If one were living in isolation, one may get away with this mindset. However, in an interconnected society, this can lead to tragic state. Without a fair understanding of how the other side is wired to think, "prayer" might seem like the strategy.
Extending that to the nation states, India has interacted with Pakistan for 64 years and fought 4 wars (all of them initiated by Pakistan), but most of Indians still lack a good understanding of what dynamics are at work in Pakistan. While the Pakistani society may to some extent think like Indians, those who set the foreign policy (the Army & ISI) have a different view.
A conscious choice of Islam as a basis for nation building led to the Army and its institutes adopting the motto : Iman, Taqwah, Jihad fi Sabilillah (Faith, Fear of Allah, Jihad in the way of Allah). They have over a period of last 30 years worked hard to erase Pakistan's history (as part of formerly India) and rewrite a new history that starts with Arab Islam and ends with Arab Islam. In that light, this write up is an excellent piece correlating current state of Pakistani apparatus to 7th Century Arabia, that the extremist side of the society aspires for.
A Comparison of Today's Pakistan and certain events in 7th Century Islam
Snippets from above commentary on the origins dating back to 7th century.
- When Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) died on June 8, 632 A.D., there was no clear succession plan, a bane that has afflicted the Islamic community ever since. Since he had no male child, a rivalry ensued between his favourite and youngest wife Ayesha's father, Abu Bakr, and Prophet Mohammed's (PBUH) son-in-law Ali (who was also his cousin) married to his daughter Fatima.
- Eventually, Abu Bakr assumed the role of a Caliph. Upon his death, his nominee, Omar ibn Khattab assumed that role still denying Ali any role.
- Upon Omar's assassination, Ali was conditionally offered the Caliphate which he rejected because one of the conditions namely that he should rule not only based on the Koran and the Sunnah, but also on the practices set by Abu Bakr and Omar was unacceptable to him. He was unwilling to the latter condition because he had been critical of some of the actions of the later two Caliphs. The Caliphate went therefore to Uthman, another member of the Quraish tribe like Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) or Abu Bakr or Omar. Uthman was eventually assassinated too.
- The assassins claimed that since he did not rule according to the Koran and the Sunnah, he was a legitimate target for killing, a concept known as wajib-ul-qitl. Like the confusion with choosing a qualified successor to a Caliph, this idea of killing somebody after branding that person as not Islamic enough and hence wajib-ul-qitl has also become the bane of Islamist societies.
Who gets to decide who is less or more Islamic? Appears like that would be whoever has the capability to inflict damage. This singularly makes the "true" muslim moderates an endangered species in Islamic states like Pakistan. Anybody can become an enforcer and anybody shall be considered a fair target to these self-appointed enforcers. If even the Caliphs have to look over the shoulder, what is the state of common people?
One might wonder, if political leaders and army leaders who are surrounded by tight security couldn't escape them, what chance do the minorities (Hindus, Sikhs and Christians) have. They have been reduced from around 10% in 1947 to less than 1% currently. Once the non-followers have been nearly exterminated, the apparatus has turned to those Muslims who can be branded as "less Islamic", like the Ahmadiyyas. Incidentally, Ahmadiaya movement was founded in India as an Islamic sect in late 1800's and its followers were instrumental in formation of Pakistan. However, few decades after formation of Pakistan, they found themselves branded "wajib-ul-qitl", after Hindus, Sikhs and Christians. This trend has worsened more recently, as evident in recent wave of violence.
- Anyway, this time, Ali was chosen as the Caliph by community elders, unlike the previous two occassions. However, Uthman's murder resulted in a severe split within the ummah (community), those who welcomed it and those who opposed it. Muwaiya, the Governor of Iraq under the Ummayads was the chief opposition leader. Ali's and Muwaiya's forces perforce clashed but eventually a ceasefire resulted.
- This is when more problems started and the ummah soon split vertically into Sunnis and Shi'a. All the sectarian ills that so violently wrack the Islamic world, most especially Pakistan, stem from the fateful decision of Ali and Muwaiya to go for arbitration of their dispute settlement following the ceasefire. Several seemingly irreconcilable problems that have dogged the Islamic world, again, especially Pakistan, flowed from this.
- Firstly, some of the aggressive followers of Ali opposed the arbitration process itself claiming that was not an option at allThey were known as Kharajis (Seccessionists). They characterized Ali's arbitration decision as shirq (associating partners with Allah) which called for death and a Kharaji promptly carried that out. The idea of Kharajis would come to haunt the ummah several times later. Thus, his very ardent supporters turned suddenly the bitterest enemy of Ali. We will see how similar situations developed in Pakistan as well.
- Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged by Zia-ul-Haq's regime, in what some might call Karma.
- Benazir Bhutto has contributed to creating the Taliban and the J&K terrorism and was assassinated by some of the very same elements.
- Zia-ul-Haq died in a plane crash caused by sabotage (motive unknown).
- Several attempts were made to assassinate Musharraf during his reign.
- Countless attacks on the personnel and family of the Armed forces
- Attack in Rawalpindi, the headquarters of Pakistani Army
- Navy's own personnel seem to have conspired with the terrorists to help in the Mehran airbase attack
- Secondly, the sectarian divide that split the ummah into 'Partisans of Ali' (Shi'at Ali) and 'Others' (Sunnis) and that bedevilled the ummah ever since has also had great repercussions within Pakistan.
- Thirdly, the unrest. It was not as though there was no unrest during the time of these early Caliphs. One way they dealt with the unrest was to go on a territorial expansionist mode promising lucrative booty to the jihadi fighters of Islam. The fighting jihadis were entitled to four-fifths of the booty with the remaining one-fifth going to the Caliphate. Thus, religion was thought of as a uniting factor as well as a diversion from other contentious issues. Pakistan has done exactly the same thing since its inception. Let's see these one by one.
But India has successfully closed the tap of the stream of terrorists coming into India by erecting a border fence and enhancing surveillance systems. This forced the terrorists to stay in Pakistan and resulted in more domestic unrest. And there is little sign that the Army wants to abandon the policy of creating terrorists. So is India prepared for the possibility of this dam of unrest bursting sometime?
For example, after strangling the terrorists routes in Kashmir for almost 5 years, it burst open in the form of Mumbai attacks.
Pakistani Army and India
Now onto the Army which clearly sees itself as an Islamic army...Snippets:
- Later, when it (Pakistan) acquired missiles from China and North Korea, it named them after some of the most savage Islamist raiders of India from Central Asia and Afghanistan. The names reflect not only India-specificity but also the aggressiveness of Pakistani mindset in Islamist terms.
- For example, during the 1965 war, Pakistan Navy decided to bombard the decrepit and non-strategic town of Dwarka on the Gujarat coast since it was associated with the Hindu mythology of Mahabharat and the operation was therefore aptly code-named “Operation Somnath” symbolizing the dozens of times the marauder Mahmud of Ghazni pillaged the nearby and the famous Somnath temple.
- It was this same hatred that drove Daoud Gilani alias David Coleman Headley to include Somnath temple as one of his four terror targets apart from Mumbai
- There are plenty of other examples where Pakistan displays its deep attachment to jihadi Muslim war heroes, some of them even quite savage. It is no wonder therefore that the Pakistani Chief of Army, Gen. Kayani, openly described the Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP) chief Baitullah Mehsud and Fazlullah as 'patriots'.
What is the point?
It is essential that India work towards peaceful resolution and use its soft power to reach the common people of Pakistan. At the same time, deluding itself about role of Army and its ideology and then praying for favorable outcome may not serve India well for long.
A oft-used quote in this context is.. "Countries have armies, Pakistani Army has a country"