Tag Archives: ISIS

ISIL in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan

This debate on the presence of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the Indian subcontinent is heated up.  Last year India caught some youth waving ISIL’s flags in Srinagar, in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, where anti-Indian Kashmiri were agitating against the Indian occupation of Jammu and Kashmir. This year, Pakistan has arrested more than one hundred different suspects on the basis of their allegiance to ISIL from different cities of the country. Whereas in Bangladesh, ISIL has already taken the responsibility of several terrorist attacks. So the question is, are Indian, Pakistani and Bengali ‘Muslim’ joining ISIL ranks?


A study, Who Becomes a Terrorist? Poverty, education, and the origins of Political Violence, published in 2011, by Alexander Lee, in World Politics, International Relations’ journal, tries to find the answer of this question. Who becomes a terrorist? How terrorism is related to poverty and education and how non-violent politics turns into violent one.

Generally, it is considered that poverty and lack of education lead toward terrorism and more poor and illiterate people become terrorists. If this is the case Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, who have nearly half of their population below poverty line, are in real trouble. But despite all the rhetoric about poverty and terrorism of government officials and public figures social sciences’ research has shown that this is not the case.

If you take “terrorism” as a skill, a mean to gain a political aim, like Alexander Lee, you might note that extremely poor and illiterate people don’t have necessary resources to learn it. This skill cost many and time to learn, which the poor don’t have any. And if you take terrorism as one shape of politics, you might note that, people who cannot afford mainstream politics go for “terrorist politics” the violent politics.

Lee has taken the partition of Bengal (1907) as a case study, where many Bengali nationalists started the political resistance against the British decision of partition. He noted that those who were relatively poor and poorly educated started taking part in violent politics. They would plant a bomb, rob a local landlord and do some other publicity gaining act.

Non-violent politics requires more resources than the violent politics. People who go mainstream, have resources to learn mainstream politics as a skill, but People who opt for terrorism, have least resources, as terrorism doesn’t require more resources to adopt it as a skill. Education plays an important role, but maybe after a qualitative point. As Alexander Lee has noted that among those Bengalis who were involved in violent politics and were also involved in daicoties, those who passed their B.A degree left daicoties and robberies.

So if we take terrorism as kind of politics, we could say, failure to take part in mainstream politics can push one to take part in violent politics. Or failure in gaining what one seeks important to gain through non-violent politics can lead to violent politics. Another example from the colonial India where Gandhi, Nehru and Jinnah adopted the non-violent politics, because they were sure that their aim which initially was not of throwing the British out of the Indian subcontinent is achievable through it. Whereas many Muslim, Hindu and Sikh socialists adopted the violent politics because they were sure that their aim of “purna swaraj” “the Complete Independence” cannot be achieved without violence, notably, Bhagat Singh, Shivaram Rajguru, and Sukhdev Thapar.

Currently, Bangladesh is taking hard measures to deal with Jamaat-i-Islami, but fail to deal with extremism. Extremists have killed a number of bloggers and social activists in Bangladesh. Also, a considerable number of attacks were claimed by ISIL in Bangladesh. India was under attack in the last week when its Airbase at Pathankot got a hit from the terrorists after Mumbai and many other attacks. Pakistan has lost more than 60,000 people in the war against terror and still at losing.

Talking from the state’s point of view, India and Pakistan are really strong nuclear states and both have huge militaries for their defence. Bangladesh is not nuclear capable nor has a larger army as compared to India and Pakistan but still have a better defence system as compared to the countries where ISIL currently operating. Talking from political perspective Bangladesh, India and Pakistan are the countries where taking part in the mainstream politics costs numerous resources which people with limited wealth and poor education cannot afford. The situation such as this can push a number of Bangladeshi, Indian and Pakistani extremist minds to adopt terrorism as mean to fight whatever they want.

Writer is pursuing his MPhil at Iqra University Islamabad and blogs at Kashmirica.wordpress.com go say hello @imrankhushaal

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Is terrorism transforming Kashmir?

By: Imran Khushal

Before going to analyze, is terrorism transforming Kashmir, or otherwise, let us see what was the latest ‘’untransformed status of Kashmir’’. All most everyone knows that it is divided and disputed between two nuclear states, India, and Pakistan, but not many people are aware of China’s occupation, which is another nuclear state. So it is a part of the land, (for the contesters), surrounded by three nuclear states and, being contested, mainly between India and Pakistan. India wants to annexed the remaining part of it, namely, Azad Kashmir, or as they call it, Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, or PoK, whereas Pakistan wants to liberate the rest of Kashmir, namely Jammu and Kashmir, as they call it, Indian Occupied Kashmir, or IoK, not to leave it independent but to annexed the whole sum. And this is perhaps the dumbest strategy for expansion of any of nuclear states so far. It’s not that nuclear states are always the wiser states, but they have capabilities to foresee future and plan in advance. Many of these plans fail when implemented, but still they plan. In Kashmir’s case, we see no planning on either end to cope with the upcoming or already came, challenges. They wanted and fought on the piece of land and ignored everything else, and they are again ignoring everything else. The only thing for these two states is “territorial Expansion”. And no matter what they pay for it, they want it.


Terrorism for individuals is terrorism, but for states, it is a mean of fighting the war to weak and deteriorate other states, and to gain relative power on them, for example, the United States’ war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, was clearly terrorism, but it gave them what they wanted. Terrorists for individuals are evil and immoral but for states they are strategic assets and force multiplier, for example, Osama bin Laden was a terrorist, but he enjoyed protection as an asset and force multiplier.

This tool and the mean of fighting the war and destabilizing the enemy were never abandoned in Kashmir neither by India nor Pakistan. These strategic assets and force multiplier are still there and could be activated on one single command, if not already had been activated. This reality coupled with a new reality that many Kashmiri students from south Kashmir has joined Hizbul Mujahideen, a militant organization which altered the theme of Kashmir insurgency of 1989 from “Sovereign Kashmir” to “Pakistani Kashmir” and replaced Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) as the top most guerilla organization of Kashmir, opens a new window to foresee Kashmir’s future from a global perspective.

Globalization has made migration an organic aspect of today’s world and there are tens of thousands of Kashmiri migrants in Europe as well as in the Middle East. Global Terrorism offers the solution to all evil including Kashmir and Palestine issue, and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Al-Qaeda challenge Gulf Regimes’ which are clearly exploiting these migrant workers. Frustration at work and turmoil at home can lead many of them to join these terrorist organizations and maybe many has already joined them. As they have fled from Europe to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Iraq and Syria they could join it in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Kashmir.

As in August 2014, Kashmiri Chief Minister Omar Abdullah told Media that “a Kashmir youth has reportedly joined powerful Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) from Australia”. And as it was reported in the Nation Pakistan, that “The revelation by Chief Minister came after Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) flags became the common sight during anti-Israel and anti-India demonstrations and clashes in Old City and Civil Lines of Srinagar since July 11, this year”. Also, in July 2015 as First Post India, reported that according to an Indian defense analyst, Alok Bansal, “No doubt, it (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is a major concern in terms of the country’s internal security. The IS jihadists have already announced a war in future from the soil of Khorasan that includes India. For the IS, their ultimate battle for global jihad will be on this land of Khorasan. They have also talked about Kashmir. The unfurling of IS flags will give a boost to the radicalization in Kashmir valley, as more number of educated youth are joining militancy.”

So, as it is clear from these developments that Kashmir, which already had seen militancy and is fueling militancy at the moment could also see flocks of Kashmiri migrants coming home and joining militant organizations. Which will clearly transform its realities and most probably convert it into next battleground. As Pakistan and India are nuclear states and will avoid head to head collision, Kashmir would serve as proxy war ground.

This upcoming disaster is posing a threat to the political stakeholders in the region and abroad. To the socio-political and economic institutions of the region and development on democratic front no matter how tiny that is. This threat requires clear actions from all the stakeholders. Muzaffarabad and Srinagar should come up with more jobs and employment opportunities, (even if they can’t). Social and political activists should play their role in youth counseling and democratizing their thoughts. Political parties should participate in the electoral process and bring democratic reforms within themselves to accommodate youth and give them a sense of belonging and positivity. Writers should write about harms of militancy and terrorism and try to convey their message to the masses that why terrorism doesn’t work.

Writer is pursuing his MPhil at Iqra University Islamabad, blogs at Kashmirica.wordpress.com and can be followed @imrankhushaal

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We don’t understand terrorism, do we?

By: Imran Khushal

In 2013, there was a debate going on in a communist circle in Pakistan, whether we support America or Taliban? Which can be accepted as the lesser evil; drone strikes which are killing innocent civilians or suicide bombings which are also killing innocent civilians? It was never an easy task to take a side. But events which were occurring with ever increasing speed confused many communist and socialist and liberals and I don’t know whom else, but definitely a lot of people. Communist and socialist who ever wanted an end to American imperialism was ‘Okay’ with Taliban, as long as they were targeting Americans, but obviously they were not only attacking NATO forces but also innocent civilians across The Durand Line. On the other hand, these same people were also ‘Okay’ with American drone strikes as long as they were just eliminating Taliban and other terrorist organizations who allied with the USA at first place to fight a war against communist Russia.


A similar confusion was heard and seen after Paris attacks, in which more than a hundred people were killed. Facebook, a social network site, gave its users an option to filter their profile pictures with France’s flag, to show solidarity. This same feature was offered by a few other social networking sites as well. Some people right after the attacks tri-colored their profile pictures and updated their status, mostly words of solidarity with the Parisians. But other didn’t. Some gave explanations for why they aren’t coloring their profile pictures whereas other colored their picture with flag or flags of their desired country or countries.

One of the explanations caught my attention and it was ending with this question that, “why Facebook didn’t add this feature after terrorist attacks in Palestine, Syria, Afghanistan or Pakistan”? Well, I intend not to speak for Facebook or any other social media for that matter, but I have a counter question, does this justify not standing with innocent civilians and drawing comparisons, comparisons which are clearly leading towards confusion and more confusion?

I asked my friends where this whole thing is leading and an old friend of mine who is nowadays campaigning for ISIS, said something which didn’t make sense to me. Next day an MPhil colleague expressed similar views and today on breakfast table another PhD candidate said what that “ISIS supporter” said a couple of days earlier. And if I can put their opinion in words, it was more like “Whatever happened to the people of Paris was just and they deserved so”. “Now they will know how it feels”, “Why they are complaining and about what, they have lost just one hundred or so whereas we (Muslims) have lost hundreds of thousands.”

I felt like they all were considering the victims as some property of a bad guy who actually brought harm to their property in first place in Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan. But this is not the case, how we can draw a comparison between two lives. A life in Syria is as important and valuable as a life in Paris. So if we are not falling on this end why we are falling on that end? I think we as a majority still don’t understand terrorism. These very terrorists who killed your beloved ones now killed their beloved ones and you are not condemning it because they didn’t condemn it at the first place.

This is strange. Terrorists are one ‘’US”, for them all the Parisians and Syrians and anyone else who is not supporting their cause is “THEM”, so deserves to be killed. Westerns including Americas, are another “US” and for them, Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Taliban and anyone else who is not accepting their supremacy is “THEM”, and so deserves to be “droned”. Yet you are another “Us” and for you both “Terrorists’’ and “Westerns” are “THEM”, and for this you are oscillating between those two “THEMS”. The point is when you condemn the West you are perceived as a supporter of the Terrorists and when you condemn the Terrorists you are perceived as a Western supporter. Which needs to be changed.

We being a third “US”, need neither to support the drones nor the suicide bombers. We don’t understand terrorism yet fully so have to maintain some important categorizations. Need to set some agreeable points. And for my personal understanding, I differentiate in regards to “civilians”, which means if someone kills some civilians somewhere to achieve his political goals he is a terrorist and this act is terrorism. These political goals can be religious or otherwise.

Terrorism is disturbing and now it’s an everyday phenomenon. If you lack a basic understanding of terrorism and are confuse, you could be next attacker or a suicide bomber or at least a social media abuser. To avoid such a situation, I’ll suggest you to adopt one definition of terrorism which can work for you and there are more than one hundred definitions. I am not saying go for an American definition or of United Nation’s. Write one your own, if you can but remember trickier you’ll make it more chances you will get trap by yourself.

So go for a simple one and here are a couple of them.

Criminal acts, including against civilians, committed with the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury, or taking of hostages, with the purpose to provoke a state of terror in the general public or in a group of persons or particular persons, intimidate a population or compel a government or an international organization to do or to abstain from doing any act. UN Security Council

Criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes are in any circumstance unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other nature that may be invoked to justify them. UN General Assembly

And the one I have adopted is, terrorism would be defined as deliberate use or threat to use violence against civilians or against civilian targets in order to attain political aims. Boaz Gonar



Writer is pursuing his MPhil at Iqra University Islamabad, blogs at Kashmirica.wordpress.com and can be followed @imrankhushaal