The War Within Islam
The Jihadis justify their violence against Sufi shrines as attacks
against ‘impure’ manifestations of the Islamic faith. Killing ‘unbelievers,’
‘heretics’ and ‘deviants’ is an integral part of their plan to create a purer
Islamic state. The same justification has been used in the past to attack Shias
and Ahmadis as well as Pakistan’s Christians and Hindus. Although Jihadi groups
were originally nurtured by Pakistan for proxy wars in Afghanistan and against India,
at least some Jihadi groups consider Pakistanis as legitimate targets....
General Zaheer ul Islam Abbasi tried to stage an Islamic coup in 1995
because Pakistan was “not based on Quran and Sunnah”. Gul found instant
traction with the madrasa leaders, who in turn agreed with al Qaeda chief Aiman
al-Zawahiri’s treatise proving how Pakistan was not an Islamic state despite
the constitution and a supra-constitutional Shariah court....
Dr Ayesha Siddiqa
The stories of different mullahs and Maulanas travelling to Beijing and
back are now fairly old. In any case, the bulk of Pakistan-based
religious-radical groups do not consider China an enemy. Therefore, we need to
re-think before jumping to the conclusion that the house arrest indicates a
policy watershed. This may serve the purpose of signalling to the world the
state’s ability to control these elements but it is not a precursor to a
strategic change especially at a time when the geo-political plate seems to be
S. Binodkumar Singh
At this time, even though the Afghan Taliban has declared that it has
no intention of participating in peace talks with the Afghan Government,
despite international efforts, an attempt is being made to bring the rebels to
the talks table. The first round of official peace talks between the Afghan
Taliban and the Afghan Government had taken place in the intervening night of
July 7 and July 8, 2015, in Murree in Pakistan, with an agreement to meet again
on August 15 and 16, 2015, in the Qatar capital, Doha....
Pakistan can’t dump Hafiz Saeed because he is too big organisationally
and funding-wise. His outreach is comparable to Fethullah Gülen who controls
the Turkish mind, but Saeed went one better — successfully running stealth
courts handing down punishments, 5,500 cases in Lahore alone, and he takes on
India while the politicians are quaking in their shoes....
Sindh: Fragile Peace
Tushar Ranjan Mohanty
Tushar Ranjan Mohanty
Almost 75 per cent of militants on the terrorism watch list for their
alleged links with over a dozen proscribed organisations remain untraceable in
Karachi, according to official documents. The Sindh counterterrorism forces
were unable to trace 142 of a total of 190 terrorists, who were listed in
'category A', a term used for terrorists put on exceptional risk or high risk.
Six most wanted terrorists belonging to proscribed organizations had shifted to
Holland, Bangladesh, Dubai, Ethiopia, United Arab Emirates and Afghanistan...
But the conversation about what to do with the good Jihadis isn’t going
to be held by the average Pakistani, it will be held by the state whose
calculus is necessarily different: It has been served loyally in the past by
the good Jihadis; the security apparatus is battle hardened, but the state war
weary; and merger is a helluva lot simpler to effect than dissolution.....
Tushar Ranjan Mohanty
Punjab has long consolidated as a nursery of terrorism. Media reports
in May 2016 quoted a senior counter-terrorism (CT) officer, citing a
confidential report titled "Proscribed/Jihadi Organizations", who
noted that major banned outfits in the country were still recruiting madrasa
students to wage jihad in Afghanistan and Kashmir, and that such non-state
actors had become very dangerous for Pakistan as well.....
It is those who were absent who hold the cards for the next phase.
Turkey’s main proxy, Ahrar al-Sham, did not come to Astana, but
uncharacteristically it sent its blessings for the deliberations. It might, in
time, join the process. The two parties that are outside the ceasefire are the
Islamic State (IS) and the al-Qaeda proxy, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (JFS). These
groups have attempted to peel away fighters from those who went to Astana,
saying that the negotiators shame the ‘revolution’....
Although he still despises the guards who tortured him, Shogre says
that he also saw the best of humanity while in prison. Other prisoners helped
to save him, giving him their food rations so that he could live, and paying
guards not to kill him. Although practising Islam was banned in Sednaya, he
silently memorised 18 chapters of the Quran during his time in confinement,
taught in whispered exchanges with other prisoners.....
C. Christine Fair
Pakistan continues to burnish its credentials as a state sponsor of
terrorism abroad and as a repressive, murderous environment for dissidents at
home. It is a well-known fact that
Pakistan’s military and intelligence agencies provide a full suite of state
support to a deadly menagerie of militant groups proscribed by the United
Nations, the United States, and others......
The authorities, apparently, were quite receptive. In English textbooks
for use in madrasas, all Hindu, Christian or foreign-sounding names have been
replaced by Muslim names. Conversations between boys and girls have been
omitted. Illustrations of girls with bare heads have been edited out. The word
“period” was removed from a section on girls’ physical development. The name of
the chairman of the textbook board, a Hindu professor, does not appear....
Tushar Ranjan Mohanty
Operation Zarb-e-Azb was launched in NWA on June 15, 2014, in the
aftermath of the attack on the Jinnah International Airport, Karachi, on June
8-9, 2014, in which at least 33 persons, including all 10 attackers, were
killed. Since then, according to partial data compiled by South Asia Terrorism
Portal (SATP), at least 2,563 terrorists and 232 soldiers have been killed....
Throughout Pakistan’s history, dissent and free speech have been
muzzled by a state that inherited a repressive legal framework from the British
colonizers who ruled the Indian subcontinent until 1947. Journalists, poets,
intellectuals and many politicians who questioned the state were labeled
traitors, sometimes jailed or exiled, and on occasion killed. ...
Dissent or critique of state policy is not only not tolerated but
snubbed in a way that an example is set for others. It has been happening to
outspoken voices against religious conservatism, state's appeasement of clergy
or the military establishment for years.....
For a long while we were told that the Taliban in Afghanistan were our
assets and the Pakistani Taliban were our misguided brothers. Today we are told
that everyone who attacks us is bankrolled by India. But all these stories are
just a way of refusing to admit that for many years now, we have been fighting
an enemy who lives among us and who believes in many of the things we believe
...the Pakistan army is indiscriminately using chemical weapons in
Waziristan and in certain areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, both areas dominated by
Pashtuns—apart from Balochistan. Until recently, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa acted as a
rescue point for IDPs escaping the Pakistan army’s so-called war on terror in
Waziristan and surrounding areas. The Pak military has been using the “war on
terror” to bombard its restive regions that are seeking independence from
Rather than downplaying the divisions among different ethnic and
religious groups in Turkey in the post-putsch period, the ruling party and the
president are deepening the country’s many divisions, all the while assisted by
the mainstream media. They are creating a fractured political environment which
will enable them to promote constitutional amendments, in the long run
presenting Erdoğan’s long-held dream of an executive presidential system as the
only thing that can bring Turkey back from the brink.....
“As we’ve seen after the coup, the reaction is way outside of the
formal rule of law. You started arresting police and gendarmes, now writers,
actors, journalists — so there is no limit,” he said. “When you start pulling
the thread on the rule of law, the whole sweater can come off. And that’s where
The president’s reaction to Turkey’s multiple woes has largely revolved
around clamping down on all dissent and extending the breadth and depth of his
autocracy, blaming everyone but his own often contradictory policies for all
that is going horribly wrong in a nation that not long ago seriously aspired to
become a fully fledged European state but has lately been sucked right back
into the Middle Eastern cauldron, with its present blighted and its future
Arabia has formally banned transgender people from even visiting the country.
It doesn’t end there – they have also been banned from performing the religious
pilgrimage, Umrah. The pilgrimage can be performed by Muslims at any time of
the year as opposed to Hajj, which can only be carried out once a year....
Tushar Ranjan Mohanty
Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) data on the execution of terrorists showed that,
from December 2014 to November 2016, just 29 out of 426 executions had been
under the Anti Terrorism Act (ATC). The vast majority (93 per cent) of the 426
executions has been for crimes unrelated to terrorism....
had made an impression not only on the Taliban government in Afghanistan, but
also on the Pakistani madrasas — the religious schools that gave birth to the
Taliban movement and to this day fill its ranks with foot soldiers. Many of
those seminaries were a legacy of American funding of the Islamic insurgency
against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan....
have been growing in Tunisia since the 2000s, with mounting unemployment and
despair and humiliation among the young. Some of them have turned to radical
Salafist movements, inspired by satellite television preachers and driven by
anger at the Tunisian regime’s attempts to impose an official vision of
Where will this
leave the ISIS? During the Mosul operation, the ISIS carried out a series of
devastating attacks in Istanbul, Baghdad and different parts of Saudi Arabia.
Its “lone-wolf” adherents have also been destructive in several parts of West
and South Asia...