Origin of Pakistani Taliban

October 31, 2012

The following is an excerpt from the book Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia

 

The Taliban’s new model for a purist Islamic revolution has created

immense repercussions, in Pakistan and to a more limited extent in the

CentralAsianRepublics. Pakistan, an already fragile state beset by an

identity crisis, an economic meltdown, ethnic and sectarian divisions and

a rapacious ruling elite that has been unable to provide good governance,

now faces the spectre of a new Islamic wave, led not by the older, more

mature and accommodating Islamic parties but by neo-Taliban groups.

 

By 1998, Pakistani Taliban groups were banning TV and videos in

towns along the Pashtun belt, imposing Sharia punishments such as stoning

and amputation in defiance of the legal system, killing Pakistani Shia

and forcing people, particularly women to adapt to the Taliban dress code

and way of life. Pakistan’s support for the Taliban is thus coming back to

haunt the country itself, even as Pakistani leaders appear to be oblivious

of the challenge and continue to support the Taliban. In Central Asia,

particularly Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, neo-Taliban militants are being

hunted by the police in the Ferghana valley, which borders both countries.

 

In the late 1990s the repercussions were much more pervasive, undermining

all the institutions of the state. Pakistan’s economy was being

crippled by the ATT, its foreign policy faced isolation from the West and

immediate neighbours, law and order broke down as Islamic militants

enacted their own laws and a new breed of anti-Shia Islamic radicals, who

were given sanctuary by the Taliban, killed hundreds of Pakistani Shias

between 1996 and 1999. This sectarian bloodshed is now fuelling a much

wider rift between Pakistan’s Sunni majority and Shia minority and

undermining relations between Pakistan and Iran.18 At the same time

over 80,000 Pakistani Islamic militants have trained and fought with the

Taliban since 1994- They form a hardcore of Islamic activists, ever ready

to carry out a similar Taliban-style Islamic revolution in Pakistan.19

Tribal groups imitating the Taliban sprang up across the Pashtun belt

in the NWFP and Baluchistan. As early as 1995 Maulana Sufi Mohammed

had led his Tanzim Nifaz Shariat-i-Mohammedi in Bajaur Agency in an

uprising to demand Sharia law. The revolt was joined by hundreds of

Afghan and Pakistani Taliban before it was crushed by the army. The

Tanzim leaders then sought refuge in Afghanistan with the Taliban. In

December 1998, the Tehrik-i-Tuleba or Movement of Taliban in the

Orakzai Agency publicly executed a murderer in front of 2,000 spectators

in defiance of the legal process. They promised to implement Talibanstyle

justice throughout the Pashtun belt and banned TV, music and

videos in imitation of the Taliban.20 Other pro-Taliban Pashtun groups

sprang up in Quetta – they burned down cinema houses, shot video shop

owners, smashed satellite dishes and drove women off the streets.

Yet after the Taliban captured Mazar in 1998, Pakistan declared victory,

demanding that the world recognize the movement which now controlled

80 per cent of Afghanistan. Pakistan’s military and civilian leaders

insisted that the Taliban’s success was Pakistan’s success and that its

policy was correct and unchangeable. Pakistan considered Iranian influence

in Afghanistan to be over and that Russia and the Central Asian

states would be obliged to deal with the Taliban through Islamabad while

the West would have no choice but to accept the Taliban’s interpretation

of Islam.

Even though there was mounting public concern about the Talibanization

of Pakistan, the country’s leaders ignored the growing internal

chaos. Outsiders increasingly saw Pakistan as a failing or failed state like

Afghanistan, Sudan or Somalia. A failed state is not necessarily a dying

state, although it can be that too. A failed state is one in which therepeated failure of policies carried out by a bankrupt political elite is never

considered sufficient reason to reconsider them. Pakistan’s elite showed

no inclination to change its policy in Afghanistan. General Zia had

dreamed like a Mogul emperor of ‘recreating a Sunni Muslim space

between infidel “Hindustan”, “heretic” [because Shia] Iran and “Christian”

Russia’.21 He believed that the message of the Afghan Mujaheddin

would spread into Central Asia, revive Islam and create a new Pakistanled

Islamic block of nations. What Zia never considered was what his

legacy would do to Pakistan.

3 Responses to “Origin of Pakistani Taliban”

  1. Khan, Taliban and the Crackpot Science | DAWN.COM Says:

    [...] Taliban phenomenon was not only confined to Afghanistan, even before 9/11 its tentacles had begun gradually spreading over and taking hold of Pakistan. This Talibanization of Pakistan was predicted in the late nineties by Olivier Roy, William Maley, and especially Ahmed Rashid, who documented in his book (Taliban) that by 1998, Pakistani Taliban groups were forcibly imposing their Sharia laws and consequent punishments in FATA as were implemented in Afghanistan. Similar incidents of Talibanization of Pakistan were also documented by senior journalist, Rahimullah Yousufzai in 1998. [...]

  2. Dhanus Menon Says:

    May be islam as a religion is a problem.


  3. [...] Taliban phenomenon was not only confined to Afghanistan, even before 9/11 its tentacles had begun gradually spreading over and taking hold of Pakistan. This Talibanization of Pakistan was predicted in the late nineties by Olivier Roy, William Maley, and especially Ahmed Rashid, who documented in his book (Taliban) that by 1998, Pakistani Taliban groups were forcibly imposing their Sharia laws and consequent punishments in FATA as were implemented in Afghanistan. Similar incidents of Talibanization of Pakistan were also documented by senior journalist, Rahimullah Yousufzai in 1998. [...]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 63 other followers

%d bloggers like this: