Political sources of militancy

Changezi Sandhu

STREET agitation, target-killing based on faith, sectarian conflicts, indoctrination, blind faith, terrorist activities and politicising religion are the political sources of Islamic militancy in Pakistan. The role of Pakistan in soviet invasion provided sound footings to militant organizations and groups to sprout. Particularly, the post-9/11 war on terror aggravated the situation of law and order not only in Pakistan but also in the war-ridden country Afghanistan. The rapid growth and expansion of vast amount of literature dealing with the phenomenon of Islamic extremism was also the product of American-led war on terror that throve Pakistan into the quagmire of terrorism, extremism, narrow interpretation of Quranic texts and sectarianism. According to the book, “The deadly Embrace: Religion, Politics and violence in India and Pakistan 1947-2002 edited by Ian Talbot, the Jihadi literature includes the congressional hearings in Washington D.C, parliamentary reports, official memoranda, and sociological research into Muslim societies. For political and strategic objectives, USA and Pakistan articulated a particular narrative following their interests. They formulated, authenticated and projected the narrative and waged the war for mutual benefits.
Many books, documentaries, articles and reports conclude that methodological individualism is the motivational and driving force among Muslims to join terrorist activities. The impulse or conduct has historical multi-linear approach regarding militant strategies. Thus, there is dire need to bring structural acquaintance and rationing between society and state. Then, the structural approach must be applied on global level in order to comprehend the dimensions of terrorism or militancy. The write-up will focalize context rather than text, collectivity rather than individualistic approach and continuity of terrorist activities under the aegis of political activities. The context, in fact, is based on the violent and non-violent modes of political behavior exercised by Islamist forces. Pakistan history enjoys shifting paradigms and patterns of Islamic groups attitudes depending on their position and socio-political environment in various span of time. For example, Islamic militant groups were more active in Zia era. They were financed and assisted with modern weapons and conceptual-feeding. The all factors thrive the country’s Muslim majority in conceptual polarization between various sects and sub-sects. The further division was among Ulema and secular ruling elite, and then between Islam and the West. The militant struggle of Islamist groups for political ascendency, war against the West by terming them non-believers, to impose rule of Shariah on the whole world, and western policies toward the Muslim world have become leading causes of Islamic insurgency not only in Pakistan but also in the rest of the world. For instance, Al-Qaeda and ISIS work on global level, while TTP confines itself to the Aouth Asian countries.
Focalising organizational potential and future direction of Islamic militancy in Pakistan, prolonged crisis of civil-military relation paved the way for Islamic parties and groups to come in national political discourse. Pakistan emerged as constitutional state, and its legal system is based on British common law, according to the research article “Political Sources of Islamic Militancy in Pakistan” written by Mohammad Waseem. He further enunciates that the State apparatus in Pakistan displays a fundamentally secular character in both structural and operational contexts, even as Islamic ideology gradually dominated the self-image of the people at large. To him, public policy remained secular the national profile became increasingly Islamic. For example, Hudood Ordinance and other Islamic laws were formulated and included in the penal code of Pakistan, later.
Alliance of Islamic parties under the sway of Muttahida Majlis Amal (MMA) took some precautionary measures to make up its government in KP in 2002. The MMA government operationalized Islamic agenda to Islamize the whole socio-political scenario. Sectarian division aggravated socio-political as well as legal discourses. Religio-political parties played their important role in provision of Islamic footings and justifications to Jihad for material benefits. Madrassahs were established on a large-scale. Thus, the process of indoctrination remained upper-handed, and sectarian division along with escalating role of Islamic militancy clinched the country devastatingly.
Rational approach should inculcate in the minds of pubic in order to distinguish good and bad following the exponential globalized changes in socio-political dynamics. Government must reformulate its Foreign Policy to mitigate the effects of militancy with special reference to Trump’s policy toward South Asia. Terrorism and Muslim militancy must be analyzed sociologically and psychologically. In the coming elections of 2018, government and law enforcement agencies never allow the extremist and religious political parties to conduct election which have links with militant, sectarian and terrorist organizations. Check and balance on religio-political parties must be strict as these elements will spoil social, political, ethical, religious and legal frame-work of the country by becoming part of the system. They will struggle to secure their illegitimate objectives through loopholes of the system. Their participation in elections and religious injection to public on the slogan of religion or sects will prove lethal for Pakistan in the womb of time. This aspect will give edge to anti-Pakistan actors to force the world powers to formulate aggressive policies as the role of India and Israel is the blatant example in Trump policy-making regarding Pakistan and South Asia.
— The writer is freelance columnist based in Lahore.

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