Endemic violence coupled with frequent sectarian clashes have clearly established Pakistan in the eyes of the world as a Jihadi State
Pakistan is emerging not only as the citadel of jihadi terrorists, but also as a ‘Jihadi State’ itself, where the bulk of the discourse revolves around Islam and its interpretations. The entire state and its population appear to be obsessed with religion. The assassination of famous Sufi singer Amjad Sabri for singing Qawwalis which some
exponents of Islam believe to be unIslamic and grant of 300 million rupees by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to a seminary which is widely believed as the nursery of Taliban are nothing but
manifestations of this huge obsession. Endemic violence coupled with frequent sectarian clashes have clearly established Pakistan in the eyes of the world as a
Jihadi state. Consequently, there are members of Pakistan’s constitutional bodies, who publicly justify beating of wives, confinement of women and many such ideas that would seem reprehensible in any other state of the world.
Having been created by the ‘Two Nation Theory’, which automatically made religion the central issue in the state, Pakistan right from its inception has been obsessed with Islam. It is popularly believed that jihadi blowback is a consequence of General Zia ul Haq’s policies of Islamisation to legitimise his regime and American
instigated Saudi funded and ISI operated ‘jihad’ in Afghanistan. However, the truth is that the process of Islamisation had started right from the time Pakistan came into existence and Zia only accelerated it. The idea of Pakistan was not very popular in the region that
eventually came to constitute Pakistan; consequently, successive Pakistani governments have used religion to justify the call for Pakistan. Moreover, having been
established on the basis of religion, it has always been difficult for the state to deemphasise Islam from
governance. The Objectives Resolution adopted by the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan in March 1949 vested the sovereignty with Allah alone. This gave the Ulemas a permanent right to veto any parliamentary resolution, if they perceived it to be against their understanding of Islam. This ensured that religion acquired a permanent place in the body politic of the state. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, generally perceived to be a secular politician, furthered the process of radicalisation by banning alcohol and
giving state the “Right of Taqfir”.
Having dislodged Soviets from Afghanistan, Pakistani state felt that by propagating jihadi ideology, they could create a force that would take on a much larger neighbour. Consequently, some jihadi outfits have always been
nurtured by the establishment for use as strategic tools. Although many of these snakes which Pakistan sheltered in its backyard have started biting it, the establishment is unwilling to let them go. Pakistan if it wants to rein in the jihadi outfits, will have to deemphasise religion from its body politic, but it does not seem as if it is willing to tread that path irrespective of incidents like Army Public School Peshawar. Recently, former Pakistani Foreign
Minister Hina Rabbani Khar termed Afghan jihad a grave mistake, but the security establishment in Pakistan is obsessed with jihadi concepts of war against its perceived enemies and it is willing to sink along with them, as long as it can inflict injury on its “enemies”.
(The writer is Director India Foundation and Adjunct Professor of NDIM)