Colonel (Dr.) Anil Athale ,Chhatrapati Shivaji Fellow of the
This is an
attempt at raising the RED FLAG. In India, preparation for conflict is
denounced as war mongering and Pacifism at the cost of Realism
rules the roost. Indian history could well be called a chronicle of military
disasters. We obviously have civilisational strengths, as our civilisation has
survived for over 5000 years while that of Greece,
Egypt or Persia has vanished. But unless we
understand our weaknesses and rectify them, we may not get a second chance. The
nature of warfare and threat has changed over the years and unimagined
destruction is now in the realms of possibility due to presence of nuclear
weapons in the hands of our adversary. It is a reflection of Indian ennui that
the impending Talibanisation of Pakistan and how to
deal with it, is not even on the electoral radar?
including this one, have been foreseeing the demise of the state of Pakistan for
quite some time. Recently, Australian and American security experts have given
only six months for this to happen. The
situation is best understood by using a metaphor of a ship, say the Titanic and
an iceberg approaching each other on a dark night. Here the iceberg is the
Taliban (9/10 invisible) and Pakistan
is the Titanic. Any one familiar with ships will understand that large ships
have a very large turning radius…….say 1 km. Hence once the distance between
the iceberg and the ship is less than 1 km, the collision is pre-destined. All
that one can do is to prepare for the sinking of the ship and begin rescue
This ‘point of
no return’ was crossed by Pakistan
on 14 April 2009, when the Pakistani national assembly approved the ‘deal’ with
Taliban that for all intents and purposes handed over the Swat valley to the extremist
Association Munawar Iqbal Gondal has said that enforcement of Shariat
Nizam-e-Adl Regulation 2009 in Malakand
region is a victory of people. 'Sharia doesn't permit
us to lay down arms,' Muslim Khan, spokesman of Taliban told the Dawn by
telephone. Some Taliban fighters last week moved out of Swat and into Buner district, only 100 km from Islamabad, and Khan said his men would push
into new areas.(the Dawn 15 April 2009). The Taliban have made clear their
intention to take over the whole of Pakistan.
Navid, the current IG Police of the NWFP told
Pakistani Parliament that the Taliban and Al Qaeda "are present in every
city and town (of Pakistan)
in some places they are active, in others they are dormant." The IG had
added that Jihadi groups were moving through southern
Punjab and eventually aimed to reach the financial hub of Karachi. He warned that the Al Qaeda-Taliban
combine had developed some expertise in bio chemical weapons
One of the most virulent analyst, Ms Shireen Mazari accepts that
“Just the sheer numbers of madressahs/students (e.g. ,218/25,395 in Rahimyar Khan; 185/20,780 in Dera
Ghani Khan; 105/8,502 in Rajanpur)
show the enormity of the task ahead – even though not all the madressahs are "jihadi"
in type, according to a detailed ground survey I conducted through a local
field worker in three districts of southern Punjab: Dera
Ghazi Khan, Rahimyar Khan and Rajanpur.
But the background of poverty is rampant and even non-jihadi
madressahs can in future produce militants.”
There is a false sense of ‘victimhood’ that many Pakistanis assert and
claim that the radicalization of their society and the Jihadi
cult is all the fault of the Americans, who used it during the Afghan war
against the erstwhile Soviet Union. This is only partially true. A historical process of Islamist moral policing and militancy began almost the moment Jinnah was buried. 1950 Prime
Minister Liaqat Ali Khan issued an official
injunction urging Muslims to fast during Ramadan. Intolerance towards Ahmadis and Shia has an equally
long history. In 1953 Officially organised riots led to looting and killing of Ahmadis. Pakistan’s
only Nobel Prize winner, the late Abdus Sallam, was heckled in Karachi, being an Ahmadi.
He had to flee to Italy.
Ironically, Prof. Salaam had made a major contribution to the Pakistani nuclear
programme. But since he was an Ahmadi even that could not save him.
In 1979, Zia Ul Haq went a step further and
overhauled the ENTIRE EDUCATION SYSTEM IN PAKISTAN AND HANDED IT OVER TO THE JAMAAT E
ISLAMI. Teaching of history was abolished and replaced by Pakistan
Study. These text books poisoned the young minds of generations of Pakistanis.
Hatred of Hindus and Jews was institutionalised. Jihad and Shahadat
(martyrdom) was glorified. The entire history of Pakistan prior to arrival of
Mohammad Bin Kasim was wiped out. It was only a
matter of time before this poisoned generation came of age and produced today’s
Taliban. The point to note is that it is not just the students of Madarassahs but even the so called mainstream schools, who
were subjected to this brain washing. (Please see Punjab Text Book board
publication ‘Muashrati Aloom’ Hijari Pub. Lahore,
1986. Prof. Mohammad Aslam, ‘Tehik
e Pakistan’, Punjab text book board, Standard book Hous, Lahore.
1986.’A New Millennium Introduction to Pakistan
studies’ by M. Ikram Rabbani,
Caravan Book House, Lahore,2005) The last quoted book is compulsory for
students of English medium students of Matric,
Intermediate/Senior Cambridge A and O level exams of Cambridge and London
universities. Radicalisation of Pakistani
society is comprehensive and across the board.
I had written
about this institutional radicalisation of young Pakistanis in Strategic
Analysis published by IDS, Delhi, in
Oct 1988(Roots of a Security Dilemma).The issue was taken up seriously by the
Indian government and Rajiv Gandhi-Benazir Bhutto accord (the Islamabad Accord)
of Dec 1988, accepted the need to revise and correct the text books and remove
biases. TILL 2004, IT WAS STILL A PROJECT IN MAKING WHEN MUSHARRAF APPOINTED
YET ANOTHER COMMITTEE……BUT SUCH WAS THE FIERCE OPPOSITION THAT NOTHING HAS
HAPPENED ON THIS FRONT.
On July 17, 1991, in my meeting with Director
Asia and Near East of the National
Security Council of US, in Old
which is part of the White House)(Room No 351). In the meeting I gave her the
copy of my 1988 article and pleaded that the US ought to act to cleanse the
Pakistani educational system. If no action is taken then in years to come when
the products of this hate mongering reach youth, they will be menace not only
to us (India) but even to the US and rest of the world. The concerned person of
course took no action and instead repeated the ‘mantra’ that US will not
tolerate any unilateral action against Pakistan
The irony is that after 18 years it is the US
that now may want India
to get involved in Af-Pak.
The reason to
give this rather personalised account is that security analysts are often
criticised for waking up after the event and or/and taking no action………..Neither
charge can stick in my case.
extremism and militancy have been established tools of Pakistani militarization
for over three decades, how can we count on the same military apparatus – that
created, fed, and sustained fundamentalism – to challenge it?
fanaticism or brain washing is NOT the only issue in Pakistan. In last 60 years there
has been ATTEMPT AT LAND REFORMS. Eighty percent wealth of the country
is controlled by seven percent of population. Landlords rule the roost in rural
and are even known to run private armies and prisons to oppress the poor. The
bureaucratic and military elite have been a parasite that eats up 40% of
revenues. Jobs in gulf was a escape hatch for many poor Pakistanis. But with
the global economic meltdown these are now scarce.
Finally, to cap
it all is the population explosion. There
are several Muslim populations with very high growth rates, but Pakistan
tops them all. In 1950 Pakistan
had a population of about 4 crore. Since then it has
more than tripled and stood at 136 million in 1995. It is estimated to be 16
cores today. The real population explosion in Pakistan will come in the next few years.
It has a very young population, and an extremely high fertility. According to the most recent UN estimates, Pakistan
currently has a TFR (total fertility rate) of about 5 children per woman. This
is an average and if one accepts that rich and the middle class have less
children, then the rate at which the poor are breeding in Pakistan may well exceed a figure
of 6 to 7 TFR. These hordes of poor are the perfect fodder for the Taliban.
Taliban take over of Pakistan
is both inevitable and imminent.
IMPLICAIONS FOR INDIA.
India faces double jeopardy. In a democracy, populism dictates priorities
and preparedness for war is not one of them. It is democracies that face Blitzkrieg
or Pearl Harbours. In addition, Indians
with ancient concept of universal humanism, atomised society and internal
divisions has lacked unity and will to confront the aggressor. We see war as
conflict between good and evil, with a belief that the good will always
triumph, Yato Dharma tato
Jaya. War for us is limited to vanquish evil and concept of Total
In an impending Talibanisation of Pakistan, we face hordes entering
our country to carry out mayhem. Once the state of Pakistan is taken over by the
Taliban, we face a prospect of use of nuclear weapons against us, either
through direct or indirect means of delivery. While all this is happening in
our neighbourhood, pseudo liberals have assiduously promoted a strong sense of
victimhood amongst the Muslim citizens. I do not call it ‘minority’ for that
term is wrong to describe close to 20% of our population that is local majority
in large swathes of our country. Even if a mere 10 percent are influenced by
the Taliban philosophy, it makes it a formidable fifth column of 14 million,
which is ten times the strength of the Indian armed forces.
US under President Obama as began a policy of differentiation between
threat to THEM and India. Good Taliban are the one’s
who do not co-operate with Al Qaeda and do not threaten the US, what they do to and in India is none
of their concern. Taliban only become bad when they threaten US. Note that the
US President has laid down the objective in Af-Pak is
to ‘disrupt and destroy Al Qaeda in that region’, there is no mention of either
Taliban or Lashkar E Toiba,
as these are regarded as India specific terror groups. To coax the reluctant
Pakistani army to co-operate in this venture Dollops of Economic and Military
aid---1.5 billion per annum have been offered. Behind the scene pressure on
India to give up Kashmir to appease Pakistani ‘nationalists’ and GOOD TALIBAN
is possibly already being applied. India
can surely resist the pressure but then the Americans will, as during cold war,
to teeth as pressure tactic to soften Indian resistance. Thus at the end of
next five years or so WE WILL FACE A MILITARILY STRONG AND TALIBANISED PAKISTAN.
Time is on the
side of the Talibanised Pakistan.
As we face the
general elections, the alarming point is that this major looming threat is NOT
the major agenda of parties or candidates. The obsession is with PM’s job, alliances or local issues. A large number of
un-attached, independent and fractions of parties will lead to disintegration
of the polity. Parliament, instead of being a debating and legislating forum
will be reduced to a ‘commodity exchange’. The vote bank politics
and absence of law against terrorism has led to the ‘TAMASHA’ of Ajamal Qasab’s trial. One thought that the aim of criminal justice
system was to try and punish criminals. But if one is to go by the luminaries
pontificating on the numerous TV shows, the aim of all this trial business is ‘to
show to the world how fair the Indian judicial system’.
With the kind of
forces stacked against the survival of current Pakistan, it is likely that in
about six months to a year, the whole country will come under de-facto control
of Taliban. The Taliban and the real power behind them, the Pak army, would
like to maintain a façade of civilian rule till the time they milk the US of maximum
military and economic aid. Once the US military aid makes Pak army feel
confident of taking on the Indian armed forces, the gloves will be off.
meanwhile, every effort will be made to send maximum number of terrorists to India and create insecurity at par with Pakistan to ruin Indian economy and also make India
also a pariah state like Pakistan.
In this covert strategy, groups like Indian Mujahideen
and Simi will play a major role. The Indian pseudo liberals will be funded and
helped to mount a major campaign against the security agencies to render them
ineffective. The hardliners in Kashmir will demand a Sharia
Rule in Kashmir. Once India is softened enough, there is
every likelihood of a nuclear attack on major urban centres by
terrorists with nuclear weapons smuggled in.
strategic paralysis is due to two factors. For very, very long time it was a
conviction and policy that a peaceful, stable and friendly Pakistan is in India’s interest. We have
to wakeup to the reality that is a dream. Under this shadow and exploiting
Indian fear of a radical regime in Pakistan, the ruling establishment
there has been restraining Indian power.
We have to
change this mindset and begin to actively work for the breakup of Pakistan into
three small states. Obviously that will create a messy situation and we have to
prepare for it. But this is still better than a Talibanised
Pakistan, forever needling India
with cross border terror.
inhibiting factor is the presence of nuclear weapons in Pakistan. We
have to accept the fact that
- Pakistan is going to be taken over by Taliban sooner than later;
- Taliban will have no qualms in using
nuclear weapons against us.
If we accept the
second preposition then there is no alternative but for us to change our
nuclear posture from deterrence to one of combination of ‘pre-emption’ and nuclear
defence. It is costly and difficult and may not work. But do we really have a
In the late
1940s, George Kennan’s writings inspired the US
foreign policy of ‘containing’ the Soviet Union.
In 1947 article Kennan argued that the Soviet regime was essentially and
inherently expansionist and violent and it had to be contained.
Taking a leaf
out of the American book, we have to follow a policy of ‘containment’ against Pakistan and follow
the example of cold war like preparedness at all times. In the end, the cold
war will only end with the break up of Pakistan.
measures urgently needed to be taken are,
CLEAR MANDATE even to a party led by a slow learner!
construction of basements/bunkers in vulnerable cities.
Shun US for
defence deals and turn to our traditional military
supplier or Europe. Kick the DRDO, treat Defence Research as NATIONAL ENDEVOUR.
to give power to police/armed forces to DISRUPT, PRE-EMPT TERRORIST ACTS.
all Infantry Commando Platoons to NSG level
FOR PREVENTIVE ACTION!
A noted British Historian of the early 19th century, Irving,
has noted with amazement how while an epic struggle was going on at the
battlefield of Panipat, just a few miles away, the
Indian farmer would be nonchalantly ploughing his field! We must get out of this indifferent
mind set and act now. Tomorrow may be too late.
SHOULD WE SAY AMEN!