Jihadi Pakistan Riding On Corona
The Indian Army Chief, Gen Naravane has been compelled to castigate Pakistan for persisting with jihadi terrorism, even in this prevailing and uncertain Corona driven times. He said: “ While we are busy not only helping our own citizens but rest of the world by sending medical teams and exporting medicines, Pakistan is only exporting terror.”
Even as most countries struggle to defend themselves against the Corona’s invisible, surreptitious and unpredictable War against humanity, Pakistan has unleashed a fresh wave of jihadi assault against India in Kashmir. Attempts at jihadi infiltration have only become more desperate. Some 300 of these desperadoes are holed across the LoC, waiting for the opportunity. The efforts by Pak Army to create the opportunity by fire and aggression has invited heavy punishment from the Indian Army. These sinister moves by Pakistan are concomitant with its frantic waving of humanitarian flag for financial assistance to tide over economic consequences of the pandemic. Across the LoC, in the Gilgit Baltistan region of the PoK there are 250 cases. Given the large area i.e. 72,971 sq km and low population of 12.5 lakhs, the problem is serious.In the remaining PoK, what Pakistan roguishly alludes as Azad Kashmir, and is one-sixth in terms of area, and one-fourth in terms of population of Gilgit Baltistan, there are 50 cases, and is increasing. It is in this area that terrorist camps and launch pads are located. It is hard to imagine that the jihadis are immune to Corona. Probably these jihadis have adapted to the new reality that suicidal attacks need not only involve explosive laden jihadis, a virus infested jihadi body is a diffusively more potent and surer alternative!
Pakistan’s jihad against India is not deterred by fear self-destruction, least of all by pandemic. The means can be WMD, but the objective remains, destruction of India. This is what makes nuclear weapons in Pakistan’s possession, so dangerous. And if Pakistan comes to possess biological weapons like Corona , there is nothing that will inhibit its use against India, neither sense of humanity, nor pangs of morality, nor constraints of faith.
There is a large and influential constituency of fundamentalists in Pakistan which is convinced that Allah insulates congregations in mosques against every type of attack from microorganisms. Saving the Shia mosques, many of the half a million Sunni mosques that dot the theocratic landscape of Pakistan, brazenly flout all restrictions and stipulations oncongregational gatherings in mosques. The most prominent of these mosques being the redoubtable Lal Masjid located in the vicinity of President’s state, Houses of Parliament and ISI headquarters. This masjid served as the jihadi nerve center against Soviet forces in Pakistan from 79 to 89. It enjoyed exalted status till it was stormed by the security forces in 2007 because it had trifled with Chinese sensitivities by attacking Chinese girls. One year later, on the first anniversary, in a revenge attack 18 policemen , deployed in the vicinity of the mosque were killed. The mosque since then has reclaimed its temporal power and status with vengeance, to the extent it has rejected the government’s directives on congregational namaz with disdain and impunity. The Maulana of the Lal Masjid, Abdul Aziz mocks at the government by releasing footages of huge congregations every week.
The clerics are too much drunk on power and religious conceit to see reason. 53 of them from seminaries and banned groups Rawalpindi and Islamabad got together to warn the government. The objective and intent was to prempt the government from issuing any restrictions on Ramzan congregations. One pir, Azizur Rehman Hazarvi thundered that people should not obey any governmental restrictions on congregations during Friday namaz and Taraweeh(Ramzan prayers) . On the contrary muslims should gather in maximum numbers in mosques and seek forgiveness from Allah, to ward off the Corona evil. In another press conference in Karachi, clerics of various religious organisations, representing different schools like Barelvi, Deobandi and Ahle Hadis, made a common clamour in for unhindered congregational gatherings in mosques on Fridays and during Ramazan. Spearheading the attack was Mufti Taqi Usmani, former judge of Federal Shariat Court.
The clerics in Pakistan are state within a state. In order to seek their cooperation, President Alvi sought fatwa from Al Azhar University in Egypt to the effect that as per Islamic tenets ,congregational namaz can be dispensed with during times of crisis. Even then, a large number of Ulema did not budge and reiterated that congregational namaz is inviolate on Fridays and Taraweeh(evening prayers during Ramazan). Now Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz al Sheikh has declared that Taraweeh namaz can be offered within the home precincts . Celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr at home is also permitted. Given Saudi heft and clout in the Sunni world, it was expected that the clerics may just grudgingly concede to the theocratic advice. But the clerics have rejected it vehemently. Yielding to the pressure from the clergy, the government has decidedto lift the ban on congregational namaz in the month of Ramazan.
Given the fact that both Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have infected cases in the same range , 6500 and 7500 respectively, the difference in theocratic posturing between the progenitor andlater convert to Islam is bewildering. The posturing of Pakistani clergy is reflective of their stranglehold on the people and the dispensation. The ascendance of clergy to this unassailable position in the political discourse of Pakistan has been engendered by the military’s imperative of incessant supply of jihadis for jihad against India. It is the Pakistani society which is the reservoir for jihadis, and it is the Ulema and Mullahs who are entrusted with the task of keeping the society in high state of radicalization. Consequently, nation building in Pakistan has taken a jihadi trajectory. No one in Pakistan can defy this trajectory, that includes the Oxford educated jihadi, primeminister, Imran Khan. In fact the military paved the jihadi route to push Imran to PM destination.
In its jihadi crusade against India, Pakistan considers even Corona as an ally. In March, when on PM Modi’s initiative, a video conference of SAARC members, to coordinate efforts to fight the pandemic was held, the Pakistani representative, Zafar Mirza thrust his country’s jihadi agenda on Kashmir. The other participants , executive country heads like Mahinda Rajpaksha(Sri Lanka) , Ibrahim Solih(Maldives, K P Oli(Nepal), Sheikh Hasina(Bangladesh), T Shering(Bhutan) were shocked at the inopportune and ugly Pakistani attempt to derail the agenda. Even as Europe, US and the rest of the world is engaged in a life and death struggle against the pandemic, Pakistan has been seeking to ride over Corona virus for internationalizing the Kashmir by employing every jihadi means.
In history of mankind there have been several virus driven pandemics. Several antidotes to life threatening microorganisms have evolved, but mankind has failed to come out with an antidote for Pakistani variety of jihad, since more than thousand years. The onus creating this antidote is on India.
By RSN Singh
(The Author is a former military intelligence officer who later served in the Research and Analysis Wing, or R&AW)