Pakistan has many issues, and right there at the forefront is is the Talibanization of the country. It didn’t just creep up and hit an entire country on the head yesterday, it was a long time cooking.
First, a short history lesson: Pakistan came into being in 1971, after a short and disastrous war with India where the country split into two, one called Pakistan and the other Bangladesh. An abbreviated timeline to Talibanization follows below:
*Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in the 70’s:* Like many other things wrong with the country today, the direct source of the talibanization can be traced back to this one man. He singlehandedly wrecked an entire countries dreams, hopes and aspirations when he completely destroyed the local economy by nationalizing the entire country with deluded dreams of Marxist grandeur. Ironically, this very westernized man put Pakistan on the fast track to talibanization by making sure there was nothing else for young people to do. It wasn’t just the economy, by nationalizing schools, universities and hospitals he made sure that Pakistan’s fast growing literacy rate was completely derailed, and to this day it remains of the tracks.
*General Zia in the 80’s along with America and Saudi Arabia:* Pakistan has a long history of American stooges, and General Zia (along with Musharraf) is a shining example of Pakistan’s kowtowing to the west while their country dies. Zia, along with Saudi and American money built thousands of Madrassah’s around the country and trained tens of thousands of jihadis to fight the USSR in Afghanistan. Bhutto had ensured there wasn’t much else for millions of young men to do by wrecking the economy of the country, so the billions of dollars being funneled into training Islamic warriors attracted tens of thousands of misguided youths. Zia hated universities, just like Bhutto before him, and he made sure that the many madrassahs being set up only taught a 7th century version of Islam with no modern education at all – he needed Islamic warriors, not scholars. The Soviets left Afghanistan, and American and Saudi money dried up just like that, and soon after Zia died mysteriously. Interestingly enough, the biggest contribution to Talibanization is not a Pakistani, but the joint American and Saudi funding for jihadi training centers (i.e madrassah’s) during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
*Nawaz & Benazir in the 90’s:* Robber barons looted the country with great abandon in the 90’s, lead by “Nawaz Sharif”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nawaz_Sharif and “Benazir Bhutto”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benazir_Bhutto at the forefront. The country was so busy with being looted by the governments of Nawaz and Benazir that no one noticed that we had hardly any schools & universities and that the many madrassehs set up in the last decade were still around, still being funded by Saudi money and by drug smuggling thanks to their extensive Afghani connections after the war. The same Madrasseh’s who had trained a generation of Islamic warriors to fight in Afghanistan were now at a loss, but they made up for it soon enough by supporting the Taliban. This could be considered the lost decade in Pakistan’s history, where corruption rose to such a fever pitch that an entire country resigned itself to being third-class.
*The 2000’s:* While “Musharraf”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musharraf took over in 1999, his rule really started on September 11, 2001 when the twin towers fell. Once again a Pakistani dictator was the flavour of the day for America, and much money flew his way. Ironically, the last military dictator the American’s had funded talibanized both Pakistan and Afghanistan, and now Musharraf was being funded to do the opposite. This never happened, for Musharraf in an attempt to legitimize his rule had jumped in bed with the Mullah’s before 9/11, so he lied and lied to the American’s while his army went on a shopping spree with American money. That shopping spree didn’t include any books, and the dysfunctional American govt. led by the functionally illiterate Bush never stopped to think that no amount of weapons can fight talibanization. The robber barons continued on their spree, and Pakistan went though an economic boon, led by a massive real estate bubble which could crash in the near future and bring mass economic devastation to the country. That is where things stand now – a economic downturn will drastically speed up talibanization, while continuing growth and prosperity might just halt the inevitable march to talibanization.
*The here and now:* The Mullahs, given more power than ever before under Musharraf, formed governments in two parts of the countries and set out about talibanizing the parts of the country under their rule. That is well under way today, and now they’ve “started on the capital”:http://pakistaniat.com/2007/04/07/pakistan-lal-masjid-islamabad-suicide-bomb-bombers-qazi-court/. At one time Islamabad was considered the most liberal place in Pakistan – so it is fitting that the Mullahs are starting from there. Mosques around the country are now busy setting up kangaroo courts and starting their own local police forces, breaking many laws in the process, but as they argue, when nobody in the country follows the law from the President on down, someone has to do something about it.
The frightening thing is, that they are right – the government has abdicated all responsibility as it’s too busy clinging onto power to do the hard things which need to be done. There are some fires which have to be put out as soon as they are detected, and the the talibanization of Pakistan has passed that early stage – soon it will consume all of Pakistan if left unchecked.
h4. the present situation
Shireen Mazari “writing in the News about the terrorisation of society sums it up well”:http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=51724:
bq. Unfortunately, many members of civil society are succumbing to the climate of fear being generated not only by the Hafsa brigade itself accompanied by their baton-wielding Lal Masjid, but also by the state’s decision not to assert its writ firmly against these lawbreakers. The fear is based on the premise that if the state is unable to protect the ordinary person from the diktat of the violent extremists then there is little choice but to either stay locked up indoors or fall in line with this extremist diktat. So, effectively the damage to civil society has already been done and the dye of extremism has been cast.
After Shireen wrote that, the govt. went and blew up Lal Masjid. Then they demolished the children’s library next door and rebuilt and renovated the Masjid. Such is the fear we have of the militant mullah’s, and the little regard libraries are held in.
# Yes, there are all kind of madrassehs. Many aren’t militant.The problem is that there are enough of the militant kind.
# Yes, many Mullah’s don’t support talibanization by force: A convention of some 2,000 scholars, teachers and administrators representing over 1000 madressas across the country on Tuesday declared suicide attacks un-Islamic and opposed enforcement of Sharia by force. “#”:http://www.dawn.com/2007/04/18/top4.htm