An attempt is being made to convert the state of Pakistan into the state of terrorism. All the forces have joined hands against Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf, who is presently at war with the terrorists in the country. Most of the tribesmen were of the opinion that he must win this war against terrorism.
The Voice For Peace, an representative organisation of the people of tribal areas have called for full concentration of elimination of terrorism in Pakistan. According to them, terrorism is threat to the whole world. "The people should also cooperate with the president without caring for whether he is a military men or civilian.
A leading daily of Pakistan in its editorian stated that a hundred-strong group of terrorists armed with rockets, hand grenades and automatic rifles, assaulted the house of a government official in the Tank district of the North Western Frontier Province (NWFP) on Thursday and killed 13 men, women and children in an act of “Islamic execution”. This is another incident inside the settled areas of the province pointing to the diminishing hold of the government and state on its territory.
Tank used to be a part of the Dera Ismail Khan (DI Khan) district, but now exists as an independent district 40 miles from it and 200 miles from Peshawar, the capital of the province. The man whose house was attacked was the political agent of Khyber Agency, Syed Amiruddin Shah, who was not at home. (Tank as a settled district doesn’t have a political agent but a nazim.) His brothers were cruelly put to death, while one brother, Pir Atiqur Rehman, who lives in Karachi and whose controversial writings could have unleashed the attacks, was not present in the house.
The warlord offended with the family was one-legged Abdullah Mehsud, an old inmate of Guantanamo Bay released by the Americans some years ago. Mr Mehsud was connected to the Deobandi-jihadi seminary of Banuri Mosque complex at Karachi through his spiritual mentor Mufti Jamil who was killed in the sectarian war of 2003-04 along with other leaders of the Banuri complex. Convinced that the state was involved in the death of his teachers, Abdullah Mehsud kidnapped foreign Chinese workers from the Tribal Areas and ended up killing one of them.
The quarrel with the family of Syed Amiruddin Shah arose from the clash that all Deobandis have with the Sufi or mystical version of Islam. But Shah’s brother Atiqur Rehman actually practised the Barelvi version of Islam and had a large following as a pir in Tank. When Talibanisation came to the area, he fled to Karachi and began accusing the Taliban warlords, in particular Abdullah Mehsud, of being US agents (sic!). The geography of Tank forbids this kind of rebellion against the ruling creed: Tank district is bounded by South Waziristan to the southwest, west, and northwest.
The NWFP information minister, Asif Iqbal, has said the people attacking Tank represented “small independent groups” operating under the Taliban who are inspired by Al Qaeda and are busy spreading its nihilist worldview across Pakistani territory. A former adviser on the affairs of the troubled tribal areas, Brigadier (Retd) Mehmood Shah, thinks that the latest spike of terrorist attacks inside the NWFP is the punishment that the Jamiat Ulema Islam (JUI) is enduring for not cooperating with the federal government in eliminating the troublemakers.
The brigadier has clearly got it wrong. What is happening in the region is what the JUI within the MMA has long wanted. The manifesto of the NWFP government clearly shows that it anticipated Talibanisation and vowed to support it by bringing laws that would allow the government clerics to do exactly what the warlords are doing today in the various districts of the province. So he got it right when he said, “The JUI (Fazlur Rehman group) is the political face of Islamic militancy in Pakistan”. But he got it wrong again when he said, “Had the MMA helped us crush tribal militancy, they would not have faced the Tank situation today”. The MMA supports tribal militancy. How can it help the government crush it?
There is a lot of confusion in Pakistan over understanding the nature of violence in the country. What the Taliban want in the Tribal Areas is articulated in the mosques of the big cities in the settled areas. At any given time in Lahore, for instance, you will hear demands for the setting up of precisely the kind of governance demanded by the Taliban and implemented in the tribal areas. Most of us think that this kind of worldview in Lahore comes from fringe elements, but on close examination more and more people are embracing this discourse as their key to replacing the present “America-enslaved” system.
Most of us shy away from disputing this worldview with the clergy because the clergy quotes the Quran and hadith, thus exposing us to the possibility of blasphemy through repudiating the scripture. This is the “winning” discourse in Pakistan and elsewhere in the Islamic world — and the expatriate Muslim communities now at odds with the societies in which they live. This discourse comes to the fore on a daily basis through the nostalgic Urdu columns praising the “Golden Age of the Taliban rule” when “you could travel across Afghanistan with a box of jewellery without being robbed”.
The current phase of Muslim thought is nihilistic, of tearing down without building, of creating disorder to oppose the order we don’t like because we think it is West-ordained. The tribal areas and increasingly parts of the NWFP are in the grip of this anarchy of our minds. The tragedy is that the state doesn’t know how to deal with this situation.
The Voice For Peace think that for peace in the world elimination of terrorism is must. Terrorists have been disturbing the peace of the world and giving justification to the rulers to use army. Terrorists whether they are the Taliban of Pakistan or living in other parts of the world should be dealt with sternly.