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How Pakistan Lets Terrorism Fester.

Discussion in 'Pakistani Siasat' started by Perceptron, May 11, 2012.

  1. Perceptron

    Perceptron BANNED

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    How Pakistan Lets Terrorism Fester
    [HR][/HR]
    By HUSAIN HAQQANI
    Published: May 10, 2012
    [HR][/HR]
    ON the anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death last week, Pakistan was the only Muslim country in which hundreds of demonstrators gathered to show solidarity with the dead terrorist figurehead.

    Yet rather than asking tough questions about how Bin Laden had managed to live unmolested in Pakistan for years, the Pakistani Supreme Court instead chose to punish the prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, by charging him with contempt for failing to carry out the court’s own partisan agenda — in this case, pressuring the Swiss government to reopen a decades-old corruption investigation of President Asif Ali Zardari. (Never mind that Swiss officials say they are unlikely to revisit the charges.)

    In handing down the decision, one justice chose to paraphrase the Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran. He held forth in a long appeal to religious-nationalist sentiment that began with the line, “Pity the nation that achieves nationhood in the name of a religion but pays little heed to truth, righteousness and accountability, which are the essence of every religion.”

    That a Supreme Court justice would cite poetry instead of law while sentencing an elected leader on questionable charges reflects Pakistan’s deep state of denial about its true national priorities at a time when the country is threatened by religious extremism and terrorism.

    Today, Pakistan is polarized between those who envision a modern, pluralist country and those who condone violence against minorities and terrorism in the name of Islam. Many are caught in the middle; they support the pluralist vision but dislike the politicians espousing it.

    Meanwhile, an elephant in the room remains. We still don’t know who enabled Bin Laden to live freely in Pakistan. Documents found on computers in his compound offer no direct evidence of support from Pakistan’s government, army or intelligence services. But even if Bin Laden relied on a private support network, our courts should be focused on identifying, arresting and prosecuting the individuals who helped him. Unfortunately, their priorities seem to lie elsewhere.

    In Pakistan, most of the debate about Bin Laden has centered on how and why America violated Pakistan’s sovereignty by unilaterally carrying out an operation to kill him. There has been little discussion about whether the presence of the world’s most-wanted terrorist in a garrison town filled with army officers was itself a threat to the sovereignty and security of Pakistan.

    Pakistanis are right to see themselves as victims of terrorism and to be offended by American unilateralism in dealing with it. Last year alone, 4,447 people were killed in 476 major terrorist attacks. Over the last decade, thousands of soldiers and law enforcement officers have died fighting terrorists — both homegrown, and those inspired by Al Qaeda’s nihilist ideology.

    But if anything, the reaction should be to gear up and fight jihadist ideology and those who perpetrate terrorist acts in its name; they remain the gravest threat to Pakistan’s stability. Instead, our national discourse has been hijacked by those seeking to deflect attention from militant Islamic extremism.

    The national mind-set that condones this sort of extremism was cultivated and encouraged under the military dictatorships of Gen. Mohammad Zia ul-Haq from 1977 to 1988 and Gen. Pervez Musharraf from 1999 to 2008. A whole generation of Pakistanis has grown up with textbooks that conflate Pakistani nationalism with Islamist exclusivism.

    Anti-Western sentiment and a sense of collective victimhood were cultivated as a substitute for serious debate on social or economic policy. Militant groups were given free rein, originally with American support, to resist the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, and later became an instrument of Pakistani regional influence there and in Indian-occupied Kashmir.

    Pakistan’s return to democracy, after the elections of 2008, offered hope. But the elected government has since been hobbled by domestic political infighting and judicial activism on every issue except extremism and terrorism.

    Before Mr. Musharraf was ousted, a populist lawyers’ movement successfully challenged his firing of Supreme Court justices. The lawyers’ willingness to confront Mr. Musharraf in his last days raised hopes of a new era. But over the last four years, the Court has spent most of its energy trying to dislodge the government by insisting on reopening cases of alleged corruption from the 1990s. During the same period, no significant terrorist leader has been convicted, and many have been set free by judges who overtly sympathize with their ideology.

    This has happened because the lawyers’ movement split into two factions after Mr. Musharraf’s fall: those emphasizing the rule of law and those seeking to use the judiciary as a rival to elected leaders.

    Asma Jahangir, who helped lead the lawyers’ movement, has become a critic of the courts, accusing them of overstepping their constitutional mandate and falling under the influence of the security establishment. And Aitzaz Ahsan, who represented the Supreme Court’s chief justice during the lawyers’ showdown with Mr. Musharraf, is now Prime Minister Gilani’s lawyer in the contempt-of-court case — a clear indication of the political realignment that has taken place.

    Meanwhile, Pakistan’s raucous media, whose hard-won freedom is crucial for the success of democracy, has done little to help generate support for eliminating extremism and fighting terrorism. The Supreme Court, conservative opposition parties and the news media insist that confronting alleged incompetence and corruption in the current government is more important than turning Pakistan away from Islamist radicalism.

    While fighting Pakistan’s endemic corruption is vital, the media and judiciary have helped redirect attention away from the threat of jihadist ideology by constantly targeting the governing party — a convenient situation for the intelligence services, which would prefer to keep the spotlight on the civilian government rather than on the militant groups they have historically supported.

    Convicting the dozens of terrorists released by Pakistani courts should be a greater priority for the country’s judiciary than scoring points against the elected executive branch. And the Pakistani media should be more focused on asking why those deemed terrorists internationally are celebrated as heroes at home.

    Until their priorities shift, the empty pronouncements of our leaders against terrorism and the sacrifices of our soldiers in battle with militants will not suffice to change the nation’s course.

    Husain Haqqani, a professor at Boston University, was Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States from 2008 to 2011.
     
  2. EnidZaini

    EnidZaini FULL MEMBER

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    Nice an article. From a neutral point of view, I think it's our laws and our so called " Gov" that has
    brought an extremist look of the country.Yesterday, I saw a program on National Geographic that
    took out all the cultural background and characteristics. It said Pakistan's people are not the one
    inviting but it's a tyranny that has taken place and Pakistanis are endangered!
     
  3. Jango

    Jango SENIOR MODERATOR

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    In short, Court is wrong in trying Gilani!!!
     
  4. Stumper

    Stumper FULL MEMBER

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    Yes, Absolutely. Pakistani Courts should be concerned only about writ of Pakistani law in Pakistani land, not what law is broken in Switzerland. Mr.Gilani is right when he says constitution does not allow him to carry out any proceedings against president.
     
  5. truthseer

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    I really don't get the problem with this. People have different opinions, one must learn to live and let live. If people want to support OBL, it is their constitutional right. Of course, selling the country to the US isn't one but Mr.Haqqani knows that.

    If I remember correctly, Mr.Haqqani was in the self-same government. He had no problems then, he has no right to complain now

    This makes no sense. A poem can be used to emphasize a point that would take a thousand words to explain. I see nothing wrong in this. Now betraying your country, that would be another thing..

    I am starting to think the writer has never been to Pakistan. Many do not support a pluralist vision

    Again, I must stress the fact that courts do not investigate or arrest people, the police do. The court only rules on the charges before them. At best, they can order the police to investigate.

    I have no doubt that Mr.Haqqani sees it as okay to violate the sovereignty of a country. One person living illegally is not, as Mr.Haqqani words it, "A threat to the sovereignty and security of Pakistan"

    So this militancy is Islamic? Last time I checked, this brand of Islam is anything but Islam. Deliberate misrepresentation by a traitor

    Yet, you did nothing when you were in the government

    Maybe, just maybe, Mr.Haqqani, could it be that it's because of American support for militant groups that anti-Western sentiment has grown?

    Judges can only rule on evidence put before them.

    It's called money, it can cause every type of realignment, including betrayal. Haqqani should know that

    Because a corrupt government doesn't matter at all, right?

    The government has been inept, should the focus not be on it?

    Could it be that that they were released because they were found NOT GUILTY?

    This, I agree with
     
  6. Jango

    Jango SENIOR MODERATOR

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    Three people right now have no right to say anything like this in the country.

    1-Haqqani

    2-Ambassador to London

    3-Ishrat-Ul-Abad.

    These people have been at those posts for ages!

    And they are doing that as well. But some people seem to sidestep that.

    On the lower levels, steps need to be taken, and lower courts are in shambles, but the higher courts are working. To some extent.
     
  7. truthseer

    truthseer BANNED

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    The development all over Sindh disagrees.
     
  8. Jango

    Jango SENIOR MODERATOR

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    Not in this thread.

    Btw, what exactly has he done.
     
  9. truthseer

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  10. RazorMC

    RazorMC SENIOR MEMBER

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    1. Mr. Haqqani has chosen not to mention that the armed Islamic movement in Afghanistan had full American involvement right from the beginning to the end of the war. The whole issue is side-stepped with a mere mention of "originally with American support". Support and full involvement are two different things.

    2. The PPP has had ample time to hold a "serious debate on social or economic policy" in the past and at present as well. Yet they still cite the same excuse over and over and over about military dictators. This time there has been no dictatorship, no coup and no martial law. What has your beloved leadership done so far, Mr. Haqqani?

    3. The elected government has never been prevented from improving the country's economy, solving the energy crises, spreading education to the masses or building Pakistan's infrastructure. It is the PPP's own corruption (remember Rental Power, anyone?) and complete disregard for the welfare of the Pakistani nation and its people that stands in its way.