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Countering the threat of ISIS in Pakistan and the region

Whilst we as a nation strive for our rights and freedom from oppression. We fail to realize another storm heading our way. I am not talking about the much discussed Nilofer but the storm which is in the form of Daesh or ISIS or what some even call ISIL.

The recent developments seen on the media where practically local armies look as good as useless against the force which ISIS presents is dangerous. Yesterday I got to see a chunk of the press conference done by US Army Commander and their chief of CIA where they looked also disheartened in the efforts put in by local ground troops against ISIS. Their view was that whilst they can defend but one cannot expect attack or rescue capability. The emergence grows and not to my utter astonishment where other regional groups want to become part of their franchise eyeing a resurgence.

Recently we have seen the threat of ISIS related by chief of MQM Mr. Altaf Hussein in his speech to his workers convention ; being a leader of the largest party of the port city of Karachi where he allayed the fears of a developing nexus between Talibans and ISIS in Pakistan inclusive of Karachi. Now whilst we have been plagued by the menace of Talibanisation in Pakistan for years now. The only thing which would make me sit up and realize the threat is that ISIS looks to be better funded due to the oil money they control in Iraq and elsewhere but also apparently look better organized. Also, what makes me take them more cautiously is the tenacity with which they have taken over many cities. The treatment meted out to the Non Muslims and even Muslims. Let them be either Shia or Sunni makes me belief only one thing that they are after absolute vengeance . Somehow if you would like to correlate . One cannot ignore the factor of Kharjiites in the history of Islam where similar tendencies were shown. One more thing which is being reported and is intriguing is that for the first time I am hearing the weapon of rape being used by the mindset. All across ; I am concerned that this factor is gaining ground unless not inhibited before it gains roots in our society.

It is unfortunate that many political leaders who are bickering over reforms are not highlighting any thing about this rising phenomenon. It is either because of their allegiance, the factor of fear or may be some kind of assurances. Till a few days ago we have been witness to how more of our soldiers got martyred in KPK fighting the Talibans. Also, we  saw the continued killings of Shias in Balochistan and even an attack on JUI F Leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman which still confuses me as he comes from the same mindset but more politicized. Some politicians of ours who are over critical about Pakistan Army forgot that had it been not for them. We could have been in a similar situation God forbid. Example of Iraq and Syria is in front of us . It is the fighting men and officers of this Army who are standing as a wall between us the normal Pakistanis or lets say moderate Muslims and the vengeance of confused radicals who think that they can spread Islam at the behest of a sword or an AK 47.

I wonder why our leaders do not get united on this issue irrespective of their views. Instead of challenging each other and presenting that the whole nation as it is nothing short of divided and giving a chance to terror groups like ISIS or Talibans to fill on the vacuum and pry on the sense of deprivation. We must not forget such people are the ideal recruitment grounds for such terror outfits by spicing it up with the religious angle. I am sure some of our politicians are leveling the turf for them . Sometimes I feel that it may be intentional as they would aspire to come into power riding on such forces.

Now at the same time whilst we can sit in the confines of our homes and fear. We need to create a consolidate strategy as Muslim Ummah to understand, challenge and handle this growing menace. We need strong and resolute leadership to take such forces head on and have to do it within the paradigm of the Ummah. The question is how? Well if you ask me that we need a leader who can lead this initiative regionally like leadership of NATO who has experience in military warfare, commands respect regionally across all impacted nations and has international repute for taking such forces by the horn in the past. A leader who whilst fight this across the region i.e. Middle East and South Asia as well as lead the case of deprivation amongst the Muslim Nations in front of the rest of the world to ensure that whilst we take out the terrorists but we present an equal opportunity to those who oppose the mindset of extremist Islam in collaboration of the rest of the world to build the region so that with fiscal and educational prosperity . People get better opportunities so  they do not get recruited and radicalized. I am sure that there may be many individuals who may rise.

I personally feel that the former President of Islamic Republic of Pakistan Gen Pervez Musharraf has the credentials and command respect and recognition to lead this kind of an initiative amongst various Muslim countries in the region of ME-SA. He has a history where he demonstrated a moderate vision of Islam to the world. Stood his ground against Talibans. Infact was ousted as he fought them in Laal Masjid in Islamabad. Have demonstrated brinkmanship. Have good relationship with all the key countries in the region. Has equally good relationship with the west. He can lead the initiative to first placate and unite all the Muslim Nations so that peace can be achieved. Lead a military offensive in my view of a joint Task force contributed of Armies and Law Enforcement comprising of Muslim countries and at the same time ensure that the perception of the west towards the region changes. Though I know that Pakistan needs more of him. But I feel that if we do not address the rising threat and inhibit it by diplomacy or force where ever required. We cannot be isolated of this and would never be able to prosper. So Gen Pervez Musharraf can serve Pakistan still and infact serve and help Muslim Ummah consolidate its efforts to fight this rising threat.

Meanwhile, it is the responsibility of the people to rise above their sectarian sentiments and respect and tolerate each other’s religious point of view as I believe that if your own belief in your religion is strong, one can be more resolute and can become a better representative of their own communities. Whilst the armies and the governments can fight out such thoughts . It is equally upon the civilians to ensure that they do not indulge in activities which can lead the nation towards destabilization. In Iraq if the government was busy in corruption. The citizens of Iraq after Saddam was gone could have reconciled like Nelson Mandela did in South Africa and could have across the board benefitted from the wealth the nation possess. Whilst some leaders due to their selfish reasons could have been behind this ethnic or sectarian divide. The power is with the people to not let this happen as in the end it is them who will suffer.

I strongly feel that Gen Pervez Musharraf can and would be a good choice to lead such an initiative and can bring the much desired peace in the region. As only fighting and killing would not resolve the issue. It has to be a balance of diplomacy and military effectiveness. Meanwhile, other leaders like Altaf Hussein should step out and condemn the rising impact of ISIS and their allies in Pakistan as a national duty. If anyone of them choose not to do so. Then their supporters should ridicule such leadership and unfollow them. Again, we are a proud Muslim Nation based on the teachings of Holy Prophet (PBUH) which teaches us peace and tolerance not what is being painted as picture of Islam by these radicals. In my view to wage war against such radicals to uphold the true essence of Islam is also Jihad. To defend the weak is also Jihad. To defend the rights of minorities living in Pakistan is also Jihad. None of which is guaranteed if ISIS or Taliban types come in power. We have been seeing it in Afghanistan and now in Syria and Iraq and Nigeria and Somalia and the list goes on.

For me its simple. The constitution of Pakistan safeguards the interest of an Islamic Pakistan sufficiently. If the state of Pakistan is strong . It can contribute further positively in the growth of our religion and present to the world a model welfare Islamic state in line with the teachings of Holy Quran & Holy Prophet (PBUH). Also in line with the teachings of Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah who preached the same. For me Pakistan come first. Pakistan Zindabad!

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