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Don't blame US for growth of Islamic terrorism -- PART -II

By       Message Rama Rao Malladi     Permalink
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Benazir Bhutto, the western educated liberal daughter of quasi-socialist megalomaniac Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, used the state machinery of Pakistan to create the Taliban. Not one but two functionaries of Benazir Government took credit for the feat in mid '90s. One was the Interior Minister of the day, General Naseerullah Babar. The other was Lt Gen Hamid Gul, who as the head of dreaded Pakistani intelligence agency, ISI, nurtured the hard-line Sunni militia. He is the godfather of terrorism, according to Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, and an authority on South Asian and Middle East issues. "South Asia and the world are more dangerous thanks to his [Gul's] years of duplicity and violence", Riedel wrote in an opinion piece this August. click here).

Osama bin Laden did not hide in a cave after the fall of Taliban regime in Kabul. He became the honoured guest of Pakistan Army at a secure house in the front yard of the Pakistan Military Academy on Kakul Road in Abbottabad, which is not very far from Islamabad. Yet, Gen Pervez Musharraf, the military dictator, whom President Bush Junior forced to join the war on terrorism after 9/11, was never tired of telling the world that Pakistan was unaware of Osama's whereabouts. The lie was nailed on May 2, 2011 when the US Navy SEAL team raided the safe house and eliminated Osama in the operation, code-named Operation Neptune Spear.

The Pakistan Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif visited Washington in the third week of November. Going by media reports, he reiterated his resolve to root out terrorism in his country. These reports were silent on whether his American interlocutors had asked him: "why UN --designated terrorist groups like LeT, JuD and Haqqani Network are still sheltered in Pakistan".

Technically, Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) stands banned since Jan 14, 2002. It functions as Filah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF), and Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD). The JuD chief, Hafiz Saeed carries a $10 million bounty but he remains untouched by the long arm of Pakistani government. "He's safe because the government has protected him by saying that there are no pending charges against him," Lahore daily, The Nation lamented editorially on Nov 21, 2015.

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FIF and Al-Rahmat Trust, a front of the banned Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) are running relief camps at Bannu for the tens of thousands of people displaced by Operation Zarb-e-Azb mounted by Gen Raheel Sharif against bad Taliban in North Waziristan. The Pak Army and Pak government are not unaware of this ground reality.

Put simply, Pakistan's zero-tolerance policy against militant groups is subject to certain exceptions. One such exception is concerns of strategic depth in Afghanistan; this has directly resulted in the fall of Kunduz, a northern Afghan city to the Taliban on 28 September. The Pak-backed militants held the city for three days.

Amrullah Saleh, a former Afghan intelligence agency chief, conducted an inquiry into the episode at the behest of President Ashraf Ghani. A 30-page summary of his probe report was released on Nov 21. "Afghanistan's intelligence service had recorded telephone conversations between Taliban leaders in Kunduz and unnamed 'individuals in the Taliban base of Peshawar', across the border in Pakistan", the report said.

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Khaama Press reported on Nov 21 that bodies of 22 Pakistani militants who were killed in a security operation in Khost province were returned to Pakistan. The bodies were buried in the Lower Dir area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. A local official Alam Zib told Mashal Radio that the killed insurgents belonged to al-Badar Mujahideen and Jamat-ud-Dawah armed groups.

On Nov 22, the Islamic State (IS) awarded an unsolicited character certificate to Pak jihadi groups like Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) which are aligned with Al Qaeda. "These Al Qaeda allies are puppets in the hands of the Pakistani army, which itself is an apostate and therefore an illegitimate force", declared IS on its online magazine, Dabiq. "In India, they (al-Qaida et al)) are the allies of the nationalist Kashmir factions whose advances and withdrawals are only by the order of the apostate Pakistani army. In North Africa, they are the allies of Libyan factions who partook in the religion of democracy in the name of Islam," the post said.

What is the message? The blame for the growth of Islamist terrorism has much to do with Muslim countries. It has less to do with the United States and other western countries.

Islam as a religion is the most liberal faith. But countries founded on the bed rock of Islam are alienated from democracy. In countries like Pakistan, democracy has been living under the shadow of the military, which has become the permanent establishment of the country. In several Muslim countries what is in place today is either Islamic Military State or despotic and repressive political systems.

Things could have taken a different turn had the Arab Spring movement of 2010 succeeded in shaking the established order. Its failure to live upto its potential to galvanize discontent for regime change made people turn to the likes of IS.

I rest my case! (CONCLUDED)

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Rama Rao Malladi is New Delhi based senior journalist and distinguished commentator on South Asian and Central Asian issues. He is a regular contributor to several publications in and outside India. His articles are featured in News Blaze.Rama is (more...)
 

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