Role of USA in Expanding Extremism in Pakistan
American support to Israeli’s occupation, Indian terrorism in Kashmir, Russian aggression in Afghanistan and Chechnya, and western anti Islamic campaign under “Clash of Civilization” generated savage culture of extremism. Extremism in Pakistan is fallout of Russian invasion of Afghanistan (1989), aggravated by Pakistan’s assistance to Mujahedeen, finally, accelerated after 9/11. Some madressas allegedly funded through ‘dollars’, misinterpreted Islam. Social injustice, illiteracy and chronic poverty added fuel to the fire. US pressure to “Do More” syndrome angered the disgruntled warriors. Above all, General Zia and Musharraf’s solo policy-making made Pakistan “A Front line State”. Resultantly people of Pakistan, painfully suffered by suicide bombings and attack on peace keeping agencies. Extremism is a critical problem faced by Pakistani society today leading to social, economic, cultural, political turmoil and humanitarian crises. It has flourished due to internal and external factors. Internal factors are the prevalence of social injustice, inequality, illiteracy and exploitation in the society. External factors are the involvement of Pakistan in the regional and international power game and proxy wars. Modus operandi of extremism is the expression of a fanatic behavior by individuals and groups, who are not able to convey their will in the society, through prevalent social mechanism. As a result we see anarchy in the society. This situation fuels the flames of poverty, terrorism and social distress. Extremism can be of different types, it can be ethnic, linguistic, narrow nationalism but the most severe kind of extremism faced by our society is religious extremism.
The present bloody scenario presents a gruesome picture of Pakistan Army fighting in FATA. The IDPs have terribly suffered financial, mental and physical losses. The foreign terrorist, indifferent to our national interest, have taken refuge in tribal areas to the utter wrath of US. The uncontrolled drone attacks are killing terrorists along with innocent masses. Minorities are targeted by these extremists. Incidents like attack on Christians in Gojara and murder of Federal Minister Shabaz Bhatti are the examples of extremism. On 27 December 1979 the Soviet forces invaded Afghanistan and the intervention created great alarm for Pakistan. Historical czarist ambition for access to warm water of Arabian Sea was clear. Zia regime acted as front line of Afghan guerrilla war and sought political, economic and military support from US (Abdul Sattar, 2007). Religious feelings and Jihadi spirit were mobilized for Afghan resistance. Extremist elements were encouraged and supported economically for training Afghan and other Muslim nationals from a host of countries to wag war against Soviets. The freehand were given to the extremists and Jihadists. After the defeat of Soviet these Jihadists and extremists became trouble for Pakistan. The corruption, abundance of weapons and narcotics enflamed extremism to new heights.
Presently different concepts about Islam and Jihad are floating in the minds of the people. Some hold that Islam is a religion of wars and battles i.e. terrorism; others label it with extremism. In reality Islam neither promotes terrorism nor encourages extremism. It preaches tolerance and moderation. Islam forbids killing without justification. Similarly different concepts of Jihad are also agitating human minds and a distorted concept is being projected everywhere (Zamir Akhtar, 2008). The most common misunderstanding has been created by Muslims themselves. Many Muslim Scholars have declared Jihad synonymous with Qital (war). On the other hand after the incident of 9/11 Islam has been consciously or unconsciously amalgamated with war, terrorism and violence. Obviously, Islam cannot be blamed for the conduct of the Muslims, especially, when their conduct is not reflective of Islamic values. Islam is the most liberal and pluralist religion. In Islam there is no room for violence and terrorism except defensive war. Islam is special. It is more than a religion; it is a complete socio-political system (Dilip Hiro, 2008). That is, it has both cultural-ethical and political aspects.
US policies are one of the major causes of extremism in Muslim world especially Pakistan. US interference in Pakistan’s internal affairs has provoked extremism. US policy of do more and drone attacks aggravated extremism in Pakistan. Since September 2001 till today, that is, just within nine years the US has lost much of its good will. It has lost its moral foundations essentially because of its foreign policy. Anti-Americanism has increased due to its imperialistic attitude of not listening to its allies its outright disdain of international law, erosion of its moral ground imposition of its own culture and values upon others. Botched diplomacy, imperialistic policies and brutal expression of its power have left legacy of resentment, fear and anxiety especially in Muslim World (Qadar Bakhsh Baloch, 2006). Many Muslims stressed that Israel’s political and territorial strength has not been domestically resourced but it is American assistance. Further Muslims hold that the US has persistently overlooked that its side with the state that has been progressively taken over by Jewish extremists. From 1945 to 2003, the US attempted to overthrow than 40 foreign governments, and to crush more than 30 populist-nationalist movements fighting against intolerable regimes. In the process, the US bombed some 25 countries, caused the end of life for several million people, and condemned many million more to a life of agony and despair. America treats itself above all laws and conventions. Its shameless invasion of Iraq, the merciless massacre of its innocent civilians and horrific torture of suspects swelled the ranks of American-haters and created many a suicide bombers (S.G. Jilanee, 2010). Ineffective Security Council has established American hegemony at the cost of freedom of Muslim countries. The UN charter allows an attack against any aggressor, if it is in the common interest of the members states. Further the peace-keeping forces of Security Council could invade the country. After 9/11, the American resolution was unanimously passed against the Taliban’s regime. But, while invading Iraq, President Bush said, “We will bypass Security Council”. Unfortunately, this world body kept criminal silence over this injustice. The Charter promises that no country can interfere in the internal matters of the member state. In contrast, the SC resolutions on Kashmir have been declared outdated. Likewise, North Korea is only facing sanctions, even after launching successful nuclear tests. Whereas, Iran is continuously being threatened by use of force, as in Obama’s words “Iran’s nuclear programme is against American Security”. American blue eyed, Israel is adamant to implement agreed peace Accord. So, Security Council has been a shameful failure in protecting the legitimate rights of the Muslim world (Michael Scherer, 2009). The religious disharmony is the first causality of the extremism. The curse of extremism and intolerance, besides creating a rift between various religious factions, has widened the gulf between the followers of different beliefs. The conflict of interest and hidden motives had affected religious harmony in the country. Religious extremists have created sectarianism throughout the country. They are hitting the opposite sects and they interpreted Islam according to them and impose it upon others.
Though Pakistan is victim of extremism and terrorism yet it is labeled as sponsoring terrorism in the world. Though Pakistan has suffered a lot in the wage of terrorism yet World Community see Pakistan as safe heaven of terrorism. To improve the situation there must be a strong parliament to tackle this issue. There should be modern syllabus in Midrassas along with religious curriculum. Madrassas should be under the command of government. Pakistan should revise its policy towards war on terror. UNO should play effective role in solving international disputes.There must be sincere interfaith harmony among different religions. Global media should play constructive role. Social justice would provide base for up rooting of terrorism. US should revise its policies towards Muslim World especially towards Pakistan. Pakistan must be emphasized on education at maximum level.