Susmit Kumar, Ph.D.

Pakistan was created by Muslim leaders like Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Liaquat Ali Khan who were originally from Hindu majority states in undivided India. Once these top leaders were gone (Jinnah died in 1948, Khan was assassinated in 1951), Pakistan became leaderless politically and the Pakistani army generals took over the country. The US supported these dictators and hence democracy could not take deep roots there. In all wars it has fought, the United States claims to be fighting for freedom and democracy. However, in all its Cold War battles it did not hesitate to deal repeatedly with military dictators instead of democratically elected leaders as they tend inevitably towards a socialist or participatory style of government. After the end of the Cold War, almost all countries are leading towards the path of peaceful democratic states, barring a few such as Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s armed forces became proponents of Islamic holy war during General Zia-ul-Haq’s rule in the 1980s. The 1979 Soviet intervention in Afghanistan and subsequent U.S. funding of the Afghan mujahideen via the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan’s equivalent of the CIA) made the Pakistani army holy warriors in the name of Islam, since it was the Pakistani army that was training the mujahideen. At the entrance to the Pakistan Military Academy, an Arabic-lettered sign proclaims: “Victory Awaits Those Who Have Faith in God.” The curriculum includes a six-month course in Islamic studies. The official motto of the army is: “Faith, Piety and Jihad in the Way of Allah.”[i]

The Pakistan government had no control over the terrorist training camps, as they were run by ISI, which was outside governmental control. ISI works independently of the government and gets several billion dollars every year from illegal drugs, using poppy cultivated along Pak-Afghan border. Under pressure from the US, the Pakistan government tried to bring the ISI under civilian control in 2008, but they were forced by the army to withdraw this decision.

It is very difficult for any Pakistan government to control the Islamic militants and the army as anti-India culture runs deep in Pakistan. In general, they blame India for the dismemberment of Pakistan in 1971 when India liberated East Pakistan in a war lasting just two weeks. From March to December 1971, West Pakistani Muslim army massacred more than three million Bengali-speaking, East Pakistani Muslims. This genocide was brought to a halt only when India invaded East Pakistan and liberated it from the West Pakistani military dictators, resulting in the formation of the new nation called Bangladesh. Because of the genocide, India had more than 10 million refugees from East Pakistan.

ISI’s sponsorship is not limited to Kashmir only. It is funding, training and supplying arms to militants and separatists all over India – as far as in Assam and its neighboring states. In the hills of Bangladesh, deep forests of Bhutan and Myanmar, ISI is operating dozens of training centers for separatists operating in the Northeast states. Even if Kashmir problem is solved, Pakistan's ISI is not going to stop its terrorist activities in India as it wants to balkanize India in order to take revenge for the creation of Bangladesh. This is the main reason that ISI as well as its military do not want to stop the funding and training of Islamic militants despite pressure from the US to do so.



[i] Lancaster, John, “Pakistan struggles to put army on moderate course,” The Washington Post, April 4, 2004.

 

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