Pakistan’s real war

Published: September 23, 2012

The writer is Director South Asian Media School, Lahore khaled.ahmed@tribune.com.pk

During a pre-Eid (August 19, 2012) transmission, Sach TV had my favourite intellectual Mr Ghulam Akbar telling a rather timid anchor why the war against terrorism was not Pakistan’s war.

He refused to believe that it was the Taliban killing innocent Pakistanis: these were foreign agents working for foreign powers. He said they were killing Pakistanis with weapons provided by America, either through Afghanistan or through Pakistan courtesy the Nato supply route. He asserted that it will never be Pakistan’s war because, if it were, it will lead to self-destructive radicalisation.

He stated that no one in Pakistan ever threatened America, forgetting that 9/11 was planned in Pakistan; and a Pakistani leader of the Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud, had got himself photographed with a Pakistani terrorist — son of a senior air force officer — before the young man tried to blow up the Times Square in New York.

Mr Akbar also said that the Pakistan Army ran the risk of alienating its own officers if it chose to confront the Taliban. He referred to the recently sentenced army officers who tried to overthrow the military leadership on behalf of the Hizbut Tahrir. He said the held officers had no ideological objection to the Pakistan Army. When asked if the officers were linked to the Hizbut Tahrir, he started talking about the Tahrir Square movement of Egypt. He thought the Hizbut Tahrir was a harmless manifestation of the Tahrir Square.

The Hizbut Tahrir was established in Jerusalem in 1948 by Sheikh Taqiuddin al-Nabhani (d 1977), who had been educated at Al-Azhar University in Cairo.

In June this year, one Brigadier Ali Khan was arrested for his ties with the Hizbut Tahrir. Before that, Colonel Shahid Bashir, the then (serving) commanding officer of the Shamsi Air Force Base, was apprehended by the military police on May 4, 2009 for links with this banned outfit. Colonel Shahid Bashir was arrested along with a retired PAF fighter pilot, Squadron Leader-turned lawyer Nadeem Ahmad Shah, and a US-educated mechanical engineer and a green card holder, Awais Ali Khan.

The Hizb was banned in Pakistan in 2004, following a plot to assassinate President Pervez Musharraf by Hizb members. More recently, on October 22, 2009, it was banned in Bangladesh for ‘trying to destabilise the country’.

Syrian-born Umar Bakri, leader of the Hizb, was deported from the UK after 9/11. One evidence of Bakri’s involvement with the Hizb became public in Akbar S Ahmed’s book Islam under Siege: Living Dangerously in Post-Honour World (Polity Press 2003). Ahmed, who was also Pakistan’s High Commissioner to the UK for some time, wrote:

“In Britain, Sheikh Umar Bakri’s Khilafah, the journal of the Hizbut Tahrir, attacked Jinnah as a kafir and an insult for a Muslim. Moreover, it accused Jinnah of being an enemy of God and the Holy Prophet (pbuh) because Jinnah supported women, Christians and Hindus, and advocated democracy” (p113).

Umar Sheikh, a British national now under death sentence for the murder of Daniel Pearl, had his beginning in England with the Hizbut Tahir. He was caught in India trying to exchange British tourists that he had kidnapped in New Delhi for Harkatul Ansar terrorists held by India. He was released together with Jaish-e-Muhammad leader Masood Azhar in 1999 after the hijacking of an Indian plane.

After his release, Umar Sheikh kidnapped journalist Daniel Pearl in Karachi with the help of Jaish activists. Pearl was later beheaded by Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, the top al Qaeda fund-raiser. Umar Sheikh was also said to have been involved in Khalid Sheikh Muhammad’s transfer of funds to the terrorists who flew two aircraft into the World Trade Centre buildings in New York on 9/11.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2012.

Reader Comments (21)

  • sid
    Sep 23, 2012 - 12:53AM

    Where is Maulana Masood Azhar pakistan??????????

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  • choptocut
    Sep 23, 2012 - 12:56AM

    Very informative and well Khalid sb, thanks.

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  • John B
    Sep 23, 2012 - 1:00AM

    No, I won’t listen to all these false propaganda perpetuated by America and India 9/11 was a CIA -Zionist plot to defame Muslims. All these people were vacationing in pakistan.

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  • Arifq
    Sep 23, 2012 - 1:13AM

    There is no dearth of Taliban apologists or even worse those who obfuscate discussions to promote one sided narratives. Another excellent article by Khaled Sahib.

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  • BlackJack
    Sep 23, 2012 - 1:23AM

    He asserted that it will never be Pakistan’s war because, if it were, it will lead to self-destructive radicalisation.I am a bit confused now – so which is Pakistan’s real war – against the Taliban or against the ignorance and bigotry that fuels and funds them and other similar groups.

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  • Nadir
    Sep 23, 2012 - 1:35AM

    Its much sexier to think that Pakistan is taking on the US-India-Israel combine than to believe that our future is held hostage by a bunch of thugs who we supported but cant control today.

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  • Hillarious
    Sep 23, 2012 - 1:43AM

    oh..what a mess in islamic world…

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  • Ahsan
    Sep 23, 2012 - 2:06AM

    There are no Taliban other than those who were and are being produced in Pakistan and elsewhere by various states, groups and even individuals. Once Pakistan realises that they are snakes and not front line, side line and back line defence, the war will end. Otherwise drones are doing the job and they will continue doing it till at least Pakistan-Afghanistan border belt gets cleared. Better for Pakistan and its future if joint action is taken to fight extremists in Waziristan and also in Pakistan. As for Afghanistan NATO is doing a fine job overthere.Recommend

  • asim
    Sep 23, 2012 - 2:14AM

    Who is killing in karachi, baluchistan, NWFP?
    daily 15-30 people are killed across the country..

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  • Khalid Pathan
    Sep 23, 2012 - 4:23AM

    Those in denial of Taliban killing Pakistani’s have their minds like the pupil of an eye, the more light you pour on it the more it contracts. I do not see any hope in case of such bigots who are unfortunately growing at an alarming rate and doing their best to take the Ummah into Dark Ages. Publish the Urdu translation in national dailies for truth seekers.

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  • Amit
    Sep 23, 2012 - 5:44AM

    Thank you Mr. Ahmad for your continued clarity and attempt to spread it.

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  • Zalim Singh
    Sep 23, 2012 - 9:10AM

    sad things really. hope pakistan changes.

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  • Dushmann
    Sep 23, 2012 - 9:58AM

    So this is how Pakistan and its nuclear weapons will fall in hands of Jihadis. its not like some illiterate ragtag Taliban has to come and steal nuclear weapon from cupboard and run away. It is the people in Pakistani establishment who will slowly and voluntarily get radicalized and become members of such organisations. If the protectors of nuclear weapons themselves become Jihadis who knows what happens next. The process has already begun. We don’t know real size of the iceberg below water. all we know is that they are powerful enough that they can plan assassinations of COAS of Pakistan.

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  • Feroz
    Sep 23, 2012 - 10:24AM

    Ideology will triumph reason and logic. The Fire is at the door. Time to think is past, time to act will be gone in a jiffy.

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  • vasan
    Sep 23, 2012 - 3:50PM

    **He asserted that it will never be Pakistan’s war because, if it were, it will lead to self-destructive radicalisation.**
    The self destructive radicalization of Pakistan is very much underway/in progress/going on for a long time and that is why it is Pakistan’s war as well. Cant this guy see the radicalization all around him ? Recommend

  • huzaifa
    Sep 23, 2012 - 4:38PM

    @sid:
    These are only the names, these people come and go but the mentality stays on. If we want to change mentality we must hedge on against extremism. Do you think that all these people destroying property were doing it for the holy prophet! no sir, there were never such preachings of holy prophet. These people were led by unruly mullahs who’s only aim is to profit through conflict. Some how the other government is afraid of taking these fanatics to take to task for arson and destruction of property charges. These should be in jails for good.Recommend

  • Raza Khan
    Sep 23, 2012 - 8:52PM

    We are in denial mode!Recommend

  • Naveed
    Sep 24, 2012 - 8:58PM

    What an utterly pathetic article. This isn’t journalism and something tribune should be ashamed of.

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  • J Rahman
    Sep 25, 2012 - 3:51AM

    This article is full of rubbish- written from british daily tabloid news paper-The sun- where lies are truth and truths are lies. I would ask all the readers not to believe anything written here.

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  • haroon bux
    Sep 26, 2012 - 5:37AM

    The article is trying to shift focus from the real enemies ie the US and India, towards those who are working for positive change in Pakistan. I think by now everyone knows that Hizb ut-Tahrir is a “non-violent” global Islamic political movement. It has never resorted to violence as a means to instigate change. Its track record speaks for itself. Having said this, Hizb was banned in Pakistan due to baseless allegations. The court case is still sitting in the court waiting on the Government to prove the allegations against the Hizb. The real reason why Hizb was banned because of the impact it caused since its launch in 2000. In the Western countries Hizb is not banned but when foreign policy of the Western Governments gets attacked then they start to talk about banning the Hizb. Verily, the truth cannot be hidden by such tabloid trash.

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  • Sep 26, 2012 - 1:33PM

    Pakistan’s real war is fighting the liberal mindsets because they are so impressed by the West that they are willing to auction their own heritage. Shame on the writer of this article. Khilafah is our own niche and model, and it has to arrive one day with full force inshaALLAH. Nobody can stop it!!

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