A wake-up call

Published: September 11, 2014
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The writer is an independent social scientist and author of Military Inc.

The writer is an independent social scientist and author of Military Inc.

It was the first time on Monday morning that I breathed a sigh of relief that the PTI and the PAT dharna is there and continues to attract attention. Just imagine if the media was not focusing on them they might have taken the trouble of sniffing out the drama which was unfolding in Karachi on September 6. A Chinese manufactured F-22P frigate of the Pakistan Navy, PNS Zulfiqar, came under attack by the Taliban. It is not confirmed as yet if the ship was at sea or docked at the naval dockyard. The story was kept under wraps for two days and disclosed on September 8. It was not that people were not warning others. A friend from abroad had even inquired on Saturday about what was happening in Karachi to which I had no answer as nothing was being reported on television except the Imran/Qadri roadshow. But I am still happy no one reported the story because the last time someone tried to dig out facts about infiltration of militants and ideologues inside the navy it ended in tragedy.

Gladly, the brave sailors and officers saved the day. However, the attack on PNS Zulfiqar, for which the Taliban took the responsibility, proved yet again the vulnerability of the country’s security. What we are always scared to talk about is the support from inside as had happened in the attack on PNS Mehran, PAC, Kamra and other places. Given the fact that little is known about militant penetration, it is difficult to ascertain the threat. This is about men caught by the demon of disbelief of their state and society. Glance through the literature on state making and you can find how monopoly over violence and making sure it stays that way is one of the many characteristics of a viable and efficient state. However, here is the issue of men, who join a profession to guard the state then turning away, because they suddenly suspect the state is not legitimate. The whole concept of jihad or takfir is not a simple issue of people becoming devil-like but erosion of their faith in legitimacy of the state. They begin to desire a perfect Islamic state which can only be brought about by fighting the existing system. Penetrating an armed force becomes an attractive option since achieving such objective tantamount to a force multiplier. A well-trained and oiled war machine can take you places.

Just imagine a situation where militants would try to rebel and take control of a vessel while at sea. Notwithstanding many of the earlier claims that all three services were cleaned during the Musharraf regime, these attacks suggest otherwise. Various religious groups have always had access to men in uniform under one pretext or the other. If it is not the militants then it is Deobandi or Salafi reformation movements such as the Tableeghi Jamaat or Al Huda that are allowed to access military personnel and their families. Reportedly, the households of one of the two smaller services were opened up for Al Huda by the senior leadership. The problem here is not with increased interest in religion but the fact that after a while these families and their men begin to get totally confused about where does duty to religion end and to the state begin. Not that they want to kill innocent colleagues and other people but they are blinded by their understanding of dogma to believe that they have to bring suffering in order to improve the world as ordained by God.

The PNS Zulfiqar attack is yet another reminder that things are getting serious. We need to look at this development in the backdrop of the expansion of militancy and extremism in the form of IS and the al-Qaeda’s Qaedatul Jihad in Indian Subcontinent (QJIS). While many analysts tend to see IS and QJIS from the lens of internal competition amongst militants, especially Zawahiri’s need to build up his strength, some observers argue that the two forces may have different tactics and partners but similar strategic objective. They both want to consolidate and establish a caliphate. In this regard, other existing organisations like the Hizb-ut-Tahrir also have the same desire.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 11th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (17)

  • Shahbaz Asif Tahir
    Sep 11, 2014 - 3:23AM

    This author, is definitely on the payroll of an enemy agenda.
    She needs to be monitored. I have serious reservations about her sincerity
    to Pakistan,s armed forces.

    Recommend

  • Feroz
    Sep 11, 2014 - 8:44AM

    The very idea of indoctrination places religion above nation, society and family, Under normal logical circumstances religion would be strengthened and the nation state weak and impotent. However when religion is used to justify violence it stands compromised, thereby State remains weak and religion destroyed by its merchants.

    Every Army in the world will be a strong fighting force if it is united by training and goals. An ideological Military is a liability few nations can carry, therefore the best Armed Forces have always been secular. In Pakistan this ideological orientation has caused major distortions as the atrocities committed by those in uniform in 1971 against ones own people in East Pakistan confirms. The viciousness was barbaric because propaganda said Hindus were the problem, with that mindset not just Hindus(13%) but Muslims(86%) there were treated like the Hindus. This prevented any hope of reconciliation and half the country was lost.

    Now the battle is between those who want to impose themselves on others because they have a right being better Muslims. The Armed Forces having conceived and created the concept of non State actors has a greater number of sympathizers of terror groups within their ranks, than the broader society. We are seeing insider attacks which are early warning signs, this will be followed by desertions and subsequently mutinies, ultimately a coup. The inevitable can only be delayed through short term tactics, not prevented.

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  • Naeem Khan
    Sep 11, 2014 - 9:08AM

    @Shahbaz Asif Tahir:
    It seems to me that Pakistan does not lack morons like you, she is the most respected and patriotic person I have ever come across in Pakistan. What she is saying is to be aware of the dangers lurking in the dark for the existence of Pakistan either by foreign powers or internal far out religious zealots. Think about this paragraph,”Not that they want to kill innocent colleagues and other people but they are blinded by their understanding of dogma to believe that they have to bring suffering in order to improve the world as ordained by God.” This whole article is food for thought if some of us has the capability of any intellectual thought at all. I say to Ayesha Siddiqa, thank you for serving the nation.

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  • Arifq
    Sep 11, 2014 - 9:23AM

    Very well said Ayesha

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  • Mirza
    Sep 11, 2014 - 9:50AM

    Please do not try to wake up those who are fast asleep. We nurture and protect worst known terrorists like OBL in our largest army base. We have these people inside our bases as several daring attacks have proved. We would continue to deny the facts as if they are not happening. Your crime is to expose and unmask our real enemies and those responsible for nurturing terrorists in our most sensitive places.
    To the hatemongers my challenge is to reply point by point each statement rather than spitting venom and try to shut those who are telling the truth.

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  • Sudhindra
    Sep 11, 2014 - 10:09AM

    @Shahbaz Asif Tahir: U seem to be working for Federal Board of Revenue, Government of Pakistan …

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  • Altaf
    Sep 11, 2014 - 10:23AM

    These are just the repercussions of the policies formulated and pursued by the deep state which include developing and nurturing beasts in the name of strategic assets. Every now and then the beast will rear its ugly head and try to chop off the hands which feeds it. But the losers are the innocent people of this country who are presented as cannon fodder (over 50,000 killed so far and still counting) to lend some legitimacy or credence that we don’t own these beasts, they are on payroll of foreign intel agencies. And the majority accepts it blindly, never questioning who created them and provided them safe havens in the country. Recently the assets were moved from NWA to Kurram Agency by implementing curfew in the Kurram Agency so the locals cannot create any hindrance in the movements and can be kept in the dark from the media. And if some groups in the strategic assets are gone rogue, how is that the best intel agency in the world cannot find and eliminate them. But then one wonders why would they eliminate its own creation when its lends credibility to the whole operation and some collateral damage is acceptable in due process.

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  • rehanud1975
    Sep 11, 2014 - 10:58AM

    @Shahbaz Asif Tahir: I completely agree . This author systematically spreads hatred about Armed Forces through her books ( such as Military Inc) and articles . The way she has slandered a reputable institution really does raise a question mark about her ulterior motives and loyalty towards Pakistan.Recommend

  • Sep 11, 2014 - 11:54AM

    The Army is overwhelmingly used for activities like Article 245, in aid of civil power and political conflict resolution. Then the other law enforcement agencies are not playing their part of role. Like, province of punjab , agencies under interior ministry shouldn’t have much difficulty to contribute to strategic security goals. These type of local ground realities are always ignored by the respected writer.

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  • MSS
    Sep 11, 2014 - 12:40PM

    @Feroz,
    Beautifully said. Congratulations.

    Recommend

  • Parvez
    Sep 11, 2014 - 1:52PM

    The cartoon in today’s daily DAWN by Zahoor on page 8……speaks volumes.

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  • Rahul
    Sep 11, 2014 - 2:20PM

    For the past 67 years the alarm clock is ringing…. Don’t you people think it’s a bit late to wake up… if you are waking in the first place that is.

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  • Sep 11, 2014 - 3:38PM

    @Shahbaz Asif Tahir:
    How many times are you.going to write this?
    About this conspiracy theory. You sound like a
    broken record. Just keep taking your medications.
    May Allah, the Merciful, the Benevolent, give you
    peace of mind.

    Recommend

  • kilo
    Sep 11, 2014 - 3:43PM

    BB aptly described these insiders as Zia ul haq’s “Bakayaat”. They were employed en masse in all government services including Armed forces on the recommendations of Zia sycophant, religious parties and bigoted mulla’n. They all need to be identified and purged on priority basis before they hatch further

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  • It's (still) Economy Stupid
    Sep 11, 2014 - 8:23PM

    the expansion of militancy and extremism in the form of IS and the al-Qaeda’s Qaedatul Jihad in Indian Subcontinent (QJIS)
    Million dollar question is: does IS wants to rescue Muslims in India or want to convert Hindu’s and other non believers in to believers? If it is former than its time to enforce two nation’s theory in practice to the letter and spirit and send all believers to land of pure for once and all. This way future conflicts will be of different dimensions.

    Recommend

  • Masud
    Sep 12, 2014 - 12:12AM

    “Chinese manufactured F-22P frigate of the Pakistan Navy, PNS Zulfiqar, came under attack by the Taliban”

    The above statement exposes the true intension of the author. The ‘Taliban’ part of the statement is linked to an other news item apparently giving impression that that news item will explain how ‘Taliban’ did it. But if you check that news item nowhere in it is mentioned the role of ‘Taliban’. So ‘Taliban’ in this article is creation of the writer as there are so many other shadowy organisations creation of disinformation campaign to confuse and demoralise the nation. These so called writers will never go behind the real questions of who created these organisations, who is arming them and who is providing them financial
    logistic and tactical support. They would just propagate pre-determined agenda to cause maximum confusion and fear. No Pakistani, religious or otherwise, will ever cause harm to his/her own country unless he/she has sold his/her soul to the enemy, knowing that there is no other place on earth that will provide him/her peace and shelter. Beware of these writers.

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  • observer
    Sep 12, 2014 - 10:08AM

    @Masud:

    But if you check that news item nowhere in it is mentioned the role of ‘Taliban’. So ‘Taliban’ in this article is creation of the writer as there are so many other shadowy organisations creation of disinformation campaign to confuse and demoralise the nation.

    Wake up. Smell the cordite . And read some papers.

    http://www.dawn.com/news/1130863/taliban-claim-attack-on-karachi-navy-dockyard

    GOOOOOODMORNING.

    Recommend

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