Date: 16 May 2010


Jihad spreading across Pak like a virus//////////(VIRUS IS OOZING OUT OF KORAN, A BOOK THAT DOES NOT GO WITH YOUR INDIAN RACE AND HINDU ROOTS.) Irfan Husain//////// By arrangement with Dawn ///////////// ////////// MOST TOURISTS in New York will have visited Times Square, with its bright lights, buzz and non-stop energy. Named after the New York Times when the newspaper moved to its current premises in 1904, the area has seen its ups and downs. /////// Now, after being relatively sanitised, its drug dealers and other assorted low-life have been pushed to other parts of the city. But the shops, theatre district, bars and music halls hum with activity round the clock. /////////// This, then, is the heart of America, and has come to represent a dynamic, thriving country both for its own citizens and for foreigners in all parts of the world. /////////// Therefore an attack on Times Square is construed as an attack on the United States. When Faisal Shahzad carried out his botched attack recently, he wasn’t just trying to kill and maim as many innocent people as possible, he was lashing out against the country where he had studied, got married and made a comfortable life for his family. ////////// He was no suicide bomber brainwashed by jihadis and intent on claiming his share of virgins in heaven. Rather, he was a privileged member of the extended Pakistani military network: born in the knowledge that his father's rank in the Air Force would open doors shut to most Pakistanis, he was given a visa to the US, and then citizenship. There was little to suggest that he would choose the path he did. So much for the theory that education can make young Muslims reject terrorism. ///////// Soon after, we learned of Mohammed Saif ur Rahman, a Pakistani interning at a hotel in Santiago, Chile, where he was arrested with traces of explosives on his hands and in his personal effects. While he has denied any attempt to blow up the US embassy where he had apparently been invited to discuss the cancellation of his visa, one does not innocently acquire gunpowder traces under normal circumstances. ////////// So here we have two men with close connections to Pakistan who stand accused of attempted acts of terrorism in two continents within a week. Small wonder that newspapers like the Daily Telegraph can print highly speculative stories like the one that appeared on May 11 and expect readers to believe them. ///////////// Headlined Pakistan agents linked to US plot, the story alleges: “American investigators believe rogue Pakistani intelligence agents could have been involved in the Times Square bomb plot. They are examining a possible connection between Faisal Shahzad and Pakistan’s powerful military and intelligence establishment, a potentially devastating blow to the country’s shaky antiterrorism credentials... Pakistan has a history of using jihadi groups as a tool of its foreign policy. Its Inter-Services Intelligence agency helped train and equip Afghan Mujahideen… They have also supported militant groups in Indian-controlled Kashmir...” And so on. /////////// While completely unsourced, the story is likely to be believed by many readers simply because Pakistan is now seen — and not without reason — as the epicentre of jihadi terror exported to different countries in an unending wave. While Pakistan's default reaction is one of denial, the fact is that in many cases of terrorism abroad, there is an element of a Pakistani connection. Even when the terrorists are not themselves Pakistani citizens, they have visited training camps to obtain training, or have been brainwashed in one of Pakistan's many madrasas. //////////// Living as we do in post-Zia Pakistan, we do not notice how the poisonous environment created by extremist rhetoric amplified by an irresponsible media has infected millions of young minds. Like a virus, the call for jihad spreads across the land. Voices such as Zaid Hamid's are provided a powerful platform like television to spout his violent brand of Islam where unsophisticated viewers lap up his vision. /////////// School curricula have been replete with hateful stereotypes of non-Muslims. God only knows what our madrasas are teaching their students: the government has washed its hands off these institutions and the hundreds of thousands of children unfortunate enough to be instructed there. //////////// The recent discovery of a substantial cache of weapons and Jaish-e-Muhammed propaganda material from a mosque in Karachi underlines how radicalised our centres of religion have become. ////////////// Despite the clear evidence of the involvement of many jihadi organisations in local and global terrorism, the government keeps its eyes firmly shut to the reality of the situation. No serious attempt is being made to rein in these killers, and to shut down their camps and training centres. And even when some of these terrorists are arrested, they are seldom convicted. //////////// Obviously, there are no easy answers. Jihad is now too deeply rooted in the country’s psyche to be quickly and painlessly excised. But if we are to survive as a nation, we need to agree that we cannot allow successive generations to be brainwashed by an ignorant coterie of mullahs and media talking heads. 000000000