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General Musharraf speaking from the "Fort of Islam"

Date Written    :  Jan 12, 2002 

Kashmir runs in the blood of every Pakistani - Gen. Musharraf
"Pakistan is the fort of Islam" - Gen. Musharraf

The press conference of Gen. S. Padmanabhan on the eve of Gen Musharraf's speech

The world was awaiting for the speech to be delivered by Musharraf.  And suddenly came the press conference of  the Indian Chief of Army staff, General S. Padmanabhan on Jan 11. It was certainly well-timed and definitely an effort to keep the war waves flowing so that the pressure remains on Pakistan. General S.Padmanabhan said that India is ready for a war with Pakistan and warned against indulging in a nuclear misadventure against India, adding that they will be "severely punished".

When asked about the presence of American troops in Pakistan coming in the way of a war, he admitted that their presence there will have a certain effect. But added, "On the other hand, when two wild bulls decide to fight in the jungles, they carry the others along."

Gen. Padmanabhan said that a military operation is an answer to a proxy war and that buildup at the borders,  "Operation Parakram" is a reality. But he also said that "let's give everything a chance."  It is true that chance has to be given to Musharraf government but the question is how far ?

Gen Musharraf's speech of creating a Modern Pakistan

The next day to Gen Padmanabhan's press conference came the much awaited speech of Pervez Musharraf. He made clear that Pakistan was fully armed and ready to meet any challenge from the Indian armed forces.  He also created the vision of a modern Pakistan, free from sectarian violence, extremism and terrorism inside Pakistan. He has promised strong action against all those misusing madarsas (religious schools)  and mosques who preach hatred and incite violence. 

Musharraf has further asked his countrymen whether they want to convert Pakistan into a theocratic state? And given the answer himself saying that he wants it to be a progressive, modern and dynamic state. It has been said that Musharraf had discussed the speech with Powell and the "modern" approach might have been the result of that. Will he go the Mustafa Kemal Pasha (Ataturk) way?  Seems difficult .....

So, as far as Pakistan goes, Musharraf has taken some bold steps within his own country.  But with respect to India and the global war on terrorism, Musharraf  seems to be taking back his steps. Just  few days before his speech he has reclaimed the US airbases in Pakistan giving an excuse of possible Indo-Pak War to hamper Operation Enduring Freedom. ( Read more: Operation Enduring Freedom in danger?)

Kashmir runs in the blood of every Pakistani

Musharraf may clamp down on terrorists in his own country, but will keep on giving a moral support to the terrorists in Kashmir. This is evident from his saying "Kashmir runs in the blood of every Pakistani" and "we will never move back."  Musharraf cannot keep his country united if he drops "Kashmir issue"  against India. 

To impress the west he did say that he condemns the terrorist attacks of Sep 11 and most importantly Oct 1 and Dec 13.  He said that hard action will be taken against any Pakistani group or individual found engaged in terrorism within or outside the country.  But at the same time refused to handover the terrorists wanted by India.

Banning of terrorist organisations after giving them sufficient time

After placing Sipah-e-Sahaba and the Tehriq-e-Jafriya under observation and giving it enough time to float other organisations, Musharraf has banned them now.  He has now placed the Sunni Tehriq under observation so that they float some organisation with a different name.

Musharraf has banned Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), once again after giving them sufficient time to float organisations with a different names.  The LeT terrorist group has already  converted itself into a political and religious party called Tanzeemud Dawaat.  If Musharraf was serious enough he should have banned Tanzeemud Dawaat and not LeT which has no presence as of now. The new role of Tanzeemud Dawaat would be similar to other religious parties like the Jamaat Islami and Jamaat Ulemmah-e-Islam. 

Let it be noted that the parent organisation of LeT viz. Markaz Dawa Wal Irshad (MDI) has not been banned.  In the case Musharraf is thinking of banning it, MDI has already floated another organisation by the name of  "Jamaat Al-Dawa".  Musharraf seems to be fooling people in the world, but how far this will go on?

"Pakistan is the fort of Islam" - Gen Musharraf

"Pakistan is the fort of Islam". That is what is said by Musharraf in his speech and missed by media all over the world.  This fort is built on the Islamic foundations laid earlier in the 1940s by Jinnah which resulted in the partition of India and the formation of  Islamic Republic of Pakistan on 14 August 1947. 

On one hand Musharraf talked about modern Pakistan and on the other hand he talked about Pakistan being "Islam ka Qilla" (Fort of Islam). This seems to be shorter version of  Osama bin Laden's attitude being typified today in the proclamation made by him about Jihad -- "Alarzu Lillah, Walhukmu Lillah." (The Earth belongs to Allah and thus only Allah's rule should prevail all over the earth.)

Musharraf tried to give a new meaning to "Jihad", but will the Islamic clerics accept this? Will they suddenly stop reading the koran and stop propagating the meaning of "Jihad" in the correct sense of converting the whole world to Islam. Whatever very few Islamic principles in the Koran may say about co-existence of Islam with Non-Islamic people, at the practical level, past history of the several centuries of Islam gives us enough evidence of the fact that Muslims have never reconciled to having non-muslim people anywhere in the globe. The aim is still to convert all people all over the globe to Islam at the pain of death and create Dar-ul-Islam (Zone of Islam) as against the area where Muslims are in a minority, Dar-ul-harb (Zone of non-Islam).

India's response to Musharraf's  speech

As usual, till the writing of this article, India has not responded appropriately....  India did this even when Pakistanis invaded Kashmir just after the independence.  Maharaja Hari Singh woke-up when large parts of Kashmir went out of his hands. The so-called Pandit took the matter to UN and the status-quo has remained even after Indo-Pak wars after that. 

It is true that Musharraf did few things because of the pressure from US via India.  As of now,  India may not speak of a war with Pakistan, but needs to continue the pressure on Pakistan and the action-reaction needs to be fast enough. Time is running out .......

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