Saturday, May 15, 2010

Raman's strategic analysis: PAKISTAN: QUO VADIS?

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    • B.RAMAN
    • 5.Its present Afghan policy is influenced not by the perceived need for a strategic depth in the conventional sense, but by the newly-felt need to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a spring-board for destabilizing operations in its Pashtun belt. Its past quest for a strategic depth in Afghanistan was a defensive reaction. So is its present quest for the re-establishment of its influence in Afghanistan.

      6.Deobandi extremism in Pakistan, which is at the basis of many of its internal security problems, was a product of the policies followed by the late Zia-ul-Haq between 1977 and 1988. His attempts to protect Pakistan from an overflow of the newly-triumphant Shia Revolution in Iran led to the aggravation of the ever present Shia-Sunni divide in the country. Terrorism in Pakistan was initially a bye-product of the Shia-Sunni violence. Many of the terrorist leaders of Pakistan today earned their jihadi spurs in the anti-Shia movement. They subsequently drifted away from anti-Shia violence and gravitated initially to the jihad against the Soviet troops in Afghanistan and then to the jihad against the Indian presence in Jammu & Kashmir.

      7.However, a hard core of the anti-Shia elements in the Sipah-e-Sahaba (SES) and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ) has persisted with the anti-Shia violence. They allied themselves with the Afghan Taliban when it was in power in Afghanistan and subsequently with Al Qaeda when it moved over into North Waziristan after 9/11. Suicide terrorism was brought into Pakistan by the anti-Shia elements.
    • 11.Those who live by militant Islam shall fall by militant Islam. That is the spectre threatening Pakistan today. The threat to Pakistan’s existence as a State arises no longer from India, but from militant Islam. Just as communism started swallowing its own children, militant Islam has started swallowing its own children in Pakistan.

      12.The fight against terrorism in Pakistan has a military and an ideological dimension. The Pakistan Army is paying attention only to its military dimension. It is avoiding countering its ideological dimension. Unless Islam is demilitarized and sent back to the mosques and madrasas where it belongs, Pakistan stands in danger of being weakened and destabilized by its own creations. A Frankenstein’s monster is difficult to control. It is even more difficult to control a religious Frankenstein’s monster.

      13.Pakistan was born in the name of Islam. Unless it is able to control this monster, it stands in danger of being bled to death in the name of Islam. Zia thought Islam would be Pakistan’s salvation. Instead, Islam as fashioned by him could become its curse. (14-5-10)

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