012

What do Pakistanis perceive about their National Security ? Part II

In the previous installment, we saw about international isolation.

I am not going to discuss other issues like poor governance and shaky economy that were also expressed by the group of 50-odd civil society members as contributing to the concerns regarding national security. That may be true but that follows from several factors, most notable of which is the particular path of confrontation that Pakistan has chosen to employ with India, the country from which it was yanked away. We will come back to this theme later.

    Lack of control over non-State actors

What is disturbing is that the eminent group thought it fit to accept the use of 'non-state actors', but what they lamented was the lack of 'control' over them. {For the sake of understanding how Pakistan has used the 'non-state actors', please see earlier posts in this blog, 'The Fraudulent Theory of Non-State Actors' Part I, Part II and Part III} Instead of condemning outright the Pakistani policy of using terror as the main plank of the state policy and advising the powers-that-be that this integration of jihad into the role of a professional army has brought only doom and gloom to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, they chose instead to highlight the 'loss of control' over the jihadi groups. That shows the bankruptcy of thinking in Pakistan and the overall acknowledgement of jihadism as an accepted and sanctioned way of life. The theory of non-state actors, as propounded by the Pakistanis and the Pakistani State itself, is as fraudulent as their other pet theory of 'good' and 'bad' Taliban. One should, however, marvel at the Pakistanis for regularly developing and propagating such theories to which gullible and other realpolitik-practising nations either fall a prey or which they have exploited for their own narrow interests. These [fairly successful] theories are not recent attempts at fraud. Pakistan has been at it for a very long time, deceiving not only the rest of the world but its own people all along. The precursor to such fantastic theories is the most audacious 'Two Nation Theory' which got completely unravelled in 1971. Anyway, that is beyond the scope of this post.

Before one looks at the lament of the Group-of-50 over the 'lack of control over non-state actors', one must briefly recall their genesis in present-day Pakistan. My contention is that there is no separate entity called 'non-state actors' within Pakistan. The non-state actors are nothing but an extension of the State, most especially the Pakistani Army (PA) because the PA is substantially the 'State'. It is not a 'State within the State' as some refer to it because it is the State. The evolution of the Pakistani Army, a legacy of the secular and professional British India Army, into its current pathetic state is a pointer to why I claim that the non-state actors are a part and parcel of the PA. It will be appropriate to divide the history of the PA into four distinctive segments: early professional years up to 1971, the middle years of creeping Islamization within the PA, the next decade of consolidation of Islamism, and the current transformation into Wahhabi jihadism. Except for the initial segment, the Pakistani society at large had also gone through the same metamorphosis.

While the State and the PA employed non-state actors (the Pakhtun tribes to invade, loot, burn and pillage the Princely State of Jammu & Kashmir in c. 1947) right from day one of their independent existence and invoked extensive Islamic symbolism to justify to the masses their amoral ambitions, it had to turn to an Islamist narrative later to justify the PA's successive string of defeats (1947/1948 failures were conveniently blamed on the perfidy of the British officers who were holding all the high positions in the three Services. The 1965 result when Pakistan came close to a debacle was partially explained away as due to American sanctions.). The East Pakistanis were described as not 'good Muslims' having been irretrievably corrupted by Hindu influence and hence the 1971 defeat was a 'good riddance' for the pious Islamic West Pakistan. The 1971 loss was also explained away as further proof of the machinations of the cunning and evil Hindu India. At the same time, a campaign was unleashed to ascribe the failure to the deviation of Pakistan from truly Islamic values and systems of governance.

It was the 1971 crackdown on the hapless East Pakistanis that first saw the Islamist jihadi volunteers from Pakistan fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with the PA. The slide of Pakistan into such religious extremism was anticipated but not in the wildest imagination so quickly and so extensively. Though Pakistan was formed on the basis of Islam, Jinnah’s Aug. 11, 1947 speech about a secular Pakistan was expected to be the guideline for the actions of the State. However, the hopes were soon dashed. Pakistan organized a World Muslim Conference (Motamar Al- Alam Al-Islami) in Karachi in Feb. 1949. Later it organized an even bigger event in 1951, again in Karachi, when Karachi was made the world headquarters of the Motamar. On both occasions, the Congress was chaired by the then Prime Minister, Liaqat Ali Khan. In c. 1948, the expelled Muslim Brotherhood leader from Egypt, Said Ramadan (d. 1995), came to Pakistan where he was received warmly. Said Ramadan, who was the son-in-law of Muslim Brotherhood founder Mohammed al Banna, stayed in Pakistan for a year. It was Said Ramadan who helped Maulana Abu ala al Mawdudi to set up the radical IJT (Islami-Jamia'at-e-Tulaba) student wing of his Jama’at-e-Islami (JI). He also helped the convening of the Motamar conference in Karachi in c. 1951. In c. 1962, Said Ramadan set up the Muslim World League to spread wahhabism. In those areas that became of Pakistan, the masses practised Low Islam or Folk Islam which centred on practices anathema to High Islam. While High Islam was puritanical and scriptural, the practitioners of Low Islam relied on the ‘saint cult’. The Deobandi and Ahl-e-Hadith sects strove to lift the masses from Low Islam to High Islam gradually, an effort in which the political and the military classes participated either out of compulsion in certain cases or out of conviction in other cases. For example, Mohammed Ali Jinnah or F.M. Ayub Khan or Z.A. Bhutto were not strictly adherents of Islam and yet pandered to the dictates of the Islamists out of necessity. On the other hand, Gen Zia-ul-Haq and Nawaz Sharif were fundamentalists who supported Islamists out of conviction. So also is the Prime-Minister-in-waiting, Imran Khan.

It was this IJT that was let loose on the East Pakistanis in March, 1971 when the talks between Sheikh Mujibur Rehman and Yahya Khan broke down permanently. As he came closer to JI, Gen. Zia-ul-Haq banned all student organizations except the IJT. The ban was lifted only in c. 2008 by Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani. The IJT played a significant role in the ouster of Z.A.Bhutto. It was this IJT that was also involved in the initial stages of the militancy and terrorism in the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir in early 1990. The IJT has been virtually running the famous Punjab University (PU), a university which has a hoary tradition, terrorizing the student community and the faculty, imposing its strict Islamic code even today. The IJT was dominant in the campus even when the powerful military dictator Gen. Musharraf was ruling and the Punjab University’s Chancellor and Vice Chancellor were Army Generals. The IJT terrorizes campuses in the same way the Hitler Youth Brigade of Nazi Germany ran rampant across the German academic institutions. It is no wonder that the IJT has such a stranglehold on the PU because the previous Amir of JI, Qazi Hussain Ahmed, was a faculty in the PU. The PU also had another illustrious faculty in the form of Professor Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, the Emir of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). Gen. Zia-ul-Haq also utilized the IJT to target the communist movement that opposed his rule in the 1980s. The communists found a favourable environment in the PU and the IJT was employed to cleanse the University and they have remained entrenched ever thereafter. The IJT was also used to recruit jihadis for the Afghan and later the Kashmiri campaigns of the PA. Thus, very close proximity developed between the PA and the IJT. This proximity was encouraged by Gen. Zia-ul-Haq who was a great admirer of JI, the parent organization of IJT. Gen. Zia gave unprecedented access to the JI within the PA.

The other Islamist organization that was allowed to develop an affinity with the three services of the Pakistani armed forces was the Tablighi-Jama'at (TJ). The organization, TJ, was formed in India in the 1920s as a revivalist Islamic movement to counter the increasingly popular Arya Samaj which was involved in the twin objectives of ridding the Hindu society of what it considered as superstitions and in winning back, through its shuddhi movement, those Hindus converted to Islam and Christianity en masse. After Partition, the TJ posed themselves in Pakistan as an apolitical Islamic organization involved in proselytization, spreading of the good Muslim virtues and prevention of vices among the population, though their not-so-secret agenda is to seize political power. Such an ambition is not surprising since in Islam political and religious powers are inseparable. Gen. Zia-ul-Haq encouraged the TJ to preach to the various Army units. It is their belief in Jihad-fi-Sabilillah (Jihad in the service of Allah) which found itself as the new motto of the Pakistani Army as imposed by a true adherent of TJ, Gen. Zia-ul-Haq as he took over the Army and soon thereafter, the Presidency. The Deobandi-leaning fundamentalist TJ has followers at the highest levels in political, bureaucratic, academic and armed forces establishments. For example, apart from Gen. Zia-ul-Haq, the then President of Pakistan Rafiq Tarar used to attend regularly Tablighi Jamaat congretations(ijtima) at Raiwind near Lahore, as also Lt. Gen. Javid Nasir, Lt. Gen. Hamid Gul and Lt. Gen. Naseem Rana, all DGs, ISI and Nawaz Sharif, the two-time ex-Prime Minister of Pakistan and a closet Islamist. On the eve of the November, 2009 annual convention of the Tablighi Jamaat, 50 former high-ranking officers of the armed forces met under the chairmanship of Lt. Gen. Javid Nasir for a day to deliberate how to take the movement forward, possibly within the armed forces. It included many retired Generals, Brigadiers and Admirals including former Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Admiral Karamat Rehman Niazi, Lt Gen (r) Agha Masood Hasan, Lt Gen (r) Aftab Ahmed et al. The brutal daylight attack on the mosques (officially known as Ibadatgah because of the law declaring Ahmedis as non-Muslims) of the Ahmedis on May 28, 2010, that killed 95 of them was carried out by a suicide squad which had been assembled in the Raiwind office of the Tablighi-e-Jama’at. Later, a hospital where injured Ahmedis were being treated was also attacked killing even more of them followed by a warning to doctors not to treat them. Richard Reid, the shoe-bomber, attended the mosques run by Tablighi. Several men connected with the aborted UK plane bombing of Aug,2006 were members of the Tablighi. Tablighi Jamaat members were also involved earlier in a failed coup against Ms. Benazir Bhutto in September, 1995. This coup was staged by Maj. Gen. Zaheer ul Islam Abbassi, who had earlier been relieved of his command in 1990 in Kargil. As an aside, he was the Force Commander Northern Area (FCNA) when he made an amateurish and unauthorized attempt to re-take the Bilafond La Pass on the Saltoro Range from the Indian Army, leading to the death of dozens of Pakistani soldiers. TJ also acts as a cover organization for LeT, HuM, HuJI and JEM. The TJ has cleverly used its 'apolitical' tag to infiltrate heavily into the three services of the Pakistani military. When the Supreme Commander of the armed forces, the COAS, the Prime Minister and leading politicians attend the congregations openly, it is no wonder that the rank and file of the armed forces also participate in them. The TJ's faith in the concept of ummah is also responsible for frequently referring to the PA as guardians of the 'ideological frontiers' too and not merely the 'geographical boundaries of Pakistan'.

Thus, TJ is singularly responsible for the twin maladies afflicting the society, and by extension the Pakistani armed forces, namely jihadism and participation in international terror (or jihad as the Islamists call) through its popularization of Jihad-fi-Sabilillah and ummahdom. It is claimed that Gen. Zia-ul-Haq encouraged TJ within the PA as an alternative to the JI in order to cut down its preponderant influence. This has been the practice of the Pakistani 'Establishment' in managing various Islamist, sectarian and jihadi outfits. Whenever one of them becomes too large, it is either split or a competing group is created to checkmate its growth, thereby spawning a mind-boggling number of these organizations leading to many of them going out of control eventually, as we are now seeing in the form of the Teheek-e-Taliban-Pakistan (TTP).

In recent times, another virulent Islamist organization of a similar nature, Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HuT), has also been making its violent presence felt among the officers of the armed forces. In July 2009, HuT announced that four Pakistani Army officers sent to Sandhurst for military training had been ‘converted’. A serving Brigadier Ali Khan, who was posted at the Army Headquarters was arrested on May 6. 2011 for his association with the HuT, a few days after the dramatic assassination of Osama bin Laden by the US Navy SEALs on the night between May 1 and 2. Like TJ, the HuT also claims to be an 'apolitical' organization but its sole aim is to bring a caliphate to Pakistan and from there expand the struggle to establish the caliphate in the rest of the world’s Islamic countries and even in non-Muslim states. It is usually stated that Hizb ut-Tahrir believes in jihad against hostile states only after establishing a caliphate in an Islamic country, preferably Pakistan, as opposed to the current wave of jihad. However, HuT does not expressly condemn terrorist strikes against civilian and military targets either, which makes one believe that the underlying ideology of HuT is actually not based on non-violence. Like the TJ, HuT also has its tentacles deep inside the tri-services of the Pakistani military. Captain Farooq, who was President Musharraf's security officer was quietly removed from service after it was found that he had helped HuT smuggle in NVGs (Night Vision Goggles) into Pakistan. In 2009, the then commanding officer of Shamsi Air Force Base Colonel Shahid Bashir, and a retired PAF Squadron Leader were arrested for leaking sensitive information to the HuT. A military court in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir identified two military officers in January 2010 as members of HuT and charged them with planning to attack the Shamsi airbase in Balochistan. The modus operandi of HuT is to bring the personnel of military forces under its umbrella. Unlike usual revolutionary movements, HuT aims to bring change through the military because it is well aware that the military is the strongest institution in Pakistan.

A consequence of creating and involving with these fundamentalist and extremist outfits was that many rank and file of the armed forces got infected with the jihadi terrorism virus and quit their service jobs to dedicate their services full time with these jihadi outfits. A prime example was the dreaded Ilyas Kashmiri who set up the 313 Brigade and briefly held the command of operations within Al Qaeda before he was killed in a CIA drone attack. Thus, serving, retired, dismissed and voluntarily retired military personnel constitute a significant percentage of these jihadi terror outfits. The confessions of the lone survivor of the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist strike and then the revelations by Daoud Gilani alias David Coleman Headley who mapped out the likely targets in Mumbai (and Delhi and Pune as well) for the attack reveal an elaborate collaboration between the armed forces and the jihadi groups. These have been also accurately substantiated by extensive communication intercepts by the Indian and American intelligence agencies. Several terrorists caught in India and elsewhere have confirmed the same conclusions. The NATO/ISAF field commanders in Af-Pak have time and again brought out this evil nexus between the PA and the Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives. Many journalists who ventured into the Af-Pak badlands have corroborated the same. Even Pakistani media editors, analysts, politicians and retired PA officers have accepted this fact. So much so, the PA is no longer interested in the theory of 'plausible deniability' that it practised during the First Afghan Jihad and then in the 90s when it turned its full jihadi force towards India. It tauntingly leaves enough evidence in every operation these days almost inviting the rest of the world to take it on. Today, there is therefore voluminous and irrefutable evidence linking the close cooperation between the Pakistani armed forces (especially the PA) and the dozens of jihadi terrorist tanzeems and sectarian groups in Pakistan.

The radicalization of the society for which the foundations were laid by Jinnah, then taken to the next higher level by the 'secular socialist' Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, followed by the dizzying heights it reached during the reign of Gen. Zia-ul-Haq; the changing patterns of recruitment to the armed forces resulting in a large number of officers from the middle classes and lower middle classes that have become vulnerable over the years to extremist thinking, and the rapid spreading of intolerance-preaching-madrassah in the Potohar region of Northern Punjab which has been the traditional recruitment grounds for the Pakistani Army, are major causes for concern in the upsurge of jihadi Islamism within the officer corps of the Pakistani armed forces. By his own admission, the then DG, ISI, Lt. Gen Mahmoud Ahmed admitted as far back as circa 2000, that 15 to 16% of the army officer corps were religious extremists. In February 2011, when the Punjab Governor Salman Taseer was assassinated by his own police bodyguard for his stand on the Blasphemy Law, the COAS Gen. Kiyani refused to condemn it or even issue any condolence to the Taseer family. He confided to Western diplomats that there were simply too many religious fundamentalists in the Pakistani Army that such an overt sympathy might lead to disunity within the Army ranks. This implicit reliance on jihad to achieve political goals was amply demonstrated in the National Assembly of Pakistan by no other than the Secretary of Defence Maj. Tanveer Syed on Aug. 7, 2007 when he demanded the Pakistani government to wage jihad against India to get Kashmir. He assured the nation that if full-fledged jihad was waged, Pakistan would get Kashmir within six months. There are numerous such instances to show that the fervour of extremism and Islamist jihadism are deeply entrenched even among the officer corps of the armed forces.

Now, to my reasoning as to why there is no distinction between the PA and the Islamist jihadis operating in and from that country. The AfPak region has seen four phases of jihad since that fateful day on the eve of Christmas in 1979 when the USSR crossed Amu Darya into Afghanistan. The PA has been involved in all of these along with the jihadis, sectarian groups, warlords and terror outfits which were all its own creation. The events since then have led to two types of jihad. I know that it is even blasphemous to characterize jihad like that because jihad is jihad. But, I take strength from Islamic scholars who themselves talk of jihad-al-saif (jihad by sword) and jihad-al-nafs (jihad against human weaknessess). They say that jihad-al-nafs is Jihad-al-Akbar (Greater Struggle) and jihad-al-saif as Jihad-al-Saghir (Minor Struggle). However, the two types that are on-going in Af-Pak are finer variations within jihad-al-saif. For ease of understanding, the jihad in AfPak can be classified as either 'pure' or 'impure'.

The First Jihad was of the pure jihad variety by the mujahideen supported by the US, KSA, Pakistan et al. Though the infidel US was involved on the side of the Believers, it was still acceptable. This jihad was 'pure' because the Godless Communists were taken on by the Believers. However, this pure jihad came to an end through an agreement, not by military defeat, and the Believers had to rely on the Crusaders for success.

After the Geneva Accord, came the internecine war after unity (which was never strong to start with) unravelled among the mujahideen. This internecine war was brought to an end by the impure jihad of the Taliban supported by Pakistan. That was the Second Jihad and it was impure in the sense that the more pious Believers had to take on the less pious Believers. It came to an end after bloody battles and the military defeat of the less pious Believers. Afghanistan saw more damage in the three years of this impure jihad than the preceding ten years of pure jihad. Somehow, this type of green-on-green is always more damaging to the ummah than otherwise as we saw in that Operation Black September in Jordan against helpless Palestenians refugees in the refugee camps. That was again unleashed by a Pakistani Brigadier by name Zia-ul-Haq in 1970-71 in camps at Irbid, Salt, Sweileh,Baq'aa, Wehdat and Zarqa. More Palestenians were reported to have died in that operation than at Israeli hands in the previous twenty years. As the Jordanian King decorated Brig. Zia-ul-Haq with his country's highest medal of ‘Order of Valiance’, the Palestenians equated him with the Israeli General Ariel Sharon.

After that Second Jihad was the pure jihad once again, this time against the 'Ahl-e-Kitab' (People of the Book) after 9/11 when the Believers had to take on the combined might of the infidel Americans and their Allies. That was the Third Jihad. This is still on-going. This looks likely to come to an end just like the first pure jihad, through an agreement, not by military defeat. Again, like the first jihad, the PA and their allied jihadis would celebrate their victory over the only remaining Superpower.

The Fourth Jihad, an impure one, had to be fought against the state of Pakistan, after its CEO, Gen. Musharraf imposed bans on the jihadi groups on Jan. 12, 2002. This jihad is also on-going. If the previous jihads are any indicators, the impure jihad will also be bloody (has already been so) and will also end in a military victory for the more pious over the less pious or in other words for the more savage over the relatively less savage. The events, so far since the 2002 announcement, confirm the ferocity of the impure jihad.

Before the Fourth Jihad, the interests of the jihadists and the PA coincided. They continue to coincide though the Pakistani Taliban and most of the Punjabi Taliban were not able to appreciate the nuances and adjust their war-fighting strategy accordingly. For the simple-minded Punjabi Taliban, it was "either with us or against us". The frothing-at-the-mouth-corner jihadists wanted Pakistan to withdraw support to the US and help the jihadists as they have always done before. But, that was no longer possible as things had changed dramatically. Musharraf, Mehmood Ahmed, Kayani and Nadeem Taj tried their best but the support could never be like before because the Eagle, sitting in the same room, was watching everything very closely. So, the more pious determined that it was time to defeat the less pious and therefore launched the impure jihad. There can be no room for sentiments in jihad, as the assassinations of Khalid Khwaja and more importantly that of the architect of Afghan Jihad Col. Imam (Sultan Amin Tarar) issues showed clearly. Both were accused of being a CIA/ISI agent as the notes attached to their bullet-riddled bodies indicated. The bloody attack on PNS Mehran, the earlier attack on the GHQ itself, the assassination attempts on Musharraf and other top Army officers, the suicide bombing at the SSG HQ at Tarbela, the numerous attacks on military-industrial complexes that hold nuclear weapons etc. have taken place due to insider information and assistance. PA might have been the hand that fed the viper the milk before, but that hand has to be bitten now and that too from within. the Fourth Jihad is as much internal to the PA as it is external by the Punjabi Taliban or the TTP. It is Pakistan's perfidy to turn around and claim victimhood. However, that show of injured innocence in this internecine and impure jihad should not detract us from the fact that all this while (and continuing still) the various jihadi terror groups have functioned as the 'veritable arm' of the PA, to quote from Adm. Mike Mullen.

The group-of-50's lament of this unravelling of the unity of the jihadi forces of Pakistan is therefore understandable but untenable.

Monday, January 2, 2012

What do Pakistanis perceive about their National Security ?

I am prompted to write this by the article titled, "Seeing Beyond Perceptions" in The Nation, a Pakistani English language newspaper, by a retired Air Commodore and former assistant chief of air staff of the Pakistan Air Force(PAF), who is now a member of the visiting faculty at the PAF Air War College, Naval War College and Quaid-i-Azam University. I thought that the article portrays prominent thinking among the elites of the Pakistani society and hence worth having a look at.

He writes that "Over 50 parliamentarians, bureaucrats, advocates, technocrats, media men, prominent members of the civil society and politicians assembled at the National Defence University to conceptualise the contours of Comprehensive National Security". Apparently, it was all 'Brownian Movement' initially but soon the group settled down to serious thinking and came to some conclusions after five weeks of intense and wide-ranging deliberations. Who funded this effort, to whom the conclusions were presented and what effect that would have in moulding future policy decisions are unknown as they were not revealed. But, we can make some guesses. However, the scope of this activity seems serious enough to look into the conclusions.

The 50-odd members from diverse sections of the civil society have concluded that the present difficulties of the Pakistani state are transient and Pakistan has nothing but a bright future. All it needs to do is to be resolute and follow 'a comprehensive national security'. Now, this is a give away to me, at least, as to which of the three branches of the State, viz. Executive or Judiciary or the Armed Forces, would have funded this workshop. As an Indian, I can nothing but wish Pakistan a very bright future because Pakistanis were, after all, Indians until sixty four years back. That aside, I would like to look critically at the outcome of the five week deliberations.

In essence, what was advocated by this group of intellectuals was more of the same. That is quite disappointing. No revision in policies in light of mounting crises facing Pakistan squarely in its face ? No quest to dig deep and understand the truest cause for the troubles of Pakistan ? The superficiality of the exercise makes one believe that the attempt was motivated by an agenda. Let us look at the causes identified by the group and the solutions proffered thereupon.

The author says, "The major concerns to our national security radiate from international isolation, poor governance, shaky economy, lack of control over non-State actors, an aura of insecurity among the general public, no-go areas in the context of imposition of State’s writ, penetration of foreign influence in our domestic media, lack of our outreach to international media, and the ability of foreign intelligence agencies to penetrate into our socio-political fabric. Ambiguities as to whose war are we fighting have resulted in a huge perceptional gap between the national policy (both political and military) and public opinion. This dichotomy has the potential of tearing apart the fabric of the State. This gap is being filled by the hostile States, both regional and extra regional, to create fissures and promote separatist trends."

Let us look at each one of these concerns.

    International isolation.
Now, this is seriously true. Even traditionally friendly non-Muslim states like the US, UK, Japan, China or the ummah brothers such as the KSA have been unwilling to lend a helping hand to an embattled Pakistan. In better times, each one of these nations had its own reasons for the ‘rescue act’ and Pakistan exploited their compulsions to the hilt. But, times have changed, even drastically. The US has at last discovered that all this while Pakistan has been following a perfidious agenda with it vis-a-vis Global War on Terror (GWoT). Normally, whenever a major operation involving cooperation between the US and Pakistan reaches a denouement, the US discovers some startling piece of perfidy by Pakistan, as though by magic. It suddenly discovered in c. 1990 that Pakistan had enriched Uranium beyond the promised levels and also possessed nuclear weapons, within barely a few months after it had pulled out of Afghanistan and Pakistan following the Geneva accord. Until then, the US had helped Pakistan acquire nuclear weapons, their delivery platforms and Uranium enrichment facilities, in the decade of the 80s. Until then, it stubbornly refused to listen to voices from other nations and its own intelligence agency about Pakistan's furious march towards nuclear weapons. All that changed within a few months. Again, after eliminating Osama bin Laden and severely degrading Al Qaeda's leadership and capabilities, the US is on the verge of withdrawing the bulk of its military from Afghanistan (but for a small contingent perhaps) and as the general usefulness of Pakistan diminishes rapidly, the US is becoming aware of Pakistan's mendacity. The parties to the marriage contract, the US and Pakistan, willingly consummate knowing perfectly well that it is a marriage of convenience, would not last more than a decade and each would befool the other to achieve their tactical goals. They are 'made for each other'. But, each such marriage followed by a messy divorce has left Pakistan enormously weakened internaly due to the unleashing of extreme religious right wing forces. It also leaves India with a more bellicose and more dangerous neighbour. Nowadays, the region and the world have also become fair targets for this dangerous nation. Hence the international isolation.

For its part, the UK has been reeling under the effects of jihadi Islamism practised by British nationals of Pakistani origin, whose parents and grandparents were generously allowed to migrate to the UK in the 50s and the 60s by Her Majesty's Government for loyal services rendered so far and expected to be rendered in the future. The British have been so worried by the envelope of jihadi terrorism that during a visit to Islamabad, the British Prime Minister Mr. Gordon Brown addressing a press conference in Islamabad on Dec. 15, 2008, along with the Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, was blunt in stating “Three quarters of the most serious plots investigated by the British authorities have links to al-Qaeda in Pakistan. The time has come for action, not words.” Addressing the British troops in Afghanistan in April 2009, he reiterated as follows: "There is a line of terror, a chain of terror that goes from Pakistan and the border areas of Afghanistan right back to the streets of all our countries" Three months after Mr. Brown's pronouncement, Lord Malloch-Brown, Foreign Office Minister for Africa and Asia said damningly, "The main terrorist threat comes from Pakistan and Somalia – not Afghanistan", equating Pakistan, a nuclear power, with the failed state of Somalia. Gordon Brown's successor, David Cameron administered a sort of coup de grace in July 2010 when, addressing the employees of Infosys at Bangalore, the Silicon Valley of India, of all places, he said that " . . . we should be very clear with Pakistan that we want to see a strong and a stable and a democratic Pakistan, but we cannot tolerate in any sense the idea that this country is allowed to look both ways and is able in any way to promote the export of terror, whether to India or whether to Afghanistan, or anywhere else in the world." Responding later to the outrage this statement created in Pakistan, he further rubbed salt in the wounded Pakistani honour & dignity when he told BBC, "[I gave]pretty clear and frank answer to a straight question. I don’t regret that at all". So, things have been quite difficult with Pakistan's colonial creator and consistent supporter as well.

The Pakistanis never tire of referring to their relationship with China in glowing terms, even to the point of sounding ridiculous. Even China has been tough with the Pakistani government over Islamist jihadi terrorism emanating from the Pakistani soil affecting Uyghur or even the safety of Chinese citizens in Pakistan itself. China has also been quite wary of its funding procedures. It funds only specific projects and does not give any cash whatsoever unlike Pakistan's Western friends who were doing so until recently. A meaningful comment by Zhao Gancheng, Director of South Asia studies at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, summed it up nicely: "The ‘all-weather friendship’ doesn’t mean that all of Pakistan’s bills should be paid by us".

What about the ummah brothers, especially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) ? These are no ordinary brothers if one recalls history. Both KSA and the UAE have directly helped the Pakistanis during its 1965 and 1971 wars with India either by lending fighter planes to the PAF from their respective air forces or allowing Pakistan to safekeep some of their fighter planes in their lands, out of reach of the Indian Air Force(IAF). They had thrown their lot with Pakistan, discarding their centuries old traditional warm ties with India, just because Pakistan happened to be a Muslim country. KSA ensured that Pakistan would survive after the imposition of sanctions against that country following the 1998 nuclear tests, by supplying oil free and later on much deferred easy payments for three years, which it finally even wrote-off. The magnitude of this ‘help’ by Saudi Arabia can be gauged when one realizes that the annual oil bill of USD 6B which Saudi Arabia deferred and eventually wrote-off was the same as the foreign remittances Pakistan receives annually. Saudi Arabia has bankrolled the nuclear weapons project of Pakistan. Pakistan’s stockpile of nuclear weapons is rumoured to consist of Saudi Arabia’s share too which that country has decided to safekeep in Pakistan. KSA also funded the acquisition by a bankrupt Pakistan of the French Agosta submarines and also F-16s from the US. The Pakistanis have also been quite helpful to KSA. . Since the 1970s, the Saudi Royalty, fearing disloyal members of the armed forces staging coups, always retained strong contingents of the Pakistani Army to protect the royal palaces. The lack of skills and abilities of the Saudis pushed Saudi Arabia to seek the assistance of Pakistan in building up and even manning the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF). A big contingent of PAF pilots was stationed at various air bases in Saudi Arabia and they even took part in operations such as repulsing the Yemeni incursion into Saudi Arabia in c. 1969 and attacking the rebel Houthi strongholds in c. 2010. After the Khomeini revolution in Iran, KSA has used Pakistani soil to keep tabs on Iran. The UAE hid away Pakistani-supported Indian terrorists like Dawood Ibrahim and his associates and failed to arrest and extradite them to India even when there has been several Interpol alerts and Dawood Ibrahim was freely roaming around the Emirates. Both nations, especially the KSA, had taken virulent stand against India in the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) deliberations at the prompting of Pakistan. Pakistan has even ceded away sovereignty of vast tracts of its lands in the Sind and Balochistan to the dozens of princes of these two ummah brothers to hunt down the endangered species of the houbara bustards. So much so that a top Saudi Adviser to the King of Saudi Arabia was reported as boasting to the Americn diplomat, “We in Saudi Arabia are not observers in Pakistan, we are participants”, as WikiLeaks exposed in November 2010.

So, what happened to this joined-at-the-hip brotherliness ? When Pakistan's economy began to plummet and it encountered serious economic woes after the twin jeopardy of worldwide recession of c. 2007 and the high crude oil prices (not that the economy was great before), neither of these ummah brothers came to its rescue. The cartel of Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FoDP) that was setup to help Pakistan included these brothers but they were utterly unenthusiastic about helping. The said they would route their funds only through the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and that too only for specific projects. And, when Pakistan went to IMF, it did get a loan of USD 7.6 Billion but was forced to control its soaring fiscal deficit, reduce its inflation, eliminate borrowing by the Government, free the stock and foreign exchange markets from Government interference, widen tax net, give autonomy to State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), reduce borrowings from SBP, reduce huge subsidies in power sector etc. With terrorism engulfing the entire Pakistan, KSA even imposed conditions on its nationals from travelling to that country. It wanted all its nationals to first get clearance from the Kingdom's Foreign Affairs Ministry before applying for a Pakistani visa. Repeated pleas from Gen. Musharraf received only a cold shoulder from KSA. Even such a friendly country as Saudi Arabia expressed worries when Prince Saud al-Faisal declared that “Pakistan is a friendly country, and therefore, any time we see dangerous things in a friendly country, we are not only sorry but also worried” to, of all the people, Indian journalists at Riyadh who were accompaniying Indian Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh during his February, 2010 visit to the Kingdom. That must have come as an unkindest cut of all to Pakistan's honour and dignity.

The European Union said that it could provide financial assistance only if it was allowed to directly access the beneficiaries and not through the Government or its agencies. In a 2008 report on "Terrorism Situation and Trends", the European Police Office (Europol) said, "Afghan Taliban and pro-Taliban groups in Pakistan have links to the increasingly active core-structure of Al Qaeda that is currently based in the Pashtun tribal areas in western Pakistan". The report further listed how Pakistan has become the most dangerous training ground for jihadi terrorists and how expatriate Pakistanis have become terrorists throughout Europe. According to the report, majority of the arrested suspects in the foiled attacks in the UK, Germany and Denmark had received some form of training in Pakistan. The top Judge of the Spanish terrorism court has voiced concern about expanding terror threat from Pakistan. Thus, nations and organizations that were once generous supporters of Pakistan through money and material, winking at or even helping in its transgressions, began to impose restrictions. Unable to take the burden, the Pakistani Parliament even passed a unanimous resolution in September, 2010 asking international donors and lending agencies to write-off Pakistan’s entire debt burden. Simply, nobody responded.

Among its neighbours, both Afghanistan and Iran have been extremely critical of its use of terror as an instrument of state policy. The neighbouring countries of Pakistan have suffered immensely from the state-sponsored and state-neglected terrorism emanating from Pakistan and have voiced their anger, bitterness and concern many times. Pakistani sources have admitted to such “mischief” at least in neighbouring countries. Iran has openly accused the Pakistani intelligence agencies as helping the anti-Iranian Jundullah group operating in the Sistan-Balochistan area. In December, 2009, Teheran presented evidence to Islamabad, showing a link between Pakistani intelligence agencies and Sistan-based Jundullah militant group. Even the President of the tiny Maldives, Mohammed Nashed, said in an interview in October, 2009 that Maldivians were being trained in Pakistan for jihad.

I am sure that with this sampling compiled above, it is easy to see how far the sense of 'international isolation' has come to.

Let us see the rest of the 'perception' in subsequent installments.

See Part II here