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পাকিস্তান পরিস্থিতি ৯

May 24, 2013

৮ মে ২০১৩, বুধবার

আর দুদিন পরে ১১ মে পাকিস্তানের সাধারণ নির্বাচন। এই নির্বাচনকে ঘিরে প্রায় চার মাস ধরে চলছে ভয়ানক প্রাক-নির্বাচনী সন্ত্রাসী হানা। টাইমলাইন সর্বশেষ সর্বনিম্নে এভাবে সন্নিবেশিত।

The file photo shows a scene of a blast near an ANP rally in Peshawar. - File Photo

A timeline of pre-poll violence

December 10, 2012: A bomb explodes at a gathering of the secular Awami National Party (ANP) in Charsadda, injuring seven people. The bomb contained 500 grams of explosives detonated by a remote controlled device.

Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) assumes responsibility for the blast and threatens to launch attacks directed at the secular parties of Pakistan, namely, ANP, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and later, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

December 22, 2012: Twelve days later, a suicide attack on a meeting of the ANP killed Bashir Bilour, a senior ANP leader and former provincial minister and eight others in Peshawar. TTP assumed responsibility for the attack, adding that the attack on Bilour was a revenge for the previous “martyrdom” of TTP’s senior leader Sheikh Naseeb Khan.

January 1, 2013: On the first day of the new year, an explosion ripped through a bus that was carrying participants to a MQM rally in Karachi’s Ayesha Manzil area. Four people were killed and at least 40 others injured in the bomb blast.

TTP claimed responsibility for the blast and its spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan said that the blast was meant to target MQM, adding that more attacks would follow. He also warned the public from attending any MQM rallies, according to the Express Tribune.

January 12, 2013: ANP leader Bashir Khan Umarzai was targeted in a blast that took place in his hometown of Charsadda in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province and was injured amongst the 15 injured.

However, the motive for the attack was considered to be apolitical by the police as they said that Taliban’s affiliates in the neighbouring Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) were also involved in taking money for attacking people’s rivals.

Therefore, the KP police concluded that the attack’s motive was linked to a blood feud between the influential families of Charsadda.

The police came to this conclusion despite the similarities between the attack on Umarzai and other attacks that killed senior ANP leaders like Bashir Bilour and other party workers.

February 3, 2013: Speaking to media in a video from an undisclosed location, the TTP spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan cited TTP’s reasons for targeting the MQM, who were being targeted in order “to bring [the party] to justice and support the innocent people” because the MQM engaged in “open acts of terrorism [by] killing […] innocent people and religious scholars”, as well as the atrocious acts of extorting money from traders and killing them too.

The TTP spokesperson further said that MQM were targeted previously and similar attacks shall continue to be launched against them.

February 15, 2013: Former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister and ANP leader Ameer Haider Khan Hoti escaped unhurt in a suicide attack targeted at his convoy as it passed outside the Abdul Wali KhanUniversity in Mardan.

March 12, 2013: A gas explosion occurred outside the home of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa information minister and ANP senior leader Mian Iftikhar Hussain in the town of Pabbi in the KP province. Six people, including three children were injured in the blast. However, the possibility that it may be a terrorist attack was ruled out.

March 14, 2013: Election candidates in KP began expressing worries about their safety due to the threat of attacks that would disrupt the electioneering in the province.

March 23, 2013: TTP threatened to assassinate former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf when he returned to Pakistan to contest in the elections. A month after the TTP threatened to assassinate Musharraf, an explosives-laden car was found outside his Chak Shehzad home.

March 25, 2013: Election candidates in Bara call for the May 11 polls to be postponed in the NA-46 constituency because of the threats received from a militant group and the lack of a foolproof security plan for the candidates to carry out their campaigning.

March 31, 2013: Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for a blast in the Jani Khel area of KP’s Bannu district. Two people were killed and eight others injured. The blast was directed at the convoy of Malik Adnan Wazir, a former provincial assembly member and belonged to ANP.

April 2, 2013: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) called off a large-scale public rally meant to launch its election campaign for the 2013 elections amid security threats and instead held small-scale events.

April 4, 2013: District office of Election Commission of Pakistan was attacked in the Kharan district of Balochistan by unknown militants. One policeman was injured in the attack.

April 9, 2013: Federal caretaker interior minister Malik Mohammad Habib Khan reassures that the caretaker governments at the centre and in provinces were going to cooperate with the ECP in making detailed security arrangements for ensuring free and fair election on May 11.

April 10, 2013: Chief Election Commissioner Justice (retd) Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim appealed to the chiefs of different political parties to help the ECP keep order in the run-up to the May 11 elections and prevent any attempts to sabotage the electoral process in any manner whatsoever.

April 11, 2013: TTP assassinates a MQM candidate for the Sindh assembly’s PS-47 seat in Hyderabad, Sindh. Fakhrul Islam, 46, was sprayed with bullets and sustained fatal injuries to his head and abdomen and died on spot.

On the same day, the former agriculture minister of KP province, Arbab Ayub Jan escaped a remote-controlled bomb attack in Peshawar. He was returning from an election rally when his car was targeted near the Tarnab farms, injuring his driver in the process.

April 14, 2013: A local ANP leader, Mukaram Shah, was killed in an improvised explosive device (IED) attack that occurred in Swat’s Manglawar area, while another ANP candidate Syed Masoom Shah was injured in a bomb blast that occurred near the venue of a party rally in Charsadda.

April 15, 2013: ANP leader Senator Zahid Khan warned that his party would register an FIR against the ECP if any of its leaders were hurt due to the lack of security. The party has complained of deficient security many times since the election campaigns began, as well as criticised other political parties and the media for not criticising the attacks on the political parties of the previous coalition government.

On the same day, the interior ministry announced stricter security measures for protecting the lives of members and candidates of political parties, especially ANP, MQM and PPP.

April 16, 2013: PPP candidate for NA-1, Zulfiqar Afghani’s house was attacked by unidentified militants who threw a hand grenade at the premises. Everybody in his house remained safe as the grenade exploded on the roof of the house. No damage to life or property was reported.

Separately, a bomb blast occurred at ANP’s rally in Peshawar’s Yakatoot area where 16 people, including two children, a journalist and six police officials were killed while dozens others, also including children and women were injured. The blast was reported to have occurred just after senior ANP leader Ghulam Ahmed Bilour arrived.

In a separate incident, a bomb blast targeted the convoy of Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) provincial chief of Balochistan Sanaullah Zehri in the Khuzdar district. At least four people were killed in the blast, including Zehri’s son, brother, nephew and a guard. At least 25 other people were injured in the blast.

April 18, 2013: A bomb was discovered near the Mardan Press Club in KP’s Mardan town. An office of the ANP was also situated in the vicinity and possible target for the bomb attack.

PTI chief Imran Khan’s house in Islamabad was attacked by “miscreants” who mistreated his brother-in-law and other family members. Islamabad police was criticised for not responding to repeated calls by the family. PTI official Shireen Mazari demanded that the interior minister to tender his resignation immediately as he had failed to provide adequate security to Khan.

On the same day in Peshawar, at least two explosions and gunfire was heard in the vicinity of the office of a political agent on Bara Road. At least five people were killed and seven others were injured in the incident.

April 21, 2013: A hand grenade was thrown at the residence of Muhammad Hashim Baloch, an election commission officer in Kharan, Balochistan. The attack injured his daughter and damaged the windows of his residence.

On the same day, the election camps of the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) in Karachiwere set on fire.

April 22, 2013: In Turbat, Balochistan, the house of National Party (NP) chief Dr Malik Baloch was attacked, whereas two ANP activists were killed when unknown gunmen fired upon the party’s election rally in the Pishin district. The attacks were claimed by the banned Baloch Liberation Army.

April 23, 2013: At least six people were killed and another 45 injured in an explosion in Quetta’s Nichari road area. The election office of a PML-N candidate was also situated in the same area. The banned militant outfit, Lashkar-i-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for the blast.

On the same day, MQM chief Altaf Hussain ordered a temporary shutdown of MQM’s election offices following the attacks on the party workers and supporters.

April 24, 2013: Eight separate bomb blasts rocked Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces of Pakistan. The cities of Karachi, Quetta, Peshawar and Dera Ismail Khan respectively claimed at least 11 lives and left up to 75 people injured.

April 25, 2013: TTP was reported to be distributing pamphlets in Buner, Peshawar and different areas of Karachi as a warning to the citizens to not participate in the upcoming May 11 polls. The pamphlets warned the voters that they would be entirely responsible for their lives should they choose to participate in the election.

April 26, 2013: Protestors staged a sit-in protest on the ICI bridge and Mauripur Road in order to protest against the killings of “innocent” PPP workers in a shootout that took place in Lyari on Tuesday night.

On the same day, MQM chief Altaf Hussain alleged that the recent wave of attacks on ANP, MQM and PPP were a part of a plot to bring the right-wing parties into power in the May 11 polls.

A bomb blast occurred at a corner meeting of the ANP near the Mominabad Police Station in Karachi’s SITE area. The attack killed at least 10 people, including a child and more than 40 people sustained injuries. The attack was claimed by the TTP.

The Rangers arrested four activists of the Sindh Taraqi Pasand Party (STPP) in Hyderabad’s Qasimabad area, as well as fired upon a crowd that had gathered there in order to disperse it.

April 27, 2013: A bomb-and-rocket attack hit the rally of Muhammad Hashim Shahwani, a candidate of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) held in Machh. Six people were injured in the attack and two vehicles were damaged.

Separately, grenade attacks were launched on the election office of the National Party (NP) and the house of Azim Buledi in Kech, a provincial assembly candidate of the same party.

In Karachi, two separate blasts occurred near an election office of the MQM in OrangiTown’s Qasba Colony. The blasts killed at least two people and injured 25 others, including two children.

The blasts at MQM’s election office were followed by another bomb blast targeting an election meeting of ANP’s candidate Bashir Jan in OrangiTown, killing at least 11 and injuring over 50 people. TTP claimed responsibility for this attack.

ANP’s former Balochistan MPA Sultan Tareen was kidnapped on March 5 in the Pishin district. He was released a month later after ransom was paid.

April 28, 2013: A corner meeting of the PPP candidate for PS-111, Adnan Baloch was attacked, killing at least three people, including a woman and injuring about 20 others in Karachi’s Lyari area. Adnan Baloch was also injured in the attack.

On the same day, TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said that TTP was only targeting those secular parties who were a part of the previous government and thus, responsible for the military operations against the Taliban and other militant outfits in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

Early in the morning on April 28, a group of paramilitary Rangers raided a PPP election office in Karachi’s Lyari area, as well as encircled and searched the houses of Uzair Jan Baloch, head of the Karachi City Alliance (KCA).

A bomb blast took place in Swabi, killing a child and injuring 13 others, when people attending a corner meeting of the ANP provincial assembly candidate Amir Rehman were returning from the meeting.

April 29, 2013: Election offices of three candidates in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Kohat, and Peshawar were attacked with bombs, killing at least nine and leaving 56 injured. According to a foreign news agency, TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan claimed responsibility for the attacks on behalf of the TTP.

In a separate incident, a convoy of an election candidate of the ANP was also targeted in Swabi with a remote-controlled bomb, killing a teenager and injuring 13 other people. This attack was also attributed to the Taliban.

Another bomb blast occurred outside the office of an independent candidate, Nasir Khan Afridi in Maqsoodabad near Charsadda. The explosion killed three people and injured 20 people, including children.

A motorcycle laden with explosives was recovered from Karachi’s Landhi area by the local police, as well as a Suzuki Hi-roof vehicle packed with explosives and other weapons in Karachi’s Islamia Colony. It was suspected that the former was to be used to target an election rally in the city.

In a rare show of support, ANP, MQM and PPP came together and vowed to remain “fight terror” and remain brave in the face of attacks on their election candidates and offices by the TTP in the run-up to the May 11 polls.

April 30, 2013: An independent election candidate, Abdul Fateh Magsi and three other were killed in Balochistan’s Jhal Magsi area by unknown attackers, leading to the postponement of general election in the PB-32 constituency by ECP.

In a separate incident, two MQM workers were shot dead by unknown gunmen in Hyderabad’s Latifabad area.

May 1, 2013: A convoy of National People’s Party (NPP) candidate Dr Ibrahim Jatoi was hit by a bomb blast near the Shikarpur toll plaza in Sindh. The attack injured at least two people while Jatoi escaped unhurt.

Three people were reportedly injured in a separate explosion in Balochistan’s Dera Murad Jamali area.

In Peshawar, the bomb disposal squad thwarted two bids to sabotage the election campaigns of candidates of the ANP and the PML-N, contesting for the provincial assembly seats. The first explosive device was defused in Mathra where it was meant to target PK-8 candidate for ANP’s Arbab Nazir. The second one was defused near the house of the PML-N candidate for PK-7, Syed Abbas Ali Shah alias Mouzam Bacha in the Bacha Ghari area of Pir Bala on Warsak Road.

The ECP also finalised a security plan for the polling day next week in the wake of the targeted attacks on political parties and their candidates and workers. According to the plan, squads of 20 to 30 army personnel would be utilised as units of quick response forces on May 11.

A hand-held bomb was hurled at an election office of the PML-N candidate Haji Lashkari Raisani situated in Quetta’s Arbab Ghulam Ali road area by unknown armed men. Four party activists were injured in the incident.

May 2, 2013: Unknown bombers blew up two schools designated as polling stations in the upcoming May 11 polls in the Chattar village in Balochistan’s Naseerabad district. A boys’ primary school and a middle school were targeted in the blast. The incident has been confirmed by the police but no one had claimed responsibility for the attack.

May 3. 2013: TTP gunned down the ANP candidate for NA-254, Sadiq Zaman Khattak and his four-year-old son in Korangi’s Bilal Colony area in Karachi. Khattak was the general secretary of the party in District East of Karachi.

May 4, 2013: A time bomb exploded outside the election office of Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf (PTI) near Peshawar’s Panchgai road. PTI’s election office and nearby shops were damaged in the blast.

In a separate incident, a bomb blast occurred near the convoy of a Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) candidate Raj Mohammad for the NA-39 constituency in the Hangu district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. He survived the blast uninjured.

May 5, 2013: Violence broke out between rival political parties in Karachi’s Landhi area just before the May 11 polls. The violence claimed one life and left four other people injured, according to both police and party sources.

Three people were killed and at least 40 were injured in a bomb blast targeting an MQM election office in Karachi’s Azizabad area on Saturday night. That election office was situated near MQM’s headquarters, Nine-Zero.

May 6, 2013: A bomb blast occurs in Charsadda’s Shabqadar Mirzai area targeting a PPP election office, completely destroying the office premises and wounding a man, according to sources.

Separately, a worker of the Pakistan Muslim League – Functional (PML-F) was gunned down and three others injured in an armed attack on an office of the party in Karachi’s Ayub Goth area, according to the party and police sources.

May 7, 2013: ECP announces an increase in security arrangements at polling stations for the May 11 polls. According to the revised plan, most sensitive polling stations shall have ten personnel instead of nine, while nine of them would be deployed at less sensitive polling stations instead of the original eight.

Furthermore, non-sensitive polling stations would have five security personnel stationed there instead of four as previously specified. He added that the army would remain on stand-by as a quick response force.

An explosion targeting the rally of a JUI-F candidate, Mufti Syed Janan in KP province’s Hangu district killed ten people and wounded 22 other people. Janan and his two bodyguards were also injured but he was reported to be out of danger. After the attack, a curfew was imposed in the Hangu district, where the bomb blast took place in Doaba town.

In a separate incident, another bomb blast targeted a PPP rally in the Baba Gam village of Lower Dir. The explosion killed three people and wounded five. It was caused by an improvised explosive device (IED), which exploded near the vehicle of the brother of Muhammad Zamin Khan, a PPP candidate from the PK-96 candidate from Lower Dir.

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৮ মে ২০১৩, বুধবার

তেমন গুরুত্বপূর্ণ কিছু নেই, তারপরও নোয়াম চমস্কির সাক্ষাৎকার বলে কথা, তাও আবার পাকিস্তানের আসন্ন নির্বাচন নিয়ে। আমি ছাড়া ছাড়া পড়ে গেছি, আপনি কিভাবে পড়বেন — আপনার ব্যাপার।

Exclusive interview with Noam Chomsky on Pakistan elections

As a country which has spent almost half of its existence under some sort of direct military rule how do you see this first ever impending transition from one democratically-elected government to another?

Noam Chomsky: Well, you know more about the internal situation of Pakistan than I do! I mean I think it’s good to see something like a democratic transition. Of course, there are plenty of qualifications to that but it is a big change from dictatorship. That’s a positive sign. And I think there is some potential for introducing badly needed changes. There are very serious problems to deal with internally and in the country’s international relations. So maybe, now some of them can be confronted.

Coming to election issues, what do you think, sitting afar and as an observer, are the basic issues that need to be handled by whoever is voted into power?

NC: Well, first of all, the internal issues. Pakistan is not a unified country. In large parts of the country, the state is regarded as a Punjabi state, not their (the people’s) state. In fact, I think the last serious effort to deal with this was probably in the 1970s, when during the Bhutto regime some sort of arrangement of federalism was instituted for devolving power so that people feel the government is responding to them and not just some special interests focused on a particular region and class. Now that’s a major problem.

Another problem is the confrontation with India. Pakistan just cannot survive if it continues to do so (continue this confrontation). Pakistan will never be able to match the Indian militarily and the effort to do so is taking an immense toll on the society. It’s also extremely dangerous with all the weapons development. The two countries have already come close to nuclear confrontation twice and this could get worse. So dealing with the relationship with India is extremely important.

And that of course focuses right away on Kashmir. Some kind of settlement in Kashmir is crucial for both countries. It’s also tearing India apart with horrible atrocities in the region which is controlled by Indian armed forces. This is feeding right back into society even in the domain of elementary civil rights. A good American friend of mine who has lived in India for many years, working as a journalist, was recently denied entry to the country because he wrote on Kashmir. This is a reflection of fractures within society. Pakistan, too, has to focus on the Lashkar [Lashkar-i-Taiba] and other similar groups and work towards some sort of sensible compromise on Kashmir.

And of course this goes beyond. There is Pakistan’s relationship with Afghanistan which will also be a very tricky issue in the coming years. Then there is a large part of Pakistan which is being torn apart from American drone attacks. The country is being invaded constantly by a terrorist superpower. Again, this is not a small problem.

Historically, several policy domains, including that of foreign policy towards the US and India, budget allocations etc, have been controlled by the Pakistani military, and the civil-military divide can be said to be the most fundamental fracture in Pakistan’s body politic. Do you see this changing with recent elections, keeping in mind the military’s deep penetration into Pakistan’s political economy?

NC: Yes, the military has a huge role in the economy with big stakes and, as you say, it has constantly intervened to make sure that it keeps its hold on policy making. Well, I hope, and there seem to be some signs, that the military is taking a backseat, not really in the economy, but in some of the policy issues. If that can continue, which perhaps it will, this will be a positive development.

Maybe, something like what has happened recently in Turkey. In Turkey also, for a long time, the military was the decisive force but in the past 10 years they have backed off somewhat and the civilian government has gained more independence and autonomy even to shake up the military command. In fact, it even arrested several high-ranking officers [for interfering in governmental affairs]. Maybe Pakistan can move in a similar direction. Similar problems are arising in Egypt too. The question is whether the military will release its grip which has been extremely strong for the past 60 years. So this is happening all over the region and particularly strikingly in Pakistan.

In the coming elections, all indications are that a coalition government will be formed. The party of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is leading the polls with Imran Khan’s (relatively) newly-emerged party not far behind. Do you think an impending coalition government will be sufficiently equipped to handle the myriad problems facing the country that you have just pointed out, such as civil-military imbalance, drone attacks, extremist violence etc.

NC: Well, we have a record for Nawaz Sharif but not the others. And judging by the record, it’s pretty hard to be optimistic. His [Sharif’s] previous governments were very corrupt and regressive in the policies pursued. But the very fact that there is popular participation can have impact. That’s what leads to change, as it has just recently in North Africa (in Tunisia and Egypt). As far as change goes, significant change does not come from above, it comes through popular activism.

In the past month or so, statements from the US State Department and the American ambassador to Pakistan have indicated quite a few times that they have ‘no favourites’ in the upcoming elections. What is your take on that especially with the impending (formal) US withdrawal from Afghanistan?

NC: That could well be true. I do not think that US government has any particular interest in one or another element of an internal political confrontation. But it does have very definite interests in what it wants Pakistan to be doing. For example, it wants Pakistan to continue to permit aggressive and violent American actions on Pakistani territory. It wants Pakistan to be supportive of US goals in Afghanistan. The US also deeply cares about Pakistan’s relationship with Iran. The US very much wants Pakistan to cut relations with Iran which they [Pakistan] are not doing. They are following a somewhat independent course in this regard, as are India, China and many other countries which are not strictly under the thumb of the US. That will be an important issue because Iran is such a major issue in American foreign policy. And this goes beyond as every year Pakistan has been providing military forces to protect dictatorships in the Gulf from their own populations (e.g. the Saudi Royal Guard and recently in Bahrain). That role has diminished but Pakistan is, and was considered to be, a part of the so-called ‘peripheral system’ which surrounded the Middle East oil dictatorships with non-Arab states such as Turkey, Iran (under the Shah) and Pakistan. Israel was admitted into the club in 1967. One of the main purposes of this was to constrain and limit secular nationalism in the region which was considered a threat to the oil dictatorships.

As you might know, a nationalist insurgency has been going on in Balochistan for almost the past decade. How do you see it affected by the elections, especially as some nationalist parties have decided to take part in polls while others have decried those participating as having sold out to the military establishment?

NC: Balochistan, and to some extent Sindh too, has a general feeling that they are not part of the decision-making process in Pakistan and are ruled by a Punjabi dictatorship. There is a lot of exploitation of the rich resources [in Balochistan] which the locals are not gaining from. As long as this goes on, it is going to keep providing grounds for serious uprisings and insurgencies. This brings us back to the first question which is about developing a constructive from of federalism which will actually ensure participation from the various [smaller] provinces and not just, as they see it, robbing them.

It is now well-known that the Taliban’s creation was facilitated by the CIA and the ISI as part of the 1980s anti-Soviet war. But the dynamics of the Taliban now appear to be very different and complex, in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, as they attack governments and mainstream parties. Some people say that foreign intelligence agencies are still behind the Taliban, while others consider this a denial of home-grown problems of extremism and intolerance. How do you view the Taliban in the context of Pakistan?

NC: I can understand the idea that there is a conspiracy. In fact, in much of the world there is a sense of an ultra-powerful CIA manipulating everything that happens, such as running the Arab Spring, running the Pakistani Taliban, etc. That is just nonsense. They [CIA] created a monster and now they are appalled by it. It has its roots in internal Pakistani affairs. It’s a horrible development and phenomenon which goes back to radical Islamisation under Zia and taking away the long standing rights of people in the tribal areas (who were left largely alone). The Pashtuns in particular are kind of trapped. They’ve never accepted the Durand Line nor has any Afghan government historically accepted it. Travel from what is called Pakistan to Afghanistan has been made increasingly difficult and people are often labelled terrorists, even those who might be just visiting families. It is a border which makes absolutely no sense. It was imposed by the needs of British imperialism and all of these things are festering sores which have to be dealt with internally. These are not CIA manipulations.

Actually, US government policies are continuing to do exactly the same thing [produce terrorism]. Two days after the Boston marathon bombings, there was a drone strike in Yemen attacking a peaceful village, which killed a target who could very easily have been apprehended. But of course it is just easier to terrorise people. The drones are a terrorist weapon, they not only kill targets but also terrorise other people. That is what happens constantly in Waziristan. There happened to be a testimony in the Senate a week later by a young man who was living in the US but was originally from that village [in Yemen which was bombed]. And he testified that for years the ‘jihadi’ groups in Yemen had been trying to turn the villagers against the Americans and had failed. The villagers admired America. But this one terrorist strike has turned them into radical anti-Americans, which will only serve as a breeding ground for more terrorists.

There was a striking example of this in Pakistan when the US sent in Special Forces, to be honest, to kill Osama Bin Laden. He could easily have been apprehended and caught but their orders were to kill him. If you remember the way they did it, the way they tried to identify his [Osama’s] position was through a fake vaccination campaign set up by the CIA in the city. It started in a poor area and then when they decided that Osama was in a different area, they cut it off in the middle and shifted [the vaccination campaign] to a richer area. Now, that is a violation of principles which go as far back as the Hippocratic Oath. Well, in the end they did kill their target but meanwhile it aroused fears all over Pakistan and even as far as Nigeria about what these Westerners are doing when they come in and start sticking needles in their arms. These are understandable fears but were exacerbated. Very soon, health workers were being abducted and several were murdered (in Pakistan). The UN even had to take out its whole anti-polio team. Pakistan is one of the last places in the world where polio still exists and the disease could have been totally wiped out from this planet like smallpox. But now, it means that, according to current estimates, there will be thousands of children in Pakistan at risk of contracting polio. As a health scientist at Columbia University, Les Roberts, pointed out, sooner or later people are going to be looking at a child in a wheelchair suffering from polio and will say ‘the Americans did that to him’. So they continue policies which have similar effects i.e. organising the Taliban. This will come back to them too.

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৮ মে ২০১৩, বুধবার

তেমন গুরুত্বপূর্ণ কিছু নেই, তারপরও নোয়াম চমস্কির সাক্ষাৎকার বলে কথা, তাও আবার পাকিস্তানের আসন্ন নির্বাচন নিয়ে। আমি ছাড়া ছাড়া পড়ে গেছি, আপনি কিভাবে পড়বেন — আপনার ব্যাপার।

Exclusive interview with Noam Chomsky on Pakistan elections

As a country which has spent almost half of its existence under some sort of direct military rule how do you see this first ever impending transition from one democratically-elected government to another?

Noam Chomsky: Well, you know more about the internal situation of Pakistan than I do! I mean I think it’s good to see something like a democratic transition. Of course, there are plenty of qualifications to that but it is a big change from dictatorship. That’s a positive sign. And I think there is some potential for introducing badly needed changes. There are very serious problems to deal with internally and in the country’s international relations. So maybe, now some of them can be confronted.

Coming to election issues, what do you think, sitting afar and as an observer, are the basic issues that need to be handled by whoever is voted into power?

NC: Well, first of all, the internal issues. Pakistan is not a unified country. In large parts of the country, the state is regarded as a Punjabi state, not their (the people’s) state. In fact, I think the last serious effort to deal with this was probably in the 1970s, when during the Bhutto regime some sort of arrangement of federalism was instituted for devolving power so that people feel the government is responding to them and not just some special interests focused on a particular region and class. Now that’s a major problem.

Another problem is the confrontation with India. Pakistan just cannot survive if it continues to do so (continue this confrontation). Pakistan will never be able to match the Indian militarily and the effort to do so is taking an immense toll on the society. It’s also extremely dangerous with all the weapons development. The two countries have already come close to nuclear confrontation twice and this could get worse. So dealing with the relationship with India is extremely important.

And that of course focuses right away on Kashmir. Some kind of settlement in Kashmir is crucial for both countries. It’s also tearing India apart with horrible atrocities in the region which is controlled by Indian armed forces. This is feeding right back into society even in the domain of elementary civil rights. A good American friend of mine who has lived in India for many years, working as a journalist, was recently denied entry to the country because he wrote on Kashmir. This is a reflection of fractures within society. Pakistan, too, has to focus on the Lashkar [Lashkar-i-Taiba] and other similar groups and work towards some sort of sensible compromise on Kashmir.

And of course this goes beyond. There is Pakistan’s relationship with Afghanistan which will also be a very tricky issue in the coming years. Then there is a large part of Pakistan which is being torn apart from American drone attacks. The country is being invaded constantly by a terrorist superpower. Again, this is not a small problem.

Historically, several policy domains, including that of foreign policy towards the US and India, budget allocations etc, have been controlled by the Pakistani military, and the civil-military divide can be said to be the most fundamental fracture in Pakistan’s body politic. Do you see this changing with recent elections, keeping in mind the military’s deep penetration into Pakistan’s political economy?

NC: Yes, the military has a huge role in the economy with big stakes and, as you say, it has constantly intervened to make sure that it keeps its hold on policy making. Well, I hope, and there seem to be some signs, that the military is taking a backseat, not really in the economy, but in some of the policy issues. If that can continue, which perhaps it will, this will be a positive development.

Maybe, something like what has happened recently in Turkey. In Turkey also, for a long time, the military was the decisive force but in the past 10 years they have backed off somewhat and the civilian government has gained more independence and autonomy even to shake up the military command. In fact, it even arrested several high-ranking officers [for interfering in governmental affairs]. Maybe Pakistan can move in a similar direction. Similar problems are arising in Egypt too. The question is whether the military will release its grip which has been extremely strong for the past 60 years. So this is happening all over the region and particularly strikingly in Pakistan.

In the coming elections, all indications are that a coalition government will be formed. The party of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is leading the polls with Imran Khan’s (relatively) newly-emerged party not far behind. Do you think an impending coalition government will be sufficiently equipped to handle the myriad problems facing the country that you have just pointed out, such as civil-military imbalance, drone attacks, extremist violence etc.

NC: Well, we have a record for Nawaz Sharif but not the others. And judging by the record, it’s pretty hard to be optimistic. His [Sharif’s] previous governments were very corrupt and regressive in the policies pursued. But the very fact that there is popular participation can have impact. That’s what leads to change, as it has just recently in North Africa (in Tunisia and Egypt). As far as change goes, significant change does not come from above, it comes through popular activism.

In the past month or so, statements from the US State Department and the American ambassador to Pakistan have indicated quite a few times that they have ‘no favourites’ in the upcoming elections. What is your take on that especially with the impending (formal) US withdrawal from Afghanistan?

NC: That could well be true. I do not think that US government has any particular interest in one or another element of an internal political confrontation. But it does have very definite interests in what it wants Pakistan to be doing. For example, it wants Pakistan to continue to permit aggressive and violent American actions on Pakistani territory. It wants Pakistan to be supportive of US goals in Afghanistan. The US also deeply cares about Pakistan’s relationship with Iran. The US very much wants Pakistan to cut relations with Iran which they [Pakistan] are not doing. They are following a somewhat independent course in this regard, as are India, China and many other countries which are not strictly under the thumb of the US. That will be an important issue because Iran is such a major issue in American foreign policy. And this goes beyond as every year Pakistan has been providing military forces to protect dictatorships in the Gulf from their own populations (e.g. the Saudi Royal Guard and recently in Bahrain). That role has diminished but Pakistan is, and was considered to be, a part of the so-called ‘peripheral system’ which surrounded the Middle East oil dictatorships with non-Arab states such as Turkey, Iran (under the Shah) and Pakistan. Israel was admitted into the club in 1967. One of the main purposes of this was to constrain and limit secular nationalism in the region which was considered a threat to the oil dictatorships.

As you might know, a nationalist insurgency has been going on in Balochistan for almost the past decade. How do you see it affected by the elections, especially as some nationalist parties have decided to take part in polls while others have decried those participating as having sold out to the military establishment?

NC: Balochistan, and to some extent Sindh too, has a general feeling that they are not part of the decision-making process in Pakistan and are ruled by a Punjabi dictatorship. There is a lot of exploitation of the rich resources [in Balochistan] which the locals are not gaining from. As long as this goes on, it is going to keep providing grounds for serious uprisings and insurgencies. This brings us back to the first question which is about developing a constructive from of federalism which will actually ensure participation from the various [smaller] provinces and not just, as they see it, robbing them.

It is now well-known that the Taliban’s creation was facilitated by the CIA and the ISI as part of the 1980s anti-Soviet war. But the dynamics of the Taliban now appear to be very different and complex, in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, as they attack governments and mainstream parties. Some people say that foreign intelligence agencies are still behind the Taliban, while others consider this a denial of home-grown problems of extremism and intolerance. How do you view the Taliban in the context of Pakistan?

NC: I can understand the idea that there is a conspiracy. In fact, in much of the world there is a sense of an ultra-powerful CIA manipulating everything that happens, such as running the Arab Spring, running the Pakistani Taliban, etc. That is just nonsense. They [CIA] created a monster and now they are appalled by it. It has its roots in internal Pakistani affairs. It’s a horrible development and phenomenon which goes back to radical Islamisation under Zia and taking away the long standing rights of people in the tribal areas (who were left largely alone). The Pashtuns in particular are kind of trapped. They’ve never accepted the Durand Line nor has any Afghan government historically accepted it. Travel from what is called Pakistan to Afghanistan has been made increasingly difficult and people are often labelled terrorists, even those who might be just visiting families. It is a border which makes absolutely no sense. It was imposed by the needs of British imperialism and all of these things are festering sores which have to be dealt with internally. These are not CIA manipulations.

Actually, US government policies are continuing to do exactly the same thing [produce terrorism]. Two days after the Boston marathon bombings, there was a drone strike in Yemen attacking a peaceful village, which killed a target who could very easily have been apprehended. But of course it is just easier to terrorise people. The drones are a terrorist weapon, they not only kill targets but also terrorise other people. That is what happens constantly in Waziristan. There happened to be a testimony in the Senate a week later by a young man who was living in the US but was originally from that village [in Yemen which was bombed]. And he testified that for years the ‘jihadi’ groups in Yemen had been trying to turn the villagers against the Americans and had failed. The villagers admired America. But this one terrorist strike has turned them into radical anti-Americans, which will only serve as a breeding ground for more terrorists.

There was a striking example of this in Pakistan when the US sent in Special Forces, to be honest, to kill Osama Bin Laden. He could easily have been apprehended and caught but their orders were to kill him. If you remember the way they did it, the way they tried to identify his [Osama’s] position was through a fake vaccination campaign set up by the CIA in the city. It started in a poor area and then when they decided that Osama was in a different area, they cut it off in the middle and shifted [the vaccination campaign] to a richer area. Now, that is a violation of principles which go as far back as the Hippocratic Oath. Well, in the end they did kill their target but meanwhile it aroused fears all over Pakistan and even as far as Nigeria about what these Westerners are doing when they come in and start sticking needles in their arms. These are understandable fears but were exacerbated. Very soon, health workers were being abducted and several were murdered (in Pakistan). The UN even had to take out its whole anti-polio team. Pakistan is one of the last places in the world where polio still exists and the disease could have been totally wiped out from this planet like smallpox. But now, it means that, according to current estimates, there will be thousands of children in Pakistan at risk of contracting polio. As a health scientist at Columbia University, Les Roberts, pointed out, sooner or later people are going to be looking at a child in a wheelchair suffering from polio and will say ‘the Americans did that to him’. So they continue policies which have similar effects i.e. organising the Taliban. This will come back to them too.

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৮ মে ২০১৩, বুধবার

পাকিস্তানের নির্বাচনী প্রচারকে জঙ্গি হানার লক্ষ্য করে রক্তবন্যা বইয়ে দিচ্ছে তেহরিক-ই-তালেবান ও অন্যান্য চরমপন্থী ইসলামবাদী সন্ত্রাসীরা। মূলত হামলা হচ্ছে পাকিস্তান পিপলস পার্টি, আওয়ামী ন্যাশনাল পার্টি ও মুত্তাহিদা কওমি মুভমেন্ট এই তিন দলের নির্বাচনী সমাবেশে। কিন্তু এতকিছুর পরও এই রাজনৈতিক দলগুলো একদিনের জন্যও তাদের নির্বাচনী প্রচারণা বন্ধ করছে না। পাকিস্তানের গণতান্ত্রিক এই দলগুলোর সাহসী অগ্রযাত্রা তাদেরকে কী ফল এনে দেবে ১১ মে’র নির্বাচনে? অনেকে যদিও আশা করছেন তালেবানদের সহযোগিতা পেয়ে নওয়াজ শরিফের মুসলিম লীগ ও ইমরান খানের তেহরিক-ই-ইনসাফ ভাল ফল করবে — কিন্তু অনেকে মনে করছে নানা প্রতিকূলতার মধ্যে প্রচার চালিয়ে যাওয়া পাকিস্তান পিপলস পার্টি, আওয়ামী ন্যাশনাল পার্টি ও মুত্তাহিদা কওমি মুভমেন্টই ভাল ফল করবে। ব্যক্তিগতভাবে আমারও মনে হচ্ছে ওই তিনটি দলই ভাল ফল করবে।

As Election Bloodbath Continues, Parties Solider On

So far, Awami National Party, Muttahida Qaumi Movement and Peoples Party are on the hit list of militant group Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). The increasing attacks within the past few days have raised a lot of questions about the credibility of the upcoming elections – the violence has also helped create a rift among various political groups.

MQM’s Farooq Sattar says that the act of not condemning the attacks is not only selfish but also indifferent. “They (political parties) need to understand that they can be in a similar situation too,” Sattar said, adding that, he fails to understand what the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the interim government is up to, in the wake of attacks on three major political parties. “My question is, are these militants even bigger than the law enforcing agencies and the ECP, to openly declare war on three political parties, while leaving out the rest?”

In order to answer similar security and safety questions, an All Parties Conference was held in Karachi on April 30, attended by 22 political parties. But the general secretary of ANP, Bashir Jan, spoke vehemently against it. It was held to make political parties sign the code of conduct prepared by the ECP, says Jan. “When I complained to the chief minister that their rules are not being followed, he ‘requested’ the party involved to please follow the rules. So, I asked him to make an appeal to the terrorists as well, if something can be achieved by appealing,” he added.

Haroon Bilour (R), an Awami National Party (ANP) candidate for the upcoming elections, meets constituents seeking help for problems at his house in Peshawar, May 2, 2013. Since April, the Pakistani Taliban have killed more than 70 people in attacks targeting three major political parties – the Awami National Party (ANP), the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM), preventing many of their most prominent candidates from openly campaigning.

With a recent attack on ANP that killed one of its candidates on a general seat, Sadiq Zaman Khattak, along with his four-year-old son in Karachi’s Korangi area, the party is seriously reconsidering its election campaign. Bashir Jan says that they have decided not to take out rallies or hold huge gatherings; rather, their workers will go door-to-door and ask for votes. “But we’ll contest elections, irrespective,” he added firmly.

Amid reports of a threat on Bilawal Bhutto’s life, the PPP has chosen to keep its election campaign “constituency specific” senator Taj Haider explained. He said the party is focusing on distributing door-to-door pamphlets and believes that irrespective of the circumstances, the election result will be good. “There’s a handicap for sure. But it all depends on the day of result. I think a low profile campaigning won’t affect the results.”

But MQM’s Sattar, who said they were also making a door-to-door request for votes, pointed out the recent attacks on election offices, affected their campaign.

An ECP spokesperson, who was not authorised to speak to the media, said that the provincial government is responsible for ensuring law and order and security of the polling staff as well as political groups. The spokesperson said that in a meeting with the National Crisis Management Cell on April 25 last month, it was outlined that ECP’s job is to make sure the elections are held in time. It was also decided in the same meeting that a response team of 70,000 law enforcement officials will be spread across the country for the Election Day. There’ll be 50 teams per polling stations, apart from local police and levies etc and 500 officials per district. The spokesperson added that the ECP is also holding talks with the military as well. When countered whether the upcoming elections are going to be free and fair, the spokesperson responded: “The atmosphere can’t be ideal, as it is not ideal anywhere in the world.”

In a ninth terror strike in Karachi, the interim government and ECP have come under severe criticism from political parties being attacked. Special advisor to Interim Chief Minster, Sindh, Khursheed Memon said that the anger is understandable. He said that political parties are rightly protesting and criticising. According to Memon, “We have a police force of 67,000 and 15,000 polling stations across Sindh. We do have handicaps but have a procedure to take care of it too.” Speaking about the fairness of the upcoming elections being questioned by political parties, Memon said that the ECP as well as the interim government was appointed by the political parties themselves, “so there’s no point questioning the fairness of the election now.”

President of the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (Pildat), Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, believes that the elections are “not as free and fair” as they were expecting it to be. There is a new threat, he says, which was not there before. He said that separatists in Balochistan are targeting election offices without any distinction of religion, ethnicity or party affiliation. At the same time, there is TTP which is more distinctive and vowed to target three parties in particular. “But what I feel is that they’ll eventually target independent candidates too. The attacks won’t be limited to the ANP, MQM or PPP, which will have its own consequences.” He added that eventually the elections will be held even if it is “flawed.”

As ANP and MQM are looking for new ways of reaching out to the masses, despite attacks, columnist Ayaz Amir sees a silver lining. “Political parties would have boycotted the elections in ‘old Pakistan’ if there was even half of the kind of threat that exists today. It could have been a sufficient alibi to boycott elections. But parties are pressing on and it is something very positive, I believe.”

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১০ মে ২০১৩, শুক্রবার

পাকিস্তানের আগামীকালের ভোটের ফল কত ঝুলবে এটাই সম্ভবত সবচেয়ে বড় প্রশ্ন। ইমরান খান আসলে কতদূর যেতে পারবে, তার ফর্কলিফট থেকে পড়ে গিয়ে আহত হওয়া কত সহানুভূতি জাগাবে ভোটারদের মধ্যে এটাই এখন মহাজল্পনা। তবে যখন আশঙ্কা ঝুলন্ত সংসদের তখন ভোটের আগের চেয়ে ভোটের পরের ঘটনার ঘনঘটার জন্য সবার অপেক্ষা এখন তুঙ্গে।

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১৩ মে ২০১৩, সোমবার

না, তেহরিক-ই-তালেবানের বাধায় কাজ হয়েছে এবং তার চেয়েও বড় কথা পাঞ্জাবের ভোটাররা নওয়াজ শরিফের বিদ্যুৎ উৎপাদনের প্রতিশ্রুতিতে বিশ্বাস করেছে এবং অকাতরে ভোট দিয়েছে। পাকিস্তানের সরাসরি ভোটের ২৭২ সংসদীয় আসনের ১৪৮ আসনই পাঞ্জাবে, আর এখানেই এখনো পর্যন্ত ১১০ আসনে জয়ী হয়েছে নওয়াজ শরিফের দল, আর এর উপর ভর করেই একক ভাবে সরকার গঠনের প্রয়োজনীয় ১৩৭ আসনের খুব কাছাকাছি পৌঁছে যাবে পাকিস্তান মুসলিম লীগ(নেওয়াজ)। কাজেই বিশেষজ্ঞদের নির্বাচনের ফলে ঝুলন্ত সংসদ হবে এবার পাকিস্তানে এই বিশ্লেষণ সম্পূর্ণই মার খেয়েছে।

The election result may be a step forward for Pakistani democracy. It is a step backward for the Pakistani federation. Given the history of complaints about Punjabi domination, Nawaz Sharif will have to reach out to the leaders of other provinces. Authoritarian rule has undermined national unity in the past because of Punjab’s overwhelming supremacy in the armed forces, judiciary and civil services. Democracy should not breed similar resentment among smaller ethnic groups through virtual exclusion from power at the centre.

In addition to bringing the provinces other than Punjab on board, Sharif’s other major headache would be to evolve a functioning relationship with Pakistan’s military establishment. Although he rose to prominence as General Zia-ul Haq’s protégé, Sharif clashed with General Pervez Musharraf over civilian control of the military. He might be tempted to settle that issue once and for all, partly because of the sentiment generated by his overthrow and imprisonment by Musharraf.

Changing the civil-military balance in favour of the civilians would be a good thing. But if it is done without forethought and caution, it could end up risking the democratic gains of the last several years. The PML-N’s view of Pakistani national identity being rooted in Islam and the two-nation theory does not differ much from that of the Pakistani establishment. His real difference with the establishment is over his belief that he, as the elected leader, and not the military must run the country.

Many Pakistan-watchers, particularly in India, allow our contempt, fear and distrust of the Pakistani army to so cloud our judgement, we fail to see a fundamental, and virtuous, change. For a full five years, Zardari ran a bumbling, waffling government, marred by indecision, corruption and confusion. But his opposition did not pull him down. And his generals stayed in their headquarters. This was a fundamental shift. It has only happened because the people of Pakistan have decided to take charge of their own destiny.

Over the years (post-Sharm el-Sheikh, let’s say), our view of Pakistan has become re-militarised as its own society’s has become de-militarised. Anybody in Pakistan is willing to say to you now that the beheading of the Indian soldier was carried out by the military establishment only to block the Zardari government giving India the MFN status. And we walked straight into the trap: calling off sporting exchanges, the PM himself saying it can’t be business as usual, the leader of the opposition demanding 10 heads for one.
– See more at: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/allah-and-aam-aadmi/1115527/0#sthash.TWYpxehE.dpuf

Despite of having enough presence in National and Punjab assemblies to form governments on its own, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is ready to accommodate all political forces including MQM and PTI to form a likely political coalition, says PML-N leader Senator Pervez Rashid.

Consultations are underway to form the next government, said Rashid while speaking to media representatives on Sunday.

বিস্তারিত পড়ুন : Pakistan Election 2013, Live Blog, Dawn.com

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3 Comments
  1. A fourth wave?

    Cyril Almeida : https://twitter.com/cyalm

    BRUSSELS is a world away from here. Different reasons, different trajectories. Plus, we’ve already had our Parises and Brussels several times over.

    But Brussels is important because it confirms what Paris had revealed: a fourth wave of jihad. As we tamp down our own third wave of jihad, might we too face a fourth down the road?

    Speculation is a dirty game, but worse is to be caught unawares and unprepared.

    Before we get into the possible conditions for a fourth wave, let’s look at the first three that have gone by here in Pakistan. First, of course, was the Afghan jihad. The one that eventually morphed into Al Qaeda and the hell it unleashed on us.

    Second was Kashmir and the anti-India lot. Redirected, re-energised and then mutated beyond recognition, parts of it turned on us, while other parts have flourished to the great distortion of the communities in which the networks have spread.

    Third were the TTP and its cohorts. Triggered by a combination of events, partly rooted in the evolution of the first lot into Al Qaeda and partly resulting from the shockwave that the US war in Afghanistan sent through Fata, it may be on the verge of running its course.

    But if the first three waves taught us anything, it is that jihad is influenced by events in the region and the world — the shadow of the Cold War; the unfinished business of Kashmir and Partition; the mixing of an earlier creation and a superpower’s later intervention.

    Right now, jihad is really the only game in town — in the world. In the media. On the net. In the global discourse. Jihad is to the Muslim world what Donald Trump has become to the US: ubiquitous, cacophonous, impossible to ignore.

    And you can bet there are some here willing to listen to what it has to say.

    That doesn’t automatically translate into IS. The Pakistani waves haven’t tracked the Western ones in the last two cycles and there’s no reason for the fourth waves to be the same.

    But it could look similar: decentralised jihad; a pick-and-mix buffet that lone wolves and small, spontaneously organised groups can select from. Jihad du jour, as it were.

    Why might that emerge here, given that Pakistan is on the path to stabilising itself and isn’t the mess that the Middle East has become nor does it have the dynamics of Western jihad surrounded by majority populations?

    There are several reasons and we’ll try and ignore the banal because-extremism-is-still-rampant types. So here goes.

    The state is regaining its authority, but its legitimacy is still contested. Making Pakistan safe again for the majority has reinforced for a minority that the state’s actions are indecent, immoral and, possibly, un-Islamic.

    And the further you stretch away from violent jihad to seemingly less toxic extremism, the larger that minority gets.

    Sure, the parallels are inexact and the schools of thought different, but the Qadri episode has illustrated the problem of a state recovering its authority, but further eroding its legitimacy for many.

    Qadri was executed, but the state is the villain — power and weakness at the same time. Turn that logic to military operations, and while sympathy for the TTP may not have systemic appeal, a fundamental question remains unanswered: why is the mighty Pakistani military unleashing its wrath on those acting in the name of Allah?

    From dishonourable deeds can grow a wellspring of resentment, hate — and violence.

    Next, the system itself is suspect. A hybrid dictatorship-democracy, both sides of the equation are deeply problematic. The military for the aforementioned reason; democracy for intrinsic ones.

    The standard explanation for the lack of electoral success of the political religious right is that most Pakistanis reject it. But the explanation lies elsewhere: the natural constituency of the religious right — the rabble of extremists and arch-conservatives — is averse to democracy.

    They don’t vote and they don’t think anyone else should either. Their numbers are not insubstantial and their habitual, ideological non-appearance come election time tends to mislead.

    Third, the way in which the fight against militancy is being fought. Most of us just hear the numbers: X captured, Y eliminated, Z sentenced. But behind those numbers lie stories of savagery and violence that most of us prefer not to think about — but that the fringes dwell on darkly and insistently.

    The Adiala 11, the attacks on super cops and ISI safe houses, the whispered stories of violence and mutilation — the cycle of state-sanctioned violence and militant revenge is there for everyone to see, if they want to see.

    Most prefer to ignore it; the ones who focus on it — the stuff happening on the ground, the grotesque and the ugly — for them it is a powerful instiller of fear and loathing. Vengeance is for the righteous.

    The decline of organised jihad — both the bad variant and, in time, the good — does not mean the end of all jihad.

    It’s not just that the three waves that we’ve seen so far have laid down an infrastructure and created a mosque-madressah-social-welfare network in which a fourth wave can incubate.

    That is a big problem. But jihad needs something to fight against — and something to fight for. Here in Pakistan, the reasons are still many.

    A state whose legitimacy is contested, a system of governance that is seen as inimical to Islam, an all-powerful institution whose actions are seen as a betrayal and a fight that is dirty — the seeds for lone wolves and spontaneous little groups are all here.

    The global din of jihad is louder than ever.

    Here in Pakistan, a fourth wave may be closer than we realise.

    fron DAWN, link: http://www.dawn.com/news/1248135/a-fourth-wave

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