It is said that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. While there may be an element of truth in this statement, one fails to understand why there’re so many so called ‘freedom fighters’ active within Pakistan. Whom do they want freedom from? Isn’t Pakistan already a free country? Well, Pakistan is surely a free country, but being a ‘freedom fighter’ or ‘mujahideen’ (I prefer to call them JEHADIS), is now an established profession within Pakistan, just like a doctor, engineer, software professional etc.
The reasons for this situation are not too far to look. It’s a question of mismatched equation of supply and demand. According to Husain Haqqani, former ambassador of Pakistan to US, Pakistan produces nearly 20,000 jehadis every year to fight in Afghanistan and India. I’m quoting these figures from his book Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military, 2nd edition, published in 2016. As you can see, these figures are not too old and are likely to be valid even today. Even if these figures have come down since then, it still means that those jehadis recruited before 2016 are active in Pakistan today. Always remember, once a jehadi, always a jehadi.
So were these 20,000 jehadis recruited every year employed in Afghanistan and India, as they were supposed to be? The answer is a clear NO. According to the same book of Husain Haqqani, only about 2000 or so were absorbed in Afganistan every year. With the US led forces active in Afghanistan, it hasn’t been easy for these jehadis to infiltrate the Durand line. Nonetheless, 2000 is still a big number. It’s clear that US led forces have to kill more than 2000 of these jehadis every year to succeed in Afghanistan. But that’s a different ball game being played out, and it’s beyond the scope of this write up.
As for Kashmir, as a fauji who has served in Kashmir for long durations, I can tell you that less than 200 of these jehadis are able to cross the border every year. This number is going down with every passing year with the army increasing its surveillance capabilities regularly. Mind you, it’s a very difficult mountainous terrain which becomes even more difficult at night for carrying out effective surveillance. Even so, less than 200 of these jehadis are left in the valley today.
The question is; what happens to the rest of the 18,000 odd jehadis left in Pakistan? You guessed it. They create chaos within Pakistan. Once you’ve created a monster, don’t expect it to sit idle. It’ll bite for sure. That’s the nature of a monster. And they’ve been doing just that for years now. All the bomb blasts, killing of Shias/Ahmedias, killing school children in Peshawar, storming of an air base etc, are all handiworks of these very ‘VELA’ jehadis. As they say, an empty mind is a devil’s workshop. But things get worse if the empty mind is already a devil to begin with. It doesn’t need much of a push to cause damage. And there’re quite a few devils freely floating around in the country. Given the number of jehadis left behind as a result of this huge gap in demand and supply over a period of so many years, it’s safe to assume that there’re lakhs of them active in the country.
It’d be fair to ask why I am talking about these jehadis now. The situation has been the same for the last few years, if not decades. The reason this factor has become important now is that many of these jehadis are contesting in the forthcoming elections in Pakistan which are scheduled to be held on 25thJuly 2018. Hafiz Saeed’s party Milli Muslim League (under a new name Allahu-Akhbar Tehreek), another terrorist outfit Sipaah-e-Sahiba (under the name Pakistan Rah-e-Haq Party), anti Shia terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (under the name Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah) are some of the organizations which’ve been involved in terrorist activities but are now contesting elections in Pakistan. On top of all this, there’s hardliner Maulana Mazlur Rehman’s Muttahida Majlis Amal (MMA), which currently holds 14 seats in the 272 member National Assembly. Pertinent to mention that amongst these, there’re quite a few US designated terrorists also who’re contesting under the banner of these parties. Pakistan couldn’t care less what US or the rest of the world has to say about it.
Clearly, jehadism which till now was a policy for external enemies of Pakistan will soon become the mainstream policy within the establishment. Though one cannot say what percentage of votes these parties will get but if some by-elections are an indicator, they’ll corner a substantial percentage of it. However, it’s quite unlikely that Hafiz Saeed or likes of him will become PM in these elections of 2018, even if these parties have an understanding with each other to help one another before and after the polls. In the years to come, one cannot be so sure that he won’t be.
As it is Islamism is a very potent force in Pakistan. After these elections anti India rhetoric will get even more traction than it did earlier. Things will turn uglier as time progresses. Now that Islamism (read jehadism) is officially entering their corridors of power, these hardliners will only get stronger from here on. Peace with Pakistan is a goner now. India will soon have to do something before this monster turns its ugly head towards us.
Published with permission from @poorafauji
Credits and Source: https://manishjaitly.com/supply-and-demand-of-jehadis/