President Muammar Qadhafi of Libya has always been an idiosyncretic persona. When he calls Pakistanis fanatic Muslims, he stoops to the mainstream media in the west, who likewise consider all Pakistanis as fanatic Muslims. Devout Muslims yes, but they are not fanatic Mr. Qadhafi. The Libyan leader should know that Islam no doubt is a very strong factor in the life and polity of Pakistanis as a whole. But to say that religion is the only factor which determines the nationhood of Pakistan is not the whole truth. Pakistan as a country has historically been inhabited by the people living around the great Indus River and its civilization. These people were living here even before the advent of Islam. – AFP photo
A TANGLED WEB OF REGIONAL CHALLENGES
by Nayyar Hashmey
A Note for WOP Readers: It’s almost a month now that the Washington Times published an article by the Libyan Leader carrying his views on Pakistan and its status as a nuclear power. Why am bringing it under discussion now? Because I saw it a few days ago.
It appears though that the article has been written all in sincerity, yet while commenting on various issues especially the one on this country’s very reason of creation, its raison d’ etre, the Libyan head of state appears to falter and consequently draws conclusions which negate facts of history as well as the contemporary situation in Pakistan.
Titled as Pakistan Quagmire, writes the Libyan leader:-
“The West, particularly America, and Israel never wished Pakistan to have a nuclear bomb. But on May 28, 1998, they woke up to the fact that Pakistan had indeed become a nuclear state and their intelligence services failed to anticipate the detonation of a nuclear device by Pakistan. Countless books, articles and speeches called the Pakistani nuclear bomb, the “Islamic bomb; “as loaded a term as any; as many considered it a doomsday weapon directed against their interests.”
Mr. Qadhafi is very right in his assessment of the west and Israel that they never wanted Pakistan to go nuclear. As a matter of fact they still don’t. But his calling the nuclear bomb ‘made in Pakistan’ as an Islamic bomb itself shows the very biased nature of such a statement, or is he so naïve to profess ignorance on western media’s campaign who have made it a habit to use this term as a slant against Pakistan!
Right here in South Asia, just next door, a big country went nuclear but nobody called it a Hindu bomb, not even did Mr. Qadhafi name it so, (a huge majority of Indians is Hindus though). Israelis too detonated their own nuclear device but nobody called it a Jewish bomb. Calling the Pakistani nuclear device as an Islamic bomb proves the very strong and bitter fact that nobody has been able to digest the idea of a small country such as Pakistan with poor infrastructure and having enormous economic problems should have gone for a luxury called the nuclear bomb.
Mind it, the nuclear club has always been an exclusive club. Only big powers were supposed and were allowed to possess such things i.e. The US, Great Britain, France and the former Soviet Union.
But then Israelis entered this club and the west almost welcomed it. Nobody thought that Israel was a country far smaller in size than Pakistan, had an inborn dispute with its next door neighbors, all the Arab States, and still could have a nuclear bomb and it was never named a Jewish bomb.
China also entered this club. For a long time, the Chinese were considered by the US and her allies as a developing country, almost a pariah and therefore had no right to go nuclear. During Mao’s time U.S. and China had not even diplomatic relations. But the Chinese proved their mettle; they emerged as a power to be reckoned with and were therefore accepted as a world power with status as strong as those of other big powers in the UN Security Council.
Following these new nuclear countries, India joined this club in early 1970’s. But nobody raised a single finger that it was a Hindu bomb and was a threat to world security.
Right or wrong, Pakistan does have a history of enmity with India. I personally do not subscribe to the theory proferred by Mr. Moammar Qadhafi and others in the run like the mullahs and the army generals who just grab power through barrel of their gun and foment anti-India hysteria to create a popular supporting base amongst the masses. But fact remains that as an independent sovereign nation Pakistan has every right what it needs to have for its defence.
History is replete with examples where yesterday’s enemies became today’s friends and today’s friends were the enemies of tomorrow. So Mr. Qadhafi cannot bracket this as a Pakistani bomb to be solely directed against India. Nuclear bombs are not things to play with. They are modes of deterrence and this is what they must remain.
(Left) Gen. Zia-ul-Haque, died in a mysterious crash of a C130 plane, near Bahawalpur in southern Punjab, Pakistan.
In the next part of his essay, he continues:
Every effort was made to dissuade Pakistan from owning the bomb. American Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger frankly told then Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, “If you make the bomb, we’ll make an example out of you.” Mr. Bhutto, the founder of Pakistan’s nuclear program, was, of course, hanged. Gen. Zia al-Haq, who Islamized Pakistan and consolidated its nuclear program, was murdered. More recently, Benazir Bhutto, Mr. Bhutto’s daughter, was assassinated. Others still may face a similar fate.
(Right) Zulfijkar Ali Bhutto, exceuted on account of a murder charge. However, many term it a “judicial murder” , which was instituted by Gen. Zia-ul-Haque in muted coonivance with the US administration.
Quite right, but perhaps it was the fear out of death of the mentioned Pakistani leaders that Mr. Qadhafi who in the beginning was a staunch ally and friend of Pakistan, a dauntless defender of Libya as an independent and sovereign state, backtracked and is reported to have even hinted the US on Dr. A.Q. Khan’s reported involvement in helping her country in this matter. It was same Mr. Qadhafi to whom the people in Pakistan paid a tribute, an expression of their love, & named Lahore Cricket Stadium after him and till this day it stands so. It is a huge Sports Complex now, humming up with international sports festivals, beautiful shopping mall and art and culture centres.
However, later Mr. Qadhafi either had repentance or fear of US might that turned him an approver blaming Pakistan to have gone nuclear with his money.
(Left) Benazir Bhutto, killed when an explosion took place after she had addressed a large gathering in Rawalpindi. A UN team is now investigating her murder.
The question, however, is: Why do neither the Americans nor the Israelis want Pakistan to possess the bomb?
Pakistan is a Muslim country. In fact, Islam is the very foundation for the existence of Pakistan. Except for religion, there really are no other factors that unite Pakistanis. This explains why the Pakistanis are fanatic about religion. It is the essence of their nationhood. Islam is for the Pakistanis as Judaism is for the Israelis, a matter of existence. This is not the same for other countries. China, for example, would be China with or without religion. Similarly, Iran would be the same even without religion. The same applies to Turkey. Pakistan is unique. There can be no Pakistan without Islam, as Islam was the basis for its separation from India and its raison d’etre as a state. Truly, the Pakistani nuclear bomb is a Muslim bomb. Islam for the Pakistanis is not a question of faith only but also a question of identity.
Here again Mr. Qadhafi is partly wrong, when he stoops to the language used by mainstream media in the west to call all Pakistanis as fanatic Muslims. Devout Muslims yes, but not fanatic. Again brother Qadhafi appears falling in the same trap the western media have laid to brainwash the world. Islam has no doubt been a strong force and still is a very strong factor in the life and polity of Pakistanis as a whole. But to say that religion is the only factor which determines the nationhood of Pakistan is not the whole truth. How would Mr. Qadhafi determine the status of millions of Muslims living across the border. Are they too Pakistanis?
Pakistan is a country which has historically been inhabited by the people living around the great Indus River and its civilization. These people were living here even before the advent of Islam. They were geographically one region which has had similar cultural streams, had trade either singularly or jointly with other countries lying beyond Indus and overseas including the Mesopotamians and the Egyptians. A deeper peep into the history of this region establishes an independent, distinct and a highly developed civilization, what we call the Indus Valley Civilisation, and this civilization has always been different from the Indian mainland (the Gangetic civilization).
Even today the economies of its four federating units are interdependent.
To compare Pakistanis with the Israelis on the ground that both derive their identity, their nationhood from religion alone is wrong. This may be the case for Israel because Israel was created through machinations of the British which was later assisted and patronized by the United States. The state of Israel cannot boast to have a single son of the soil in Israel. They are all settlers who converged on the soil of Palestine claiming their promised land for the banished tribes of Israel. Interestingly most of these banished tribes are the people who control the media, the finance and the big business in the countries of the West chiefly being the Unite States. So thanks to the machination of Am Brits that these “lost tribes” are firmly settled in Palestine and the poor Palestinians are “the banished tribes” now.
Then says he: Truly, the Pakistani nuclear bomb is a Muslim bomb. Islam for the Pakistanis is not a question of faith only but also a question of identity.
Here again Mr. Qadhafi seems to fall in the same trap when he calls Pakistan’s nuclear bomb as a Muslim bomb. Weapons, whether of mass destruction or of smaller size, are just weapons, the instruments of destruction only. They don’t carry any creed. Instead of horrifying the world of Pakistan’s Muslim bomb, the great Col. Qadhafi should demand dismemberment of all types of mass destruction everywhere. It would be naïve again to demand smaller states to destroy their nuclear fissiles and allow the major powers to continue their nuclear blackmail of smaller countries. Personally though I do not favour these weapons and a TOTAL ban on all fissile materials is badly needed, yet there are so many realities of contemporary geopolitics that it seems an uphill task.
Brother Qadhafi goes further with his diatribe…..
Pakistan is witnessing dramatic changes because of its complex demographic structure. Socially, it is composed of various ethnicities and fierce tribes – bordering Afghanistan – that have no loyalty to either Pakistan or Afghanistan. This is a heterogeneous structure comprising people who speak different tongues, which disunites them rather than bringing them together.
The Libyan president should better read history not only of the past but of present as well. Ethnicity has never been a strong and natural basis of a nation’s raison d‘ etre, though in Europe ethnicity did play a strong role in formation of nationhood but even there, take the case of Austria and Germany. Both have the same language and race. But they are two different states. Switzerland has three different ethnic regions, the German, the French, and the Italians but it is one nation. In his own peninsula, all Arabs speak the same language; even North African states like Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria speak Arabic too. In this context where does Mr. Qadhafi’s thesis of ethnic similarities and dissimilarities stand and how would he interpret his own country joined with say Somalia?
There was a time I was doing a job in Switzerland. I put a similar question to my Swiss friends ‘how come Switzerland is one state, one country having three languages’. And replied those friends, if language only be the basis of nationhood then after every 20 miles there should be a new nation, a new state for linguists say language starts changing after every 20 miles. Again, in Europe, Belgium is a country where French along with Flemish is spoken and it’s not part of France.
As for Pakistan, Mr. Qadhafi should better read the history of the region. The phenomena of multilingualism in the sub continent have always been very strong. If I am not wrong, there are 300 recognized languages in the Indian Union. Should this mean India be divided into 300 states?
Pakistan faces challenges even within its region. It is threatened by the Shi’ite Muslim state of Iran and the Hindu and Buddhist India. Islam in Pakistan does not exist in a safe region. It is surrounded by a hostile environment that provokes its very Muslim essence, facing Buddhism and Hinduism as well as fanatic doctrines and intolerance.
Mr. Qadhafi seems to be harping on same tune which the extremist religious elements in Pakistan have always been playing ever since 1947. No doubt there have been reservations from the beginning between the two neighbours but it was the religious class, the mullahs and also the United States who fomented the hate between India and Pakistan, to which Mr. Qadhafi very rightly subscribes too. This is another truth by Mr. Qadhafi (no sarcasm, real truth).
But then he says,
‘there is threat from India being a Hindu dominated country and Buddhism challenges Islam’; for the knowledge of the worthy president, Buddhism does not exist as a potent force in India. Hinduism yes, but to portray Hinduism as an enemy of Islam is again wrong. I firmly believe the majority of Indians do not want any war with Pakistan and so do the Pakistanis. It’s only a thin minority which is pampered by the media and certain extremist forces like Taliban of Pakistan and Hindutva brothers in India (the BJP, RSS, Bajrang Dal and the likes), and as he rightly says the US and Israeli governments who want both countries to stand against each other because of religion. Of course there are differences between the two, but to translate these differences into acts of belligerence leading to wars, would not only put the subcontinent into an endless circle of destruction but may further lead to a conflict of global proportions which no sane person should sanction.
This is the reason behind the formation of violent Muslim groups affiliated with the fierce tribes in Afghanistan as well as al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. These groups, such as the Jama Islamiya, the Association of Muslim Scholars, the Ulamaa of Pakistan, the Ahl-e-Hadith, the Islamic Movement and others, in fact, provided protection for bin Laden and his movement. They are numerous, vocally declaring their fanatic concept of Islam.
The danger such fanatic groups constitute for the Israelis and Americans is that they may hold the reins of power, to which they indeed aspire.
If these groups governed the state, which is a possibility, that would be a very dangerous outcome for the Americans and Israelis. On the other hand, if political parties, such as the Pakistan People’s Party, or even the army, ruled, things would be relatively safe because they presumably constitute responsible institutions. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that they can form sustainable governments.
If any of these extremist groups were to hold power, the key to the nuclear bomb would be in their hands. This has created the Pakistani quagmire for the Americans and Israelis. To address this potentially dangerous situation, they have attempted to further drive a wedge of hostility between Pakistan and neighboring India.
Here gain Mr. Qadhafi errs strongly. He is moving in the footsteps of western media who raise a lot hue and cry over the possibility of Pakistani nukes falling into the hands of extremists like Taliban or al-Qaeda. I must say it’s all a conjecturing. It is the same sort of propaganda by the Bushies when they used the Twin Towers crash as pretext to invade two Muslim states and now they have the designs to invade the third Muslim country. But here the scenario changes drastically. Pakistan is a nuclear country, has highly professional army and with all her fallacies, military putsches in the past, poor infrastructure, still has a semblance of democracy. And this dreads the west, otherwise longtime ago Pakistani nuclear facilities would have met the same fate as that of Osirac nuclear reactor near Baghdad in Iraq
Interestingly Mr. Qadhafi on one hand talks about Pakistani bomb being a matter of extreme concern for the west but on the other hand says west plays up the differences between India and Pakistan. He is correct when he says that US and the west exploit the differences between the two nuclear states and this to their own advantage. This is the ploy they used in the cold war and to some extent even patronized the liberation efforts in Indian held Kashmir. As far the Jihadi parties, barring the initial phase of anti-soviet struggle in Afghanistan, the US under covert operations helped create the Jihadi outfits including Taliban and al-Qaeda. While countering the menace created by US herself, she cannot absolve herself of her role in creating the Frankenstein’s who are now threatening only Pakistan because after the 9/11 incident, there was not a single case of any murder, sabotage, explosion or suicide bombing in America which have become almost order of the day in Pakistan.
The Pakistanis are told that their enemy is the Hindus, not the Jews or Christians, and therefore their bomb should be directed toward them, the Pakistanis’ immediate enemy, and not anyone else. Similarly, the Indians are led to believe their real enemy is Pakistan and that the Pakistani bomb was directed toward them rather than the Israelis or Americans.
This policy aims to preoccupy Pakistan with India and India with Pakistan. Perhaps this is why America has not been willing to contribute to solving the Kashmiri problem, whereas the Israelis will try to keep it always flammable.
Absolute truth Mr. Qadhafi!
Tension and anxiety will continue, as will the danger posed by a nuclear Pakistan. Attempts by the Israelis and Americans to extricate themselves from this quagmire, by all means, also will never cease. Either way presents a dangerous endgame to the region and the world.
Tension and anxiety will continue, as will the danger posed by a nuclear Pakistan, says brother Qadhafi. If he is really that serious to de-nuclearize Pakistan, then he should better ask for denuclearizing first of all the countries who have been blackmailing the world, having their nuclear arsenal intact and asking other nations to go for signing the NPT. Actions speak louder than words. If the “bigs” had voluntarily gone for denuclearizing the world by setting an example first of destroying their own arsenals, Mr. Qadhafi would not have needed to write this article.
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