Tag Archives: extremism

A little late but again; why did Donald Trump win?

This question has already been asked and answered all over the world many times in the last couple of days. Different theories have been presented by different people. Thinkers, writers, political analysts and people almost from all walks of life have already tried to make sense of this historical upset they say had happened in the United States presidential election of 2016.

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Why Did Trump Win? By Imran Khushal

But here in Pakistan, Trump’s triumph is being discussed in a different way. Pakistani anchors, politicians, and analysts are mainly concerned about how the Trump’s America will affect the world in general and how it will raise white supremacism, racism, and extremism.

Obviously, a racist, male chauvinist, and white supremacist, the government in world’s super power’s capital can influence many things and change a lot in politics. But what I’m interested in discussing is why did Donald J. Trump win the presidency?

The answer is in the phenomenon of globalization. Let’s assume that the Americans didn’t know what’s outside the America. They didn’t know how Hindu extremism is taking roots in India and how Muslim extremism is burning the how Muslim world. Let’s say they didn’t fear the outer world and the outer world where extremists, racists, and chauvinists, are already ruling didn’t influence the American voters. Would they still have elected Donald J. Trump as the next president of the United States of America?

I don’t think so. When we say the “Trump Epidemic” would affect the whole world, we accept that the world is connected. If we are living in a global village with every notorious, warmonger, racist, and wicked person as the head of his family how could we expect the American house to not have one?

Today, socio-political developments in the Europe and the Americas affect peoples in Asia and Africa and similar developments in Asia and Africa affect peoples of Europe and Americas. Unending wars in Afghanistan, instability in Iraq, the crisis in Syria and Yemen, Hindutva in India, Takfeer in Arab, Ku Klux Klan in the Christian world and religious extremism everywhere were the main causes why did Donald J. Trump win the presidency.

Definitely, there were domestic reasons as well which made Trump’s victory possible but the globalization was the main reason. Donald J. Trump repeatedly (ab)used the Muslim and Mexican cards, who reached as a result of globalization. He successfully drew a line between the Americans and non-Americans. He frightened them of Muslim extremism and Mexican crimes. He frightened them of Chinese and every other THEM to create cohesion among the Americans and select him as their president.

And this will no doubt affect us all. It would heat up white supremacism in the Europe and hatred against non-European as well religious nationalism among Muslim, Hindu, and others. With the presidency of Donald J. Trump, a more violent world is waiting for all of us. The future will be more uncertain and unpredictable than it was ever before. Also, the chances of a nuclear warfare under such leadership can’t be ruled out. But it is important to note that there is not only one trump in the United States, they are everywhere in every country and Yes they are prime ministers and presidents.

The Author is an Independent researcher and political analyst. He holds an MPhil International Relations degree and blogs for SAMAA TV, Express News, and Dawn News. His personal blog is Kashmirica.wordpress.com and he can be reached on twitter at @imrankhushaal and on email at imrankhushaalraja@gmail.com

Pakistan’s Journey to Nowhere

After the 9/11, Pakistan became an American alley and started fighting, what then was called, a war against terror. In its initial years, Pak-Army conducted ‘operations’ almost with zero public support against extremism and fundamentalism. From the beginning of this mess to a significant way down, for years, no Pakistani media reported incidents of terror in the country and that’s why initial reports are only available with the international media even today when you Google it.

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Over the years, the media started reporting and public seems to stand with law and enforcement agencies in order to eradicate terrorism, but this was not the case, and agitations on Mumtaz Qadri’s execution proved it. Pakistan has lost more than 70,000 its men, women and children along with billions of dollars of resources and had reached nowhere in its combat against terrorism. Three mega developments are important to note down while examining Pakistan’s journey to nowhere.

First; the Soviet-Afghan war in 1979, which changed the very fabric of Pakistani state and society. This provided an opportunity to gain short-term benefits, for example, teaming up with the Western Block against communism and averting the potential of any revolt within the country against capitalism. Also, gaining assistances/funds and avoiding international sanctions, because of being close to the United States of America. But this brought more harm than good. The state and society radicalized during these 10 years, from 1979 to 1989, and what came out was a decision of keeping the irregulars or non-state actors as force multipliers.

Second; meanwhile, Iran had an ‘Islamic Revolution’, which triumphed the Shia political Islam over the Sunni political Islam. This started a battle of proxies, just like the US and Soviet, but definitely on a regional scale. Saudi Arabia, being the traditional rival and nucleus of the Sunni political Islam, started promoting its version of Islam, across the Muslim world and so does in Pakistan. To avert an uprising in the Kingdom, it supported Jihad in Afghanistan, later in Palestine and Kashmir.

Third; these non-state actors played a significant role in the 1989 Kashmir insurgency. Apparently it was started by a Kashmiri nationalist group called Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, better known from its abbreviation, JKLF, but when Hizbul Mujahedeen (HM) took the control of the movement and started slaughtering JKLF, it showed a different picture. Pakistan opted the strategy of Low-Intensity Conflict (LIC) after 1971 when the East Pakistan was separated from the rest of the country and conventional means yielded nothing in Kashmir. It worked fine but not after the 9/11. When on the pressure of the U.S Pakistan enforced a ban on Jihadist organizations they started blowing back.

The way forwarded is clear but difficult. Pakistan needs to take a fresh start but this time with educating the masses and restricting the religion to everyone’s personal life. By not prioritizing the short-term benefits over the long term goals. By behaving like a civilized nation instead of a mob of 1.8 million people. As long as the state and society are not on the same page against extremism and terrorism, Pakistan’s success will remain limited.

The author is a researcher and blogger. He has authored On Kashmir and Terrorism and can be reached at @imrankhushaal and imrankhushaalraja@gmail.com

Pakistan’s Failure in Combating Terrorism

Pakistan has been fighting against terrorism since 9/11, 2001, when the United States of America was attacked by Al-Qaeda. Though its decision was hesitant and because of American pressure, it fought against terrorists and is still fighting. In its combat against terrorism, Pakistan has lost more than 70,000 lives, and still continuing, but it is nowhere near ending terrorism.

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Pakistan’s inability or unwillingness is evident from the time it has taken in formulating its (first) National Action Plan, (NAP), to eradicate terrorism, which is more than 14 years. Before the formulation of such a plan, many debated “who is a terrorist”, “who is a mujahid”, “who should be called a martyr and who should not be”, from TV talk shows to all fields of life. And even after a year of NAP, such debates have not lost their heat.

In his speech, before waging the “war on terror”, President Bush told his citizen that, Why the United States of America was attacked, who carried this attack, and what the U.S. is going to do? Unlike the United States, no one tried to give a clear (even false) explanation of “why Pakistan is under attack’, and who is carrying these attacks. Perhaps there was no explanation at all. So, what happened, after every terrorist attack there came different distorted explanations, which painted an elusive and ambiguous picture, just like an abstract painting, to which anyone can attach any meanings. This picture was more or less like this; “no Muslim can kill Muslims so this must be done by non-Muslims”. “India doesn’t want peace in Pakistan so it must be done by RAW”, “America is behind it”. “Israel has done this hideous thing”. So on and so forth.

This indicates an extremist mindset which is an outcome of decades of radicalization and Islamization of political issues in Pakistan. Though it has started from 1949’s Objectives Resolution but till General Zia’s era religion has a relatively lesser influence on politics. In General Zia’s time, everything was Islamized to fight against the Soviets, which gave enormous power to religious parties and groups. From 1979 to 1989, these ten years, when a holy war was fought in Afghanistan, all most all of Pakistan was militarized and radicalized. In 1989, Soviet’s defeat triumphed extremism. In the same year, the insurgency in Kashmir was affected by the overflow of extremism. Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front’s (JKLF) militant struggle for the right of self-determination and independence got Islamized and soon became a Jehad for the incorporation of Kashmir into Pakistan.

Islamization of the Kashmir dispute strengthened the religious parties and weaken democratic institutions. It paved a way for military coups and overthrown the elected governments. Religious parties supported military regimes and, military regimes in return protected their interests. Extremism created a war loving mindset which was not favorable for political leaders but military dictators.

In his efforts to solve the Kashmir dispute, General Musharraf had gone one or two steps away. Retreating from the decade-old stance on Kashmir was his one the biggest mistakes, which led to the start of terrorist attacks inside Pakistan and after that there frequency and intensity increased with every passing day.

Pakistan’s efforts in combating terrorism are linked with its people’s mindset. Terrorism is an ideology and needs to be replaced by a non-terrorist ideology. It is a narrative which needs to be challenged with a counter-narrative. Pakistan has conducted a handful military operations in its Tribal areas, which are being considered successful but it has failed on the ideological front. Failure in preventing a terrorist attack is not just Pakistan’s inability but failure in fulfilling what is needed to be fulfilled after an attack is its specification.

It has failed in bringing madrasa and syllabus reforms. It has failed in implementing NAP’s major portion. And more importantly, it has failed in countering the narrative of terrorists which has given them an advantage of recruiting more and more people for their ranks.

Militancy is not a solution to any of Pakistan problems and certainly not to the Kashmir dispute. Pakistan needs to de-Islamized the Kashmir dispute, which will strengthen its democratic institutions and will reduce support for religious and militant groups and leaders. This could reduce the number of extremist minds in the country. When there will be considerable voices against homegrown terrorists, extremism will then be challenged on the ideological level. And only then a counter-narrative can be successful.

Writer is pursuing his MPhil at Iqra University Islamabad. He blogs at Kashmirica.wordpress.com and can be reached at @imrankhushaal or imrankhushaalraja@gmail.com