FACTORIES OF TERRORISM IN PAKISTAN

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Dr. Stephen Gill The insidious animal of terrorism has wasted the lives of around five thousand innocent citizens on September 11,2001 with its eruption of madness on New York and Washington.

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In addition, the animal has destroyed the dreams of the children, parents and brothers and sisters of the victims. It is not easy to imagine the extent of despair of those children who waited for the return of their mothers and fathers to play in the evening on that fateful day. How those parents must have felt when they heard the news of the death of their children? How are they going to face the rest of their lives carrying their deep wounds? It will take time to heal the psychological scars that the eruption of the poison has caused to the nation. It is not easy to describe the long line of the funeral of the personal and national hopes. The brutal attacks have disturbed the peaceful and economic life of the world.
Now there are incidents of bio terrorism even in Pakistan, the region that harbored and nourished this animal. The destructive eruptions on September 11 have made the world aware that the present century is going to be an appetizing banquet for the animal. Just the United States is investing billions of dollars to bag the brute. Other countries, including UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, France, are also investing huge sums. The coalition of the world forces has designed multi-level strategies to confine the madness of this animal to the wasteland of the past. The insidious beast is not that easy to bag. However, there is a window of hope.
A nonviolent way to control the beast is to starve it. For its starvation, although a long way, western democracies are finding the organizations and business outfits, which feed it. Several of these outfits have been banned and their assets have been frozen. Democracies in the West are devising means to find out even those suspicious outfits, which collect donations in the cover of social and educational projects. Antiterrorism bills have been passed by parliaments of some nations and more are on the verge of joining them. In Canada, these bills were opposed by Muslim organizations.
On August 4, I suggested to a gathering in Winnipeg to strangle the beast by refusing to give it the oxygen of money. This was a gathering to discuss the violations of human rights of Christians in India and Pakistan. I pointed out that terrorism in Pakistan and India is an international concern. The dragon must be starved. The supply line of money that starts from the West must be destroyed. Western democracies feed this beast with the money that is collected in their ountries in the name of welfare projects. Copies of the text of my talk were mailed to parliamentarians in Canada, to several decision-makers in the United States, and to several human rights activists around the world. Several concerned persons, including decision-makers, replied to appreciate my suggestion. Within weeks after my talk, Washington, D.C. and New York became the victims of the savagery of the beast. The West has started taking measures to starve the animal that was harbored and nourished by Zia-ul-Haq.
Zia-ul-Haq took the power of Pakistan through his military coup. He became chief martial law administrator in July 1977 and president in September 1978. Zia protected and fattened the animal to use its muscles to push back the Soviet soldiers from Afghanistan. Zia-ul-Haq knew that Afghanistan would not be able to face a superpower of the world. Zia needed the soldiers who were
ready to do and die to push the invaders back to their land. The strongest weapon that he had was the zeal of religion that was easily available at an extremely low cost. Being from an orthodox religious background, he was aware of the wonders that fundamentalism had once wrought in the past. Zia invited fundamentalists from all over the world to fight a religious war, jehad, against infidels. At that time, only Russians were infidels. He employed fundamentalists from all over the world to fight against the infidels. He also produced his own brand of fundamentalism by opening religious schools, called madrassas, which were training centers for terrorists. When the USSR invaded Afghanistan in 1979, the United States poured money into that mountainous region and Pakistan to keep the invaders away from South Asia. The USA needed cooperation from Pakistan. Zia-ul-Haq took every help from the United States to achieve his goals. One goal was to help the United States to keep the Soviets out of Afghanistan. That goal was in his own interest. At the same time, he wanted to make his position stronger within Pakistan because he had come to power undemocratically. He also dreamt of widening his influence in the entire region of South Asia. Zia spent the money that he received from the United States and from Muslim nations on his religious schools, madrassas. Several Afghan fighters, the Taliban, were trained at the religious schools of Pakistan. Gradually, these schools began to be operated in more open and remote areas of Afghanistan.
These religious schools, madrassas, trained fundamentalists for holy wars in several regions, including Kashmir, Chechnya and Indonesia. Zia invested money also to materialize his dream of turning Pakistan into a nuclear power. This power was going to help him in two ways. One was to have a balance of power with India, his archenemy. It was going to give him a stronger bargaining power over Kashmir. Nuclear power was also going to enhance his prestige in the eyes of his countrymen. That was going to bring him prestige among Muslim nations to receive more monetary assistance from them. Zia was convinced that his strategy was successful in defeating the USSR, a superpower. He became more ambitious. He went deeper into the recesses of his policies by fortifying his factories to produce more religious robots to defeat India. He used his policies primarily on two fronts against India.
One front was Kashmir. He portrayed the Kashmir war against India as a jihad. He encouraged fundamentalists from every nation to join that jihad or holy war. He opened a second front against India by instigating the Sikhs to fight for their homeland. There was a movement of the Sikhs to get their homeland from India. The movement was at its elementary stage. He helped the Sikhs by opening training camps for them in Pakistan for their activities.
Intoxicated with his success, he went further deep to make his factories stronger. He introduced several laws undemocratically, which are called the blasphemy laws. These vague laws are based on injustice and prejudice against minorities. In the beginning, most victims of these laws were Ahmdees, a minority within Islam. Later these laws began to be used mostly against Christians. Normally laws are made and introduced to protect minorities. But the blasphemy laws were introduced to protect majority against Christians, not more than 3 percent of the population.
Zia-ul-Haq introduced also separate electorate system. According to this system, the country was divided into religious constituencies. Non-Muslim parliamentarians were cut off from the mainstream political life of Pakistan. They were denied their right to say anything in the decision-making process of the nation. During elections, it seems as if there are two nations in
Pakistan- one is Muslim and another, non-Muslim. Instead of talking about poverty, medical facilities, crumbling economy and other problems, the contestants talk about religions and how Islam is superior to others and how those contestants can help Muslims. The problems of Muslims are exaggerated during election seasons. To foster a unity, the mainstream leaders talk of Islam.
Zia-ul-Haq established Islamic courts, and made Muslim prayers obligatory in government offices. He pleased Muslim clergy (Mullah) in every possible way. He used to take them abroad to visit holy places. Religion dominated politics. This was a golden time for Muslim clergy. To broaden and hasten the process for Islamisation of Pakistan, Zia-ul-Haq revised the textbooks of schools to feed the young minds with the poison of fundamentalism. His brand of Islamic studies became compulsory for every student. Zia most ardently believed that Pakistan's survival and progress were dependent on building an Islamic state.
The religious climate created by Zia in Pakistan has given birth to a new generation of fundamentalists, who target human rights of minorities on a larger scale. Several Christians have been condemned to death on false blasphemy charges. These blasphemy laws are the time bombs, which are tied to the bodies of minorities. The remote control of these time bombs is in the hands of fundamentalists.
Noticing the silence of the West, fundamentalists became more courageous. Christian colonies, like the village of Shanti Nagar of twenty-five thousand families, were attacked by armed fundamentalists. Helpless Christians suffered silently while the world around them remained either disabled or callous to their plight. The world remained disabled or callous even when Bishop John Joseph offered the sacrifice of his life on May 6, 1998 to protest against the suffocating atmosphere of state-sponsored terrorism. Bishop wrote and spoke against these factories, focusing on the religious schools, which turn out terrorists. Young Christian girls of hardly thirteen and fourteen years are still abducted, raped, forced to become Muslim and marry their abductors within weeks.
Power can be an intoxicating agent. It corrupts even the most sensible persons as it did some rulers in Pakistan. State-sponsored terrorism that brought power to rulers in Pakistan promoted terrorism in other regions of South Asia. The atmosphere was bound to affect the world climate.
It did in a colossal way when New York and Washington D.C. were targeted by the followers of these religious schools. These attacks on human rights of the citizens of other nation have disturbed the peace in North America as well as in other countries. The beast of terrorism is no longer in its infancy-- it has bred its own children now.
It is said that the followers of the ideology of these schools believe that it is permissible to kill innocent people of the infidel governments because they support their governments through their taxes. When the coalition of the world forces attacked Afghanistan, the militants warned them to abstain from war in the month of Ramadan, the holy month of Muslims. To an analytical mind it may indicate that it is permissible to kill people in other months. In the same holy month, the followers of the same ideology attacked a worshipping congregation in St. Dominic Church in Bhawalpur, Pakistan, on Sunday, October 28, 2001. Six bearded militants with masks entered the compound of the church, killing first the security man. Two of them stood at the gate so that no one could escape. The other four entered the church and mowed down sixteen worshippers, shouting, "Allah is great and Pakistan and Afghanistan will become the graveyards of Christians." Religious fanatics have attacked Christians in Pakistan even before in the month of Ramadan as well as in other months. Several attacks on Christians were made on Fridays, the day Muslims congregate for their community prayer.
It is the proper time for humans everywhere to understand that the eruption of savagery on New York and Washington is not on the United Sates only. These are the volcanic eruptions of a savagery on humanity. The persons who died in New York in this eruption of savagery came from several nations. Destruction of church properties and massacre of congregations while they are worshipping and innocent Pakistani Christians at home and on the street are also attacks on humanity. These attacks in Pakistan are not on foreigners or immigrants. They are on a minority that is born and brought up in the same land. These killings are most despicable because they take place to please a god who appears to be bloodthirsty. It is however not very late to control terrorism if the factories which produce the insidious beast are destroyed.The hammer of human rights violations, including the blasphemy laws and separate electorate system, is shaping these factories. Except Christians and human rights activists, no one talks about these factories. Perhaps, democracies in the West do not want to talk about them at this time. However, without the elimination of these factories, efforts to control the beast would end in smoke.
Without a democratic electoral system and a democratic constitution, which guarantee human rights of minorities, the beast of terrorism will contaminate the air in Pakistan and in surrounding areas again. The beast is sure to roam more freely in more nations. Next time it would be armed with more sophisticated weapons. Its wilder eruptions are likely to swallow human civilization in more catastrophic ways. To stop these impending nights of insanities, it is important to stop human rights violations. The hammer that violates human rights of minorities will reshape terrorist and counter terrorist activities in South Asia in more extreme forms. The beast is sure to cause more devastation to Pakistan as well as to the neighboring countries because it breeds counter terrorism. It will continue tarnishing the image of Islam. Its insanities are the bubbles of the romantic notions that burst soon. It is in the interest of Pakistan to get rid of the laws, which are based on prejudice and audaciously violate human rights of minorities.

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nazirbhattipcc@aol.com , pakistanchristianpost@yahoo.com