Since creation of Pakistan in 1947 based on religion – more precisely Islam, country’s military establishment has been consistently and enthusiastically promoting an funding Islamist terrorism clearly with double agendas – firstly to keep neighboring India on Achilles heel secondly – extort hundreds of millions of dollars from its Muslim brethren in the Middle East – especially Saudi Arabia by scaring them with the fear of jihadist attacks. But during the year 2023, Pakistan began feeling their ‘taste’ of its own Frankenstein – the conglomerate of jihadist terrorists, which continued one-after-another terrorist attacks on various targets including military establishments.
Surprisingly, instead of launching real offensives on these jihadist terrorists, Pakistani military – particularly its scary spy agency Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) opted for cashing the situation in destroying democratic forces – thus paving path to the prospect of Pakistan remaining under direct or pseudo military rule.
By now, former Prime Minister Imran Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party is being gradually axed and cut to size. Prominent political parties such as Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) are being already turned into mere concubines of ISI and Pakistan Army – while country’s caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar has already emerged into an obedient puppet of the military establishment – who has been playing the role of a democracy killer and notoriously pro-jihadist.
Lately, Kakar has banned new year celebration in Pakistan in solidarity to Palestinians (read Hamas) in Gaza, although even countries like Iran and Qatar have not done this. By banning new year celebration – Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar has given a strong message to the world – despite series of terrorist attacks and threats of similar attacks – Pakistan has neither learnt any lesson nor its military establishment has any intention of distancing itself from the jihadist-terrorist groups.
According analysts, the year 2023 has been nothing more than what Shakespeare called “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”.
This is applicable not only in the case of Pakistan’s realization of fighting terrorism, it also is applicable in country’s current condition of becoming a bankrupt nation, for which its military establishment is definitely responsible. During the past fifteen years, while by maintaining excellent relations with its neighbor while Bangladesh has attained tremendous progress and prosperity – in Pakistan’s case it has been just the opposite – despite the fact, on December 16, 1971 when Bangladesh won the war of independence – Pakistan was a comparatively a much wealthier nation while then US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has termed a newly born Bangladesh as “bottomless basket”. One may ask – if a “bottomless basket” Bangladesh can emerge into an economic star within the span of just fifteen years – from 2009 to 2023, why Pakistan had a reverse journey and turned into a bankrupt nation by 2023? Is there any possibility that Pakistanis will go for a soul-searching in 2024? The answer is negative. Why? Because, Pakistanis do not decide their fate. It is within the absolute grips of the military establishment – including ISI.
But a section of scholars in Pakistan are not ready to accept the reality. They still believe – Pakistan is getting rid of jihadism, although its caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar has already emerged into a huge fan of jihadists.
In an article published in The Dawn, a columnist writes, “as troubled Pakistan enters 2024 let’s first hear the good news: no longer do armed militant groups gather on every street corner or ride double-cabin pickups with weapons in hand. It wasn’t always so.
“In fact, 25-30 years ago, there were so many groups that remembering all their names wasn’t easy. Jihad-i-Kashmir and Jihad-i-Afghanistan banners, posters, and songs were everywhere. Today, although the official website of the Pakistan Army still displays the Ziaul Haq era motto ‘Imaan, Taqwa, Jihad’, army recruiting centers no longer exhibit oversized banners bearing ‘Jihad Fi-Sabeelillah’ (jihad for Allah)”.
The writer does not admit, even if Pakistan Army is refraining for displaying huge banner promoting jihad – the seeds of religious hatred and terrorism is already deep-rooted within each of every member of the military establishment. They consider Hindu, Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Ahmadi, Baháʼí and “non-Muslims” as Kafir (infidel) and considering – it is their religious obligation to show extreme cruelty towards the religious minorities.
With such rotten mindset, Pakistani military establishment cannot give-up their habit of promoting and patronization jihadist terrorism. And for this reason, even in the year 2024 – such monsters shall continue to grow in Pakistan.
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is an internationally acclaimed multi-award-winning anti-militancy journalist, writer, research-scholar, and Editor, Blitz, a newspaper publishing from Bangladesh since 2003. He regularly writes for local and international newspapers. Follow him on X @Salah_Shoaib