Browse By

Pakistani TV Program: Jundallah Was Formed By ‘Two [Pakistan] Army Junior Officers… Within the Military, in February 2000, At the Quetta Military Camp’

The Pakistani channel Dawn News broadcast a program on the Pakistani military’s relationship with various militant organizations over the years; the program was part of the July 14, 2010 edition of the channel’s weekday investigative talk show “Reporter.”

On the program, journalist Abdu Shakoor reported that the Sunni militant organization Jundallah, which has been blamed for anti-Shi’ite violence in Pakistan as well as in Iran, was created by military officers inside the Pakistani military’s camp in Quetta, the provincial capital of Baluchistan.

Zahid Hussain, a veteran Pakistani journalist and author of the book “Frontline Pakistan: The Struggle with Militant Islam,” ‘‘Frontline Pakistan,’’ also observed that the militant group Jaish-e-Muhammad was formed under the watch of the Pakistani military’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), soon after militant commander Maulana Masood Azhar was released by India in exchange for the passengers of the Indian plane hijacked to Kandahar in 1999.

Also speaking on the program was a lawyer who had appeared in the case of the assassination attempts against Gen. Pervez Musharraf. He noted that Pakistan Air Force personnel are more inclined toward religion, as they are more literate than personnel in Pakistan’s other armed forces.

Following are excerpts from the program, translated from the Urdu language:
Journalist Abdus Shakoor: “30 Officers of Different Units of the Pakistani Army Based in the Quetta Military Camp Soon Joined Jundallah, After Being Impressed by the Ideology of Jihad”

Anchor Arshad Sharif: “I’m your presenter, Arshad Sharif. In the war against terror following 9/11, about 2,500 soldiers have sacrificed their lives, and about 7,000 troopers have been wounded. This may not impress the international community, but one thing which is perturbing and of great concern is the alleged relationships between militants and the army. If there are such relationships, is it not a betrayal of our martyred soldiers and of the nation?

“Today, we will discuss these alleged links and will see what measures the army has taken to eradicate the militant’s links in the army… [short break]

“Welcome back. Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S Hussain Haqqani writes in his book ‘Pakistan: Between Mullah [sic] and Military'[2] that the Pakistan Army’s association with the jihadist ideology is strategic, and that jihadist groups’ relationships with the military during and after the 1971 war [that led to Bangladesh’s secession from Pakistan] are part of history. It is due to the alleged alliance of the military with these jihadist groups that these groups became stronger. Besides, journalist Amir Mir, in his book ‘The True Face of Jihadis,’ writes that five of Pakistan’s militant organizations – Jaish-e-Mohammad, Jihad-e-Islami, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, and Harkat-ul-Mujahideen – have had relationships with the Pakistan Army.

“To find out the truth, on July 8 we sent an email to the Pakistani military organization’s Inter-Services Public Relations [ISPR], asking whether there had existed, or today exists, any organization in the army named Jundallah, and if there was, what measures were taken against those associated with it, whether anyone was arrested or any action was taken against them, or whether any court martial was set up. To date [as of July 14], however, we have received no reply to our queries, and the ISPR excused itself from answering these questions. But the ‘Reporter’ team tried to get answers to these questions. Let us watch the report by our correspondent Abdus Sahkoor.”

[Abdus Shakoor narrates:]”Two [Pakistan] Army junior officers laid the foundation of the terrorist organization named Jundallah within the military, in February 2000 at the Quetta military camp. After the foundation of Jundallah, i.e. “the Army of Allah,” the two officials declared jihad to be their organization’s prime objective, and also started propagating their militant ideology.

“According to Dawn News investigations, 30 officers from different Pakistani Army units based in the Quetta military camp soon joined Jundallah, after being impressed by the jihad ideology. Written orders, with preparations for jihad at the top, were circulated to the members of the organization, after they took an oath for jihad on the Holy Koran. Meanwhile, the work of collecting donations from different units [of the Pakistan Army] was also taken up, for various necessities and for publishing jihadist literature. Parts of these donations were being provided to the Afghan Taliban.

“To spread the activities of Jundallah throughout other departments of the army, some army officers who were members of the group allied with junior officials of the [Pakistan] Air Force [PAF] deployed at the PAF Base Samungli [near Quetta]. This group planned assassination attempts, on two occasions, against Gen. (ret.) Pervez Musharraf, along with the 2003 attack at Jacobabad Airbase.”

Defense analyst Air Marshal (retired) Masood Akhtar: “I am sorry to say that the expert reporter said that these things happened right under the nose of the Air Force intelligence, which is not true, because our intelligence unit is a small tactical unit. The strategic intelligence was provided to us by Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Unfortunately, we did not receive any warning from the ISI that such a thing was happening. But if you ask what we did after we came to know about it, we would say that we took immediate and strong action against it.”

Abdus Shakoor continues: “Besides PAF, Jundallah established its influence in the Army’s Engineering, Medical, Signal, Punjab, Baloch [Baluchistan] and AKA [Azad Kashmir or Pakistani Kashmir] departments, and in regional regiments. It’s important to note that from Jundallah’s very establishment to the planning of the terrorist activities, it maintained close relationships with the leadership of the banned terrorist organization Jaish-e-Mohammad. Jaish-e Mohammad Emir Maulana Masud Azhar allegedly remained on close terms with the top leadership of this group.”

Analyst [Muhammad] Amir Rana: “Jaish Mohammad – it is obvious that it exists on the surface. There are many reports that several factions have emerged from it, and many such groups are currently based in Waziristan. The names of prominent commanders [of this group] have come up in relation to their involvement in attacks in Rawalpindi and Lahore. It is evident that they have some influence. They have core pockets from where they recruit people, and they have operational capabilities.”

[Abdus Shakoor continues his narration] “Some of the prominent members of the outlawed Jaish-e-Mohammad, and close friends of Maulana Masood Azhar, not only gave monetary aid to Jundallah for the Jacobabad airbase attack and for the attacks on Gen. Pervez Musharraf, but they also provided them with military training at their training base in Balakot [in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province]. After the investigation into the [failed] suicide attack against Musharraf in Rawalpindi, various Air Force and Army officials were arrested; they stood trial in military courts, and now these culprits are serving their punishment. Jundallah was wiped out of the armed forces, but these outlawed organizations are still publishing literature that propagates extremism.”

Abdus Shakoor (appearing on camera): “Now the question remains: When will our intelligence and law enforcement agencies free our society from the existence of such extremist organizations to stop any extremist or jihadist groups to be formed in future? Abdus Sahkoor Khan, Dawn News, Islamabad.”

Anchor Arshad Sharif: “That was the report from our correspondent Abdus Shakoor. We had invited to our studio [former Pakistani interior minister] Lieutenant-General Hamid Nawaz, but as he listened to some part of the report, he probably could not tolerate it, and he excused himself from talking on this program and left [footage shows him leaving].

“You have watched [our] report. But what do people say about jihadist organizations’ alleged links with the military?”

Anchor Arshad Sharif: “A Majority of… [Pakistanis] Has Faith in This Perception That the Army Cannot Have Links with Militants”

Man 1:”In the early 1980s, or just at the beginning of the 1980s, when Americans were fighting in Afghanistan, that was called ‘jihad.’ So far as that period of time is concerned, the Pakistan Army and Pakistani intelligence agencies were fully involved; not only they were trained but they were also motivated to participate in that. There was much at stake there, and a lot of involvement was there, but all of sudden there came a twist, when the U.S. pulled out from there. Then came 9/11. The alliance that came into being after that was very different from the earlier one [during the 1980s]. And now the Pakistan Army is fighting against its own creation [i.e. the militant groups].”

Man 2: “The government should monitor them [i.e. the militant organizations] – what do they do, where does their funding go? They have secret funds, this fund and that fund. We are facing [consumer] price hikes, yet there is no accounting for their funds. That is why we say that first they should be accounted for. The editorial I read yesterday… said that the three jeems [Urdu “g” or “j”] – that is, ‘General,’ ‘Judge,’ and ‘Journalists’ – should come forward [to help the people against the militants]. The role that the media is playing is commendable, because they bring their activities before the people. We support the media.”

Man 3: “Of course, they must be maintaining links with terrorists. When Pakistani intelligence can have links with people throughout the world, why wouldn’t there be any links with the terrorist groups? It is obvious that the terrorist is not any local or individual; they have their agencies and working teams. The ones you call the Taliban is not any small group; it’s a big organization. It is not operating only in one place; it is active in various parts and areas of Pakistan. You don’t know the name under which they are operating, and who they are working for – that is yet to be observed.”

Man 4: “I acknowledge that there was a connection with the Afghan mujahideen at the time of the war with Russia [during the 1980s]. The Pakistan Army had won the Afghanistan war against the Russians. Now, the jawans [soldiers] and the military officials who fought in that war have retired, or only a few remain in the Pakistan Army, and the Afghan [militant] leaders, the mujahideen, have also grown old. There might be some links between those old Afghan [mujahideen] leaders and retired Pakistani military officials, or there might be ‘hi and hello’ type of [relationship] between them. But the way the foreign media is talking [about the Pakistan Army’s connections with the Afghan mujahideen leader] is wrong. They say that on the basis of past relations, and it is not credible.”

Man 5: “If you look from the Afghan war [of the 1980s] to date, you find that in comparison to the Pakistan Army, the Americans’ relations with these extremists were closer. They knew more about them and about their bases, and they would check things before sending them [to fight the Soviets]. They know more about them than the Pakistan Army. It is only alleged against the Pakistan Army [that it has close relations with them – i.e. not against the U.S.]

Man 6: “They have not tried to interfere in any country, not even in Afghanistan. What they are doing is just for the defense of the country [Pakistan]. There is our Pakistan Army, Air Force, Navy and other [intelligence] agencies who are working on their own, and there is no link with them [the militants]. Our army personnel and top officers, on whom millions of rupees are being spent on their training and practices and other things, have been martyred. Had there been any link of our Pakistan Army with the terrorists, why would there be so many casualties from among our army?”

Man 7: “I think the situation has changed. There may be [some connections between the militants and some soldiers]. I don’t know about the past, I don’t have any idea on this topic because I have no connection to this area. There might have been some links earlier, but today the army personnel are targeting [the militants]. Wherever you look, whether at army personnel, paramilitary, or the police, they are being attacked. Some civilians are also killed in those attacks. Can there be any link between the two? I don’t think so. There might be some constraints. Some incident might happen unintentionally…”

Anchor Arshad Sharif: “These were mixed reactions from various people, but a majority of them has faith in this perception that the army cannot have links with militants. To talk with us on this topic, we have renowned author Zahid Hussain with us in the studio; his recently published book, ‘Frontline Pakistan: The Struggle with Militant Islam,’ is an eye-opener, and he is also working on another book… And with him we have Air Vice Marshal (ret.) Shahzad Chaudhry. We welcome you both very warmly to our program. We will talk to you after a short break.”

Author Zahid Hussain: “Jaish[-e-Muhammad] Was Even Formed With the Knowledge of the Intelligence Agency [the ISI]”

Anchor Arshad Sharif: “Welcome back. Before the break you heard comments by [various] people. Zahid Sahab [salutary word], you also wrote in your book ‘Frontline Pakistan’ about the Pakistani military’s alleged links with the alleged militants. Do you have any information as to whether Jaish[-e-Muhammad] had any links with the army personnel?”

Zahid Hussain: “In my opinion, Jaish-e-Muhammad was even formed with the knowledge of the intelligence agency [the ISI or Inter-Services Intelligence]. Not only did the hijacking of an Indian airlines plane [to Kandahar in 1999] prove that they were in contact with the Taliban, but the way [Jaish-e-Muhammad chief] Masood Azhar came back [released by India in exchange for the passengers] and suddenly addressed a public meeting in Karachi gives an inkling of this.

“While he was addressing the people in Karachi, I phoned one of my friends in Islamabad, and I said, ‘This is not good, he [Masood Azhar] is standing up there.’ [I said to him,] ‘What impression of Pakistan will this give?’ Then he asked me to wait, and said that he would talk to me after talking to General Mahmud [Ahmad, of the ISI]. General Mahmud said to him, ‘Your friend is wrong. It [Masood Azhar’s speech] might be a recording. I said that you can see him addressing the public over there. And two days after that, Jaish-e-Mohammad was formed.”

Anchor Arshad Sharif: “Yes, We Used the Army of Tribals for Jihad in the 1947-48 War [in Kashmir]…”

Anchor Arshad Sharif: “Now, Shahzad Chaudhry, there came a change in the army after 9/11. Was there any change in the Musharraf regime from the Zia regime [era, of the 1980s], during which the jihadist perspective was very much in practice, and was it also included in their training?”

Shahzad Chaudhry: “Why should we look at the Musharraf regime only? We have to look at the creation of Pakistan. Was the motto of Pakistan not used in the creation of Pakistan? Didn’t we use the motto ‘La ilaha illallah’ [there is no deity but Allah] in the formation of Pakistan?”

Anchor Arshad Sharif: “There is a 1948 speech by Qaid-e-Azam [the Great Leader or the Founder of Pakistan Muhammad Ali Jinnah] in which he said that religion is a personal matter and has nothing to do with affairs of state.”

Shahzad Chaudhry: “Let me finish. Let’s take the incident of 1948. When the issue of Kashmir was started by the Maharaja of Dogra [Hindu king] in Kashmir, and when Qaid-e-Azam asked the army commander, who was British, to fight, the British commander refused to do so, and the Pakistan Army of that time could not do so. In that situation at that time, the Qaid-e-Azam tasked General Akbar [Khan] with responsibility for motivating the army of tribals to fight in Kashmir – and because of this, one-third of Kashmir [now belongs to Pakistan]…”

Anchor Arshad Sharif, interrupting: “Yes, we used the army of tribals for jihad in the 1947-48 war [in Kashmir]…”

Shahzad Chaudhry: “Allow me to talk. Just a minute, it is very important to put your premise into perspective.”

Anchor Arshad Sharif: “The premise is very clear, that we have been using jihad.”

Shahzad Chaudhry: “No, Arshad, I’m not saying that. The point is that we have to make the premise very clear. At this time you are putting blame on an institution [i.e. the Pakistan Army].”

Anchor Arshad Sharif: “It’s not an allegation. The thing is that 2,500 soldiers were martyred [in the war against terror] and 7,000 were wounded, and when there are people like that present [within the Pakistan Army], what steps were taken against such people?”

Shahzad Chaudhry: “Let me finish, Arshad… You did this in 1948; in 1965 Operation Gibraltar was conceived between Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and General Akhtar Ali Malik. What was the genesis of Operation Gibraltar [in Kashmir in 1965]? What we call today non-state actors [i.e. militant groups]; [the genesis was that] we will do this type of instigation in Kashmir and which… [in 1948] initiate[d] this process [of using militant groups]. The security psychosis of Pakistan since the day of its creation is of a kind that when you look at India, which is five times larger, and you realize that there is a danger to the security structure of Pakistan, then [what do] you say, that our 100 million people should only stand and utter Bismillahir Rahamanir Rahim or Kalima Lailaha Illallah [“Begin in the name of Allah” or “there is no deity but Allah”], and we will destroy the whole army of our enemy with its scent…[?]”

Anchor Arshad Sharif, interrupting: “Jihadi motivation has been a subject for the army …”

Shahzad Chaudhry: “One minute please. It is the same army, and since then, it has developed along professional lines. I have to say that it is with much grief that I see the way you have shown the Army, Air Force and all other institutions in your report; I think it is entirely fictitious the way you have alleged that they [military officers] have some links with [the terrorists].”

Anchor Arshad Sharif: “Our ‘Reporter’ team has also talked to Air Marshal Masood Akhtar. At this point, let us watch what he says about this.”

Air Marshal (retired) Masood Akhtar: “I was in the Air Force at that time, incidentally, and I saw all these things happening. Well, during the regime of [the 1980s military dictator] General Zia-ul-Haq, the ‘imaan’ rank [i.e. a high degree of faith] in jihad fi Sabilillalh [jihad in the path of Allah] was very popular as a doctrine and had become our faith. When [General Pervez] Musharraf came and 9/11 occurred, he took a U-turn; but it is still taking time to come out of that influence of faith and belief. These people [militants and military officers] were the product of that period, who thought that this country has been established for the extreme right kind of Islam, and whosoever suggested this to them they aligned with them.”

Anchor Arshad Sharif: “Zahid, you have listened to Air Marshal Masood Akhtar as well as Air Marshal Shahzad Chaudhry. What inference do you make from it?”

Zahid Hussain: “There are two things. If you look at the arguments of Shahzad, he is right that we talk of these issues in an overall context… The fact is that militancy as a firm tool of state policy started forming in 1980s. Earlier, there were debates on topics like the meaning of Pakistan or the objectives of Pakistan; this ideological debate started with the formation of Pakistan [in 1947]. But militancy was not state policy earlier, and that’s the change.”

Anchor Arshad Sharif: “That’s the state project that has gone very badly wrong…”

Zahid Hussain: “I think there has been a greater role of the U.S. in that than Pakistan’s. The U.S. had given the motto of jihad when [CIA agent Charlie] Wilson visited the Torkham border or [U.S. national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski also gave the motto [during his visit to the Pakistani tribal region]. In my opinion, it was a ruthless use of Islamic sentiment, implemented to mobilize support against the Soviet forces. It was a success and it brought people together from across the world. People [i.e. the militants] came here in the name of jihad, not only from Pakistan but also from the Muslim countries around the world. Then it happens that you lose control over something you once used.”

Anchor Arshad Sharif: “We will come back on this. It is a very sensitive topic. We will come after a break.”

Author Zahid Hussain: “Pakistan Was Certainly the Patron Of the Militant Organizations Under Its State Policy, But That Was Not Based on Any Particular Ideological Grounds”

Anchor Arshad Sharif: “Before the break, Zahid was giving the background about how the jihadist ideology got into the military. Zahid, some military officials were arrested during the Musharraf regime and were charged with involvement in assassination attempts on Musharraf’s life, or wanted to blow up Jacobabad airbase. Why were there such trends in the military?

Zahid Hussain: “I was saying that when you use militancy as your state policy, you will find its impact everywhere, in each and every section of society. The influence was seen in the army as well. And you saw militant organizations spreading everywhere. Whatever is happening in south Punjab and Waziristan is the continuing result.

“The same thing happened in the army as well. But I would differ with you on one thing…: It is true that Pakistan was certainly the patron of the militant organizations under its state policy, but that was not based on any particular ideological ground. I say it ideological because whenever any such thing happened in the army, it has been crushed. You might remember that two coup attempts were made by Islamists, and both of them were brutally crushed, although we had continued that policy of using militancy as a tool of a regional policy. There have been military governments in Pakistan, and although they used militancy as its policy, they have never allowed its propagation in the army…”

Lawyer in Musharraf Assassination Case: “The Pakistan Air Force Definitely Has a Very Strong Religiosity… As They are More Literate In Comparison to the Other Armed Forces”

Anchor Arshad Sharif: “Shahzad Chaudhry, some people were arrested in General Musharraf’s assassination case. What would you say on that, and what was the reason behind their inclination toward this [jihad]?”

Shahzad Chaudhry: “Who?”

Anchor Arshad Sharif: “One hundred and six people from the Air Force were dismissed. Some 57 military personnel were arrested in connection with the General Musharraf assassination case. The detailed reports have come out, and the Air Force has confirmed it as well. Why did these trends [jihadist] take hold among them?”

Shahzad Chaudhry: “[They took hold] when you used them [i.e. the militants] from 1979 to 1989 against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan as part of your official state policy, and all such agencies [intelligence or jihadist] came in [the war], and America and the CIA and were involved in it, and they created links. Then when you leave all such groups which existed outside [the state apparatus unaccounted for, this will be the consequence]… The biggest demerit of the American and the Pakistani policy was that they abandoned these people after using them. You taught them that this is the way to destroy the Soviet Union – this is a gun, and this is how you use it.”

Anchor Arshad Sharif: “After that, perhaps in 1989, we thought to use them in Kashmir?”

Shahzad Chaudhry: “That was the objective… This is the result of policy failure. There is no doubt that all Pakistanis [feel this way]…”

Anchor Arshad Sharif: “Every day our army men are being martyred and wounded…”

Shahzad Chaudhry: “Not only that, there have been 30,000 casualties in our country, both civilian and military [in bomb blasts, etc]. The death rate of our military has almost reached the figures in the 1965 war with India.”

Anchor Arshad Sharif: “At this point, let us watch what the lawyers of these culprits [the arrested jihadist soldiers] say about the reason for their inclination toward militancy…”

Lawyer:”So far as the six accused [in the assassination case perhaps] were concerned, evidence produced against them, and also witnesses were examined by the court.”

Reporter [asks lawyer]: “What kind of evidence was there?”

Lawyer: “It was the collection of funds and then sitting after prayers for madaris [madrassas] lectures or having meetings, that kind of thing.”

Reporter: “Wasn’t it produced before the field court marshal that they have links with some banned groups and jihadi militant organizations?”

Lawyer: “I would refrain here, because I’m not supposed to divulge this evidence as to what happened, but primarily… the Pakistan Air Force definitely has a very strong religiosity. They believe in prayers, regular prayers and as they are more literate in comparison to the other armed forces, so their inkling for religion is much deeper. Then, in the Air Force, they daily witness life and death drama, because all of them know that they are airborne and they can crash, God forbid, because of any technical fault, any pilot error – so they live day to day.”

Air Vice Marshal Shahzad Chaudhry: “Any Service, Be It the Army, Air Force, or Navy… [Does Not] Permit Such Things”

Anchor Arshad Sharif: “When the ‘Reporter’ team asked Air Marshal [retired] Masood Akhtar, why there is more inclination toward militancy in the Air Force…, he replied:

Air Marshal (retired) Masood Akhtar [in recorded segment]: “Why did they [the militants] choose Pakistan Air Force technicians [to carry out the attacks]? One, our technicians are very educated people. The cost of the aircraft reaches the multi-millions – and that’s not even mentioning the weapons. And to maintain them, we have always needed technicians of higher standard and higher quality, and for a long time we were taking only matriculates, and when we trained them, they pick them out. The ones who carried out the attack [on General Musharraf] were experts in armament; they dealt with weapons, dealt with arms, dealt with fuses, and those were the only things used in the [assassination attempt] attack, which took place in the Jhanda Chichi [area of Rawalpindi].

“What remedial measures did we take [to counter the jihadist influence within the Air Force?] As immediate measures, first, we imposed tight discipline on them. Our administrative branch, our police branch and our intelligence branch kept tight focus on them. Secondly, we blocked the influence of… our fanatic Muslim brothers, whose numbers had grown during the Zia-ul-Haq regime and who were known as Sabz Pagree [“green turban”]. Even if not completely, still we have been successful in controlling them to a great extent.

“Thirdly, and most important, we developed a psychological test for new Air Force inductees, based on a universal standard; in the Koran [there is the message] that ‘we have created you on middle path’ – not on extreme left or on the extreme right – so we made sure [in the Air Force] that whoever was inducted took the middle path. And fourthly, we taught them that it is necessary to follow the Emir [i.e. the military commander] – it is in our Koran, in the Hadith and in the Sunna [sayings and deeds of Prophet Muhammad]… But we live in Pakistan, and what is happening in Pakistan is in front of you; however, this has been our endeavor, and we have been largely successful that this should not happen in the Pakistan Air Force.”

Anchor Arshad Sharif: “That was Air Marshal (retired) Masood Akhtar, who told us that it [jihad in the military] has been dealt with, as some steps were taken by the Air Force. We will be back after a short break, and will ask our guests whether such steps could be useful.”

“Shahzad Chaudhry, before going on the break, we listened to some talks in which it was said that funds were collected in the military, motivation was provided and people used to sit and meet after the prayers. Do you think that steps have been taken to stop the repeat of such things so that our soldiers who are fighting on the front should not meet casualties, and there should not be betrayal from the back…?”

Shahzad Chaudhry: “Let us first resolve the point about ‘betrayal from behind.’ What kind of a commander is [current Pakistan Army chief] General Ashfaq Kayani, who [would] ask these people [the militants], via intelligence agencies and the ISI personnel, to kill our [own] people [i.e. soldiers] who are fighting on the fronts?

Anchor Arshad Sharif: “No, not through the ISI or agencies. There might be links with?? militants at low levels also, which might not be associated with state policy.”

Shahzad Chaudhry: “And what are these military commanders [doing] – on the one hand sending them [i.e. soldiers] to fight at the front, and on the other hand getting them killed and telling other people [i.e. militants, since they work in close relationship with some military officials], through their intelligence agencies and others, to kill our men [i.e.soldiers].”

Anchor Arshad Sharif: “So far, we have the information that they [i.e. the armed forces, in this case, the Air Force] were lax in regulation, rules, monitoring, and intelligence, and that is why these people could not be caught [before their involvement in the Musharraf assassination attempt]. Once they were caught, action has certainly been taken against them.”

Shahzad Chaudhry: “Entirely incorrect. Entirely incorrect. I do not agree with Masood [Akhtar]… I think you have cherry-picked a piece from his talks and shown it out of context. So, I don’t know on what basis he has said this.”

Anchor Arshad Sharif: “I’ll show you the whole [interview] and [you can see that in that segment] he is replying to a question we have put to him.”

Shahzad Chaudhry: “First of all, any service, be it Army, Air Force, or Navy, cannot permit such things [as jihadists in its ranks]. It is against our laws, rules, and ethos. Do you know that even casting a vote in military is considered to a large extent… [obligatory]?”

Anchor Arshad Sharif: “Yes, there have been such things that if you vote for a referendum [ordered by a military ruler]… and don’t vote for General Musharraf, then actions were taken against you. Such things have happened.”

Shahzad Chaudhry [angered]: “Then you do your program alone, and I’ll leave. When you have invited me, let me speak. So the point is that it is against the ethos of any professional armed forces to permit such a thing. It is entirely a wrong thing. However, he [Masood Akhtar] was right on one point – that [we] are part of this very society, and some influence will occur at the fringes. Do you know that 99%, or 99.5%, or even more, of Army personnel or Air Force personnel would not know about such things [jihadism in the ranks]? When you focus on one thing, or spotlight [one aspect], you lose the bigger picture, and the bigger picture is much better and much more positive than what we are trying to show here.”

Religious Teacher in Army: “I Was Asked to Give a Lecture That Would Charge Our Soldiers [With Religious Fervor]; I Gave Lectures Only On… Jihad”

Anchor Arshad Sharif: “We will do a separate program on that bigger picture… At this point, we will show you a mu’allim (religious teacher) for the military…; we asked him what kind of speeches he made at the Khutba of Juma [sermons during Friday] prayer. We are not showing his name, rank or face; but you listen to what he is saying…”

Mu’allim [discussing the Army’s double standard as the reason for his arrest, possibly in a militant attack case]: “First, when the Americans attacked Afghanistan [in 2001], and Indian troops were deployed on our border…, the first order they issued to the religious teachers, Imams and Khateebs [prayer leaders and preachers] was not to utter the name of the Muslims of Afghanistan [that is, refer to jihadists] in your prayers; that talking about them is a forbidden matter; that we must not mention their names even in dua [wishing in prayer before God]. I said, Okay. It is an order, a policy. I said it will not happen.

“When the situation worsened and became serious on the border with India and in those areas, they asked us to give statements. My commanding officer called me and asked me, Son, deliver such a speech, your speech will be held in every unit. My lectures were mentioned, entries of [my lectures] in… [official notices] – ‘You must give a lecture in such a unit on such a date.’ I was asked to give a lecture that would charge our Jawans [soldiers] [with religious fervor]. And it was ordered that I should give lectures only on the topic of jihad…”

“Earlier, we were stopped even from uttering the names [of jihadists]; later, we are told to give a speech that will inflame them. Then, on their orders and as per the policy, I gave lectures. I became very famous [for my lectures] on jihad there. Everyone came to listen to my speeches in every unit, and (Alhamdo lillah [Allah be praised]) they appreciated them. And because of that, their morale increased greatly. No one knew my name there, they used to call me Qari (censored).”

Air Vice Marshal (retired) Shahzad Chaudhry: “Two Things Will Devour This Nation if They Are Not Dealt With – One is Terrorism, The Other Is Extreme Religiosity”

Anchor Arshad Sharif: “That was the Mu’allim in the military. Are such types of Khutbas [sermons] still going on in the military, Shahzad Chaudhry?”

Shahzad Chaudhry: “I’m not aware.”

Anchor Arshad Sharif: “Zahid, you have done detailed research on that. Shahzad Chaudhry has mentioned [the use of such techniques during] the wars of 1948 and 1965. [Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S. Hussain] Haqqani has said [that this was the case in the 1971 war; are such motivational techniques still being used?”

Zahid Hussain: “Let us take it in two sections on such things. One, a deliberate policy to encourage militancy in the army or armed forces… there is none. There never has been [such a policy] in the army. It’s another matter if it was state policy to use militancy. This is another issue, that we were patrons of such organizations, aided them also, and kept recruiting [them into the official policy of jihad]. But it was never policy that they come into the army too and form their own groups.

“It so happens that when you make a policy at state level, you find that its impact is felt at every level, and it becomes a little difficult to stop it… This is the result of our policy that the people we had been patrons of at a certain point in time – those very people are fighting alongside our military today. As you have shown here, there was a cell in the Air Force, but these cells operated secretly. Cells operate the same way all over the world, as we see when there was a communist revolution in Russia; the cells operated secretly in the military, but suddenly they [the Russians] realized what impact these things [i.e. such cells] have.

“But my point is that when the intelligence apparatus came to know about the existence of any such extremist group (anchor Arshad Sharif interjects: ‘Actions were taken against those who were found going against the declared state policy’). Leaving others aside, let us take the example of Zia-ul-Haq who is considered the architect of this policy, and spread it throughout the entire country – but when it came to the military, you may remember the incident of General Tajammul Hussain, who was more extremist, and he attempted to carry out a coup in the army, and there was a purge in the army. From that alone you can guess [about the army’s action against such elements].”

Anchor Arshad Sharif: “Shahzad Chaudhry, if you look at the regional context, and things like reconciliation with the Taliban that are in the air again – can the Taliban still become a part of Pakistan’s state policy?”

Shahzad Chaudhry: “The question here is whether the threat of militancy is only to the Army or to the Air Force or to the Navy, or whether it is a threat to the whole country. (Anchor Arshad Sharif interjects: ‘The threat is to the country, of which the Army, Air Force and Navy are parts’) So, the threat to the country is the number one threat.

“Two things will devour this nation if they are not dealt with. One is terrorism, and the other is extreme religiosity. There is religious identification, ethnic divisions within the religion, which exist in this country. These are the two pythons which are standing up to devour this country…”

“The issue here is that your army, the three service branches, your people, we all are trying to safeguard our country from this fearful situation, so that the integrity of this country is maintained…”

Anchor Arshad Sharif: “What is the solution?”

Shahzad Chaudhry: “The solution is that we need to [go] beyond this specific focal area which we sit and discuss in every program on the TV channels. [We need to] look at the Pakistani context, look at the regional context…”

Anchor Arshad Sharif: “Zahid… what should the solution be? Have the Taliban become necessary for Pakistan again, in the larger regional picture?”

Zahid Hussain: “See, the Taliban are fighting a war against Pakistan; and as you said in the beginning of your program, 2,500 of our soldiers have been martyred. Then against whom have they been martyred? Obviously, they were martyred in the war against the Taliban. You have killed Baitullah Mehsud [Emir of Pakistani Taliban], or are going against [Taliban commanders] Hakimullah Mehsud or Fazlullah or Muslim Khan – who are they? They are the Taliban, and you have declared them a threat to national security…”

“They are two different things and they should be kept separate…”

The entire relevant of the “Reporter” episode has been posted on YouTube. See the following links: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zxbj14CkqL4&feature=related; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0hJne4cClw&feature=related;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_uDcP3JA98&feature=related;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MISL9gE-FZ4&feature=related; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSDa0cIrBN8&feature=related; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbuGu9CJcic&feature=related; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCZQyfU_aCc&feature=related

The actual name of the book in English is: Pakistan – Between Mosque and Military
 
Original at : http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/4734.htm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *