Twenty three killed one day in Doda. Thirty one
killed the next in Himachal. Another 19 killed in Poonch by the
afternoon... The usual ritual in Parliament. "Our hearts go out..."
"It is a shame that the home minister continues in office..." And
the usual, "There has been a failure of coordination" -- no one has
done enough homework to say anything particular about what specific
type of coordination has failed. And finally that demand, "The home
minister must give an assurance that such incidents will not occur
again" -- that when the members are saying simultaneously that the
assurances of the government are useless...
A ritual we have been going through for 15 years.
Only the sides change: The ones who were being heckled in this way
are now doing the heckling, the ones who were heckling are now the
butt of the taunts. The fact is that every minister has to work with
the same Instruments -- the same paramilitary forces, the same local
administration -- instruments which have been enfeebled over the
last 30 years to the point of palsy.
Worse, even after a decade of killing by Pakistani
armed terrorists, voices are still raised In Parliament, in the
press that hide Pakistan's deeds under dust: An ex-editor is forever
narrating the sweet words he exchanged on his most recent trip to
Pakistan, how persons like him - with their candles at the Wagah
border - had built 'a small lobby in Pakistan' for peace with India;
another editor proclaims that Nawaz Sharif should be given the Nobel
Prize for Peace, so hard Is he trying for peace in the face of such
enormous difficulties... And they have an audience!
For we just do not want to face the fact that
Pakistan is working to a clear, indeed to a singular aim - and that
is to break India.
In Pakistan papers and magazines are full of
accounts of the glorious war their mujahidin are waging against
India, of the victories they are scoring by packing off the kafirs,
of the number of army personnel they have butchered in the cause of
Allah.... If only this material were reproduced by our papers, the
country will wake up to the enemy It faces...
Nearly 100,000 people listened in awed silence as a
60-year old shopkeeper from Bhawalpur addressed the gathering
describing how both his sons, Abu Sufian and Abu Yasir, gave up
their lives fighting in Kashmir," a typical account begins.
It is an account of the annual congregation of the
Dawa wal Irshad at Muridke, this one being in the January, 1998
issue of one of Pakistan's leading periodicals, The Herald. The
magazine reports the shopkeeper, now known as Abu Shahidain, as
telling the congregation, "When my first son was martyred in
Kashmir, I Went to my second son and told him it was his turn to
sacrifice his life... I too have received training and want to join
my sons as soon as possible."
By this time. many were moved to tears and sobbing
could be heard from within the crowd," reports the magazine.
"This remarkable scene was played out at the annual
meeting of Markaz Dawa wal Irshad (Center for Preaching), a
religious organisation based in the town of Muridke, some 30 miles
north of Lahore", the awe-struck account continues. "Its activities
are focussed on two areas: Education and jehad," says The Herald --
in fact, the 'education' the magazine talks of is only the
brainwashing which intoxicates the recruit for jehad.
"The Dawa al Irshad works to propagate an austere,
'purified version of Islam and has set up schools across the country
for this purpose," we learn. "Meanwhile its militant wing, the
Lashkar Taiba (Army of the Pure), Is an organisation of highly
trained militants who are willing to go to war wherever and whenever
the Amir (Commander) orders.
"A unique event by any standards, the Muridke
gathering, held amid tight garrison-like security brings together
young militants fighting inside Indian Kashmir and those who wish to
do so," the correspondent reports.
"Also attending the meeting in their thousands are
the relatives of Lashkar soldiers, as well as the families of men
who have died in Kashmir. This year nearly 100,000 people attended
the three-day event, a manifestation of the Lashkar increasing
popularity and power."
Little doubt about the power -- it is this very
organisation and its headquarters that the minister for information
and one of Nawaz Sharifs close counselors, Mushahid Hussain, visited
a few weeks ago in a manifest demonstration of official approbation.
The Amir, says the magazine, distinguishes his organisation from
others in the field: "Many Muslim organisations are preaching and
working on the missionary level inside and outside Pakistan, he
says, "but they have given up the path of jehad altogether.
The need for Jehad has always existed, and the
present conditions demand it more than ever. "The Lashkar Is there
to fill this lacuna. And its focus has shifted, the publication
reports: " ...Although the, Lashkar was Initially involved in
Afghanistan as well, its activities are now restricted to Indian
Kashmir. Today it is Pakistan's largest so-called jehad
There are many other jehadi groups operating inside
Kashmir, but their members are mainly local men, assisted by
fighters from other countries, such as Pakistan and Afghanistan.
"Eighty per cent of the mujahidin in other jehadi
groups operating in Kashmir come from that area," an office-bearer
of the Lashkar confirms. "But the case with the Lashkar is exactly
the opposite," he adds, explaining that 80 per cent of the Lashkar
soldiers belong to Pakistan. The Lashkar prefers not to reveal the
exact number of men it has currently deployed in Kashmir."
The reason this organisation seems to be
'succeeding' in attracting larger numbers, according to the
publication, lies in that it is out- doing the other groups in
"stir(ring) outrage against the injustices meted out to Kashmiri
As the account puts it, "Compared to other similar
organisations, the Lashkar has proved to be a resounding
Since its Inception, it has managed to attract
thousands of committed young men to its fold. The driving force
behind its massive success in recruitment is deceptively simple:
Using Its impressive organisational network, which includes schools,
social service groups and religious publications, to stir up outrage
against the injustices meted out to Kashmiri Muslims, the Dawa al
Irshad creates a passion for jehad..."
The organisation puts recruits through rigorous
military training, The Herald reports. The recruits are thoroughly
brainwashed, they are put to various tasks -- collecting funds,
recruiting more 'soldiers', and the like. The select, the ones who
have fully internalised the poison are sent to Kashmir.
The Herald informs us, "As a matter of policy, the
Lashkar allows only those men to fight In Kashmir whose parents give
them permission to do so. Recruits are also required to convince
their families about the Importance of their mission. It Is perhaps
for this reason that the death of a son in Kashmir is not usually
met with sorrow. Such news is brought to the family by a group of
senior Lashkar leaders who congratulate the family on the
'martyrdom' of their son. In nearly every case, rather than
mourning, the family celebrates the occasion by serving guests with
food and receiving congratulations."
The account speaks for itself. We need only
remember that such poison feeds on Itself, that it requires to be
fed with poison of Its kind. A picture of gore and blood, of Muslims
being savaged in Kashmir is drawn up. This yields money by the trunk
load. And recruits.
To fire the recruits into giving up their lives,
the fabrications are made even more gory, and to them are added
myths -- that by killing kafirs, by fighting in the cause of Allah,
they earn a place for themselves in Paradise, that they get in
addition the right to nominate some of their dear ones to a place
there, that by being killed they will become martyrs, that martyrs
go straight to Paradise. And then the delights that Allah has
prepared in Paradise for those who are martyred in His cause. The
deaths serve the very worldly purposes of the controllers too. "Most
of those who the In Kashmir are buried there, and Kashmiris are
known to carry out the necessary formalities with the utmost respect
and full honours," The Herald Informs us.
"... In Pakistan, meanwhile, the last rites of
Lashkar fighters are held in the absence of the body. For those
devoted to the cause, the ghaibana namaze janaza (funeral
prayer in absentia) becomes another occasion to hammer home the
necessity of jehad. Indeed, every such funeral produces new recruits
to the Lashkar. In many cases relatives of the 'martyr' have been
known to present the Lashkar with another young man from the family.
In fact, it is not uncommon to find all the able bodied men of a
single family joining the Lashkar... "
As the cause is Holy, as they are 'striving in the
way of Allah', the mujahidin regard cruelty as a virtue, or at the
least the controllers of the Lashkar project their 'soldiers' to be
cruel, and proclaim this cruelty to be virtue.
The Herald reports, "In combat, however, it is said
that Lashkar fighters give as good as they get. Since it is not
possible to bring their captives to Pakistan, and the Indian
government does not bargain for the return of hostages, all Indian
prisoners are killed in the Valley. The Lashkar fighter usually
executes an Indian soldier by slitting his throat.
"However, beheading and disembowelling are also
common tactics, employed mostly for psychological reasons. In at
least one case a Lashkar fighter, Abu Haibat, brought the head of an
Indian soldier back with him to Pakistan. 'The Quran orders us to
hit them on every joint,' says Abdur Rahman al Dakhil, commander of
the Lashkar in Occupied Kashmir. 'We are instructed to treat the
enemy the way they treat us."
He (al Dakhil) does not agree with the common
argument that fighters from our side of the region are complicating
the situation in Kashmir and causing problems for the local
population," the magazine reports. "Nothing could be farther from
the truth," he says. "The Kashmiris consider the mehman mujahideen
(guest fighters) to be angels that bring God's blessing," he
Wholesale concoction, of course. But entirely
predictable. For the entire edifice - of money, of the harvest of
recruits, and thereby of influence - would collapse but for these
fabrications. The publication describes the kinds of speeches which
are the staple of the congregation: "The three day annual meeting is
divided into 12 sessions... Most of the sessions, however,
concentrates on the importance of jehad. In the fifth session, Abu
Muslim Jarar, a Lashkar Taiba fighter currently posted in Kashmir,
delivers a speech through a wireless hook-up with Muridke. 'The
Hindu Army is taking measures of extreme cruelty against the
Muslims,' he warns. 'Sisters are being denuded in front of brothers.
Has jehad not become mandatory?'
"In a special session dedicated to speeches by
soldiers and relatives of 'martyrs' ", The Herald's account
continues, "a youngman, Abdullah, tells the crowd that he belonged
to a Hindu family in Kashmir but converted to Islam after coming
into contact with men from the Lashkar Taiba. 'I slaughtered five
members of my family with my own hands because they were informers
for the Indian Army,' he relates. 'I was a Hindu, yet I joined the
path of jehad. What keeps you away from it?'
"Another fighter who addresses the meeting, Abu
Bilal, was hit by five bullets but succeeded in returning to
Pakistan. Sheikh Mohammed bin Saleh, Deputy Mufti of Saudi Arabia,
and Abu Abdul Aziz, famed for his involvement in Bosnia, also
addresses the gathering via the telephone. 'Those who oppose jehad
are not true to their claim of being Muslims', Aziz admonishes the
Such awestruck, often times glowing accounts are
the staple of Pakistan's press. And the organisation described in
this particular account is only one of the scores which have been
spawned. The Government of Pakistan and its agencies make no bones
about their own purpose, they make no bones abouth their view that
these organisations are engaged in a cause which they -- the
government and its agencies -- regard just as Holy as do the
organisations they have fathered.
The killings of our people testify to their design,
not just their cruelty. Our response? To shut our ears tight against
what they are shouting over