The situation in Pakistan is ominous, and reads much like a chapter from the pages of the last century. To think that General Musharraf has declared an ‘emergency’ that is in fact ‘martial law’, because of the fast-growing, anarchic, uncontrolled, uncontained terrorism is ironic. Pakistan has nurtured this kind of brutal, Islamic jihad, supporting terror activities in Kashmir and elsewhere in the subcontinent. It has, over the years, protected the perpetrators of these deadly acts on innocent citizens in an attempt to get itself heard instead of encouraging dialogue and consensus.
When General Musharraf says that terror has entered the heart of Pakistan, he is admitting that the monster the State created to operate against its neighbours and other dissenters has today gone beyond the control of those in the administration who have sustained it over the decades, denying all knowledge and involvement in the activities that were masterminded from within that nation. Pakistan, if the General is to be believed, has been overwhelmed by the jihadis, a reality that was patterned by the leaders themselves and their machinery like the ISI. It is this stark truth that makes the situation across our border so utterly inhuman and dismal. Can dignity of life, tolerance, peace and development prevail in the course of the next decade' Or, will this sub-continent have to suffer the economic and social regression that comes in the wake of such regimes'
The military intervention of the United States of America in Afghanistan and Iraq, using the ‘excuse’ of terror and silent nuclear engineering, initiated the escalation of terrorist training in those targeted areas for ‘self-defence’. America’s blind protection of Pakistan and all the illegal activities happening within its boundaries, has been equally unpropitious and threatening for south Asia.
It has been an unthinking intrusion into an area of complex cultures. This overriding super power entered the fray with its limited knowledge of the cultures, faiths, motivations, identities and aspirations, running amok with its alien ideology disconnected with our ancient, tried and tested philosophies and diverse ways of life.
That unipolar power has created havoc in this geo-political region. Was the US entirely unaware of the terror training camps in Pakistan, from where the jihadis crossed the borders into Kashmir to kill and disrupt' Was it that ignorant of what was happening within the country it had allied with' Or was it a consciously hands-off move'
Wherever you look in this region, it will be evident that Britain and the US have played their destructive political hand. Examples from the last hundred years range from the sinister bombing (for no reason at all) of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to the insane and bloody partition of India, to the massacres in Vietnam, and then in Afghanistan, all because the powers disagreed with the political and religious dispensations in these countries.
In the eyes of ordinary, intelligent, law-abiding people, the actions of such rich and privileged nations can only generate anger and deep opposition. Fear may hold people back for some time but sooner or later, given that this is an age of information we live in, people will revolt. The fault is not theirs. World leaders have to fashion a new humane formula to deal with the menacing realities that their collective and rather selfish, thoughtless actions have created.
In India we must be careful about those political dispensations that are using faith as a political tool to attack pluralism and are creating a man-eating monster, much like the one that has established itself in Pakistan and engulfed the State. Satyagraha may have to be brought into play!