Fallujahs of General Musharraf in the making

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It is undoubtedly true that in International Relations our predictive capacities are poor and prediction, quite understandably, has a bad name in the discipline and indeed in all the social sciences. However, this must not be a reason for impartial analysts to limit themselves to shallow analysis of current affairs and shy away from commenting on what they can clearly foresee.
 
The fascist tendency of Bush and company and opportunist instincts of Musharraf and other puppets in the Muslim world are so transparently clear that it would be total dishonesty on the part of analysts to avoid helping the public read the writing on the wall.
 
For example we wrote in these pages more than two years ago that: "In the end, all liberalism and all enlightened moderation has clearly boiled down to saying good bye to the Qur’an. The same idea is being promoted for application in Iraq. Both Saudi government and opposition are being presented as evil. Eyes are set on Syria and Iran and the marriage of convenience with Pakistan would not last any longer. Madrassas have already been demonized to the maximum possible extent. Only their physical destruction is awaited, which in the light of prevailing propaganda would hardly raise any voice of protest."[1]
 
In the first two weeks of March 2006, the world witnessed troops from the Pakistan army and the paramilitary Frontier Corps blowing up at least three Madrassa-cum-mosques in Miranshah, Pakistan. The usual justification is: “Islamic militants used [these madrassa] during the recent spate of violence to attack the military and government installations.”[2]  Other than regurgitating the same government press release, we didn’t notice any voice of protest in the Pakistani press, let alone the rest of the world.
 
The way Pakistan military commandos used explosives to blow up these Madrassa, is hardly different than the tactics the US military is using in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Israeli forces in the occupied Arab lands. This shows how the U.S. occupation of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, for example, have become the most effective occupation in human history. In these indirectly occupied states, local militaries are effectively used to achieve totalitarian objectives of the warlords sitting in Washington.
 
Justifications for Musharraf’s blowing up religious schools and mosques abound. However, what Musharraf and his cronies can never justify is their support to the Taliban till the last minute before the U.S. open declaration of war on them. How is it possible that the successive Pakistani governments, including that of General Musharraf couldn’t find until the last minute they were dealing with a people who were evil to the core and needed to be hounded, captured and killed indiscriminately irespective of the fact they are at war with Pakistan or not? Why did they delay annihilation of the Taliban till 2001.
 
Today, General Musharraf is telling people in the tribal areas, which he has turned into Gaza and West Bank of Pakistan, “to discourage and identify foreign elements hiding in their areas as they were against the development of the tribal belt, which the tribal people should not allow.”[3] Why didn’t we hear a single word about Musharraf, or his predecessors’ noble intention to develop the tribal belt before September 11, 2001?
 
As far the “foreign elements,” not all Afghan refugees have returned to Afghanistan, particularly when western observers agree that “new Afghanistan is a myth.”[4] These refugees have to live somewhere in Pakistan. There is no doubt that many of these would be in the tribal areas and NWFP, keeping in mind the proximity to Afghanistan and the kind of humiliating treatment they face in other parts of Pakistan.
 
Pakistani military is on the rampage in the tribal regions of the country, blowing mosques and homes. Personal accounts of human suffering reach as far as Canada but this miserable saga goes unnoticed in the Pakistani press and media.
 
In such circumstances, if the Musharraf regime blocks every kind of access to the tribal areas, cuts off their power supplies and orders them to close their businesses,[5] and turn life for locals into a living hell with curfews and other measures of the occupying powers, the only options locals are left with are to leave their homes, become refugees, or resist oppression.

As we witnessed in the case of Fallujah, Samara and earlier in the case of Palestine, not all the victims of oppression chose to leave. Thus, those who decide to stay behind or resist undue interference in their daily life become terrorists–”or the Taliban in this case–”for the oppressors.

Contrary to the lies flooding Western media outlets, reports in the Pakistani press also confirm that the madrassa which were blown by the Pakistani military were not abandoned places which were used way back in 1980s. Reporting on the Pakistan army blowing the third Madrassa in two weeks, The News reported: “many children used to study at the seminary. It had been vacated recently following reports that it could become a target of military action.”[6]

We must note that the seminaries and mosques destroyed in the first week of March were run by local clerics Maulana Sadiq Noor and Maulana Abdul Khaleq. They were not the Taliban or Al-Qaeda. However, they definitely were critical of the Musharraf regime’s bloody operation in their home towns. Like Israeli forces acting in Palestine and the occupation forces in Iraq, the Musharraf regime accused these local figures of “inciting violence against security forces in the tribal region” as if the security forces were there constructing roads, schools and hospitals for the locals.

Everyone knows that the security forces are there with tanks and gunship helicopters to show the fascists in Washington and their puppets in Afghanistan that Musharraf is not sitting idle. The objective is to show that the dog depicted in the Washington Times’ cartoon (May 6, 2005) is still dutifully busy doing his job. Don’t give up on the faithful friend.

For that purpose, the opportunist Musharraf and his forces have no option but to label ordinary Pakistanis as terrorists and ordinary Afghans as evil Taliban for an exercise in butchery. This is nothing new. Innocent people were knowingly handed over to the US, who ended up in Guantanamo and were later released after suffering years of torture.[7]

In an attempt to hide blood on his hands, General Musharraf told a meeting at the Army House on March 15, 2006 that the government was “determined to carry out development work in the tribal areas and would utilize all available resources for the peace, security and development of this part of the country.” Since when the development work needs cobra helicopters and blowing mosques? More importantly, when did we last hear about the problem of the lack of peace and security in this part of Pakistan that needed this level of military force?

Those who know the history of this region know very well that peace was first shattered when British colonial adventures were at their peak. The second time it is happening when Musharraf decided to undertake adventures for the U.S. to further the same colonial legacy to a new height. This is what sane minds in Islamabad have been trying to avoid in the past.

The bloodshed and destruction that we witness in Pakistan today is the direct result of the Pakistani government’s siding with oppressors against Afghans in an attempt to avoid the U.S. wrath in 2001.  Musharraf fully supported the US in killing thousands of innocent Afghans and occupying their country. He could hardly realize that none of his sacrifices will be the final sacrifice for the fascists of our age. He could hardly realize that his putting religious, moral and legal principle at stake in 2001 will not save his troops and people going through the same pain, at their own hands, which he allowed the Afghans to go through at the hands of the American forces.

The bottom line is that innocent people in the tribal belt in Pakistan are being scapegoated to keep the war machine going for the modern day fascists. For Pakistanis this is just the beginning. No doubt, in the long-run, the U.S. war machine is definitely going to go out of steam, leaving behind total chaos and a trail of destruction. In the short run, however, the day is not far away when other tribal agencies and even cities, such as Peshawar and Quetta, become the next Fallujah, Samara, West Bank or Gaza strip.

Notes:

[1]. Media Monitors Network, November 14, 2003: http://usa.mediamonitors.net/layout/set/print/content/view/full/2151 and Published in the Nation (Pakistan) on December 23, 2003.

[2]. The News March 15, 2006.

[3]. The News March 16, 2006.

[4]. See: Dan McDougall, “‘The new Afghanistan is a myth. It’s time to go and get a job abroad’,” As British troops prepare to tackle the Taliban’s remnants, hundreds of thousands of jobless Afghan refugees who returned home to start a new life are queueing up to leave again.  The Observer, February 5, 2006. URL: 
http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world/story/0,,1702513,00.html

[5]. Authorities imposed a ban on weapons business in Miranshah, which is one of the main source of livelihood for the people of this region since centuries. (Daily Times, March 16, 2006).

[6]. The News, March 16, 2006.

[7]. See BBC report by Haroon Rashid, “Ex-inmates share Guantanamo ordeal, May 02, 2005. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4505403.stm

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