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"Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity".
(surah Al-Imran,ayat-104)
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User Name: Usman_Khalid
Full Name: Brig (R) Usman Khalid
User since: 20/Sep/2007
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Imran’s Neo-Obscurantism is Damaging Pakistan

http://www.rifah.org/site/imran%e2%80%99s-neo-obscurantism-is-damaging-pakistan/

The instruments the TTP employs to force itself on the hapless of FATA and KPK are the gun and its obscurantism. The JI and JUI(F) are more adept at the use of obscurantism but they have kept a distance from the TTP until now. That was wise because a political party is a legitimate entity that has law on its side. The TIP after it won the elections in KPK has the law, the police, the courts and the power of the federation and its armed force on its side. America is clearly on the wrong side of international law on drone attacks. In the long run Imran Khan was bound to succeed. But he chose to support the cause of the TTP and justify its violent ways he has lost the advantage of legitimacy, Now he is no better than the JI and JUI)F). Being a neo-obscurantist, he is not credible as one of them.

By Usman Khalid

TTP fighters posing for a photograph with severed heads of Pakistani soldiers. And they call it Jihad!

After the First World War and the defeat of the Ottoman Sultan the entire Islamic world was swept by a wave of secularism, Turkey, after a short romance with Pan Turkism, opted for a secular state under the leadership of Mustapha Kemal Pasha. Iran set itself up as secular monarchy under a new Pehalvi Dynasy. Egypt was already a secular monarchy, Afghanistan under King Amanullah discarded the pretence of being an ISLAMIC STATE but the attempt was challenged by the mullahs who are generally referred to as obscurantist. The list of sovereign Muslim states was not very long; from Indonesia to Morocco all the Muslim lands had been colonised by European powers. That resistance to British expansion and King Amanullah’s Westernisation was led by obscurantist mullahs, which gave them respect and credibility that they have enjoyed ever since.

The ire of Afghan obscurantist was directed against the British who ruled British India at the time. On the other hand, the King of Afghanistan was more eager to raise money for the state exchequer which he was unable raise through taxation as in normal countries. The obscurantist had their own idea to raise money. They did it as highwaymen and by abductions of foreigners for ransom. Afghanistan has always had two parallel systems functioning independently of each other. The state hardly made any effort to bring the highwaymen under its control. On the contrary it copied the methods of highwaymen resorting to raids to recruit conscripts into the Afghan armed forces.

When British India was partitioned in 1947, the existing arrangements broke down. Hindu India did try and succeeded in supplanting the British Empire as ‘provider of funds’ to the state of Afghanistan but it faced competition from erstwhile Soviet Union. Pakistan was caught in a tragic trap; the Soviet Union had its eyes on Baluchistan for access to the warm waters of the Arabian Sea; India had not reconciled to the partition and wanted to liquidate Pakistan altogether; the Afghans looked at much of Pakistan as territory of the Abdali Empire that his weak successors yielded to the British in phases. Afghanistan had the support of both India and the Soviet Union in its claim over the territory of Pakistan. However, the Afghan King continued to depend on India and the Soviet Union for money, weapons and international legitimacy and the obscurants, ironically, on Pakistan. When Pakistan joined the US camp for its security the struggle for control over Afghanistan became more even handed.

The overthrow of King Zahir Shah by Sardar Daud allegedly at the behest of the Soviet Union set the stage for a civil war that began in 1979 and continues until today. The Soviet Union sent its troops into Afghanistan at the request of a Communist Government installed by coup d’état. The civil war brought Pakistan and the ‘obscurantist’ closer together. As America decided to support the Afghan Mujahidin against the Soviet Union, it became possible to defeat the Soviet Union. In 1987, an accord was signed at Geneva under UN auspices that secured complete withdrawal of the Soviet Union from Afghanistan. The rest is recent history the details of which need not be recounted. What is of importance is that three ideas converged: 1) desire of the Pashtun on both sides of the Durand line to merge into one state; 2) the revival of jihad as ‘instrument of national liberation’ that underpins resistance to Soviet and now American occupation, and in Pakistan for liberation of Jammu and Kashmir; 3) the import of the Takfiri cult into Afghanistan and Pakistan from Egypt and the Arab world for triumph of a sort of ‘puritanical Islam’. Since all the three call their quest for widely divergent objectives as ‘jihad’ the support for them overlaps causing much confusion and a lot of bloodshed – regrettably of Muslims by Muslims.

The question that has not been answered is why did the ‘takfiri’ fail in Arab Muslim countries in liberation of Palestine while their combination with ‘obscurantist’ brought about the defeat of two powerful military forces – the Soviet and the American. The main reason is the role of the Pakistan Army which remained detached from ideology and concentrated on tactics, strategy and logistics in a primitive theatre of operations. But the primary reason is the nature of ‘obscurantism’ as foundation of fierce nationalism and high motivation. What is obscurantism after all? It is a simplistic explanation for the erosion of Muslim Power (lack of unity and weak rulers collaborating with the West) supported by credible historical references. It is a combination of local folklore and dubious history described in rhetoric style. The phenomenon is not unique to Islam; what is unique to Afghanistan-Pakistan region is that obscurantism enjoys more credibility and support than logic and knowledge. In other words, ‘ignorance’ is a source of strength and foundation of unity and cohesion whereas Western education creates disunity and confusion. The Takfiri are obscurantist except that they are more certain and more inclined to use violence against fellow Muslims. Their message is simple: Khilafa and Sharia are good, Shirk is bad. No Muslim can disagree with that. But the devil is in the detail. Girl’s education, watching TV and shaving of facial hair is against the Sharia. One could live with that. But when they start a ‘jihad’ against the ‘mushrikeen’ declaring the ‘shia’ among others as worse than kuffar, they lay the foundation of a social order dominated by “God’s soldiers” killing those who disobey them as disobeying God.

Pakistan cannot be described even remotely as primitive or ignorant. The majority is far from being obscurantist but it is under the spell of the ‘victorious’ Afghan factions who attribute their victories to their strict adherence to the Sharia. A simplistic ‘mind set’ focussed on a single enemy is an advantage in guerrilla war which relies on dispersal for security. Dispersal is a disadvantage in fixed front war but Afghan Mujahidin won because they created a military system – tactics, strategy, and logistics – for a primitive battle environment. Since Sharia, Khilfa and Jihad share the quality of convincing simplicity of the military system with the value system of the Takfiri ideology. The truth is that the Takfiri are opposed to the very idea of state particularly ‘nation state’. Their objective is to delegitimize the nation state calling it ‘shirk’. Religious political parties and groups have never enjoyed much support in Pakistan but ‘obscurantism’ is quite adequate as underpinning of resistance in a primitive country like Afghanistan.

What Imran Khan has done is to use the ecstasy over Taliban victories to widen his political base. The Taliban already resent that and have expressed their disapproval by killing three of his ministers and continuing mayhem in FATA and KPK. But Imran Khan is not easily dissuaded. He has joined the obscurantist political parties like the JI and JUI(F) in a tirade against the USA using drone attacks to distort Islam and its history. The fact is that every geo-political success the Muslim nations have achieved they had the support of much of the West. Drone attacks are side issue, the reality is that the Takfiri are the main enemies of Islamic state and the USA wants to maintain an international order based on sovereign nation states. If some Muslim countries opt out of that order the world would be somewhat less stable but the countries concerned would be devastated.

The whole world accepts that drone attacks are a violation of international law. The justification to use drones is the wide dispersal of the ‘enemy’ in asymmetrical war that the USA is engaged in. When the targets of drones are legitimate entities under the protection of legitimate government, a legal recourse is available to stop the attacks, obtain recompense for the victims and reinforce international law to secure both ends. Imran Khan’s TIP is not a terrorist organisation; it is now the elected government in KPK, which is the main victim of drone attacks; it had the course open to take the matter to US courts and obtain compensation for the victims of drone attacks. But it did no such thing. It declared support for the main terrorist organisation – the TTP – and went as far as declaring the slain terrorist leader – Hakimulllah Mehsud – as a Shaheed. He ignored the fact that the TTP targets not just the US but also Pakistani troops and civilians. He appears to be satisfied with his rationale as he insists that the governments of Pakistan and the USA are collaborators in the crime of drone attacks. By doing that he has transformed himself and his party into ‘supporters of terrorists.’ The USA has more reason than ever to ignore him and to pressurises the Pakistan Government to crack down on ALL supporters of terrorists including the TIP. JI and JUI(F). I do not want to press the argument any further. It is not wise to entangle with Imran Khan. Just like the USA, his friendship is more dangerous than his enmity.

Imran Khan cannot become a proper obscurantist because he does not have enough knowledge of Islamic references to distort to his advantage. The power of obscurantism will remain with the religious political parties and Afghanistan. Our neighbour to the North have inflicted defeat on three super powers but has failed to arrest slipping down the ladder. Obscurantism is no model even if it yields military victories because the follow up is always disaster. Pakistan was conceived as a Muslim Nation State led by the Muslim League under the leadership of Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Its example has been followed by fifty five more Muslim majority countries. It is by sticking to the rationale of its creation that it helped liberate Afghanistan and six other Muslim Republics in Central Asia. Sheikh Mujib led Bangladesh out of Pakistan and has since become a vassal state of India. Afghanistan under King Zahir Shah courted India and the Soviet Union rejecting the hand of Pakistan extended in friendship. The country is still suffering the consequences. The ‘Islamic parties’ of erstwhile British India who opposed Pakistan, are supporting TTP terrorists today. They are yet able to rally support under the flag of obscurantism and would perhaps live to fight another day. But Imran Khan – the ‘neo-obscurantist’ – has no future.++

After the First World War and the defeat of the Ottoman Sultan the entire Islamic world was swept by a wave of secularism, Turkey, after a short romance with Pan Turkism, opted for a secular state under the leadership of Mustapha Kemal Pasha. Iran set itself up as secular monarchy under a new Pehalvi Dynasy. Egypt was already a secular monarchy, Afghanistan under King Amanullah discarded the pretence of being an ISLAMIC STATE but the attempt was challenged by the mullahs who are generally referred to as obscurantist. The list of sovereign Muslim states was not very long; from Indonesia to Morocco all the Muslim lands had been colonised by European powers. That resistance to British expansion and King Amanullah’s Westernisation was led by obscurantist mullahs, which gave them respect and credibility that they have enjoyed ever since.

 

The ire of Afghan obscurantist was directed against the British who ruled British India at the time. On the other hand, the King of Afghanistan was more eager to raise money for the state exchequer which he was unable raise through taxation as in normal countries. The obscurantist had their own idea to raise money. They did it as highwaymen and by abductions of foreigners for ransom. Afghanistan has always had two parallel systems functioning independently of each other. The state hardly made any effort to bring the highwaymen under its control. On the contrary it copied the methods of highwaymen resorting to raids to recruit conscripts into the Afghan armed forces.

 

When British India was partitioned in 1947, the existing arrangements broke down. Hindu India did try and succeeded in supplanting the British Empire as ‘provider of funds’ to the state of Afghanistan but it faced competition from erstwhile Soviet Union. Pakistan was caught in a tragic trap; the Soviet Union had its eyes on Baluchistan for access to the warm waters of the Arabian Sea; India had not reconciled to the partition and wanted to liquidate Pakistan altogether; the Afghans  looked at much of Pakistan as territory of the Abdali Empire that his weak successors yielded to the British in phases. Afghanistan had the support of both India and the Soviet Union in its claim over the territory of Pakistan. However, the Afghan King continued to depend on India and the Soviet Union for money, weapons and international legitimacy and the obscurants, ironically, on Pakistan. When Pakistan joined the US camp for its security the struggle for control over Afghanistan became more even handed.

 

The overthrow of King Zahir Shah by Sardar Daud allegedly at the behest of the  Soviet Union set the stage for a civil war that began in 1979 and continues until today. The Soviet Union sent its troops into Afghanistan at the request of a Communist Government installed by coup d’état. The civil war brought Pakistan and the ‘obscurantist’ closer together. As America decided to support the Afghan Mujahidin against the Soviet Union, it became possible to defeat the Soviet Union.  In 1987, an accord was signed at Geneva under UN auspices that secured complete withdrawal of the Soviet Union from Afghanistan. The rest is recent history the details of which need not be recounted. What is of importance is that three ideas converged: 1) desire of the Pashtun on both sides of the Durand line to merge into one state; 2)  the revival of jihad as ‘instrument of national liberation’ that underpins resistance to Soviet and now American occupation, and in Pakistan for liberation of Jammu and Kashmir; 3) the import of the Takfiri cult into Afghanistan and Pakistan from Egypt and the Arab world for triumph of a sort of ‘puritanical Islam’. Since all the three call their quest for widely divergent objectives as ‘jihad’ the support for them overlaps causing much confusion and a lot of bloodshed – regrettably of Muslims by Muslims.

 

The question that has not been answered is why did the ‘takfiri’ fail in Arab Muslim countries in liberation of Palestine while their combination with ‘obscurantist’ brought about the defeat of two powerful military forces – the Soviet and the American. The main reason is the role of the Pakistan Army which remained detached from ideology and concentrated on tactics, strategy and logistics in a primitive theatre of operations. But the primary reason is the nature of ‘obscurantism’ as foundation of fierce nationalism and high motivation. What is obscurantism after all? It is a simplistic explanation for the erosion of Muslim Power (lack of unity and weak rulers collaborating with the West) supported by credible historical references. It is a combination of local folklore and dubious history described in rhetoric style. The phenomenon is not unique to Islam; what is unique to Afghanistan-Pakistan region is that obscurantism enjoys more credibility and support than logic and knowledge. In other words, ‘ignorance’ is a source of strength and foundation of unity and cohesion whereas Western education creates disunity and confusion. The Takfiri are obscurantist except that they are more certain and more inclined to use violence against fellow Muslims. Their message is simple: Khilafa and Sharia are good, Shirk is bad. No Muslim can disagree with that. But the devil is in the detail. Girl’s education, watching TV and shaving of facial hair is against the Sharia. One could live with that. But when they start a ‘jihad’ against the ‘mushrikeen’ declaring the ‘shia’ among others as worse than kuffar, they lay the foundation of a social order dominated by “God’s soldiers” killing those who disobey them as disobeying God.

 

Pakistan cannot be described even remotely as primitive or ignorant. The majority is far from being obscurantist but it is under the spell of the ‘victorious’ Afghan factions who attribute their victories to their strict adherence to the Sharia. A simplistic ‘mind set’ focussed on a single enemy is an advantage in guerrilla war which relies on dispersal for security. Dispersal is a disadvantage in fixed front war but Afghan Mujahidin won because they created a military system – tactics, strategy, and logistics - for a primitive battle environment. Since Sharia, Khilfa and Jihad share the quality of convincing simplicity of the military system with the value system of the Takfiri ideology. The truth is that the Takfiri are opposed to the very idea of state particularly ‘nation state’. Their objective is to delegitimize the nation state calling it ‘shirk’. Religious political parties and groups have never enjoyed much support in Pakistan but ‘obscurantism’ is quite adequate as underpinning of resistance in a primitive country like Afghanistan.

 

What Imran Khan has done is to use the ecstasy over Taliban victories to widen his political base. The Taliban already resent that and have expressed their disapproval by killing three of his ministers and continuing mayhem in FATA and KPK. But Imran Khan is not easily dissuaded. He has joined the obscurantist political parties like the JI and JUI(F) in a tirade against the USA using drone attacks to distort Islam and its history. The fact is that every geo-political success the Muslim nations have achieved they had the support of much of the West. Drone attacks are side issue, the reality is that the Takfiri are the main enemies of Islamic state and the USA wants to maintain an international order based on sovereign nation states. If some Muslim countries opt out of that order the world would be somewhat less stable but the countries concerned would be devastated.

 

 The whole world accepts that drone attacks are a violation of international law. The justification to use drones is the wide dispersal of the ‘enemy’ in asymmetrical war that the USA is engaged in. When the targets of drones are legitimate entities under the protection of legitimate government, a legal recourse is available to stop the attacks, obtain recompense for the victims and reinforce international law to secure  both ends. Imran Khan’s TIP is not a terrorist organisation; it is now the elected government in KPK, which is the main victim of drone attacks; it had the course open to take the matter to US courts and obtain compensation for the victims of drone attacks. But it did no such thing. It declared support for the main terrorist organisation – the TTP – and went as far as declaring the slain terrorist leader – Hakimulllah Mehsud – as a Shaheed. He ignored the fact that the TTP targets not just the US but also Pakistani troops and civilians. He appears to be satisfied with his rationale as he insists that the governments of Pakistan and the USA are collaborators in the crime of drone attacks. By doing that he has transformed himself and his party into ‘supporters of terrorists.’ The USA has more reason than ever to ignore him and to pressurises the Pakistan Government to crack down on ALL supporters of terrorists including the TIP. JI and JUI(F). I do not want to press the argument any further. It is not wise to entangle with Imran Khan. Just like the USA, his friendship is more dangerous than his enmity.

 

Imran Khan cannot become a proper obscurantist because he does not have enough knowledge of Islamic references to distort to his advantage. The power of obscurantism will remain with the religious political parties and Afghanistan. Our neighbour to the North have inflicted defeat on three super powers but has failed to arrest slipping down the ladder. Obscurantism is no model even if it yields military victories because the follow up is always disaster. Pakistan was conceived as a Muslim Nation State led by the Muslim League under the leadership of Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Its example has been followed by fifty five more Muslim majority countries. It is by sticking to the rationale of its creation that it helped liberate Afghanistan and six other Muslim Republics in Central Asia. Sheikh Mujib led Bangladesh out of Pakistan and has since become a vassal state of India. Afghanistan under King Zahir Shah courted India and the Soviet Union rejecting the hand of Pakistan extended in friendship. The country is still suffering the consequences. The ‘Islamic parties’ of erstwhile British India who opposed Pakistan, are supporting TTP terrorists today. They are yet able to rally support under the flag of obscurantism and would perhaps live to fight another day. But Imran Khan – the ‘neo-obscurantist’ -  has no future.++

 

 

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