Friday, December 31, 2010

Birth of Pakistan's Islamic Extremism

By Alvaro Vargas Llosa
December 31, 2010

Hardly a day goes by without news about the penetration of the Pakistani state by Islamic fanaticism and the connection between that country’s Inter-Services Intelligence directorate and radical groups in Afghanistan, including the Taliban.

Read on.


henry said...

Harry Truman Writes:
Limit CIA Role
To Intelligence

By Harry S Truman
Copyright, 1963, by Harry S Truman

INDEPENDENCE, MO., Dec. 21 — I think it has become necessary to take another look at the purpose and operations of our Central Intelligence Agency—CIA. At least, I would like to submit here the original reason why I thought it necessary to organize this Agency during my Administration, what I expected it to do and how it was to operate as an arm of the President.
I think it is fairly obvious that by and large a President's performance in office is as effective as the information he has and the information he gets. That is to say, that assuming the President himself possesses a knowledge of our history, a sensitive understanding of our institutions, and an insight into the needs and aspirations of the people, he needs to have available to him the most accurate and up-to-the-minute information on what is going on everywhere in the world, and particularly of the trends and developments in all the danger spots in the contest between East and West. This is an immense task and requires a special kind of an intelligence facility.
Of course, every President has available to him all the information gathered by the many intelligence agencies already in existence. The Departments of State, Defense, Commerce, Interior and others are constantly engaged in extensive information gathering and have done excellent work.
But their collective information reached the President all too frequently in conflicting conclusions. At times, the intelligence reports tended to be slanted to conform to established positions of a given department. This becomes confusing and what's worse, such intelligence is of little use to a President in reaching the right decisions.
Therefore, I decided to set up a special organization charged with the collection of all intelligence reports from every available source, and to have those reports reach me as President without department "treatment" or interpretations.
I wanted and needed the information in its "natural raw" state and in as comprehensive a volume as it was practical for me to make full use of it. But the most important thing about this move was to guard against the chance of intelligence being used to influence or to lead the President into unwise decisions—and I thought it was necessary that the President do his own thinking and evaluating.
Since the responsibility for decision making was his—then he had to be sure that no information is kept from him for whatever reason at the discretion of any one department or agency, or that unpleasant facts be kept from him. There are always those who would want to shield a President from bad news or misjudgments to spare him from being "upset."
For some time I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas.
part one

henry said...

I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations. Some of the complications and embarrassment I think we have experienced are in part attributable to the fact that this quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue—and a subject for cold war enemy propaganda.
With all the nonsense put out by Communist propaganda about "Yankee imperialism," "exploitive capitalism," "war-mongering," "monopolists," in their name-calling assault on the West, the last thing we needed was for the CIA to be seized upon as something akin to a subverting influence in the affairs of other people.
I well knew the first temporary director of the CIA, Adm. Souers, and the later permanent directors of the CIA, Gen. Hoyt Vandenberg and Allen Dulles. These were men of the highest character, patriotism and integrity—and I assume this is true of all those who continue in charge.
But there are now some searching questions that need to be answered. I, therefore, would like to see the CIA be restored to its original assignment as the intelligence arm of the President, and that whatever else it can properly perform in that special field—and that its operational duties be terminated or properly used elsewhere.
We have grown up as a nation, respected for our free institutions and for our ability to maintain a free and open society. There is something about the way the CIA has been functioning that is casting a shadow over our historic position and I feel that we need to correct it.

Morton Kurzweil said...

Do not continue to confuse religious with Islam. "Their is but one God and Mohammed is his messenger."
The meaning is clear. No one can be an intermediary between God and the individual who will be judged by the works and thoughts of a lifetime.
It is the same for Jews. 'There is but one God, only one."
Fanaticism requires group delusions and subjection to claims of intervention and interpretation of the intent and of God.
Group emotions do not make truth of lies or establish justice by inequality, blood lines, or political influence.
Religious fanatics are deluded by beliefs that service to a leader is service to God.

henry said...

gotto love the irony. A militant hit squad targeting shias calling themselves the ‘mehdi force’
@ Iran, we captured Reggi for you. Now stop funding them.
I think everyone is confused you are just trying to make trouble and have the money to make them do it.

KARACHI: The Special Investigation Unit (SIU) of the Capital City Police has busted a key sectarian network, the Mehdi force, which operated under the umbrella of the banned organisation Sipah-e-Mohammad.

Chief of police Fayyaz Leghari called it a ‘major success’ at a press conference held at the Old CIA Centre in Saddar on Sunday.

SIU SSP Raja Umer Khattab said his team has nabbed eight hardcore militants of the network, including its mastermind Tanveer Abbas, along with a huge cache of weapons.

Tanvir Abbas alias Kashif alias Mehdi along with Abrar Hussain, Pervez Zaidi, Riffat alias Jehangir and Hasnain Abbas were arrested in the first encounter near NED University with a vehicle with fake official numberplates (GS-0022) early Sunday morning. Later, Sikandar alias Sajid, Ali Mehdi alias Bubblo and Kumail were arrested during separate raids. All eight suspects hail from the city and most of them were residents of Orangi town, Buffer zone, Malir and New Karachi.

They have been accused of being involved in at least a dozen sectarian target killings, including the murder of three doctors. The group targeted sympathisers and members of the banned Sipah-e-Sahaba, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Jaish-e-Mohammad, because of which a strong backlash would occur and the attacked groups would retaliate against the Shia community more violently.

Please leave the nice people in Pakistan alone.

henry said...

Religious Psychos Praise Pakistan Murder of Official
Qadri appeared in court, unrepentant, where waiting lawyers threw handfuls of rose petals over him
we condemn
Salman Tareer’s tragic death demands that all of us should stand up like him & be counted & must not let his cause die. Please come to Kohsar market with candles & flowers a to pay him tribute for the courage he had shown to promote the vision of Quaid’s Pakistan.

henry said...

"Extremist thought has become so mainstream that what we need to question in Pakistan is what people think constitutes extremism now," said Fasi Zaka, a 34-year-old radio host and columnist.
Pakistan's founding father, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, helped establish the country in 1947 as a moderate Islamic state welcoming all minority groups and religions. But that foundation has slowly been eroded over the years, especially in the 1980s during the military rule of Gen. Mohammad Zia ul-Haq, who imposed a more conservative brand of Islam on the country.
The U.S. participated in this process by providing Zia's government with billions of dollars that it funneled to the mujahideen fighting the Soviets in neighboring Afghanistan. Saudi Arabia also provided billions and established scores of conservative Islamic schools that have played a major role in empowering the religious right in Pakistan.
Analysts say a majority of Pakistan's Muslims still follow a moderate form of Sufi-influenced Islam. But there are signs that even some of those beliefs may have shifted to the right. An influential group of 500 clerics and scholars from the Barelvi sect, which opposes the Taliban, praised Taseer's assassination.
The Jamat Ahle Sunnat group said no one should pray or express regret for the killing of the governor. The group also issued a veiled threat to other opponents of the blasphemy laws.
"The supporter is as equally guilty as one who committed blasphemy," the group warned in a statement, adding politicians, the media and others should learn "a lesson from the exemplary death."
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and other senior ruling party officials joined up to 6,000 mourners under tight security to pay homage to Taseer at a funeral in the eastern city of Lahore. Other parties, including the main opposition Pakistan Muslim League-N, which is more aligned with religious groups, had limited presence at the event.
The response to Taseer's murder among ordinary Pakistanis seemed mixed. Some praised Qadri for targeting the governor, who in recent weeks had spoken forcefully in favor of clemency for a Christian woman sentenced to die for allegedly insulting Islam's Prophet Muhammad. part one

henry said...

Part two

"Salman Taseer committed a grave crime calling the blasphemy law a 'black law,'" said 30-year-old Ghulam Murtaza, a farmer on the outskirts of the southern port city of Karachi.
Others condemned the killing.
"It is sad that he spoke from the heart and was murdered," said Farhat Firdous, a communications professional in Karachi.
But even critics said the government must be very careful about how it deals with the blasphemy laws, which rights activists say are used to settle rivalries and persecute religious minorities.
Marvi Sirmed, 38, said human rights activists such as herself increasingly have less room to maneuver as the Islamists have gained power. Twenty years ago, rights groups were demanding a full repeal of blasphemy regulations. Now they are willing to settle for simply amending, or at least weakening, laws they view as detrimental to women and minorities.
Conservative religious parties staged a massive one-day strike at the end of December to protest any attempt by the government to amend the blasphemy laws. In the face of such street power, the ruling Pakistan People's Party, a largely secular minded party, said it had no plans to amend the laws.
But 66-year-old Taseer, who was a senior member of the ruling party and close ally of U.S.-backed President Asif Ali Zardari, refused to back down, triggering death threats. He is the highest-profile political figure to be assassinated since Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was slain three years ago.
Qadri, who allegedly pumped more than 20 rounds from his assault rifle into Taseer's back in an Islamabad market, has yet to be charged. Questions have arisen over how he managed to be assigned to Taseer's security detail.
Faisal Raza Abdi, political adviser to Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, said Punjab police told him that the department had months ago deemed Qadri as a security risk and warned that he should not assigned to protect high-profile figures. Abdi said the fact that he was allowed to guard Taseer suggested others may have played a role in the killing.
"I do not think this is an individual act. It is a well-planned murder," he told The Associated Press by phone.
After the attack, Qadri threw his weapon down and put his hands up when one of his colleagues aimed at him, pleading to be arrested alive, a senior police official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the case.
The assassination has further deepened turmoil in nuclear-armed Pakistan, where the economy is barely scraping by and suicide attacks by Taliban-linked groups are an ongoing threat. The government is also struggling with the collapse of its ruling coalition.
Mosharraf Zaidi, an independent analyst and columnist in Islamabad, said Taseer's death indicated just how dire the situation in Pakistan has become.
"There has been a steady erosion of reason from the public space," said Zaidi. "Words like liberal and secular have become demonized in Pakistan."

henry said...

Thousands of people attended the funeral, braving tight security and defying threats from religious conservatives.

Some religious scholars had warned that anyone who expresses grief over the assassination could suffer the same fate.

henry said...

Local farmer sliced and diced on suspicion
Gang abducts Irshad and chops off his ears and nose taking him for an informer.
MULTAN: A group of proclaimed offenders held a man hostage and cut off his nose and ears on Wednesday afternoon.

ng abducts Irshad and chops off his ears and nose taking him for an informer.
MULTAN: A group of proclaimed offenders held a man hostage and cut off his nose and ears on Wednesday afternoon.

In the Bahawalnagar rural areas of Kot Langah, Irshad was kidnapped from near the Nooraywala Barrage late Tuesday night. Police officials later confirmed that Irshad was taken by proclaimed offenders Ghulam Fareed Jhogayga, Jaani Bhuk and Kaali Yaaseenka. Police Inspector Shafaqat said “I recently escaped an attack by ‘Kaali’ and the police have been searching for these men for years.”

Recently, the gang’s chief ‘Joyiha’ was killed during an encounter with the police. “The man was wanted and there was a price of Rs500,000 on his head,” Shafaqat said. “We knew the moment we caught him that his accomplices would retaliate and they kidnapped me two days later. I was tortured for a day but I managed to escape,” he said.

According to the police, the gang has been wanted for over 200 counts of murder, kidnapping and robbery in the district and have several lower operatives in other districts.

Irshad is currently in Bahawalnagar Hospital and his brother Nadeem told police officials and reporters that last month the gang members had slit the throat of another police clerk they suspected of being an informant. “The next day the police found the man’s severed head outside the police station,” Nadeem said. Nadeem said that when the police investigated they found that the victim Mian Muslah had been kidnapped at the same time as Inspector Shafaqat. “They kidnapped people from different police stations. It is scary when murderers and robbers begin kidnapping the police,” Shafaqat said.

Irshad, who is a farmer, works near the Bahawalnagar police station and was taking a cigarette break when he was kidnapped. “They tied my brother up in a gunny bag and questioned him all night. Later they tortured him and he fainted from the pain,” Nadeem said, adding “In the morning they threw him in the same gunny bag outside the police station.”

Hospital sources said that Irshad had lost a lot of blood and was currently in critical condition. Irshad has said that he is innocent and has no attachment with any police authority. “They suspected I was with the police but I know nothing,” he said, adding that senior police officials needed to launch a crack down against such criminals. “These men take regular money from us to keep quiet and if we do not pay, they threaten to kill us and kidnap our families,” Nadeem said.

Bahawalnagar Hospital medical superintendent Akram Bhatti told The Express Tribune that Irshad’s condition was still critical. Police has launched an FIR against the criminals on an application of the victim and his brother.

Nadeem has appealed to the Punjab government to help pay for his brother’s treatment as his family cannot afford the medical expenses.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 6th, 2011.

henry said...

SLAMABAD: The twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi have been a centre stage for two kinds of protests after the tragic assassination of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer – one by civil society and moderates, though very weak, against the rising tide of religious extremism and intolerance; the other by religious groups hailing the suspected assassin. This shows increasing polarisation in society.
Two such emotionally-charged protests were held on Friday, their purpose and sentiments poles apart.
A group of students from Quaid-i-Azam University seethed with anger at those rejoicing the assassination of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer. “Shame on intolerance, shame on silent politicians,” they shouted.
The other, activists of religious groups, marched to the residence of Mumtaz Qadri and laid flowers at his doorstep. “We are the slaves of the Prophet (SAW) and ready to die for his prestige and honour,” they chanted.
Kicking up a dust of dissension that some say has reached its “highest point” in years, the marchers turned
back home.
The opposing congregations were a grim reminder of the societal divide that the assassination of the governor has brought to the fore.
“The tragic killing of Salmaan Taseer confirms that Pakistan has reached the edge of the abyss,” said poet and intellectual Harris Khaleeque. “It will be impossible to survive, let alone grow and prosper if sanity is not restored and those provoking people and taking law in their own hands are not brought
to book.”
Renowned historian Dr Mobarik Ali, said, “The power of orthodoxy is getting stronger. It seems liberals and political voices have surrendered. One is afraid to even speak out.” He added that it was the responsibility of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party government to react and control the situation. “If it fails, there is no alternative,” Dr Ali said.
The polarisation in society was underscored as a large number of Quaid-i-Azam University students and faculty members not only condemned Taseer’s murder but also decried the “disturbing response to it from various quarters of society, including lawyers, politicians, religio-political organisations, and sections of the upper-middle class.”
They chanted slogans against what they called the cowardice of mainstream political parties who refused to openly condemn the incident, and against the state for adopting a soft posture towards such crimes.
The protesters also demanded a paradigm shift and overhauling of the training being given to state functionaries given the fact that Qadri was part of the police force responsible for protecting the life and property of Pakistanis.

henry said...

On the other hand, a march by thousands of religious activists expressed solidarity with the assassin urging “everyone in the Muslim world to stand by him.” The march started from Transformer Chowk and ended at Qadri’s residence in Muslim Town, Rawalpindi, with participation from members of Tehrik-i-Fidayan-i-Khatm-i-Naboowat, Shabab Islami and other religious groups.
“This isn’t the first time that the society has divided into opposing ideologies,” said Iftikhar Arif, eminent poet and chairman National Language Authority. “It happened in the 70s, it happened under General Ziaul Haq’s military dictatorship. But the bottom line is that everyone is a Muslim here, and no religion, no country condones the murder of a human being.”
Suggesting a way to move forward from the current crisis, he said Ulema, media and scholars should step up and work on this “troubling situation”.
“Ultimately, I believe sanity will prevail,” he said optimistically. Fearing the exploitation of the situation by different vested interests, Khaleeque was of the view that the issue today was not just the brutal act of the killer but those who provide legitimacy to such acts and use faith to further their political agenda and gain space.
“These forces – all religio-political parties without exception, including the hypocrites sitting on the fence like different factions of the PML, the PTI – are essentially responsible for bringing us to a stage where no critical dialogue is possible between people holding different opinions and dissenting views,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 8th, 2011.

henry said...

No country for sane men
The silent majority has spoken, and they are with the radicals, not against them. If there are indeed voices of reason among the legal fraternity, then they are too intimidated to speak out, and their silence makes them complicit.

Well written Zarar. But sadly, the voice of reason resonating in a dry well.
Ignorance has the day in Pakistan, and ignorance is utterly corrosive by nature. There is no reasoning with it. It holds anything and everything in contempt, and will, if it feels so inclined, bring down the walls upon itself – because that is what ignorance does best.
As a nation, the vast majority of us are are ignorant about social responsibility, the need to respect the law and what it means to be the sort of Pakistani that Jinnah envisaged.
But above all we are dangerously ignorant about Islam.
For all the ills that beset us today, we have ourselves to blame, because our ignorance was a matter of choice, and dont let anyone tell you it was foisted on us.
We chose ignorance because it was comfortable, and because it requires no effort to remain intellectually comatose.
Thinking and reason, on the other hand, require an effort.

henry said...

Bhutto, who is studying in England, said “The dark forces of violent extremism, intolerance and bigotry are intent on devouring our country and our faith and Taseer’s killing was meant to cow its opponents into remaining silent and frightened.”

He said he would uphold the legacy of his mother and his grandfather, former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was hanged in 1979. “I will not be silenced by fear.”

He also condemned clerics who warned against mourning Taseer’s death, saying of those who threatened Muslims who prayed or grieved for him. “You too shall be defeated,” he said.

Five hundred religious scholars from the mainstream Barelvi religious tradition had praised Taseer’s killer and said those who mourned his death could meet the same fate.

“The assassination of Shaheed Salman Taseer is not about liberals versus conservatives or moderate versus radical Islam. It is about right and wrong,” Bilawal said.

Religious parties rarely win much electoral support in Pakistan but they have the capacity to bring large numbers out into the streets. The PPP-led coalition government has been criticised for failing to deliver the kind of governance needed to turn the tide against militancy.