Pakistan is a joke. Much worse, it is a tragedy. And who says that? Not an anti-Pakistani Indian or a furious American. This is the judgment of a well-known journalist and himself a Pakistani of repute. He is the author of this book, Zahid Hussain. And the sub-title of the book: The Struggle with Militant Islam tells it all. One doesn'thave to seek to analyse the contents of this work. Merely quoting passages will suffice.
Thus Hussain writes: ?Despite the backing of the army and America, Musharraf is living on borrowed time. He has spawned a system that is a hybrid of military and civilian rule. It is certainly not a democracy?It is crumbling under the weight of its own contradictions.? Or: ?The growing influence of militant Islam, particularly in the strategically located North West Frontier Province and the western province of Balochistan is ominous.? Or: ?There are the faultlines from which a geopolitical earthquake could at some point erupt?an earthquake which would make the current regional security situation look positively calm by comparison. Pakistan'sbattle with itself is far from over.?
This book is highly revelatory. Hussain writes from inside knowledge. His statements are unchallengeable. Who started the jehadi movement? One may blame Pakistan and its former President, Zia. But listen to this: ?Special textbooks were published in Dari and Pashto by the University of Nebraska-Omaha and funded by USAID, with an aim to promote jehadist values and military training. Millions of such books were distributed at Afghan refugee camps and Pakistani madrasas where students learnt basic maths by counting dead Russians and Kalashnikov rifles.?
At the height of the Afghan jehad 1982-1988, more than 1,000 new madrasas were opened in Pakistan?Their message was simple?all Muslims must perform the duty of jehad on whatsoever capacity they could. The biggest source of financing for madrasas was external?from Muslim countries as well as private donors and Pakistani expatriates. As Hussain states: ?A report by the Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG) revealed that Pakistani madrasas and religious centers had received more than Rs 90 billion ($ 1.5 billion) every year through charitable donations. The amount was almost equal to the government'sannual direct income tax revenue.? The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had become so ?powerful and ubiquitous? that ?it functioned with so much autonomy from the central government that it has almost become a state within a state?. It was ?a crucial partner? in the CIA'sbiggest ?covert operation ever that forced the Soviet Union to pull out of Afghanistan??
No political leader was innocent. ?Bhutto'sgovernment increased the religious content in school syllabuses and succumbing to Saudi Arabia as well as to the demands of religious parties, declared the Ahmedias, an Islamic sect, to be non-Muslim.? Saudi Arabia is another guilty nation which is little known in India. According to Hussain ?by the mid-1980, every dollar given by the CIA (to the ISI) was matched by another from Saudi Arabia.?
The book has to be read to be believed. It provides tremendous inside information, practically for the first time, of the evil deeds of Pakistan, of how the ISI was financed, how two ISI chiefs, General Hamid Gul and General Javed Nasir, promoted pan-Islamism, how, long before the Afghanistan war was over, Gul ?started organising a new jehad front in Kashmir?, how Gul ?accused Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto of trying to make peace with India and questioned her patriotism? and the ISI involvement in Kashmir is presented in full and convincing detail.
Washington turned a blind eye to it all. Writes Hussain: ?The agency (ISI) had become deeply involved in the Kashmir separatist struggle and the military was reluctant to pull back support for the militants it believed were fighting Pakistan'swar. Many in the military establishment contended that by engaging around half a million Indian troops in Kashmir, the Kashmir freedom fighters had ensured Pakistan'ssecurity.?
The book not only exposes the ISI, the Pakistan Army, the jehadists, the dirty games the Pakis were playing in Kashmir, how Pakistan is now paying for its sins because the Al-Qaidists are now hurting Pakistan itself, but it also exposes the rogues in the Pakistan nuclear establishment and what is significant, naming names. There is hardly any secret that does not stand exposed. Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan was supervising a clandestine nuclear blackmarket with unlimited government resources. The United States was perfectly aware of Pakistan'snuclear adventures and US intelligence agencies had concluded in 1986 that Pakistan had acquired nominal capability sufficient to produce six to seven nuclear bombs a year, but, Hussain adds: ?Yet, President Reagan continued to certify that Islamabad did not possess nuclear weapons, thus allowing the flow of aid to Pakistan.?
According to Hussain, Musharraf's ?politics of expediency has given huge latitude to the radical Islamists (and) despite his promise to reform them, thousands of madrasas across the country remained breeding grounds for Islamic extremism.? Since 1989, according to Hussain, some 10,000 fighters have crossed the borders to help their Kashmir ?brethren?.? They were just not prepared to give up the cause on Islamabad'sorders. As an inevitable consequence of Pakistan'spolicy of using jehad as an instrument of covert war, some elements within the intelligence services had been radicalised by the Islamists.
?Islamic militants once trained by Pakistan'sformidable spy masters, the ISI, have turned their guns onto the military leader they saw as having betrayed the jehad.? Pakistanis don'tneed anyone to destroy Pakistan. They can do it themselves.