Pakistan does not run any terrorist camps. Why can’t you folks just believe it?
That’s what the Pakistani spokesman had to say recently after getting fed up with constant Indian allegation. While Indians can have a hearty laugh at this denial, the sad part is many world leaders take his word for it. This is like the case with George Bush and Rafael Palmeiro. Palmeiro pointed his fingers at the Senate Committee and said that he did not take drugs. Later testing found that he had. But Bush said, I believe what Palmeiro says. Every speech by Bush and Blair contains the word FATWAT which overrides everything illegal that Pakistan does.
But people who have been to terrorist camps disagree. A brief filed by prosecutors against two residents of Lodi, California, contains the admission that one of the accused, Hamid Hayat attended training camps in Pakistan in 2000, 2003 and 2004, all during the time Musharraf was in power.
The apologists for Pakistan exist not only the administration, but at various other levels. The New York Times ran an op-ed suggesting that Pakistani madrassas do not train people to be terrorists and hence should not be considered a threat to United States. But even that oil-for-food scandal ridden United Nations thinks otherwise.
Several speakers at the recently-concluded 57th session of the UN Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights sought a ban on madrassas run by religio-political parties in Pakistan, describing them as “nurseries of death and destruction”. The session was held in Geneva. The madrassas and the terrorist infrastructure continues to thrive in Pakistan despite public statements of the ruling military establishment, the speakers pointed out.
They stressed that “unless these were dismantled and sustained international pressure brought upon the state, which sustains and nurtures this evil, the world would continue to suffer the threats of global terrorism”.
All this is done under the direct supervision of Jamaat-e-Islami (JEI) and the most radical groups within the Muttahida Majlis Amai (MMA). The madrassas run by JEI have been the “production units” of jihadis for over three decades, the glaring examples being terrorist outfits like Hizbul Mujahideen.
A number of speakers also pointed out that there was a direct link between al-Qaeda and JEI. They also noted that most of the Taliban were trained in madrassas run by JEI and other religio-political parties. Mullah Umar was himself a student of one such madrassa run directly by these religio-political parties, yet another speaker told the UN session.
[Pak madrassas groom terrorists]
Another set of apologists exist in the think-tanks and universities, who look at Musharraf with sympathy. Their opinion is that Musharraf is a poor guy trying to do his best and he has lot of constraints and we should understand those. A sample of this can be heard in this KQED Forum discussion on Afghanistan, where two Indian callers phoned in and blamed Musharraf for creating trouble in it’s neighbors on the east and west and immediately the experts presented the sympathy angle.
These experts portray as if Musharraf has to appease various segments in Pakistani politics like the head of a coalition Govt. There would have been some logic to this angle if the ruler was Nawaz Sharif or Benazir Bhutto since everyone knows that civilian rulers are just the front-ends and nothing happens in Pakistan without the blessing of the Army. Now when an Army General himself is in power and that too one who took a bold “U” turn in his Taliban policy, and his sympathizers are parroting the difficulty angle, they don’t look like experts anymore.