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Communal divide will be deepened

Communal divide will be deepened

Author: Samuel Baid
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: April 25, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/171775/Communal-divide-will-be-deepened.html

Let's not imagine that the Talib will satisfy themselves by exploiting the poverty of India's ghetto communities; confrontations with other social groups will naturally follow

Any plan to meet possible Taliban attacks in India must take into account the ISI's clever methodology. In 1947, when the Government of Governor-General Mohammad Ali Jinnah feared that tribals, who had so far lived on financial aid from the British Government of India in return for peace, could turn on the new nation of Pakistan like hungry wolves, the ISI decided to arm them and turned on Kashmir, of course under cover fire provided by its military wing. In the 1980s when the Afghan war ended, Gen.Zia-ul-Haq made a plan to divert the jobless jehadis to Kashmir. This plan was executed in 1989, about a year after his death.

Now the ISI sees the necessity of diverting the Talibs' attention to India because, otherwise, they could wreak vengeance on the government for permitting the Americans to step up operations in Afghanistan and bomb the border areas of Pakistan. So, to avoid being devoured by the wild animal, the Pakistan establishment is trying to excite it in India's direction. Pakistan's Interior Ministry Rahman Malik has recently warned that 10,000 Talib are ready to sneak into India.

Taliban's modus operandi is different from that of LeT and JeM. These two organisations commit act of terror and disappear and usually do not own responsibility. Taliban, on the other hand, select an ideal area; enter it as simple preachers of Islam; study the problems of the local people and very soon convince them that they would redress their grievances. It is then that they begin to display their terrifying aspect.

In the case of India, Taliban will not have to work hard to find out local conditions, people's grievances and proclivities: ISI will give them full details on the organisations and individuals who could give them hospitality. Here the Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), Indian Mujahideen and some other grip[s could become Taliban's facilitators.

When India plans a strategy to prevent the advent of Taliban it will have to give a very careful consideration to this aspect. We must also remember that if Taliban manage to sneak into India and play an Islamic card, there will be a very violent reaction from other communities. Thus, creating Pakistan-like chaos in India is going to be the objective.

Terror factories in Pakistan have always been a cause of threat to India. But the February 16 agreement between the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) government and the outlawed Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat Mohammadi (TNSM) of Maulana Soofi Mohammad in the Malakand Division and its unanimous ratification by the country's Parliament on April 14 has strengthened apprehensions in India about the eventual fall of Pakistan to lawless Taliban. The most shocking fact about this agreement is that the government has meekly surrendered to the outlawed TNSM the lawmaking powers that the Constitution invested in the country's Parliament. Now Taliban will be making laws in Malakand for ordinary citizens - not just themselves. Maulana Soofi has stated that decisions of Qazi courts, which will be taken in the light of "laws" made by Taliban - not by Islamic scholars - cannot be challenged in the Supreme or High Courts of Pakistan. He called these courts and democracy "Kufr" (un-Islamic).

It is a mystery why Pakistan's Government and the Army have begun to succumbing to Taliban's threat so meekly. Maulana Soofi said a day before his agreement with the NWFP Government was to be debated in Parliament that if Parliament did not ratify it the whole of Pakistan would be turned into a 'battleground'. Parliament passed it unanimously. Earlier this month, Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud warned that Taliban would continue suicide attacks till their three conditions were fulfilled : (1) the Pak Army should withdraw from tribal areas; (2) Maulana Abdul Aziz (of Islamabad's Lal Masjid) be released and (3) American drone attacks be stopped. In response to each demand, the Army has already been withdrawing from parts of South and North Waziristan and now from Swat. Maulana Abdul Aziz has been released and restored to his position as its Khatibh. He is back to making threatening speeches. In his first speech on April 17 he declared Shariat would be enforced throughout Pakistan. As for the Drone attacks, all that Islamabad can do is to plead with America to stop drone attacks.

There are some writers who argue that Taliban have no extra-Pakistan agenda. Such writers fail to take Tehrik-e-Taliban Chief Baitullah Mehsud's threat to order his men in the US to attack that country. In November last year he threatened to join the Pakistan Army in fighting India if New Delhi implemented its threat to break up terror camps in response to the Mumbai attack. Apologists may say that these were empty threats. But being the foot soldiers of the al-Qaeda, one cannot rule out the possibility of their use of its global terror network.

There are writers who argue that the Taliban does not constitute a threat to India. An on-line anonymous article "Do the Taliban Pose a Real Threat to India?" claims that Taliban considers "freedom" struggle in Kashmir as un-Islamic and as an ISI operation. The writer nowhere gives quotes to prove his contention. Such contentions are misleading or rather mischievous, in the light of historical relations between Taliban and ISI.

Since the emergence of Taliban as the rulers of Afghanistan in September 1996, there has not been the slightest hint of its positive attitude towards India. In December 1999, its sympathies were with the hijackers who took the Indian Airlines flight to Kandhar. Now they kidnap or harass Indians who are carrying on reconstruction work in Afghanistan. Taliban were installed into power in Kabul by Pakistan in 1996 to, among other things, prevent India's presence in Afghanistan. In September 2001, when Geneeral Pervez Musharraf announced his decision to join the US-led war on global terrorism, he pleaded with the United States not to dislodge Taliban from power and warned India to "keep off Afghanistan".

The emergence of a Pakistan chapter of Taliban was on the back of Sunni terrorist organisations like the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) and the Jaish-e-Mohammad, which specially target India. Some writers' contention that Taliban do not have connection with these organisations is facile. After all, they are all protégés of the ISI. And ISI is single-mindedly focused on exporting terror to India. It is with the help of these terrorist groups that Taliban have spread themselves in Punjab. The Taliban suicide attack on a police training camp in Manawan in Lahore, only 10 Km from the Wagah border, was a grave wakeup call to India.

(Samuel Baid, Director, Institute for Media Studies & Information, YMCA)


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