According to the US-based Pew Research Centre’s Global Attitudes Project, the number of Muslims globally supporting suicide attacks and Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden has fallen sharply in the past six years. But the think tank still has its red signal on about “significant Muslim minorities in eight countries continuing to endorse suicide bombings and the Al Qaeda chief”.
Significantly, the number of Lebanese Muslims justifying suicide attacks has come down from 74 percent in 2004 to 32 percent today. In Pakistan, this support for suicide-bombing has come down from 33 percent in 2002 to 5 percent today. In Jordan, the support remains high at 25 percent although it has fallen recently. Only 10 percent of Indonesians now support suicide bombing, in contrast to Nigeria where 33 percent of Muslims still justify it, despite a fall from over 70 percent in 2002.
Popular support for Osama bin Laden has fallen steeply from a peak in 2002 but still remains dangerously high. In Pakistan one-third of those asked still think he is a good guy. Unlike Jordan, where support for him has fallen dramatically to 19 percent, in Pakistan it is steady around one-third. Understandably, secular Turkey has scored low on both counts.
It is important to view Pakistan a little differently from the rest of the Islamic world. This is where Osama bin Laden feels close to home. Also, he is probably located inside Pakistan. His organisation Al Qaeda is palpable here and doesn’t need “sleeper cells”. It has around 8,000 “foreigners” in Pakistan ready to lay down their lives as combatants or suicide-bombers because they are “uprooted” and ready to abandon life. It has its foot soldiers among two types of Taliban, the Afghan ones and those in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA); and among Pakistanis from the rest of the country who are members of once state-supported jihadi militias.
The Pew survey was carefully modelled to test the opinion of a cross-section of the population in Pakistan. But in many ways this methodology is irrelevant to the “devolution of power” in a state that is fast losing its internal sovereignty. In fact, our state has been leeched of its “monopoly of violence” by the madrassa with a stranglehold on the people no matter what opinion they hold about Al Qaeda and suicide-bombing. For instance, it would be useless to poll the citizens in Islamabad when 80 madrassas hold power over them and scores more have sprung up since the state’s face-off with Lal Masjid last year.
Another distortion that sets Pakistan apart is the “lost territory” in FATA and the Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA). Populations living under Al Qaeda here were first unsure about who they supported but after the failure of the state to protect them they have generally swung in favour of Al Qaeda. Whereas in the Tribal Areas there is no difference between Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, in the rest of the country bin Laden is set apart as the symbol of Islam’s struggle against the US.
Al Qaeda was “facilitated” on the basis of the agreed military “doctrine” pronounced by General Pervez Musharraf in his address to the nation on September 20, 2001, after he had decided to join America’s global “war against terror”. His speech was lynch-pinned to this reference to India: “What do the Indians want? They do not have common borders with Afghanistan anywhere. It is totally isolated from Afghanistan. In my view it is so surprising that the Indians want to ensure that if and when the government in Afghanistan changes, it shall be an anti-Pakistan government…I would like to tell India: lay off.”
This “foundational” speech is the basis of the national security establishment’s policy on the war against terrorism. It committed Pakistan to retain the “proxy” of the Taliban acquired during Pakistan’s pursuit of “strategic depth” in Afghanistan against India. Al Qaeda clutched at it, and was tolerated, as a part of the bargain. After the 2002 election, the MMA was brought to power to underpin this policy. It is during the MMA’s tenure in Balochistan and the NWFP that Al Qaeda became entrenched in Pakistan. The madrassas all over Pakistan, which became the backbone of Al Qaeda and its foot soldiers, were not — or could not be — purged.
Today Al Qaeda sees itself pitted against the security forces of Pakistan because it knows that its final battle for the possession of the nuclear-powered state will be with the Pakistan Army. Therefore, it is incumbent on the politicians and media today to support the Pakistan Army in its war against Al Qaeda and its followers and not be swayed by what the influential clergy advocates in its pro-Al Qaeda rhetoric. (Daily Times).
What sadden me to death is that most of our educated class lacks the ground realities in Pakistan.
First of all Talibans are FIGS, barbarians, headless, basters, and they have no religion or humanity.
The very existence of FATA (Federally Administrated Tribal Areas which includes Khyber, Mohmand, Bajaur, Orakzai,N-Waziristan, S-Waziristan & Kurram Agencies) is a conspiracy, and this should have been merged in NWFP as settled districts long time ago. They are the same pathans like the one lives 5 miles away in Peshawar or Malakand Division. They are no different than other pathans, then why should they enjoy the special status. And what FATA achieved of this special status. Nothing. Why were they kept in dark ages in the pretext that they are semi-independent was because the corrupt establishment reminded Pakistanis that our prophet MA Jinnah the great promised them this special status. All bullshit.
The corrupt establishment and ISI kept these areas in dark ages for the sole purpose of using them against Afghanistan. The magna Carta of Paki Army is that 1- keep Afghanistan busy with Talibans type people. and 2- India is our enemy # 1. On this ground Paki Generals sucks 90% of Pakistani Budget and has educated Urban Punjab with this KALAMA, who are the only Pakstanis. Any minority who sopke for their rights are traitors. Only Punjabis are patriots.
Now ISI and Paki Army was successful till 60 years, but now those Talibans created and trained by ISI have turned against Pakistan because Afghanistan border is closed by NATO. Now those masked barbers who belongs to Hell and call itself Taliban want to create Islamic State, and in this process has killed 1000s of innocent people.They are systemically killing the elder, elite and educated class of Pathans. This is a grave conspiracy. All those who justifies Talibans even 1% are Stupid and I wihs Allah bless their family with Talibans so they can have a taste of it too.
The brutality of the Taliban during their rule in Afghanistan is well-documented fact. Any Afghan will testify to it. 99% of Afghans despise the Taliban. Over the years, I have found an alarmingly number of Pakistanis who try to defend them. Now that they are here, doing the same to us, this people seem to still be in denial. I’m not a fan of the army and certainly not the thugs of the bush administration. However, to blame all of this on the US & the army is just plain irrational. Things in the world are never black & white. There are ciminals hiding in our tribal areas who not only commit these heinous acts but have the audacity to use Islam as a pretext. Unless and until the majority of the people of our country acknowledge this fact, this problem will not go away. This is a mess created by the army and the US back in the 80’s and this is a mess that they will have to fix. We on our end will need to be honest about it. Conspiracy theories are an act of paranoia. And paranoia is a symptom of schizophrenia.
We need to stop acting insane.
USA has for sure crushed the Al-Qaida and Talban in Afghanistan and that poor country is progressing much faster than any time in past 40 years. The problem is that Musharaf played double game and let Talban establish them in FATA in the form of multiple war lords who provide fee-for-service suicide bombers to India, russia, drug lords etc to do actionsinside Afghanistan or Pakistan. There is is huge foreign money and drug mafia involved. We need to crush these savages for the sake of Pakistan or else they will make a Somalia out of this poor nation.
How to crush them is quite easy. Fund and Equip Tribes to fight with these groups wwith air and ground support from Army. Most tribes wants militants out because they are destroying their own life. This tactic is a success in Afghanistan and for sure will be a success in FATA.
“So it would be of help if you could stop blaming this or that since you have no evidence against Hamid Mir or anyone else.”
Media must stop portraying these militants as ‘innocent’ and ‘hero’. They are evil villians who will destroy the basic social fabric of Pakistan for ever. We have to choose between Talban and Pakistan and we want Pakistan.