September 21, 2007


Reposted from

1. After Pakistanis army’s stand off with the Tulba (students) of the red mosque in Islamabad in the last week of July, the doomsday forecasters had predicted the downfall of the general Pravez Musharraf`s Regime. The Indian Chattereti class, which also includes the drawing room planners of the North block, had been predicting a counter coup by an ambitious military general to overthrow the regime. Fears were also expressed that the right wing Islamic terrorists may assassinate the general. The Indian press also predicted that the general is seriously having a thought to flee to USA to join his son Bilal there to lead his post retirement life in relative easy and safe American security. Nothing of that sort happened and it may not even happen. The general understands the Pakistani Nation (if the one exists!) more than any surviving Pakistani politician in Pakistan. He also has the advantage of understanding the psyche of Pakistani army – a stakeholder of the troika of power equation – the clergy, the army and the prime minister. The general has always played his cards with proverbial military precision at the place and time of his choice. He has also demonstrated tremendous adaptability to the emerging situations. His flexible approach to the emerging situations has been to the point of even shameless U- turns. His resilience is unmatched by any contemporary politician or any past military dictator Pakistan has ever seen. The unfolding of the contemporary events in Pakistan do not preclude an early down fall of the present regime either. Only an army general preferably of Punjabi decent or a politician of the same roots may be able to upstage the general through a popular uprising. The political situation emerging in Pakistan with Mian Niwaz Shrief flexing his muscles to take on the general do have potential to upstage him ,but the poor Pathan uprising in the NWFP doesn’t immediately pose any danger to the general .Analyse the situation for yourself.

The Afghan Refugees and Pakistan.

The Migration of Pathans.

2. Post 1979 Red Army’s invasion of the Afghanistan, by a conservative estimate approximately five million refugees of Pushto origin entered Pakistan and settled in the mountainous region of NWFP and Blauchistan along the river valleys east of the Durand line . The town of Peshawar in the NWFP and Quetta of Blauchistan became the hubs of the migrant Afghan activities. The migrant Afghans settled in the mountainous tracks of Chitral, Swat, Northern Wazirastan ,Manshera division and other available tracks as far as Garhi Habibullah, Oghi, Abbotabad and even Muzzaffrabad town of POK. Hundreds of thousands of the Afghan refugees also settled down in the towns of Rawalpindi, Karachi, Lahore and other medium townships. These displaced Afghans became the cheap source of labour for the rich and exploitative Punjabi landlords, industrialists and businessmen (Forget the Islamic Masawat -equality of the Ummah). In the NWFP and POK the Pakistan army controlled Frontier Roads Organisation benefited a lot from the cheap Afghan labour force. The Pakistan army controlled National Logistic Cell (NLC)- a transport company of strategic importance owned by the retired Pak army officers, was another beneficiary of this hapless migratory labour force. All over northern Pkistan small tea stalls., minor vehicle repair workshops, grocery shops and small business establishments cropped up over the decade thus rendering the local Pushto and Hindco tribes of NWFP jobless. This led to many social tensions among the local tribes and the migrant Afghan communities.

ISI Butts In

3. The Pakistani army and its intelligence wing the ISI along with the CIA of USA fed the proxy war effort inside Afghanistan against the Russians from amongst the youth of the migratory population of the Afghans. To indoctrinate them to go to the front and face the Russians –the mantra of jihad was invented straight from the medieval Islamic traditions of war against the infidels. Who knew the chickens would come back home to roost one day! The Pakistan ISI later diverted the Afghan terrorists to Kashmir to wage a proxy war in Kashmir.

Ethnicity Prevails Over Religion.

4 The settlement of the Pushto Afghan refugees did not bring any prosperity in the northern regions of Pakistan but as it happens, the migratory Pushto population aggravated the problem of unemployment among the local youth of NWFP; in the farm, construction and small scale industry. The middle class in Pakistan profess or claim to profess the highest standards of Islamic values and morality, though it is a different matter whether at the individual level any Pakistani practices the cherished and elegant values of Islam! The hypocrisy has always been the hallmark of the Pakistani Nation since its inception. The poor and the distressed Pathans sell their fair skinned and beautiful girls to rich landlords, businessmen and any one who matters in power and pelf in Pakistan. The trade is flourishing clandestinely in the northern Pakistan and its beneficiaries include the rich and exploitative Pakistanis from Karachi to Islamabad. The police are just looking the other way round when the incidents are brought in their notice. Many of these girls latter land up in the brothels in Karachi, Islamabad Lahore and other small towns after having been abandoned by their masters. The Punjabi always consider the Pathan as low witted, inferior and unreliable creature hence the acceptability of the Pathan on the Masawati (equal) terms is just a cherished Islamic ideal only and the Punjabi would give a damn to the equality of Muslims as cherished in Islam. Since the beginning of their presence in the workspace and the so-called morality space of the Pakistani society, the mistrust towards pathans has become even deeper. In Pakistan the Punjabis dominate overwhelming space in the power corridors. The army, the bureaucracy and the politics have Punjabi dominance particularly of the landlords and the military officials. The ethnic fault lines between the Punjabis and the Pathans have since become wide fissures. The pride contract killings of the Punjabi girls who marry Pathan boys against the wishes of the community elders has increased by 200 percent annually in Punjab province alone in last two decade since the arrival of Mohajir Pathans in Pakistan. In urban areas of Peshawar, Karachi, Quetta, Lahore and Rawalpindi the menial labour force and the domestic helps are predominantly the poor Pathan males and females( Don’t forget back home the poor Nepalese Gurkhas and the illegal Bangladeshi migrants are too exploited by the north Indian urban middle class and the land owners on the same pattern).Crimes like thefts, thugy, cheating, murders, prostitution, sodomy, black marketing etc are the natural outcome of any hapless migratory population in the world. But hypocritical middle class morality of the Punjabis wont accept anything of the sort, after all they believe that Pakistan was won for the pure and there is no space for the immorality. The collective morality of the Punjabis is idealistic but the practiced individual morality is different. A deep-rooted resentment against the Pathans is widespread phenomena in Pakistan especially in the urban areas. The popular TV programms in Pakistan generally lampoon and make fun of the perceived low-witted Pathan. Does not this reflect the deep-rooted malice of the Punjabis for the poor Pathans?

Common Blood Lineage –Headache for Pakistan.

5. In the western regions of NWFP east of the Durand line, vast tracks of land is populated by the ethnic pathans who have historical, cultural, linguistic and religious similarity with their Afghan counterparts on the Afghanistan side. A strong undercurrent of PUSHTO Nationalism is running deep among the divided communities residing on the either side of the Durand line. The strong nationalistic Punjabi middle class resents this resurgence of the ethnic Pathan nationalism. Under the influence of the Deobandi Madaris system (religious seminaries) these local tribal communities have been woven into a militarised society under the Ansar family of jihadis; organized, indoctrinated and trained initially by the ISI and the CIA and now by the jihadis of the Ansar family itself. The Ansar family of the jihadis include the Harkat-ul-Ansar ,Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, the Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami, the jaish-e-Mohammad, the Taliban, the Saphe sahaba Pakistan and the Al QUIAD. There are many other minor mutants of the Ansar family of jihadis but the prominent ones have been listed above and they drive the origin from the same ideological family tree- the Deobandi or the Azhari school of thought.

6. The Pakistani armed forces comprise 80 percent of the Punjabi middle class and the poor. The forces are highly patriotic and nationalistic in their outlook and believe that Pakistan is the pillar for the propagation of Islam and providing leadership to the ummah . For them Pakistan is the last hope for the Ummah and Islam in the world. Therefore, any resurgence of ethnic uprising in the tribal areas of the NWFP or Blauchistan is considered a heretic action and the movements are termed as anti-Islamic. The undercurrent of Punjabis against the Pushto National resurgence is visible in the present spate of violence in the NWFP. The response of the armed forces particularly the Frontier Constabulary(FC) under the XII corps of the Pakistan army is equally ruthless and merciless. Any move by the Pushtos for the Pathanisation or the Talibanisation of the western regions would be seriously resisted by the Punjabi controlled Pakistan army. General Pravez Musharraf knows where his key result areas lay. He has an uncanny sense to smell where he got to fish in the troubled waters.

The Ansar Family of Jihadis verses the Hibz and the Lashkar families of Jihadi Enterprises

The Ansars

7. Apparently all the jihadis show a united front in Pakistan or so it appears but in actuality there is deep chasm between the three families of the jihadi enterprises influenced by the three different Islamic ideologies of the Indian subcontinent. The Deobandi or the Azhari (Jamat-e-Ulmae-e-Islam) school of thought influenced Ansar family of jihadis which have been listed in the above paras derive ideology from the Hanfi branch of the Wahabi Islam. In the NWFP Deobandi movement has always been very powerful. At the outset of the Russian invasion the movement got further impetus and support from Muslims all over the Indian subcontinent and also an overwhelming financial and material support from the Arab followers of the Azhari or wahabhi supporters. Millions of petro-dollars poured into the coffers of the mullahs of Jamat-e-ulma-e- Islam in NWFP. Thousands of Deeni Madaris (Religious seminaries) under he aegis of the JUI cropped up in the region on the Pakistani side of the Durand line. Initially the Ansars (helpers in urdu) started the relief work but subsequently they got drawn into the militarized conflict along side the ISI and the CIA. Soon they were joined by thousands of Arab Afghans to fight a holy war against the Russians. Over a decade scores of jihadi organizations cropped up in the region driving the ideological strength from the Deobandi School of Islamic thought. It is beyond the preview of this paper to go into the evolution and growth of the Ansar family yet briefly the first organisation to join the Afghan jihad was the Harkat ul Mujahideen. Subsequently the organisation got split-up into Harkat-ul-jihad-e-Islami and Hharkat-ul-Mujahideen. The Arab Afghans remained in the Harkat-ul-Mujhadeen only . With the beginning of the Kashmir conflict in the region the HUM and HUJI leadership felt a need to unite and put a united front against the Indian Army. Both the factions of the Ansars united in Kashmir under the leadership of Maulana Masood Azhar and the organisation came to be called as Harkat ul Ansar. The honeymoon did not long last and soon HUA again split into the parent factions. The Arab Afghans who were erstwhile part of the HUM now created their own organisation called AL-QAID under the leadership of Osama bin laden, an Arab who had fought the Russians in Afghanistan. The

Taliban movement was born out of the HUM elements of the Afghan origin in Kandhar province. The Taliban movement of Mullah Umer who had once fought the Russians under the HUM banner soon sucked in the political, administrative and the military vacuum thus created by the Russian vacation of the Afghanistan.

8. The Ansar family of the jihadis may have international presence but in actuality the support base of these organizations exists in the Pathan dominated regions of the NWFP and eastern and southeastern Afghanistan. Though educated and highly radicalized Muslim youth from all over the world join the AL-QUAID to avenge the perceived injustices with the Muslims by the non Muslim nationalities yet the ground zero of the support base of the Ansar family of jihadis is the pan-Pukhtunistan land space on either side of the Durand line. Though Jaish- e-Mohammad has support base in the town of Rawalakot in POK ,some distts of the Bhawalpur division of the Punjab province (Bhawalpur and Sadiqabad distts) and in the Banoria town in and around Jamia Banoria Karachi, yet the enterprise thrives on the support base from amongst the ethnic pathans only.

9 The phenomenon called the Lal Masjid in Islamabad is not as much an Islamic militant resistance against the pro-US Musharraf government as it an expression of the Pathan ethnic identity and the self expression of the community in Pakistani political space. The ulma and the tulba of the mosque were predominantly Pathans and the mosque cum seminary had become a symbol of the Pushto resistance movement against the Musharraf government. To read between the lines the Lal Masjid episode represented the other side of the fault lines between the nationalistic Punjabis and the growing Pathan Nationalism along the ethnic lines. The Pakistani middle class and the middleclass dominated Pakistan army is suspicious of the growing radicalization of the Pushto nationalism which may ultimately threaten the existence of Pakistan as well. But this had to happen since Pakistan has been exploiting the pathans for furthering its strategic objectives since the Afghan jihad days. After the purge of the red mosque by the Pakistan army we see a definite pattern of violence emerging in Pakistan. No terrorist strikes have been reported from the whole of Punjab province against the pak army. The fidayee actions of the Ansar family terror enterprise are absolutely NWFP centric and have overwhelming support of the Pushto population. There is not even a single strike against the targets in the most populated province of Pakistan ie Punjab. Recently one terrorist strike has been observed the town of Rawalpindi cantonment in one of the buses which was ferrying the ISI staff of the infamous JIN directorate. It is believed an insider afghan who knew the directorate inside out was responsible for the strike. The more the Pakistan army retaliates against the Ansar enterprise the more resentment would be brewing up against the Pakistani establishment among the pathans and more the retaliation by the Patahns against the Pak forces more deep would be the suspicion among the Punjabis and Pathans.

The Hizb

10. The other jihadi organizations under the influence of the JEI Pakistan and the Markaz ul Dawa namely the Hizb family and the Lashkar family , are predominantly Punjab based Sunni organizations. Though the Hizb family draws its cadres from Kashmir but its ideological and material support base is the JEI Pakistan and POK. The Lashkar and the Hizb terror family enterprise does not have any support base in the tribal regions of NWFP and Baluchistan. One variant of the Hizb family, the Al Badr Mujahideen split from the Hizb group in 1994 over ethnic differences and non compatibility of the insipid Pathan with the predominantly Kashmiri and Punjabi dominated Hibz enterprise. Bakht Zamin , the chief of Jamat e Islami of the NWFP had broken ranks with the Jamat chief of Pakistan namely Qazi Hussain. In fact the ABM is more close to the Ansar family of terrorists than with its parent body the Hizb family. The reasons are so obvious. In 1998 the ethnic Pathan Hizb group the ABM and HMPPR ( Hizb ul Mujahideen Pir Panchal Regiment), another component of the Hizb family of the Pok , had jointly fought pitched gun battles against the Punjabi controlled Hizb group of the Kashmiri origin namely the Hizbul Mujahideen in the Sensa forests of the Kotli distt of POK. The gun battle later spread to all the terrorist camps in the POK. The Pakistan army had to be called in to restore order. The JEI Pak and the Hizb family of terrorists are highly Pro pak nationalistic organizations and these groups are essentially India centric in their jihadi orientations. The Hizb family of terrorists do not support any jihadi enterprise against any other nationality or country except India and that too only in Kashmir. If Pakistan is endangered these organizations join the cause with the Pak establishment. Naturally, therefore the activities of the Ansar family don’t placate the likes of the Hizb family .

The Lashakar –e- Toiba

11. The Markaz Al Dawa supported jihadi enterprise the Laskkar-e-Toiba is again a Punjabi dominated group only. It derives its ideology from the pan-Islamic Wahabi , Al-hadees school of thought. Though the ideals of the group are highly pan-Islamic yet in its moorings and support base the group is highly ethnic and does not have any base outside the Punjab province.

The Lashkar e Toiba derives its cadres from Punjab province only and the group like the Hizb enterprise is highly India centric and works in close co-operation with the Pakistan intelligence agencies .

Pakistan First

12. The Lashkar and Hizb jihadi outfits are highly patriotic outfits who believe in the General Pravez Musharraf`s doctrine of “Pakistan first”. Since 2004 the Lashkar-e-Toiba is having a truce with the Pakistan army. Along the LOC in Kashmir the Lashkar-e-Tioba terrorists have been co- opted with the Pakistan army to police the LOC so that no undesirable and unaccounted elements sneaks into Kashmir without the sanction of Pak army. In the bargain the ISI sends the LET operatives to Kashmir in a highly controlled manner.

13.All the terrorist attacks on Pravez Musharraf had been orchestrated by the Ansar family of terrorists only .Terrorists of the HUM, JEM and AL QUAID were involved in the strikes. The recent suicide bombings of the Pak army convoys and the camps in the NWFP and northern Waziristan are handiwork of HUM, the Taliban and the Al Quaid only. It is important to note that the Lashkar and the Hizb terrorist are not involved in any of these strikes in the region against the Pak army. The area of influence of the Lashkar-e- Tioba is absolutely violence free. So what does it indicate? Both these groups highly resent the actions of the Ansar family against the Pakistan army troops .

Musharraf`s calculated Strike.

14. No politician and for that matter any analyst of Pakistan understands the undercurrents of Pakistani ethnic divide so clearly as much as president General Musharraf does. By decisively striking against the pro Taliban, Ansar enterprise, the general has placated a huge constituency of Punjabis. The patriotic Pakistan army and the bureaucracy have been resentful of the actions and attitude of pathans, which have been threatening the existence of

Pakistan itself. Hence the doctrine of “Pakistan First” which has huge following in the Punjabi community all over Pakistan have supported the action of the Pak army against the seminary and the mosque in the heart of Islamabad town. The absolute clam in the heart of Punjab province can only be attribute to the exiting ethnic divide between the Punjabis and the pathans. The general has called the bluff of the Pathans effectively and now the process of consolidation of his gains is underway. More the pathans resort to violence against the Pak army more the Punjabis get resentful of them. It would help the general to consolidate the power base in Pakistan in the long run.

Long Term Effects

15. For General Prevez Musharraf and his army the battle lines are clearly drawn on the ethnic lines as on now. He is well placed to side with the Punjabi dominated army against the Pathan dominated Taliban and AlQaid movement. The Pathans are widely scattered population in a vast geographical span of the Hindu Kush mountain ranges in the NWFP and the Blauchistan, so they don’t immediately pose any serious threat to the physical existence of Pakistan. However the conflict is like to draw even deeper along the ethnic lines in the days to come. Unless the general arrives at a permanent and durable solution to the problem of the Talibans who are fighting against the foreign occupation of Afghanistan, the region is going to be in a continuous state of turmoil and simmering discontent.

16. Any future dispensation in Islamabad cannot live with the status quo. It is more likely that the jihadi discontent of the region will be directed towards India sooner or later. The situation in Kashmir has not stabilized as yet hence for India the stakes are too high. Till then Chak De Pakistan. Long live the Punjabi spirit!

No comments: