Saturday, April 12, 2014

Rise of religious fundamentalism bodes ill for the subcontinent


Rise of religious fundamentalism bodes ill for the subcontinent

In the clutches of extremists and Taleban, Pakistan poses grave danger to India


In our era ,a very unfortunate , regressive and game changer development in the last quarter of 20th-century has been the rise of religious fundamentalism and obscurantism ; and the regression of rationalism and scientific thought in the wake of collapse of the Soviet Union aka scientific socialism and even moderate socialism. U.S.-led West, uses Christianity as a counter to Islamic fundamentalism, but which it has encouraged and supported  with training ;but major finances has been provided by obscurantist Saudi Arabian medieval state . Pakistan’s armed forces have acted as pawns and cannon fodder in Washington’s objective to control the strategic space in South West Asia and South Asia and its resources in exchange for an overall guarantee of the luxury lifestyle of the Saudi ruling princes oligopoly. Most Pak rulers are beholden to and controlled by Riyadh.


Since the theory of survival of the fittest, US led West believes in naked brutal power and exploitation of its own people and other people for the enrichment of the few. To say that USA is a democratic Republic is a cruel joke on its people and the world. It is an oligopoly and represents tyranny, a state of polity between absolute kingdom and democracy as defined in Greek history and thought. US believes that it will escape the backlash of extremism which it has stirred ,encouraged ,financed and created since its support to extremists and terrorists, in Afghanistan since 1979 against the leftist Afghan government supported by the Soviet Union, which ultimately led to the collapse of Russian communist state .


The extremism and terrorism, which U.S.-led West, Saudis and other Muslim states and Pakistan have midwifed and nurtured since 1979 has come home to roost in the region. Pakistan seems to be edging towards a state of lawlessness and terror like in Iraq, where everyday extremists, terrorists and Taleban are openly attacking government institutions and killing innocent people.


Khaled Ahmed articles , below ,explain how the extremists have put the government on the defensive .There appears little hope of victory over the extremists and normality in Pakistan and the region. But Pakistan is in a state of denial .As for naval watcher Indians; less said the better .It sad and tortured history is a proof. They also remain in a state of denial.


Along with the rise of Islamic extremism in north-west of Indian subcontinent, there appears to be reciprocal rise of Hindu extremism and fanaticism in India, with BJP's Prime Minister Candidate Narendra Modi at the head, with unsavory and terrible consequences for the polity and well-being of the people of India. Under Modi in 2002 in Gujarat , a pogrom against Muslims was allowed to happen ,in fact encouraged , whose noxious consequences  continue to simmer and fester with no regret from both Modi or his followers .Many have joined him for power, without realizing the ramification of what could follow.


India’s  ill-equipped and slow moving judicial machinery  has yet to conclude hearings for many a final decision on major onslaught on Gujarat Muslims. Modi himself and his right hand Amit Shah are under trial in various courts and the final verdict is still to come. How come so many police officers with Hindutva bent of mind in Gujarat, have been convicted for false encounters , extortion etc and others who refused to join Amit Shah in his cover-up are behind bars.


That Modi is authoritarian and dictatorial is crystal clear.Before being catapulted as the ruler of Gujarat in 2000 he had little experience of administration accept as a ‘pracharak ‘aka preacher of Hindu hard line ideology and philosophy . He has ruled the state with an iron hand without any other centre of power being allowed to come up. Muslims are quite clearly cowed down and subdued as Christians and others are in orthodox Muslim and Wahabi ruled states. In this task of polarization Amit Shah has been Modi’s right-hand collaborator, hatchet man and executioner. There are many cases pending against him which had to be shifted from Gujarat to neighboring states and Amit Shah ordered to remain outside Gujarat. He has survived like many accused criminals / political leaders because of India's slow moving judiciary, which can sometimes be pressurized or can even be bribed .Many in the police, are Hindutva types or can even be bribed.


For his campaign to become Prime Minister of India Modi retained Amit Shah as the major domo to spread the poison of hatred between Hindus and Muslims in order to create polarization between the two communities for Hindu votes. As a recently minted BJP sec general in charge of UP, Amit Shah has succeeded brilliantly by helping organise communal violence between Jats and Muslims in Muzaffarnagar. UP sends 80 members to the lower house of Parliament out of nearly 550 and is very crucial for any party hoping to be a major partner of a ruling coalition, which is most likely to emerge after 16 May 2014. UP’s Muslim population is around 19 – 20% Therefore there is a counter reaction and statements have been made by the pro-Muslim Samajwadi party and its Muslim face Azam Khan.


At the behest of the central election commission both Amit Shah and Azam Khan have been charge sheeted and debarred from holding any rallies and road shows in UP. But imagine what will happen if Modi becomes the Prime Minister, then Amit Shah will surely occupy a very crucial and powerful position .They both will continue to pursue policies against Muslims as they have done in Gujarat during the last 12 years. There are many Muslim leaders like Azam khan who will stand up and fight .There will be chaos, fighting and communal violence, you name it.


Pak extremists and Taleban would fish in troubled Indian waters


Quite obviously extremists and Taleban of Pakistan would fish in troubled Indian waters and whatever the colour of the Pakistani government, they will be helpless and quite happy to let the extremists carry out operations in Kashmir and rest of India like 26/11 and elsewhere. This has been Pak policy since decades, with Washington, Riyadh and others looking on.


In the old days, the Khyber Pass used to be the dividing line for invaders beyond North West who came down to kill, rob and plunder,  now the line passes through the Wagah border. Of course farseeing emperors like Akbar kept a watch beyond the Khyber Pass. Argumentative and chattering Indians remain obsessed with petty issues and themselves. Barring some rare articles very little comes in India media on Pakistan or is analyzed. Even the educated Indians and diplomats who should know better seem to rely on the God residing in White House, hoping that US forces would somehow manage to stay on in Afghanistan and keep the Taleban engaged along the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Like the Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki, president Karzai, in spite of his many faults, but with many good qualities is proving to be a proud Afghan leader and has refused to provide bases and other protections for American forces to stay on Afghan soil. In 13 years long US led war ,Afghanistan has been devastated and hundreds of thousands killed and daily continue to be killed by US troops and drones, the latter make little distinction between a warrior and an innocent child or woman.


Below are two very concise but disturbing articles from Pakistan Newsweek about the grave and deteriorating situation in Pakistan where extremists and terrorists seem to be having a field day , increasing their hold, activities and influence everyday .The subcontinent is certainly in for some violent and unsettling times.


K.Gajendra Singh 12April, 2014.


Sleepwalking to surrender

Khaled Ahmed | April 11, 2014


As the Pakistani state embraces the Taliban, the chorus of the clerics drowns out liberal voices.


TV talk show journalist Raza Rumi was attacked and nearly killed in Lahore in the last week of March because a) he was seen as a liberal, or b) working for an Ismaili-owned TV channel, or c) for visiting India and writing a book about shrines in Delhi that the non-state actors of Pakistan don’t like. Meanwhile, Pakistan is talking peace.


As Pakistan smokes the peace pipe with the Taliban after yielding 60,000 civilians and 5,000 troops dead to them, the media is measuring the impact. The clerics who never get votes and therefore don’t contest elections have become empowered and appear scary in their aggressive rhetoric. The TV anchor has become anti-American and anti-NGO and warns about “liberals who get paid by America to oppose Islam”.


The Taliban see the tide turning. And they are outspoken in their preferences and discrimination about a nation they have been massacring without distinction. They say the “secular” Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Awami National Party (ANP) are their enemies and the rest can be spared. The high-value persons they have kidnapped belong to the PPP and ANP. Out in the street, Islamic practices are in full force; nobody dare stop the illegal use of the loudspeaker blaring the name of Allah. The common man uses speech habits that highlight his faith.


The state is ready to hang Pervez Musharraf, subliminally bending the knee to the Taliban decree of death against him. Little girl Malala, shot in the head by the Taliban, has been rejected now even by girls who perceive insult to the Holy Prophet in her book, which has been banned in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.


Listen to the BBC reporting on the Nigerian common man in areas under attack from the Boko Haram, who attack schools and colleges just like the Taliban and behead Nigerian troops together with innocent Muslim civilians. Last month, in one such reportage, pre-teen Nigerian laborers telling how they ended up in the street, peppered their sad account with references to Allah to an extent that Pakistanis don’t yet. People in the Islamic world are preparing themselves for the slaughter that is coming from their own brothers.


The Arab Spring has not led to democracy but to the rise of jihad. Elections threaten to bring Islamists to power, whose ideology is based on a pre-modern hatred of what is going on, like banks, global dress codes, cinema-TV entertainment and culture in general. In Lahore, all rickshaws carry threatening messages against purveyors of entertainment.


Some Arab scholars have suppressed their anti-Westernism to reveal that military dictatorships nursed the jihadists to scare the world into maintaining them in power; some used them to carry out proxy jihad as the regular armies were either too used to peacetimes or too bruised by repeated defeats to fight their wars. Democracy was postponed and people fighting for freedom and representation were brutalised, put in jail or pushed into exile. One analysis says: “The regimes released jihadist leaders and elements from prison, facilitated their activities and sometimes secretly provided them with the necessary financial and media support.” Pakistan nurtured its own jihadis and borrowed some from the Arab world, leveraged with Islamist funds.


The dictators at times used the jihadis to kill their civilian rivals. The Pakistani state is in trouble as more and more researchers and analysts point to assassinations found to have been “devolved” to the Taliban-al-Qaeda combine. If the dictators thought they could use the jihadis and their priestly leaders without getting flecked with their blood-thirsty creed, they were seriously in error. Now, “normal” officers promoted to top ranks in the army have to accept the status quo in which an “inspired” rank-and-file can kill them in the name of Allah.


Nurturing jihadis has led to the rise of sectarianism and states hitherto free of religious infighting are concentrating on decimating their Muslim minority sects. Pakistan had started doing this long ago, putting the world on notice by declaring its minuscule Ahmadi sect non-Muslim. Now this hapless community is labelled apostate, with serious disabilities inside Pakistan. (They become normal Muslims the moment they step out of the country.) Today, Arabs too are enjoying themselves as their Muslim minorities go as lambs to the slaughter. In Pakistan, the Shia and the Barelvi Sunnis are feeling the coming doom in their bones. In some evils, Pakistan has scored a first, but if the entire Muslim grand nation (umma) likes it, so what?


The Arab Islamists, a little this side of the red line of jihadism, won their elections after the dictators left the scene, but soon fell from grace. A scared population forced them to leave the scene, but a stark lesson has been learned: next time, use terror. That is the point where Ayman al-Zawahiri disagreed with the Muslim Brotherhood and quit Egypt, to demonstrate the right way of conquering in the name of Islam in Pakistan.


One way a Muslim state can get ready for jihadism is by embracing extremism. That is what Pakistan has done as the pax of the Taliban looms on the horizon. A splenetic TV intellectual in Lahore has written a long column justifying the taking of enemy women as sex-slaves after killing their husbands. Instead of tempering this rather unreasonable Islamic practice allowed by great Islamic thinkers like Maududi, he argued that a slave thus taken will have to be married with morganatic rights, as opposed to what the World War II armies did to women in enemy lands. Tragically, he ignored the international law in the 21st century that criminalises this practice. Muslim extremism lays down indefensible laws no sane person can live under.

Some Arab optimists say the “Islamist phenomenon is in a chronic crisis and at a dead end because of the failure of their project in Afghanistan and its inability to be a desirable example or model for a state that can apply the true Islam and save Muslims from their current situation”. Soon, in Afghanistan, all this will be proved wrong. Last time, the Americans had responded to 9/11 and driven the Taliban into exile; this time, the Americans will be driven out. Pakistan, already prostrate in body and mind, will gift to the religious killers a Caliphate and an “Army of Khorasan” complete with territory, money and manpower. And possibly nuclear weapons.


Writing in Dawn on April 2, Zahid Hussain mused: “What is most disturbing, however, is that the government’s policy of appeasement has divided the country on provincial, ethnic and sectarian lines. The much-touted consensus among the political parties on talks with the Taliban is all but broken…


“The militants have cleverly exploited this divide and selectively target only those political parties that are actively resisting them. The TTP has refused to release the sons of late governor Salmaan Taseer and former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani because the PPP government in Sindh is cracking down on the group.


“Legitimizing the TTP has, in fact, increased the sense of insecurity not only among the minority sects, but is also of concern to the majority Sunni Muslims who believe in a more tolerant Islam. Any deal on the TTP’s terms will plunge the country into civil strife destroying its social fabric.”


The writer is consulting editor, ‘Newsweek Pakistan’