Banner stating "Women are not allowed in the market" at the entrance of a market in Mingora, the main town in Swat (Daily Times, January 12, 2009)
An Editorial Note
The following is the transcript of a landmark Urdu-language Pakistani television series Yeh Log Kaun Hain (Who Are These People?), that examines the rise of the Taliban militancy in Pakistan. In the 12-episode series, which aired on the Pakistani government television channel PTV, noted social scientist Dr. Fouzia Saeed interviewed some two dozen Pakistani sociologists, psychologists, researchers, political analysts, and senior journalists, seeking out their views on the rise of Islamist groups in Pakistani society during the relatively peaceful period before these groups transform into full-fledged jihadi terrorist organizations. The series, which was prepared in the wake of the Pakistani Taliban's enforcement of the Islamic sharia in Pakistan's Swat district in early 2009, examined how the Taliban and other Islamist forces move from the mountains and hideouts into streets, town centers, and ultimately people's homes, keeping them from recognizing the threat at an early stage before they become an armed threat.
Maulana Fazlullah is the son-in-law of Maulana Sufi Muhammad, the chief of Tehreek-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi (TSNM or the Movement for the Enforcement of Prophet Muhammad's Sharia). When the U.S. invaded Afghanistan following the 9/11 attacks, Maulana Sufi Muhammad, a radical jihadist cleric, led thousands of Pakistani youth to Afghanistan to fight against the U.S. troops. When Maulana Sufi Muhammad fled Afghanistan and returned to Swat district, he was placed under arrest, with the arrest being seen as a Pakistani government move to provide him safety by keeping him protected in the jail. During the period of detention, his son-in-law Maulana Fazlullah organized the TSNM members and his own followers among the Taliban, and armed and trained them, thereby establishing a formidable Taliban organization in Swat. In 2013, Maulana Fazlullah was appointed the overall emir of TTP, a recognition of his ability to launch successful expeditionary terror attacks on Pakistani security forces from his base in Afghanistan, succeeding Hakimullah Mehsud, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike on the first of November in Waziristan.
In 2009, Maulana Fazlullah, then only the TTP's local emir for the Swat district of Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province (then known as the North West Frontier Province, or NWFP), had ordered a total ban on girls' education in the Swat region, effective January 15, 2009. About 40,000 female students at 400 private schools, and over 84,000 female students of government-run schools in the district were immediately deprived of their right to education. From an international perspective, Pakistan seemed to be fast sinking into dark ages.
As the Taliban were enforcing Islamic sharia rule and implementing ban on girls' education, Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai wrote a series of anonymous online diaries in early 2009, for which she would be shot in the head in October 2012 by the Taliban, surviving miraculously and moving to Birmingham, UK, for medical treatment and safety. She emerged as global ambassador for promoting the cause of female education.
The 2009 Taliban ban on girls' education came as a result of a sharia-for-peace pact signed between the Fazlullah-led Taliban and the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which was ruled by the secular Awami National Party (ANP). The controversial pact was also approved by the Pakistani federal government led by the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), another secular party. The agreement required the Pakistani government to enforce Nizam-e-Adl (System of Islamic Justice) in Malakand division, which includes Swat and its neighboring districts. As a result of the agreement, the Taliban began enforcing Islamic sharia law in Swat, and advancing into the neighboring districts of Buner and Shangla. The militants, led by Maulana Fazlullah, set up sharia courts across the region, and enforced the Islamic code in the daily life of the locals. In anticipation of Taliban rule, the University of Malakand decided to ensure that female students would observe strict purdah (veil) on campus. University vice chancellor Dr. Muhammad Rasson Jan told the media on December 31, 2008 that the university administration would ensure that female students wear the veil in order to promote Islamic values on campus. The Taliban banned women from shopping, and also prohibited them from entering local marketplaces, notably the main business centers of Swat and Buner districts. In the Matta region of Swat, the Taliban also ordered all men to wear caps and grow beards, starting January 25, 2009.
The enforcement of Islamic sharia was not limited to Swat; similar actions were taken by the Taliban and other Islamists across the Pakistani tribal region. In Waziristan too, Taliban militants ordered all coeducational institutions shut down, effective January 5, 2009. A Taliban-led movement in favor of enforcing sharia was underway in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region. Janann, a Pashtu comedian, was kidnapped by the Taliban and released only after he renounced show business, saying that he had promised Allah to quit that un-Islamic sphere.
Of all the Taliban decisions, the one that drew global outrage against Pakistan for allowing the sharia-for-peace deal, and most upset the Pakistani people, was the total ban on women's education. Maulana Fazlullah, who came under criticism from some Islamist leaders for his harsh action, modified his decision and agreed to allow education of girls up to the fourth grade only. Ultimately, Pakistan acted under mounting international pressure and ordered a military operation in mid-2009, as a result of which the Taliban fighters were removed from the scene, with most of them disappearing into mountains and hideouts.
This television program Yeh Log Kaun Hain has become relevant once again, as the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who came to power following the May 2013 elections in Pakistan, has begun peace negotiations with the Pakistani Taliban, who are ironically once again led by Maulana Fazlullah, as they were led by him in 2008 in Swat district. Then too, the country's political leaders who worked out the sharia-for-peace deal for Swat with Fazlullah-led Taliban, had come to power following the February 2008 elections. These leaders belonged to the ANP which had formed government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the PPP which had formed the federal Pakistani government. Both the PPP and the ANP are secular parties, which had favored the Swat peace deal. In early 2014, the script remains the same, with the minor difference being that this time the political parties which are holding negotiations with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan are center-right and right-wing: the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) of Prime Minister Sharif which heads the federal government, and the Pakistan Tahreek-i-Insaf (PTI) of cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan which leads the provincial government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in coalition with Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan, an Islamist party.
As the TTP holds peace negotiations with the Pakistani government, one of its splinter groups, Ahrar-ul-Hind, released messages in March 2014 criticizing that the talks are aimed at giving a sharia-for-peace deal limited to the Pakistani tribal region, and therefore it will continue its mission of enforcement of Islamic sharia by targeting urban centers in Pakistan. Ahrar-ul-Hind was unknown till recently, but Pakistani society's slide into jihadism means that new jihadist groups can form, emerge and rise any time to enforce Islamic sharia code. The rise of the Taliban and other soft Islamists forms the backdrop of the PTV program Yeh Log Kaun Hain. The experts interviewed on the program examined how the Taliban expropriate social and religious symbols; how they select a location and enter a community, usually by establishing a mosque or a madrassa; how they delegitimize and physically eliminate the traditional community leadership; how they gain acceptance and offer rewards and punishments, especially through the use of FM radio; and how, once they become powerful, they forcefully subjugate the same people whose hearts and minds they initially entered through peaceful tactics. Each episode of the television series is accompanied by testimony from the people directly affected by the Taliban's rise in the Pakistani tribal region and its consequences in the Pakistani cities.
Enforcement of sharia by the Taliban or Taliban-like forces is a daily fact of life in almost every part of Pakistan, in both cities and rural regions. Testimony and experts interviewed on this program discuss, for example, how a small Islamic seminary in Islamabad grew to become a major hub of armed militants and students, who later occupied a government-run children's library and began enforcing sharia law in the Pakistani capital, leading to the 2007 military operation at the Red Mosque of Islamabad. In the province of Punjab, a number of jihadist organizations such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, Jaish-e-Muhammad and Harkat ul-Jihad al-Islami (HuJI) – which operate as feeder organizations for the Taliban and Al-Qaeda – continue to thrive right under the nose of the Punjab government.
This television program is unique in that it highlights the threat originating from the peaceful tactics of Islamist groups that overpower people's minds, dissuading them from thinking critically by quoting extensively from the Koran and Hadith (the sayings and deeds of Prophet Muhammad). Initially, a foreign observer of Pakistan may think that the Islamist forces are limited to the Pakistani tribal region. However, the threat in Pakistan originates first from peaceful groups, such as Dawat-e-Islami, a member of which, elite security guard Malik Mumtaz Qadri deployed to protect Punjab governor Salman Taseer, assassinated him in January 2011 for urging reforms to Pakistan's controversial blasphemy laws.
Program host Dr. Fouzia Saeed brought in an impressive array of experts to discuss the issue of the Islamists' rise in Swat and elsewhere in Pakistan. These experts included: Professor Pervez Amirali Hoodbhoy, political commentator who teaches nuclear physics at Quaid-i-Azam University of Islamabad; Professor Khadim Hussain of Bahria University; Fazal Maula Zahid Sahib, an agriculture expert from Swat; Ziauddin Yousafzai, president of the Global Peace Council and founding member of the Private Schools Management Association; Hassan Khan, a well-known journalist with lengthy experience in Afghanistan and Pakistan; Khalid Masood, a liberal Islamic scholar and commentator; Tariq Rahman, academic scholar; Sarwar Bari, human rights activist; Dr. Kamran Ahmad, psychologist and peace activist; Muhammad Nafees, freelance writer and analyst; and Sahar Gul, an Islamabad-based researcher on Talibanization, among others.
The experts also included: Dr. Muhammad Pervez, psychologist and educator; Nayyar Khan, member of the anti-Taliban Aman Tehreek (Peace Movement); Professor Muhammad Ismail, educator and social worker; Muhammad Rashid, politician and social worker; Mujahid Hussain, researcher on Southern Punjab; Muhammad Aamir Rana, well-known author and expert on Pakistani terrorist groups; Ghulam Farooq, Swat-based editor; Nazish Barohi, a well-known author and social scientist on women's issues; Bahroz Khan, senior journalist from Peshawar; Irfan Raza, renowned sociologist; Faryal Gauhar, actor and filmmaker; Abdul Hai, former BBC journalist; and Dr. Shoaib Ahmed, expert on social development and refugee rehabilitation.
Director, MEMRI South Asia Studies Project
Note: This program can be viewed in Urdu on YouTube.
Fouzia Saeed: Pakistani Youths "Have Many Questions; Sometimes They Take... [the Taliban] as Good People and Sometimes They Feel That These People are Doing Bad Things; Sometimes They Consider Them Mujahideen"
Dr. Fouzia Saeed, TV host and social scientist
Dr. Fouzia Saeed: "Extremism and terrorism are common phenomena today; a bomb explodes here or a suicide attack takes place there; people are very disturbed. We all want to see peace in our country. Citizens and government personnel are trying to do something to stop this. Still, there are people who are confused about the issue and are unaware of the causes of this dangerous phenomenon.
"I have contacts with the youth and I keep talking to them; I have found that they have many questions. Sometimes they take... [the Taliban] as good people, and sometimes they feel that these people are doing bad things; sometimes they consider them mujahideen [holy warriors], and sometimes they view them as criminals – and sometimes they think it is foreign conspiracies.
"This brings me to the view that their questions should be clarified. They ask that they believed that the people of Swat wanted [implementation of] Nizam-e-Adl [sharia rule], but later it came to the fore that this was thrust upon them by others who spoke their language and posed as their representatives... Then there is the continuous propaganda against the U.S.
"Observing all this confusion, we found it necessary to launch a series of programs in which we could together find the answers to these questions. Who are these people? How do they enter into communities? How do they gradually take control of the local population? How do they automatically become their representatives, and then hold talks with the government on their behalf as their leaders? Are they our own people or have they come from outside? Why are they doing this? What are their aims...?
"In today's program we will show you a film; we will also discuss the issue plainly. We have invited some experts because we think that the social scientists whose works are based on research should contribute to this issue and that they should present their analyses.
"First I will introduce you to guests, and then we will watch a short documentary.
"We have invited today to our studio the prominent Professor Pervez Amirali Hoodbhoy, who teaches physics at the Quaid-i-Azam University, but people know him more as a social activist, a man who always speaks the truth.
"Our second guest is Khadim Hussain, who is also a professor and teaches at Bahria University... He has written many research papers on terrorism.
"We will be talking today with these gentlemen, but let me first tell you about today's program. We will talk today about the causes of this abominable issue [terrorism] and about the myths concerning it among the people, who say that it would not have happened if such and such things had not occurred. Today we will try to find out about its causes... The film will brief you about the definition of terrorism..."
TV Documentary: "History of Terrorism in Pakistan"
"The Name of the Taliban Was Heard for the First Time in 1994 Amid Killings of Civilians, Theft, Victimization of Women, and Lawlessness [in Afghanistan]"
Pakistanis joined the Afghan jihad in the 1980s
Narrator: "During the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, this region became the focus as the U.S. tried to defeat the Soviets in Afghanistan and to take help from Pakistan and Afghan warlords. The U.S. wanted to make religious extremism the antidote of communism in the beginning of the 1960s. To this end, the U.S. began to fund religious organizations in Pakistan as well. This [aid] came to light more prominently in the 1980s. With the beginning of armed struggle against the Soviet Union, U.S. activities and smuggling of arms increased in this region.
"A major group [of militants] from Pakistani tribal areas began to participate in the Afghan war. The government of [Pakistani military ruler] General Ziaul Haq and the U.S. fully supported these groups, who were called mujahideen [holy warriors]. The Zia government, with the help of U.S. support, brought religious extremism into academic institutions and spread it to religious and political organizations.
"In 1988, the U.S., with the help of Pakistan, Afghan and tribal mujahideen forced the Soviets out of Afghanistan. As hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees flowed in to Pakistan during the war, narcotics, smuggling and purchase of arms began in Pakistan as well. Following the war, these militants began acting against the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan. During this period, various factions of Afghan mujahideen came to power, and civil war reached its height in Afghanistan.
"The name of the Taliban was heard for the first time in 1994, amid killings of civilians, theft, victimization of women and lawlessness [in Afghanistan]. Not only did the Taliban enjoy the assistance of the Pakistani government, but they also enjoyed the support of most of the war-ravaged Afghan people, and in no time the Taliban controlled all of Afghanistan.
The Taliban, which had emerged as a result of lawlessness in the ranks of mujahideen, started violating human rights. Not only did they step up their relations with foreign extremist organizations, but they also began to offer asylum to militants like Osama bin Laden in their country."
"Terrorist Operations and Suicide Bombings Increased Following the July 2007 Lal Masjid Operation Against The Extremists [In Islamabad]"
"Meanwhile, 9/11 took place, killing thousands of people. Holding Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden responsible for this incident, the U.S. declared the culprit to be Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. The U.N. Security Council passed a resolution on the Taliban government against Al-Qaeda. The U.S. decided to take military action against the Taliban after the Taliban refused to hand bin Laden over to the U.S.
"To help the Taliban in Afghanistan, the militant organizations of FATA [Federally Administered Tribal Areas], NWFP [North West Frontier Province or now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa] and other areas of Pakistan declared war against the Western power and its allies.
"Because of the treacherous mountain ranges between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and due to the rule of tribal system in these areas, the two governments could not maintain full control over these border regions. This was due also to the presence of many Al-Qaeda leaders, including the foreign extremists. They took shelter in the tribal areas of Pakistan.
"The militant organizations of Pakistan, which had expanded during the reign of Ziaul Haque and which over the past two decades had put down extensive roots, began to increase their ties with the Taliban and with foreign extremists. So the Pakistani Taliban came into being.
"'Pakistan has taken the considered decision to fight terrorism in all its forms, wherever it exists': General Pervez Musharraf.
"In 2004, the Pakistani government started an operation on the Pak-Afghan border and Waziristan Agency to stop these terrorists in hiding from entering other areas of Pakistan and to counter their nefarious designs. The militants launched a chain of suicide bombings in the country in response to the retaliatory actions. Terrorist operations and suicide bombings increased following the July 2007 Lal Masjid operation against the extremists in [in Islamabad]. In no time, this cancer [of terrorism] reached into the hilly areas of Swat from the tribal areas, and took the whole valley into its grip. And today, we are forced to think: Who are these people?"
Pakistani Intellectual Pervez Hoodbhoy: "Poverty Creates a Kind of Impatience and Restlessness, and Someone Might Be Drawn To Terrorism; But He Will Not Become a Terrorist Only Because of Poverty"
Fouzia Saeed: "You have viewed the film, and while it is very difficult to compress a large-scale timeframe, we would like to proceed from here to know what drove the history. the causes of the history [of the Taliban]. Pervez Sahib, I would like to know from you if terrorism is born of poverty."
Pervez Hoodbhoy: "Poverty certainly brings discontentment, and under such conditions it is easy to associate [with terrorists]. But poverty in itself, cannot be the cause of terrorism. I can give you many instances in support of this argument.
"You may take the example of the Dalits of India, they are the most oppressed class; they don't even have food to eat; they have very few rights; there is social discriminations against them. But still they do not take to terrorism.
"In Pakistan too you will find many poor people in different parts of the country, and poverty is hardly a new phenomenon – it has been there for decades and for centuries.
"Therefore, poverty creates a kind of impatience and restlessness, and someone might be drawn to terrorism. But he will not become a terrorist only because of poverty."
Professor Khadim Hussain: "Pashtun Nationalism or Nationalist Passions Have Nothing To Do With Terrorism; The Terrorists' Aim Is To Establish Khilafat [Islamic Caliphate] In This Region... And Throughout the World"
Professor Khadim Hussain
Fouzia Saeed: "People say that a kind of sentiment of nationalism is behind all these wars and since this is happening in the areas of Pashtun tribes, do you think whether Pashtuns want some special rights through these terrorist activities or the people of Swat are demanding any rights for themselves?"
Professor Khadim Hussain: "Pashtun nationalism or nationalist passions have nothing to do with terrorism. The terrorists' aim is to establish Khilafat [Islamic caliphate] in this region, in the states of this region and in this country and beyond the country throughout the world. It has no relationship with nationalism.
"If we are talking about their strategy of how they infiltrate a community, take Pakhtun for example; the whole of the Pashtun leadership was killed. In Waziristan alone, over 200 elders were killed – and they were not Khwaneen [wealthy], as was said; they were elders, Mashran [tribal elders] and leaders of that community; they were wise men... They [the terrorists] are working against the norms of nationalism on ideological levels, on strategic levels, and also on operational levels. They are attacking shrines – [for example,] the attack on the shrine of Rahman Baba [the Sufi mystic of Peshawar]. What kind of nationalism are they talking about?
"Those who are now bringing up these things, I don't want to mention names, were involved in policy making and decision-making bodies during the 1980s and 1990s. They never raised the question of Pashtun nationalism whenever there were Taliban, militant, or terrorists attacks on Pashtun culture, Pashtun identity and Pashtun figures. But now, when there is a successful operation against the Taliban, then they suddenly remember that they are Pashtun."
Fouzia Saeed: "That is to say, it is being added now?"
Pervez Hoodbhoy: "I would like to add a bit to what Khadim sahib said. When we look at Tehreek-e-Taliban Punjab, we find that it is not confined to Pashtuns only but that it is an ideological movement, and that its goals are more extensive... First, their aim is to reach beyond the frontiers and the Pashtuns, and perhaps beyond Pakistan also."
Fouzia Saeed: "People Should Understand That America or No America, Our People Are Being Killed and It Is They [Taliban] Who Are Killing Us"
Fouzia Saeed: "Another thing we hear often is that this is not our war, it is the war of the U.S. What do you say? Is it really an American war? Is there any truth in it?"
Pervez Hoodbhoy: "No one likes America, neither in Pakistan nor outside Pakistan. And there is a sound reasoning behind that – the U.S. has been behaving like an imperialist power. It attacked Iraq (Fouzia Saeed: and attacked Afghanistan) and it is still supporting Israel. But with the new leadership of [Barack] Obama, some changes are coming, [resulting from] its realization that the world does not like it. It is distancing itself from the damage done by the Bush administration.
"I have two very important reasons against the claim that the Taliban are fighting the U.S. First, let us see who the victims of the Taliban are: They are people who offer prayers in mosques, or who participate in funeral processions. [The Taliban] have not spared even hospitals, children and women (Fouzia Saeed: and health centers); they flog girls, detonate bombs everywhere in the Pakistani cities, killing innocent Muslims, Pakistanis and Pashtuns killed.
"Thus we can say that they might have killed a few Americans but not many (Fouzia Saeed: They killed many in Afghanistan also).
"This is proof that they [the Taliban] say something and they do something else. One more thing: The Taliban have explicitly said that their aim is not only to have control over those areas. You have seen that there was a [sharia-for-peace] agreement on Nizam-e-Adl [Islamic rule] in Swat [district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa], and the very next day the Taliban expanded their attack in [neighboring district of] Buner (Fouzia Saeed: They did not care for any clauses in the agreement). They break and reject every accord. They break promises and forge ahead."
Fouzia Saeed: "There are some people, some parties and some leaders from among us, in my view, who stress that this war is an American war. What is there behind it? What you said is quite simple, and people should understand that America or no America, our people are being killed, and they are killing us. What is the reason behind insisting that it is America they are fighting against?"
Pervez Hoodbhoy: "There could be two or three reasons behind this. There are some people who want cheap popularity. They know that they can't get people's attention, but that by talking about America they think that people will be infuriated, and they think that it would go in their interest. You may see that the party which got maximum votes was [in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the secular Awami National Party] – not religious parties or those parties which keep on harping about America."
Pervez Hoodbhoy: The Taliban "Want To Control Pakistan And Want To Push Society and the Community Back Centuries; I Would Say That Some Liberals and Leftists... Are Among Them"
Professor Pervez Hoodbhoy
Fouzia Saeed: "Why do they want to cover things up by repeating [slogans against] America, America?"
Professor Pervez Hoodbhoy: "One is the cheap popularity, and the other is that their ideals are totally distant from the modern world. For example, some religious parties are of the opinion that women should not leave their homes, and that only keeping them imprisoned will satisfy the tenets of Islam. Their thinking does not match today's thinking, but Stone Age thinking. They say that it is because of the liberal society in the U.S. that they are against America.
"As I think there are some people who know that the U.S. has been an imperialistic power and is so today, though it is backtracking a little bit from that. I understand their position; but I think that there is a need to take the course of moderation, for the threat Pakistan faces presently is very serious. Now these people [the Taliban] want to control Pakistan and want to push society and the community back centuries. I would say that some liberals and leftists are also among them. But I think they are on the wrong side."
Fouzia: "Your arguments suggest that they themselves do not propagate the fact that they are America-supporters, but want to keep the people away from the real issue by harping on America so as to pave or facilitate the path for these people."
Khadim Hussain: "Interestingly, those people who keep on harping 'America, America' have never gone to the U.S. to hold talks; you cannot give me a single name."
Fouzia Saeed: "That is because when it suits them they become friends of America, and when they want to stir up the people they do so..."
Fouzia Saeed: "[The Taliban] Create a Vacuum [i.e. Lawlessness] and Then Create Their Base – And From There They Want To Work Towards the Whole World"
Fouzia Saeed: "I think that now people know such people who maintain duplicity. However, harping on the name of America is a kind of facade to divert people's attention from the real causes. Let us come to the real point. Please, tell us where the root of this militancy and terrorism comes from."
Khadim Hussain: "The group currently fighting in Pakistan and Afghanistan – its basic aim is to acquire power, authority and control. In Waziristan, Southern Punjab, or Swat or Malakand Division or in Kandahar or Paktika, you will find that they want to establish their authority by targeting three things.
"One, they want to establish their kind of lifestyle and make their own social norms by eliminating the existing societal leadership. Two, they want to run a parallel government by undermining and paralyzing the state apparatus. And three, they [want to] continue to challenge the entire world from their state. These are the three things which you will find everywhere."
Fouzia Saeed: "That means they create a vacuum [i.e. lawlessness] and then create their base, and from there they want to work towards the whole world. What do you say about this?"
Pervez Hoodbhoy: "In my view, terrorism does not come into being for one single reason. It comes when various reasons converge. Like when you make a bomb, you need explosives, then you need oxidizer, then you need a trigger, and a case, and when all these things come together at the same time then the bomb is created, and detonated."
Pervez Hoodbhoy: "The Books From Which Our Children Are Taught, and the School Curricula... Prepare Minds That Might Very Easily Become Drawn To Terrorism"
Pervez Hoodbhoy [continuing]: "For terrorism you need a congenial environment, and to make that suitable environment you need poverty and injustice; besides these, you need a leadership to instigate people, inflame their passions, infuriate them, and tell them that it is their religious obligation to kill such a person."
Fouzia Saeed: "Will you tell about the mindset that feeds extremism?"
Pervez Hoodbhoy: "The mindset of any nationality is formed over a long period, and education greatly contributes to it. The books from which our children are taught, and the school curricula, in my view, prepare minds that might very easily become drawn to terrorism.
"I am not saying that all students will become terrorists, but if those students are poor and there are people in their neighborhood who incite them – this is a very dangerous combination."
Fouzia Saeed: "Viewers, we don't discuss the real cause of these things which are affecting our life; rather we keep beating around the bush about different things. Suppose our house is on fire; would we put out the fire by carrying water buckets, or would we keep discussing who did it? ... We will go on discussing the issue until it is threadbare, but I would like to know the opinion of our youth in the coming programs..."
The Taliban "Choose a Location Where They Have Easy Accessibility Geographically – Such As Hilly Areas or Where Hideouts Can Easily Be Made; We Have Seen This... [in] Areas of the Southern FATA or South Waziristan..."
Ziauddin Yousafzai Sahib, President of Global Peace Council
Fouzia Saeed: "Viewers, we will see in this series of program how the terrorists enter into a locality. How do they gradually take control of all aspects of the local people? We will go step by step in this program...
"Extremists follow a well-planned strategy. First, they mark a locality, then they try to make their impact gradually and take people into their confidence. Once they have gotten the people with them, then they show their true colors. And then they dictate their terms.
"Today's program is the first in this series – how they select a location. There are various factors behind this. The whole country is there for them to make their home or make their base; why do they select a particular area to begin operating? We will discuss this particular aspect in today's program.
"It has been seen that they choose a place which has some kind of weakness. Either there is extreme poverty, where the people cannot even give their children two meals a day, or the area suits them because they obtain activists from it, that is, where it is relatively easy to persuade, dissuade or activate their minds.
"We have also seen that they choose a location where they have easy accessibility geographically – such as some hilly areas or where hideouts could easily be made. We have seen that there are such areas in southern FATA or South Waziristan, and Khyber Agency. They have used these areas twice – first during the Afghan war and again to make their hideouts. The reason is that these are hilly areas with difficult accessibility and if they are successful in convincing the local people, it is hard to be attacked from outside.
"And as you know, these [FATA] regions have laws [the British-era 1901 Frontier Crimes Regulation] which are different than those in other parts of the country, and this works in their favor. Similarly, there are other areas they choose for their suitable political or geographical or other factors.
"Let us take an example of a disease. You will find that it does not infect all the members of a family, only those whose health is poorer and whose immune systems are compromised. The disease does not afflict the entire household."
At the Time Of the 2007 Red Mosque Military Operation, "There Were Many [i.e. Militants] From Waziristan Present...; There Were Many Who Had Family Members... Killed in the Previous War"
Fouzia Saeed [continued]: "Similarly, they make efforts in different places, but they put down roots in places where people have some grievances and anger against the government... or against the state [i.e. Pakistan]. They used their rage against the government to achieve their goals.
"When the Lal Masjid incident [the 2007 Red Mosque military operation in Islamabad] took place, there were many [i.e. militants] from Waziristan present... Later, it came to light during interviews and research that there were many who had family members and near and dear ones killed in the previous war in Waziristan, and their rage was channeled to use them in this war..."
"We have invited experts to our studio, and we will talk with them on this topic in detail, and then as usual we will show you a very brief film. We have with us Fazal Maula Zahid Sahib, an agriculture expert from Swat. We have Ziauddin Yousafzai Sahib, president of the Global Peace Council. He is a long-time peace activist and was the founding member of the Private Schools Management Association, and also runs an educational institution. Welcome to our program.
"We will first view a short film. We have attempted to present the personal experience of people who have been directly or indirectly affected by terrorism... We will show you the story of Fawwad Sahib, who comes from Swat; he is one of those whom I would consider the future of Swat. He is one of those educated youths who goes out to get an education and comes back with zeal to develop his area. He worked very hard in the field of education and has operated his school. Let us see how his life was affected by [terrorism]...."
Fawwad's Story: Swat Taliban Chief Fazlullah "Used a Medium [FM Radio] Which Was Very Cheap, and Everyone Had FM Radio on Their Mobile Phones and Could Get It For As Little As 50-100 Rupees"
Fawwad, educator from Swat
Fawwad: "My name is Fawwad, and I belong to Bilogram, three kilometers before Mingora [the main town in Swat district]... We started our struggle at the end of 2006, and took the educator franchise. It was around December 2006 when we used to hear that there is a certain man at a place, Imam Dheri, who says things that any educated person would reject as nonsense. We kept hearing about him. He was an ordinary man...; I used to see him working for 700-800 Rupees a month. He became a prayer leader at a mosque. Then we heard that he had some 100 people with him, which increased to thousands in no time. Then he established a madrassa in the neighboring village.
"Thereafter, operating FM radio stations became a trend. We came to know about him through FM, because until then he was not well known. We came to know that he is called Fazlullah, and he is doing various things. He used a medium [FM radio] which was very cheap, and everyone had FM radio on their mobile phones, and could get it for as little as 50-100 Rupees. TV is not within everyone's reach.
"He targeted those who lived in the hills and had no exposure to the outside world – and they are the majority. His messages were easily accessible to them. His popularity accelerated 100 times with FM. And within six-seven months, we heard that Fazlullah travels with 100 to 120 vehicles, armed with all kinds of weapons. Can you imagine that someone who made 800 Rupees at the end of 2006 had a convoy of 140 vehicles by the end of 2007? Certainly, someone is supporting him. How can a person even pay for the fuel [for such a big convoy]?
"During the last quarter of 2007, I went to Matta [a town in Swat district]. On my way back, I was stopped on the road by militants. I was with my family; I was not alone. They stopped the car with hand gestures, but when we stopped they knocked at the window with their Kalashnikov or whatever guns they had. I rolled down the window and saw that the man's face was fully covered. I cannot say who he was. I gave him my identity card and after looking at it he signaled me to go by knocking again with the gun. And they went away. I knew that anything could have happened to us at that time. Back at home, I learned that they don't spare anyone who is not from Swat. It was my first direct encounter with them; I cannot say it was a communication."
"My Father Called Me and Said That Militants Had Blown up Our School"
Fawwad [continuing]: "This started happening; it happened with me today. Next day one of my cousins came saying that he was stopped at a certain place and was asked this and that. But it appeared that they had very strong support from behind. I got a call from... my brother-in-law, who is a young lad in 9th or 10th grade; he was crying on the phone, saying that his uncle Javed Iqbal had been martyred... [on February 29, 2008]. He was DSP [deputy superintendent of police] ... and earlier, when he was at Matta, he had fought valiantly against militants. His vehicle was blown up. That was a great shock for us.
"At that time, curfew used to be imposed around eight [pm], and we had fixed the time of the funeral prayer at eight. It was barely 15-17 seconds after the funeral when I saw a light, so bright that I can't describe it. I just tried to escape the light. It was so close that I just moved my head to the side and heard a zzzzzzhing and thought that some shots must have been fired in his honor. But when I looked around and found so many people with sad faces, I realized that something was wrong. After 15-20 minutes, I got a call saying that my father was safe and my brother was injured but his condition was not serious. He had a shot wound on the forehead and one on the neck and a few on the feet.
"The third shock came during the night of June 16-17, when my father called me and said that militants had blown up our school. It was our only source of livelihood and some medicines. I couldn't speak, and hung up the phone. Some time later there came the news that this happened to a certain school...
"Militancy was spreading... they had started FM [broadcasting] and would air programs between 8 and ten pm, and everyone, including children and the elderly, had to listen to the radio.
"This was because they used to do tableegh [preaching]] between 8 and 9 pm, and from 9 to 9:30 they would urge people to donate, saying such and such a boy from a certain village has given 10 Rupees etc... In the last 20 minutes they would set out their next targets. All Swat used to sit to listen to those 20 minutes, in which they would [say]... that such and such a person has committed such and such [bad] deed; and their people also were listening to the FM broadcasts, and would say now that you, the listeners, have come to know about this, don't let this person get away. And that was the end. Our power had ended. After that we shifted to Islamabad..."
Fazal Maula Zahid: "The Local Administration, Be It Police or Other Officials, Let Them [Militants] Loose; They Also Provided Them With That Kind of Atmosphere"
Fazal Maula Zahid, agriculture expert from Swat
Fouzia Saeed: "Viewers, that was Fawwad. You watched his story in this short film. Viewers, we will watch how deep impact this, what we are talking about, makes to an individual. We are talking about its beginning but we would also keep watching the end impact of the things. I would like to ask you Zia Sahib... how did it affect the people?"
Ziauddin Yousafzai: "I think that education, and good education, provides the basic structure in society to safeguard against such diseases, like an immune system working in our body to protect us from different kinds of diseases. There is a great lack of education in Swat, Waziristan and other tribal areas. Let me tell you that overall literacy in our area, Swat, is 25 percent."
Fouzia Saeed: "And you are talking not about the literacy rate but the standard [good] education, which is very low in our country. You are talking about education, awareness, training and quality education."
Ziauddin Yousafzai: "Yes, yes. Let me give the example of Swat, where 75 percent of population is even deprived of basic literacy and has no education – such a population is easy prey for such propaganda and terrorism. Let me give the example of women: If they have no other options for entertainment in the form of other radio and TV channels, and if they listen 24 hours a day to the only FM radio station – which is in Pashtu, their mother tongue, with the idioms and phrases used in their own homes – you can imagine the impact on them."
Fouzia Saeed: "Zia Sahib, I don't equate Swat with those areas like Southern Punjab, where poverty is more acute. The villages of Swat may be a little bit cut off, but because of tourism it has been exposed, and is not very remote; various types of people used to visit those areas and economic activity was also high there. Poverty cannot be the reason, as there are many areas in the country where poverty is greater, and as you said education does not seem to be the reason. I would like to ask Fazal Sahib why they targeted Swat even though there was not that much poverty, and people have some education and adhere to liberal ideas there."
Fazal Maula Zahid: "I would say that the political and administrative set-up of that period had a very visible role in it."
Fouzia Saeed: "You are talking about when it began there, but we in [the rest of] Pakistan came to know later what was going on there. But you are saying that it started very early, when there was a political support for it."
Fazal Maula Zahid: "Yes, the local administration, be it police or other officials, let them loose. They also provided them with that kind of atmosphere. We could not have thought, or seen, that the people of Swat could be so brutal and would commit such atrocities. In Swat, if people had to slaughter even a hen, then they would come out and ask any butcher to do it for them. They did not even own a knife.... How did this happen on such a scale?"
Fouzia Saeed: "When Schools Were Being Set On Fire – Even At That Time, Some of Our Politicians Did Not Accept That There Was Any Problem in Swat"
Fazal Maula Zahid [continuing]: "I think the local administrative officials made their [i.e. the terrorists'] ideals public; they would carry out their official duties by day and at night they would offer their prayers behind Mullah [Fazlullah]. People saw that a deputy commissioner was offering his prayers behind Fazlullah...; he would lead the prayer. Then you sensed that other administrators or Malik or Khwaneen would follow him.
"In my view, this began because these people received valid support. The ordinary people thought, if the people in power are behind him, then how can we deny them support? The other thing is that the area was very favorable for FM broadcasts because the entire region is divided into valleys, all of Swat consists of valleys. As you have seen, they developed their infrastructure there."
Fouzia Saeed: "Mountains suit them for communication. When the schools were being set on fire – even then some of our politicians did not accept that there was any problem in Swat. The things came very late to the media also. Please tell us about that, when Fazlullah made speeches... How did political factors influence the situation at that time?"
Ziauddin Yousafzai: "Basically, after the Russian withdrawal from Afghanistan, our [military] establishment and some of our political parties perceived the Taliban as a strategic asset; they made the Taliban factor inevitable for their foreign policy, and persisted in considering it a strategic asset. The MMA [Muttahida Majlis Amal coalition of religious parties] government, and some other institutions too, remained prudent, and this had a big role in it [i.e. the growth of the Taliban]. It is clear that militancy will grow and prosper if government officials at the district level give them patronage or try to provide them a kind of cover.
"The Taliban factor, which we consider our strategic asset, is like a deer's antlers. The deer is proud of its antlers, it thinks they are very beautiful when it sees its reflection in water, but it is embarrassed by its ugly feet. When the antlers get caught in the underbrush, it realizes that they can be fatal. The Taliban factor, which we considered an asset, has become our antlers, and we are under tremendous pressure. If we could safeguard Swat and Waziristan, then Pakistan would be saved."
Fazal Maula Zahid: "If You Look at Peshawar You Find That It Is... Besieged On All Sides... Outsiders Come Whenever They Want and Pick Up Dozens of People From Peshawar"
Fouzia Saeed: "You have given our viewers a very good example, to know that this happened very early on in Swat. It did not begin just two years ago... I think people are also responsible. People only realize things when the fire comes to their doorsteps. Otherwise they don't bother as to what is happening around; as Fawwad said, they were busy in their work and would hear that something was happening.
"I would like to ask you, Fazal Sahib: Apart from Swat and Waziristan, how did they choose other places as their targets? Because bomb explosions are not confined only to Swat and Waziristan. What factors convinced them that this particular area was fertile for their activities and that their seeds would grow in areas like Southern Punjab and others?"
Fazal Maula Zahid: "In my view, they [terrorists] used Swat as a model; I could not find a single thing in Swat which could provide fertile land for terrorism to grow. They used it as a base and now I see no obstacles for them. They have sleeper cells across [Khyber province] Pakhtunkhwa and whenever they receive an order they will become active. If you look at Peshawar, you will find that it is under attack and besieged from all sides. We have seen that outsiders come whenever they want and pick up dozens of people from Peshawar."
Fouzia Saeed: The Taliban "Don't Choose A Locality in Pakistan At Random; They Take Into Consideration Political Factors At Some Times, And Geographical Ones At Others"
Fouzia Saeed: "Swat became their [the terrorists'] home also because it is a strategic location from where they could spread into and control other areas too. It is also a hilly region surrounded on all sides by mountains, with no easy access. We still find through videos that they are recruiting and training people in that area. They could not have found a better location to increase their forces, because there are both hills and forests in that area, and their activities cannot be seen by the outside world. This geographical factor is important."
Ziauddin Yousafzai: "Apart from that, there is the Gat Peuchar peak in Swat, and there were Taliban hideouts during the Afghan war... Yes, this is exactly the strategic point for them. They thought that they would get the military support from there, and they launched tableegh work in the plains areas."
Fouzia Saeed: "They had some knowledge about that, and similar things happened in FATA also. They used areas about which they had some previous knowledge. Viewers, we found through our discussion that it is a well-thought process. It is a strategy that they chalk out; and they don't choose a locality in Pakistan at random. They take into consideration political factors at some times, and geographical ones at others; they choose the area as it suits them... The bad thing is that many areas have already been marked in our country, but we have learned of only a few..."
"And this process has advanced and crossed various levels at various places, but we have no knowledge about them so far. But the good thing is that if we know their strategy and identify their activities, then we surely can say with all conviction that it is not that we cannot defeat them in their own strategy. We should be vigilant and keep an eye on whether our villages or cities have those factors. They might have reached there and might be winning the confidence of people; they might have marked the area and we are just unaware of their progress..."
Fouzia Saeed: "Our Research... Suggest[s] That Their [Taliban's] Point of Entry is the Construction of a Mosque"
Entry Point For the Taliban
Fouzia Saeed: "We are watching who these extremists are and how they enter a community and take hold of it... There are several stages to this process, and we will look very carefully at each and every stage in our programs. In previous programs we have seen how these extremists choose their location in the country to create their base... Today we will see how they enter into the community after choosing their location, and how they win the trust of the local people, and how they gain their foothold.
"I would like to take an example from medicine: From the time infection enters an area and afflicts someone to the time the disease develops, there is a period called, in medical terminology, incubation. Today's program focuses on this particular period, when they enter an area but there is as yet no visible sign of their adverse impact.
"Our research and observation of social scientists suggest that their point of entry is the construction of a mosque. Either they take the land for mosque from the local populace through donations, or they erect it on government lands without obtaining any permit. Once they have built the mosque, with donations, they establish a madrassa by expanding it. And when they have established a madrassa, then, as we have seen, they call it a markaz [center].
"And thus you see that a group which came to that particular community with whatever objectives – we don't know its objectives as yet but they will be revealed later – establishes its markaz with the money and efforts of local people. So, this stage is very important and it is necessary to understand it. And we will talk about this in today's program at length.
"First of all, let me introduce you to our two guests who are here in our studios. I think that their perspective is quite profound. First, I'll introduce Hassan Khan Sahib, who has been associated with media, both print and electronic. I believe that he has interviewed all the important political figures in Afghanistan and Pakistan. His perspective, and the interviews he has conducted, will emerge in the discussion in this program. Our second guest is Khalid Masood Sahib, who came here despite his tight schedule. He is much respected, and he is also very liberal despite being an Alim, Islamic scholar. Thank you very much for coming.
"Viewers, before we start our program I would like you to meet a very brave woman. As you know, in our program we tell a story of a person who has been affected by terrorism. Let's listen to the story of Zeenat Bibi and then we'll have the discussion."
Zeenat Bibi's Story
"They Collected Lots of Money in the Name of Building a Madrassa... Then They Asked Us Not To Send Our Children to Public Schools, Saying That This Is Haram [Forbidden in Islam]; [Then] They Started Saying That Girls Must Not Attend the Schools."
Zeenat Bibi: "At first, when they came they would give dars [lessons]. After the dars they said that they would establish a very big madrassa which would impart religious teachings to children and that they would also keep giving dars as per Islam. People thought they were very religious people, and pious, and thought to cooperate with them. People began donating gladly; women in particular cooperated with them, for they believed in them, considering them alim [Islamic scholars] who think good of us.
"But it wasn't like that. Donations were requested every Friday. Every woman would donate, in cash and ornaments, beyond their abilities. If a woman had nothing to give, then she would donate household utensils, saying that Maulvi sahib [the cleric] had asked for donation.
"People from outside [other cities and abroad] sent lots of money, thinking that their children would get a religious education. They did not know what was going to happen.
"They collected lots of money in the name of building a madrassa. In the name of the madrassa they created a markaz... Then they asked us not to send our children to public schools, saying that this is haram [forbidden in Islam]. People thought that they were telling the truth, that it is really haram. The ignorant people removed their children from the public schools...
"Then, gradually, they started saying that girls must not attend the schools. People asked why girls shouldn't go to school; they said that it is haram. If anyone dared send his daughter to school, they said, we'll behead him, they said.
"This frightened people. Now they didn't know what to do; they removed their children from the private schools. Then they said that all girls, including minors, had to wear the burqa. People followed this too, saying that it was all right.
"But despite all these, they kept issuing orders. They kidnapped school-going children to stop them from attending school. Then they started blowing up schools with bombs. They blew up many schools.
"Still, people did not lose heart, and girls continued to attend school. But when the government did not support us, we were forced to stop our children [from going to school]. People thought they were very religious and sacred people, great alim. I sought to convince them that that wasn't so; but when would they listen to me? I don't know how they came into the grip of Fazlullah and left everything to him, and considered him very learned.
"They even broke relations with me, telling me not to come to their homes if I wouldn't follow Fazlullah. I said that I'd never accept him. After all, who is he that I should follow him? What effect to his talks have for me to accept him? Fazlullah preached so much fear on the FM radio that my mother died of a heart attack. She would say that he is such a pious person! What are we? Will Allah forgive us...?"
"Then He [Fazlullah] Asked Us to Send Our Children For Jihad; They Said They Would Train Them; Everyone Sent Even Small Children From Their Homes"
Zeenat Bibi [continuing]: "Then he [Fazlullah] asked us to send our children for jihad; they said they would train them. Everyone sent even small children from their homes. He was training them and preparing them for jihad. We are simple people; we thought that he was acting for our betterment. When the situation worsened, army personnel came in. The army launched operation phase one [in mid 2009]. This didn't affect anything. People went against the army, saying that people are only being killed, nothing is happening to the Taliban or to the army. What kind of game this is? Then the operation was stopped.
"Then began operation phase two. Then explosions started taking place. One explosion was near my house, next to the new library. Then heavy firing began; my house came under it, and bullets went through my house. Terrified, we took refuge in a corner of the house. When the firing stopped, we saw that everything was destroyed – house, car, everything.
"Then there was another explosion in Makanbagh on February 19. The first one happened on February 16, and second one on February 19. In this, the shop was completely destroyed. The loss of life and property was huge. But no one cared about that. Neither the government nor the Taliban cooperated with them. The Taliban would say that they would pay compensation and rebuild the houses, and that they stood with those who had suffered loss of life. But they didn't do anything; instead, they looted our house.
"The Taliban would disgrace people. It is all lies that the Taliban are truthful and religious. The Taliban are a big fraud. They never cared for people's honor. They are very reckless. They also once threatened my son. My son spent three months here in Islamabad. They said that they had seen him with the troopers and would not spare him. We sent our sons to Islamabad. We could do nothing.
"We came out this time because everyone had left. The army entered our house and we had to leave our homes. There was nothing left; no necessities of daily life, no electricity, no water, no gas, no flour, nothing. We were forced out... We only want the end of the Taliban so that we can safely return to our homes..."
Hassan Khan: "Children Start Coming in the Morning for Education... Their Number Increases...; Then They Say They Need More Room for the Children; Then They... Ask People to Donate Community Land in the Name of Allah"
Hassan Khan, senior journalist
Fouzia Saeed: "You watched how bravely Zeenat Bibi narrated her story... I want to draw your attention to what she said in the beginning, about how they came and how they attracted the people... Hassan, please tell me how they persuade the people to their ideology, that they represent a certain ideology. Since you are from Mardan [town in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province] you can tell it better."
Hassan Khan: "There are four, five things in it. Definitely, they think themselves to be very clever and smart. They speak eloquently because they are trained to do so. At first, they present themselves as very religious. There is only one mosque in our locality, and there is an imam [prayer leader]. Now they try to maneuver that position through religious talks. The second thing is the social pressure that they bring into play – that this mosque is small in comparison to the mosque in certain mohalla [localities], and that it is lacking in facilities in comparison... They try to expand this mosque.
"Children start coming in the morning for education [to the mosque], and then start coming in the evening also. Gradually their number increases. And then they start providing lodging to the poor children of other localities who come for education there. Then they say they need more room for the children. They also tell you to send your children to schools but to spare something for them, saying that this is also obligatory.
"Then they call their relatives and ask people to donate community land in the name of Allah for building a madrassa. I'm talking about my locality. They say that you would lose nothing by donating one or two kanal [1/8 acre] for a two-room, or a one-room madrassa. It will, they say, bring betterment, for the students will recite the Holy Koran on that land..."
Hassan Khan: "In Islamabad... When They Learn That A Piece of Land Is Vacant, They Keep A Couple Of... [Prayer Mats] There, and Start Praying With A Couple of People" To Lay Claim To It
Entry Point For the Taliban
Hassan Khan [continuing]: "Fortunately or unfortunately, the majority of the people go outside to earn, and they [the Taliban] ask them for Allah's share. Most of them are day laborers. In this way, they keep on expanding the madrassa. In this case no one, neither me nor you... can do anything.
"Gradually, [the cleric's] own house gets built too, and his family comes in. Meanwhile, his relatives who came there are in that mosque... creating a sort of network. There is their contribution also. They are very eloquent. They exploit [the situation]. They judge the need of the people sitting before him and try to hit the right chord."
Fouzia Saeed: "They get individual satisfaction also."
Hassan Khan: "They make formal announcements on the loudspeaker that such a person has donated such and such a sum of money, May Allah grant this to his child and that to his wife and promise the return from Allah..."
Fouzia Saeed: "And you feel a sense of pride also. You mentioned the expansion of an already existent mosque, but we have reports that in some places they erect new mosques by getting the land donated to them..."
Hassan Khan: "In Islamabad, it so happens that when they learn that a piece of land is vacant, they keep a couple of musalla [prayer mats] there, and praying with a couple of people, and then try to get that place cemented, and then start drawing boundary lines. If anyone objects they say that he is interfering in Allah's place."
Khalid Masud: "Terrorists Are Experts in Psychology, Sociology, and Local Customs; When They Work in a Certain Locality, They Operate According To That Place's Customs, Emotions, and Psyche"
Khalid Masud, liberal Islamic scholar
Fouzia Saeed: "I would like to ask you, Khalid Sahib: they start this not only by making a physical structure, most often in the form of a mosque. They also start a discourse. Where they build a mosque people are already Muslim, but they try to create a kind of fear and panic among the people. How do they create this and change the mindset of people?"
Khalid Masud: "These terrorists are experts in psychology, sociology, and local customs; when they work in a certain locality, they operate according to that place's customs, emotions, and psyche. Ultimately, these terrorists in fact want political power (Fouzia Saeed: In the name of Islam). Whatever you have been told, you have to make a distinction between the people who are genuinely building mosques and establishing a madrassa (Fouzia Saeed: As we say, one mosque is different from another). These people use the same process, but not their cause. As you have said, they instigate fear and panic among the people by telling them about azaab [punishment from Allah] and the Day of Judgment.
"They do it because... politics means power. People accept someone who can create fear among them. It is in our history that when the Abbasid rulers were weakened there was a group which used to take control of a region, called Al-Shuttar, and they used similar methods. They created fear and terror in that area, and then established their power, and would take hold of the region economically. Here [in Pakistan], they use the Islamic discourse, and all Islamic symbols. They create fear and terror, in contrast to what our Sufis [Islamic mystics] used to do."
Fouzia Saeed: "Peace and love. But they have a very oppressing method."
Khalid Masud: "Islamic History is Experimental and Pragmatic, and Ulema [Islamic Scholars] Have Issued Decrees After Establishing Power; There Is a Ambiguity, and... the Power-Hungry Have Always Taken Advantage of This"
Khalid Masud: "Another thing is that people want anyone who has ever dealt with them highhandedly [i.e. the cleric] to be treated with equal oppression, or even more. Then they choose people whom others fear, and these butcher people, cut their throats and punish them harshly. On the one hand, people feel terrorized, but on the other they think that these people are carrying out true justice."
Fouzia Saeed: "... I would like to ask about this. When they are still making their presence felt and trying to impress people and attract them to establish their status, would you tell me in this situation what they start putting into people's mindset?"
Khalid Masud: "This is the unresolved or unsolved aspect of our history, which has not been much studied... In the very beginning, with the death of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) the disagreement began. Since there were no particular ideals, pattern, or model, and orders were not given – Islamic history is experimental and pragmatic, and Ulema [Islamic scholars] issued decrees after establishing power... There is ambiguity, and the power-hungry have always taken advantage of this."
Fouzia Saeed: "Hassan, I would like to ask you. In various places where there is no shamilat (community or common land) like in Islamabad, Southern Punjab, Rahim Yar Khan, Multan and even Karachi, when someone starts building a mosque, why there is no reaction against? It's illegal, even though it is virtuous work. If you don't do something legally, then it remains illegal. There is some reaction against other illegal work, but why not in this regard? What do you think is the social cause behind this?"
Hassan Khan: "There are two factors. One is the local people of that area; and the other is officials who can stop it forcefully. But... they are very clever; they have knowledge of society. They know to target women and the not-so-educated first. And [for example] if I raise any objection, then they will say that I am objecting to a house of Allah on the land of Allah.
"The second [factor] is the officials, and in our country their personal record is very vulnerable, and they think that if they do anything the maulvi [cleric] could say that that a particular officer is corrupt and accepts bribes... He will think that he will be in this post for two or three years, and then will be replaced, so why get involved and risk his career?"
Khalid Masud: "These People [The Terrorists] Establish Their Authority With Their Might and Hegemony"
Fouzia Saeed: "You are of the opinion that government officials sometimes take no action out of fear of public opposition?"
Hassan Khan: "Both ways. First, they have the public support. Our women are very vulnerable, as are the children. They mold the minds of the young girls attending madrassa, to the extent that they say that they will marry only a man who abides by the Islamic rules in totality."
Fouzia Saeed: "You were saying that apart from education, they also develop this kind of imagery?"
Hassan Khan: "It is the part of their system, they become automatic in thinking what their husband should look like.
"Third, there are good ulema, peace-loving ulema; but greater damage is done by our silence."
Fouzia Saeed: "There is more than the silence. There is support even if you don't want to say it openly. We will discuss this later, but right now let us focus on the topic at hand.
"First they establish their stature, so that people begin to see them as pious people. I would like to know how they attain the authority to dictate that someone has done right or wrong, that you have done wrong, and that this matter will be seen to. How do the people come to accept their authority?"
Khalid Masud: "The power of reverence, as the Sufis established with their God-loving deeds, is limited there. And these people [the terrorists] establish their authority with their might and hegemony."
Khalid Masud: "There is Very Little Knowledge Of Religion in Our Society – And They [The Taliban] Cite the Koran So Frequently That People Begin To Think They Really Know"
Fouzia Saeed: "But, Khalid Sahib, there are people in Swat who still believe that Fazlullah is a very high class buzurg [venerable person]. I'm talking about their disciplinary role."
Khalid Masud: "When such things occur, people argue that there are those who usurp big pieces of land and nobody says anything against them and they object to the construction of a mosque. They make a full plan about how to justify it. Or they inject it with political connotation, saying that such and such political party does not want the mosque to be built and we want to construct this mosque for a virtuous deed. And the third argument is: If you don't get education in schools, you can come to our madrassa, we give free education. They develop all these arguments. No one investigates whether it is true, whether they provide free education or charge tuition.
"They build a local concept of good person, rather than of a reverend person or a mystic [Sufi]. They live a plain life: he [a cleric] is not fighting with anyone, he is just bringing justice to the people. They use this type of local concept.
"Another thing is that there is very little knowledge of religion in our society, and they use verses from the Koran and quotations from Hadith [sayings of the Prophet Muhammad] so profusely and frequently that people start to think that they are truly knowledgeable people. Insofar as the construction of a mosque on illegally occupied land is concerned, all the ulema have clearly ruled that it is illegal to build a mosque on such land. But then they would argue, why oppose a mosque when other [corrupt] things are happening – so these are the local arguments..."
Fouzia Saeed: "You have said rightly that this is their well-laid-out strategy. Viewers, we come to know that at this stage there is great social pressure. People applaud you when you donate, without knowing what their intentions are... In our upcoming programs, we will look at the course they take after building a mosque and gaining a foothold..."
Kamran Ahmad: "We Have Seen Throughout the World That When Any Brutal [Taliban-Like] Movement Takes Over And Overpowers... Symbolism is Very Frequently Used"
Dr. Kamran Ahmad, psychologist
Fouzia Saeed: "Viewers, Fouzia Saeed is here with the program 'Who Are These People?' Extremism, terrorism, militarism – call it what you will – is the source of public agony today. We launched this series to know who these people are and how they take a community hostage... In the previous programs, we have seen how they chose a location; later we discussed how they gain their foothold and win the confidence of the people. In today's program, we will look at how they incorporate their ideological discourse and how they use the Islamic symbols during their period of winning public support and confidence. Call it symbolism, their choice of words, their idioms and phrases all these take them towards a particular mindset.
"Let me first introduce you to today's guests – Tariq Rahman Sahib, a great scholar; Sarwar Bari Sahib, a human rights activist who has been associated with peace movement also; and we have Dr. Kamran Ahmad, an expert in psychology who is actively involved in the peace movement. Thanks to you three. Dr. Kamran, I would like to begin with you. What role do these signs and symbols play in our life and in the creation of a mindset?"
Dr. Kamran Ahmad: "One thing everyone believes is that symbols are like a language, to express and to mobilize unconscious energies. Our unconscious part is articulated through symbols. Can I talk about the mind in brief? We have a thin layer on the upper side of our cranium, the cortex, that deals with our logical thinking and rationale. (Fouzia Saeed: Where logic comes from). Yes, beneath that there is a part which is for emotions and passion and which we share with the animal brain, and it can be described as a primitive mind (Fouzia Saeed: Which we have been carrying around for centuries)... Beneath that lies a layer which is called the reptilian brain, which deals with rituals and hierarchy.
"You may say it is the animal mind. I'm not saying this in a bad sense. But we carry our primitive mind along with us (Fouzia Saeed: We've inherited this) and it is part of our heritage, psychic heritage. It is activated when we become emotional. It does not work like the linear mind works. But the inner parts of our mind understand the language of symbols more...
"When we say that people have become passionate or crazy, and we ask why they don't think rationally, well, that is because it is coming from a much deeper level. And people use symbols to mobilize that. And we have seen throughout the world that when any brutal movement takes over and overpowers the mind, symbolism is very frequently used."
Tariq Rahman: "Even If They Invoke the Name Of Sharia, They Actually Mean Something Quite Different... They Want To Grab Power Through It"
Dr. Tariq Rahman, scholar
Fouzia Saeed: "Language is also used like symbols. I would like to ask you, Tariq Sahib, about how words work to instigate passion and people in general. We will come back to our country also. Please, give us some examples, and tell us why its role becomes so important."
Tariq Rahman: "One thing is that the symbols of language happen to be in language itself. They are expressed through language only. All languages, or the language of the sacred books, which carries stories in it, have motives, and they are in themselves a language, and constitute one language.
"For example, the public's relationship with sacred scripture was very deep in pre-modern societies in general. Religions in modern societies, or folk religions, are not very rigid. And there is a modernist movement, which is called fundamentalism; there is the Jewish modernist movement, the Christian modernist movement, the Hindu modernist movement and the Islamic modernist movement. They have the first and foremost threat from the Western domination and from domination of Western modernity.
"They use the symbolic languages which people in the past eras have revered – the sacred [language]. But they mean something altogether different from those languages. Even if they invoke the name of sharia, they actually mean something different. In general people take it [sharia] as a good thing and it is obvious to feel good about it. But they mean something other than that [sharia]. They want to grab power through it. They want to impose sharia, but they don't have any [built-in] brake (Fouzia Saeed: Covertly, they want something else). Their hidden motive is to acquire power. Their aim is to impose sharia, but nobody ever said before that it is also necessary to cut peoples' throats in order to impose sharia. Nobody said that suicide bombing is also necessary for it. They will do all these things, in the name of sharia..."
Sarwar Bari: "Most Jihadi Logos Carry the Holy Koran with Some Ayah [Verse], and A Sword Or An AK-47...; As Far As Islam I Concerned, The Sword Symbolizes Tradition, the Gun Represents the Modern Age"
Sarwar Bari, human rights activist
Fouzia Saeed: "What I gather from your talk is this: Wherever these groups which want to take over power are, they are afraid of people being civilized, aware of their rights, educated in real terms under the interpretation of modernity, understanding logical things more. They are afraid of the whole scenario."
Tariq Rahman: "They are afraid of modernity, but they also use modernity. (Fouzia Saeed: They use the technology but don't want that people's mind should progress. Else, it would be difficult to control. Something like that?) So far as I have read, they think that modernity means secularization, in which religion would be finished as the religious fundamentalists think.... Christian fundamentalists, Jewish fundamentalists, Hindu fundamentalists and Muslim fundamentalists, all these fundamentalists considered this to be an attack on identity, on their religion. They think that their identity should be one, though there are multiple identities in the world. All other identities should end and only one identity should exist. And the identity that should exists should be the one that is according to their interpretation."
Fouzia Saeed: "Sarwar Bari Sahib, I would like to ask you to give us some example regarding the issue we are talking about. Where do you find this symbolism being used in Pakistan, and how are the people duped?"
Sarwar Bari: "There are different places. If you go to Southern Punjab, you will find it different; and it is a different scenario in Swat and Waziristan (Fouzia Saeed: That means that they operate according to the psyche and mindset of a region). One common thing you will find that they share is sharia; but if you go deep into it you will find that sharia is not the issue, it is something else. Since sharia is a Muslim thing, then on which other grounds could Muslims be united? They have used symbols in great numbers, and I picked out lots of their logos today, and I found one common element among them. I found that it is the Koran. Most of the jihadi logos carry the Holy Koran with some ayah [verse], and there is a sword or AK-47 (Fouzia Saeed: or guns). What is a gun? It is basically a symbol of killing.
"The Koran can motivate people, for people have a sentimental relationship with it (Fouzia Saeed: Which goes deeper than logic). There is no need of logic in that. This is the basic thing. Another thing you will find that Koran is being used more in Swat than in Waziristan. And if you go to Southern Punjab, you find these symbols more frequently again, for there are many [militant] groups such as Sipah-e-Sahaba, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, and Jaish-e-Muhammad. You don't find the use of local symbols on a wider scale. Marxists and Maoists use the hammer and sickle; they also use it for they think that it will emotionally charge the people. It is a sacred symbol (Fouzia Saeed: They need not say anything...). So far as Islam is concerned, the sword symbolizes tradition and the gun represents modern weapons."
"Wherever the Taliban Exercise Power, They Enforce Their Symbols; They Come With Sacred Symbols and If They Are in Power, They Punish Those Who Don't Accept It; If They Aren't In Power, They Kill Those People In Other Ways"
Fouzia Saeed: "Dr. Kamran, you visit Afghanistan more often and you have also seen the reign of the Taliban from up close. You have also very closely observed whatever is happening here. Please tell me how the symbols and languages were used there."
Kamran Ahmad: "If you look at the obvious simple things like beards and the shalwar-kameez [loose trousers and long shirt], you will find it symbolic. You have seen that they opposed the wearing of jeans in Kabul, and that they have used sticks and clubs to get rid of them. Jeans were absolutely not allowed there and they were asked to come back to shalwar-kameez. On the intellectual level, we may try to argue whether shalwar-kameez existed in Saudi Arabia at that time, or jeans. In any case, neither of these are directly connected with [Saudi Arabia]. But the thing is that they want to take you backward, and oppose modernism..."
"About the beard, there is lot of argument whether it is wajib [norm], farz [necessary duty] or sunnat [a deed approved by Prophet Muhammad] and it doesn't matter at all. They had a particular uncut beard, and sent people to prison for six days for trimming their beard. The untrimmed beard used to look awful, but they did not allow trimming. And with that they brought back shalwar-kameez. They use symbols very much, in that way.
"When I was telling you about the inner part of our mind, it is not that there are always negative things coming out of it; there are also some positive things that come out from it. There is an important spirituality, apart from emotion and passion. (Fouzia Saeed: Tasawwuf [mysticism]) Take the instance of Iranian Revolution, or what happened in Afghanistan, and today what is happening here [in Pakistan]; you find that they suppress the voice of spirituality.
"They suppress poetry and symbolism of such types. They symbolically put a break on the singing of sufiana [mystical] poetry and other symbols of spirituality. If you view the attack on [Sufi mystic] Rahman Baba's shrine in that context, it was a very symbolic attack; you find that the humanizing spirituality was also broken and symbolically broken..."
Fouzia Saeed: "I would to like to ask you, Tariq Rahman Sahib, about the open flexibility in our society, and you would also respond to what Kamran said, but before that I would like to know from you about the use of words like jihad and shaheed [martyr] from both sides."
Tariq Rahman: "It should be noted that everyone makes use of symbols, including the state to make a nation (Fouzia Saeed: To create cohesion, solidarity, and our flag). Everyone uses symbols. But what a state can do if you don't stand for the national anthem is it can put you behind bars. When they come to power, like they did in Afghanistan, they must put people behind bars. The basic thing is: After coming to power, do you enforce the symbol and tolerate no deviation, or leave it to people's discretion?
"Wherever the Taliban exercise power, they enforce their symbols. They come with sacred symbols, and if they are in power, they punish those who don't accept it; if they are not in power they kill those people in other ways (Fouzia Saeed: Issue fatwas) or threaten them.
"There has been a lengthy debate... about whether music is allowed in Islam. If it is allowed, then what is its nature? Imam Ghazali has also written on this, and other people have too. But they did not go out to break heads – but now the [Taliban] do. The real thing is that you have power and you impose the symbols by force."
Fouzia Saeed: "Would you tell us about the use of word 'jihad?'"
Tariq Rahman: "Everyone uses it. But what I have read is that the greatest jihad is used in the sense to serve people by suppressing your ego. It is not that it has only been used for fighting and using rocket launchers... The real meaning of jihad is to strive. The basic thing is whether you only mean fighting or waging war with it or you also mean serving the people and also suppressing your ego.
"And it is also important how you enforce it. Do you take one child from each home for getting them into jihad, threatening that you will kill them if they don't give the child, or do you say, either give money or your child? Or do you accept it when someone says he is serving his mother and is thus involved in jihad, and you accept his claim..."
Fouzia Saeed: "[We See the] Taliban Enter A Community Very Innocuously and Gradually Gain Full Control Over All Aspects Of That Community; At First, They Take Up the Religious Leadership, And Then... Gradually Take Over the Social Leadership As Well"
Muhammad Nafees, freelance writer and analyst
Fouzia Saeed: "Viewers, Fouzia Saeed is here with the program 'Who Are These People?' A lot of people are of the opinion that these people who roam around with guns in their hands and big rocket launchers on their shoulders and cover their faces and kill people are very bad people. But some would be amazed to know that awhile back, the local people did not think them to be so bad. Many used to consider them very good people, and called them heroes. How does it happen that those who perpetrate so much bloodshed, set schools on fire, and cause so much damage were once very popular among the locals?
"Today, we will try to understand this puzzle. You know, we started this series of programs to see how these terrorists and the Taliban enter a community very innocuously and gradually gain full control over all aspects of that community. At first they take up the religious leadership, and then we have seen that they gradually take over the social leadership as well. They become social activists, they work for the people and serve them and remain very popular among those people. It is very necessary to understand this particular stage [in the development of militancy] because there are some places in this country where these people are disguised. We want the local people to be able to recognize them.
"Before starting today's program, let me introduce you to our guests in the studios. Meet Muhammad Nafees Sahib first. He is a freelance writer, an analyst, and has come from Karachi... This is Sahar Gul. She is a researcher and is from Islamabad. She has been doing research on Talibanization for many years.
"Viewers, we will focus today on how these militants win the hearts of the people by taking up welfare work. We have seen this stage happening in Waziristan also; we have also seen it in Swat; and recently we noticed it in [the Punjab town of] Mian Channu too. We have also noticed it in Jhang and Multan [towns in Punjab]. And similarly we have noticed this stage in Islamabad also. We have seen that how they gradually win the trust of people once they have established their reputation."
"There Was a [Government-Run] Library for Children, Which Was A Very Useful Place for Children to Study and Spend Time... Next Thing We Knew, Jamia Hafsa Had Taken It Over"
Islamabad resident Aliah Kanwal
Fouzia Saeed, continuing: "Before going on with the discussion, we would like to hear the story of an Islamabad resident. As you know, there was a small mosque in Islamabad, which grew into a big madrassa; then a library was established; then it turned into a full-fledged organization. And we all know what happened afterwards. Let us first hear her story."
Aliah Kanwal's Story
Aliah Kanwal]: "I'm a resident of Islamabad, and have for a long time lived in the G-6 area, which is a very old locality in Islamabad... Along with other facilities, a mosque was built, and was named the central mosque of Lal Masjid [Red Mosque – site of the 2007 military operation]. With the passage of time, the shape and size of this mosque and madrassa changed; in particular, the building was expanded. Both boys and girls used come to this madrassa [Jamia Hafsa] for education, in large numbers. Due to the growing numbers of students, the boys were shifted to some other place [Jamia Faridia] while only girls were educated here, and there were residential facilities.
"The building became very huge, and we were concerned about its growth, because if a mosque or a madrassa is expanded, there must be a plan, and contractors involved, and government permits are required for the construction of such a building. But there was nothing like that.
"There was a [government-run] library for children, which was a very useful place for children to learn, to spend time, and to engage in healthy activities. Next thing we knew, Jamia Hafsa had taken over the children's library. It was very surprising for all of us because a madrassa is meant for religion and religious education, and that is why people considered it a markaz [a center encompassing madrassa and mosque] for consultation to remedy their problems, and for this they used to visit Maulana Sahib [the cleric] with various problems.
"Then another Maulana came in, and his policies and his approach, especially his work for the benefit of people, was a little bit different...He started resolving their problems by taking the law into his hand.
"[For example,] there was a lady at the madrassa, and the Nazim [chief administrator] tried to restrict her activity. There was also a Chinese hair stylist, or a gym – whatever it was, people connected to these were detained. [That is,] instead of bringing in law enforcement, they [the madrassa] resolved issues on their own, and considered themselves responsible for reforming society and children's education.
"The people in the area had until then lived very peaceably, and everyone was disturbed at this sudden change, at what was happening here, and at who was interfering. The whole situation changed. Leaving the home, taking care of children, or protecting ourselves seemed [very difficult]. It felt as if anything could happen at any time."
"There Were CD Shops in Aabpara Market in Our Vicinity; We Learned One Day That CDs Are Being Burned [By Jamia Hafsa Students] And That People Who Worked At the Market Were Being Beaten"
Aliah Kanwal: "Similarly, there were CD shops in Aabpara market in our vicinity. We learned one day that CDs are being burned... [by Jamia Hafsa students]... or those who worked at the market are being beaten and detained. It looked as if any day there would be a [military]... operation. Police and government were also concerned, and [didn't know] how to stop this. The police gave them an ultimatum, and it passed. Then they were given another week, and that passed. Then hours were added, and that passed too.
"I went to the Melody area for some work... when I came back I found a strange situation there, a different atmosphere. A kind of stampede was underway.
"Shopkeepers were throwing their commodities inside their shops and pulling their shutters down. There was the sound of shooting, and smoke was seen, and people started fleeing in larger numbers. I got home to the children; when I switched on the TV I saw that an [army] operation had been launched here. The most difficult thing was that all the markets were closed; we could not go out because of a curfew in the area. [People] could not take their children home from schools.
"Within the first two or three days, all food was gone from the market. No supplies came in. Then it was decided that the locals of this area should evacuate. During those two weeks, [it was incomprehensible how] the insiders [the militants at Jamia Hafsa] fought with the army, which had set up fronts and posts at [the madrassa] and had surrounded it with tanks and army vehicles. The [militants] fought back with similar force. We still don't know when all the arms and ammunition reached there, who brought it, and who was using it... in the name of the madrassa."
Muhammad Nafees: "Welfare Works Are Considered Very Good... [But] After This Good And Virtuous Work If a Group Starts Putting Weapons In the Hands of Children, It is Like Creating Chaos"
Fouzia Saeed: "Viewers, those who come to our programs and tell their stories are very brave, and they share their stories from their hearts to us. And we heard a story of a household in Islamabad, about how their lives were changed, how they considered them their heroes and sought their support to get their work done, and then how a curfew was imposed and there was shooting, and the lives of the people who lived in the vicinity of the mosque changed.
"Now let us to talk to these people who are honorable and are experts in their fields and have their own views on the whole issue. Muhammad Nafees Sahib, I would like to talk to you first. Call them Taliban, extremists, militants or terrorists – after they start social work, after obtaining the religious position established in society, how do people support them and make them a kind of popular hero?"
Muhammad Nafees: "Different organizations and institutions use welfare or social works for different purposes. There are people who use it in a positive way, and there are those who use them negatively. For welfare work, there is a need of aid, and without that it cannot be carried out. They follow the policies of those who gave them aid. And they develop a viewpoint for which they gradually start working whenever they get a chance to work.
"There are two or three ways to work. One, when there is some disaster such as the earthquake, or, currently, there are refugees from Swat and many organizations are working to support them. There are some genuine organizations, but there also some organizations working for their own particular aims, such as recruiting sympathizers there.
"Now the question arises as to whether a particular group should be allowed to conduct welfare work, or whether not all should be allowed. But that's not the case. Basically, welfare works are considered very good. But here comes the main question: If after this good and virtuous work, a group starts putting weapons in the hands of children, it is like creating chaos. Intention is the main thing here.
"I'll give you an example: [The social welfare group] Edhi is also a welfare institution. It is also thought that Jamaatud Dawa [the charity arm of militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba] is also doing welfare work. But if anyone says that one of your family members wants to go to Jamaatud Dawa, then you have to think for a moment. After all, they have been banned, and they are also alleged to be connected to the [November 2005] Mumbai attacks. It has a sacred religious name also, and wants to work for the welfare of people and wants to offer religious education, but when extremism and terrorism is connected to religion, then you have to think how to deal with them."
Sahar Gul: "They Use Technology, Particularly FM Radio... Fazlullah's Radio Broadcasts... The Way He Used To Give khutbat [Sermons], People Used to Listen To It, It Was Tempting In the Beginning"
Sahar Gul, Islamabad-based researcher on Talibanization
Fouzia Saeed: "Do you want to say that social welfare work is a kind of shield for them through which they do their real work?"
Muhammad Nafees: "If you look at it historically, [you will find] that in 1933 Nazi Germany formed the National Socialist People's Welfare organization, which aimed to work for the welfare of people, and they claimed that it was the largest welfare organization in the world. And would say that no one should die in that country of hunger and cold.
"But what happened later in Germany and the way they unleashed tyranny over the people, the mass killing, and their separation between those they like and those they did not like, we know that all. (Fouzia Saeed: We find many such instances in the world). But the opportunities to work for welfare can be used for negative as well as for positive goals."
Fouzia Saeed: "Sahar, I would like to ask you that what kind of things are seen in different parts of the world after they start doing welfare work after attaining the religious leadership. Can you give some examples quickly?"
Sahar Gul: "Fouzia, I would like to add something to what Nafees Sahib said. One should know that this welfare work is just tools, and that their hidden agendas are quite different. [Muhammad Nafees] gave the very interesting example of Nazi Germany, about the ideological persuasion. I would like to say that if we study any political party we would find no difference between it and the extremist religious organizations, especially those in the northern areas of Pakistan...
"[You would find that] their structures are same; rather they are very organized. The way they use technology, primarily FM radio [is quite interesting]. I would like to give the example of Fazlullah's radio. The way he used to give khutbat [sermons] people, used to listen to, it was tempting in the beginning.
"For example, he would say that the wife of a man donated 10,000 Rupees, and people listened. The connection to religion is not rational, but ideological, and if [it is announced] that somebody donated 10,000, then I must also give. (Fouzia Saeed: Since the connection to religion is based not on the mind but on the heart, it sometimes takes the form of envy). And then it happens that it becomes xenophobic, or what we call jingoism – i.e. my religion is the best, my culture is the best, my language is the best, my nation is the best. This is what negates the other nation, other religion and other culture. This also lures people, i.e. our religion is the best and since he is doing religious work, we should also [donate to the Taliban]."
Sahar Gul: "There Is A Network of 520 Schools in Southern Punjab Run By Lashkar-e-Taiba – And I'm Talking About Only One Region"
Fouzia Saeed: "Do you want to say that whatever work they did for social welfare they connected it to religion?"
Sahar Gul: "Wherever the state has left a vacuum, they have filled them. For example, our hospitals are not working efficiently, and there aren't good hospitals and schools; so they established a network [of health centers]. Let me tell you that there is a network of 520 schools in Southern Punjab run by Lashkar-e-Taiba – and I'm talking about only one region. (Fouzia Saeed: People think that they are doing good work) The vacuum in the state is that justice is not delivered quickly, the people's basic needs are not being fulfilled, and wherever they find a vacuum they enter.
"The second thing is that they start working for those communities, and people who have no social status, like the Gujjar of Swat, minorities, or the vocational groups, which we call Julahe or Kameen in our local terms, and the marginalized. I have conducted field work myself in Swat, Charsadda, Nowshera and Swabi. Recently, when I went there, people said that the way they addressed them in the beginning, and told them about the religion, that was important for them.
"This is a biggest strategy, and it shouldn't be thought that they wanted to transform [only] the Pakistani state. They not only wanted to transform the Pakistani state and the use of the terms of Khilafat, Jihad and Shahadat as their base. They are very organized. It is very dangerous that such extremist religious organizations and their networks are working among the people with so much organization and are so very prudent."
Fouzia Saeed: "Why can't people still not see through them with open eyes, even after the media has openly discussed them and the government has also taken action against them? Their hearts are very soft from within, and a kind of religious facade is around them, in the form of their welfare work. Who are our friends, and who are our enemies, and who is playing with our emotions, and who will leave us ahead on which turn? There's no need to wait till the end.
"I think ours is an intelligent nation, and we have to know from the beginning and know our enemy so that our daughters' schools are not set on fire, and death should not mark the end of our sons. Viewers, I pray for this country and for the integrity of this country..."
Nayyar Khan: "When Lashkar-e-Taiba and Its Offshoots... Were Banned... People... Demonstrated At the Hyderabad Press Club, Saying That These People Should Be Allowed to Do This [Social Work]... For They Think That They Are Good"
Fouzia Saeed: "Fouzia Saeed here. I want to seek the answer along with you all to the question of who these people are, who spread terror in the country, and what methods they use. Viewers, it is very necessary to know, and we have been discussing these things only through our programs... In our previous programs we discussed how they become the hero and take over the social leadership. Today we will discuss how they target those very people who make them heroes.
"Let me introduce you to our guests in the studio. First of all, [meet] Dr. Muhammad Pervez, who is a psychologist and who has used his studies in education and research, and he is considered a respectable analyst. Our second guest is Nayyar Khan, who is a very active member of Aman Tehreek [Peace Movement]. You two are very welcome to our program.
"Before beginning the discussion, we would like to listen to one citizen's story, which is customary on our program..."
Story of Saaqib and His Mother
Saaqib, brother of slain policeman
Saaqib: "My name is Saaqib; Seyar is my younger brother who wanted to join the police force. He liked police service very much. He used to say... why don't you let me join the police force? When we got him into the police force, he was posted to Kanju... [Kabal region of Swat]. On the 17th, somebody informed us that the dead body of a Talib was lying there. We had no information about it. Somebody informed us that his body had been lying there for seven days. The situation was bad there, and his body remained there for 25 days."
Mother: "I've spent 22 years as a widow and got [my sons] educated. I have no other support except them. Their father died on duty in Bengal [now Bangladesh] and I would get 180 Rupees as his pension, and I used to sew clothing to support them."
Saaqib: "There were Taliban all around. And only two or three police personnel were there at the Kanju [police station... They slaughtered other police personnel also. Their bodies could not be recovered either. Somebody informed us that they had cut my brother's throat..."
Mother: "When he took his leave from us, Seyar asked me to pray for his martyrdom."
Saaqib: "Somebody buried his body on condition of the guarantee [that it would be later exhumed and handed over to relatives after identification]."
Mother: "We had bought a wooden box for his wedding, and also clothing... It was the time of his wedding. Perhaps, Allah's wish was this..."
Saaqib: "There was a man in Kanju who dug up the body. His name was Liaqat, and he was in the police. We received the body at around 10:00 and we said his funeral prayer..."
Mother: "I'm very thankful to the government that it helped us and came to us with the funeral of my son after curfew. The death of a son is painful, but I am thankful to Allah that He gave martyrdom to him. He is alive. Whenever I see him in my dreams he says that he is alive."
Fouzia Saeed: "You have seen this story. In our previous programs, we discussed that they [the Taliban] focus much on what they call social or welfare work. They use it as their entry point for the religious and social leadership.
"Nayyar Sahib, I would like to ask you first. We have talked about Swat and Waziristan and you have seen in other parts of Pakistan that they begin with social work and then they show their colors. What has been your experience or observation?"
Nayyar Khan: "As I know, they started with social welfare activism in the troubled areas where they have made the life of people miserable. Invariably, this has been their methodology to make an entry [in the community]. First they make penetration into the masses. And after the penetration when they are successful in establishing their market brand among the masses and become popular and are looked at as respectable people in the society, then they do another work which according to them comes into the framework of welfare by their rule and definition. And that is the social reformation, according to which they want to eradicate evils from society. For example, brothel houses, gambling houses, drug pushers in an area, which I would also consider social evil. But in some cases they take an extremist step like they go against singing of songs (Fouzia Saeed: Women, women).
"Ordinary people are also against these evils, but the way extremists go after these things differ from the way peaceful citizens would like to go against them. The current example of how they get popularity among the masses for these works is that they are doing welfare work in Thar Parker [Sindh province] and are digging wells for them. And when Lashkar-e-Taiba and its off-shoots at district levels were banned, it is reported that the people of Thar Parker demonstrated at the Hyderabad Press Club saying that these people should be allowed to do this and should not be stopped. For they find them good people."
Muhammad Pervez: "These Terrorists Have Two Very Powerful Weapons: One Is the Weapon of Religion... Because the People of Pakistan Have Left the Work Of Understanding Religion [To Terrorists]"
Muhammad Pervez, psychologist
Nayyar Khan [continuing]: "But if we take the previous instances, we find that Maulvi Fazlullah only started with the welfare works in Swat. And he was very popular for this. And he has been popular to the extent that my friend... who is an eyewitness to it, reported that after his speeches a cot would be placed on the ground and people would put so much gold and cash on it that it could be weighed in kilograms. But what happened [later was that he ordered a total ban on girls' education].
"The people of Thar Parker don't realize it today. But they had to see what happened there; that the same meek, humble and soft-spoken people [i.e. the Taliban] became monsters... I would like to give an example about this.
"A woman made halwa [sweet dish] in her home and asked her sons, one nine years old and another seven years old, to give this halwa to the soldier standing outside and they did so. This incident came to the attention of Fazlullah's top man Hazrat Kareem. He picked up the children, took them to the Khooni [bloody] Chowk [town square], which used to be known as green chowk some time ago and was most beautiful chowk in Swat, and he slaughtered those children aged nine and seven at that Khooni Chowk. Later, it came to light that they were the children of the woman who had given all her jewelry to Fazlullah.
"Today, the people of Thar Parker do not realize what they would see in the future of people [Lashkar-e-Taiba members] who seek to engage in welfare works for the people of Thar Parker. The examples are there and they are not just hypotheses."
Fouzia Saeed: "I would like to ask you, Dr. Sahib, that the name of terrorism comes from this very terror, and what do you think about this?"
Dr. Muhammad Pervez: "Fouzia, you are talking about terrorists, and there are people on the other side who are terrorized and victims of this terrorism. It is the experience that people are terrorized by something that happens in their life. And the reason for this is that there is no cognizance of things, the people are in the dark, afraid because they don't see.
"These terrorists have two very powerful weapons. One is the weapon of religion. They have this powerful weapon of religion because the people of Pakistan have abandoned the work of understanding religion and left it in the hands of maulvis [clerics]. And because of this, they use Islam heavily to terrorize."
Nayyar Khan: "First They Went To the Owners of [Music] CD Shops And Told Them Very Politely That They Should Stop This Work And Find Other, Halal [Lawful in Islam] Work"
Nayyar Khan, peace activist
Fouzia Saeed: "Do you think that their vulnerability increases and they could be easily taken away?"
Muhammad Pervez: "Yes, vulnerability increases. The second thing is that our citizens consider themselves very unsafe. The very basic task of the state is to provide safety to its people. We have laws and then their implementation, then their practice (Fouzia Saeed: And then we have police); there are police, and then our civil bureaucrats, and all these systems are far removed from the people. And the reason for their being far removed from the people is that the British created it to run their government. We have not been able to change this system to this day...
"To the people, the law is something used to terrorize them. Police is a terrorizing thing. And it's better to keep away from the officers. All these things basically create a kind of fear among people, and when people are frightened, they can be very easily terrorized.
"The main reason for this is our educational [system], which is very incomplete. Education in our country is aimed solely at obtaining certificates and degrees, while education is something which could create wisdom and cognizance in a human being so that he could analyze things correctly and find the right results. If we had this weapon, then we wouldn't be so passionate."
Fouzia Saeed: "Our educational system is so incomplete that we don't know the difference between an educated person and a wise person... You told us about the vulnerability in our people and the reason why they are easily used. Beside this, you mentioned that two children were murdered for their mother's deed. People are terrorized by this. Also if someone speaks out and that was the result, it is better not to speak.
"It also came to light that many [bad] things were associated with Swat and nobody spoke out, fearing that they too would meet the same fate. Their names were announced on the radio – that such and such a person had not followed the commands and had committed desecration, and that we give him 24 hours to leave Swat. I think this is also a kind of terrorism..."
Nayyar Khan: "Well, to connect our present discussion to your previous programs, we find that during their welfare work there is a transformation phase when they move towards terrorism. I was saying that they present the social reformation program as welfare work, and that their first pose is that of reformer, who tries to tell people [what is right and what is wrong].
"In the case of Swat, first they went to the owners of [music] CD shops and told them very politely that they should stop this work and find other, halal [lawful in Islam] work, and abstain from this haram [forbidden by Islam] work and that they would compensate them for that.
"Many people voluntarily accepted this, and burned CDs, and received compensation that was many times their losses. But by doing so, they opened the door to interference in their personal life (Fouzia Saeed: This opened a gate for them in future to give any moral statement). Yes, and then you saw what happened later (Fouzia Saeed: They burned the CDs by force). When they start moving towards terrorism, they do so [in the name of] intervening by public demand. They move gradually from softness to bullying."
Muhammad Pervez: "The Whole Teaching System [At a Madrassa] Is Based on Coercion; When Children's Individual Personalities, Thinking, And Desire for Natural Exploration Are Killed – And I Use the Word 'Killed' Intentionally – They Are Very Ready for Terror"
Fouzia Saeed: "You said that they try to find a kind of excuse. And the excuse is also related in some way to our values and morality, so that they could infuriate people easily. And a sort of criminality emerges in the ordinary people, you could say. When very many people beat or kill a person, then it is like making the people criminal. And a violent incident of such magnitude taking place in society becomes justified, and the society digests it as well.
"I would like to know some more examples of this, when they start administering punishment on grounds of morality, like why a woman went out and talked to a certain person – whether she went out or not, they make it a point of morality and begin meting out punishments..."
Nayyar Khan: "To put fear into the hearts of people they need such excuses... I beg your pardon; our nation is a sentimental one. Sentimentality in a nation is not a bad thing, for they need it to progress. But the difference between a progressive nation and an argumentative nation is that that the sentiments of progressive nations are always channeled and rationalized."
Muhammad Pervez: "I would also like to point towards this that there is much debate on this, that is, whether terrorism has any link with a madrassa. I had an opportunity to visit a madrassa.... The set-up there has two very striking elements – one, the children attending it are totally cut off from the outside world, to the extent that they study and sleep in windowless rooms. You would say that a psychologist is speaking. The absence of windows has a great impact, they are cut off from the outside world – and when they are cut off they become very vulnerable (Fouzia Saeed: You can mould them). And when they become vulnerable, they are increasingly terrorized.
"The whole teaching system in a madrassa is based on coercion. Because when children's individual personalities, thinking, and desire for natural exploration are killed – and I use the word 'killed' intentionally – they are very ready for terror. And that is the very set-up which prepares such children who later become involved in terrorism."
Fouzia Saeed: "And then they put a seal of akhirat [the Hereafter]."
Muhammad Pervez: "That is the incentive. (Fouzia Saeed: You're talking about the mindset). Yes, their mindset becomes like that. We are very much tied into it. The disease has not come in one day, it has taken much time. In my view, our education could not do what it should have done and unfortunately it is not doing it even today."
Fouzia Saeed: "We listen much about this that people from outside come for training, like bomb making and jacket making; and we have now evidence for this, and many people have also been arrested. Besides, there is local recruitment on large scale, with salary, and they are being trained, and they themselves have made and distributed videos, and we have evidence of those. This process continues when terrorism becomes a science and where psychology is very much involved – how do they change the mindset of the trainers and the trainees?. Will you please tell us more about this?"
Nayyar Khan: "Leave the common people aside, because an ordinary man is not trained for fighting. They use these methods themselves, and release films of public executions. (Fouzia Saeed: They are still available on the Internet, which is very unfortunate, but the available footage is very terrifying). That is deliberate. They feel no defamation (Fouzia Saeed: Instead, they feel pride, the way they put their flags in the background and make their songs [background music] and show with much pride like trophies).
"They have reached the point where they martyred a Pakistan Army soldier in a very barbaric manner. The card they found in his pocket had the addresses of his unit as well as of his home. They sent the video of his being butchered to his unit and also to his home.
"All these tactics are aimed at spreading terror. Their method now tends to go towards terrorism... In the beginning, they penetrate the hearts of people through social work, and then they try to rule over them through terrorism."
"Those Organizations Which Have Been Declared Terrorist Organizations – They Have Strong Networks in Lahore, Karachi, Jhang, and Southern Punjab"
Fouzia Saeed: "According to observations and research by our social scientists, they think it necessary to create a network and a support base in the beginning. They know that people will not support them when they come to know their real agenda, after they gain their foothold and consolidate themselves. And that is why they switch to terrorism, so that people support them out of fear.
"In the beginning, they ride on their popularity... then they unleash a reign of terror... As they did in Swat when they exhumed bodies and hanged them. Killing is one thing, but butchering is another, and allowing the media to show it or making films [of the incidents] themselves [are methods of terror]. They do these things because none could dare to oppose them in future. I would like to know comments from both of you."
Muhammad Pervez: "I think we are also spreading a little bit of terror. I want to take it in a lighter vein, because all these things started from an area where people had weapons and had a very rough life. I am talking about our border areas like FATA [along the Afghan border]. It was said to our majority, which was in Punjab and Sindh that it was another's war; it is basically a nationalist war of Afghanistan, or it is the Pashtun war against America.
"The people of Punjab were confident that they would not be affected. It is better to keep the people of Punjab and Sindh aware of what was happening in the areas of Frontiers and Swat and what is happening today... Our media are not doing a proper job... This tradition should be stopped because the people who can stop it now won't be able to stop it later, after terror has spread."
Fouzia Saeed: "I think this is a very important message through this program. I would like to ask you, Nayyar Sahib about after they enter an area and transform it fully and increase their influence. Is it not a sign of their [consolidation] in other areas where they have their bases?"
Nayyar Khan: "It is, absolutely. If you look at the organizations which have been declared terrorist organizations, they have strong networks in Lahore, Karachi, Jhang, and Southern Punjab. They have their different faces, just as the viruses evolve and mutate. Similarly, they change themselves, and if one organization is banned, it reemerges under another name. They are the same people. They are very organized, and very big players are behind them..."
Fouzia Saeed: "I think that the people still do not have a full awareness about them. Viewers, we talked in today's program about the spreading of terrorism. We watched closely regarding who these people are and how they are trained, and what goals they want to achieve by spreading terror. We have seen that even in Islamabad, CDs were burned like in Swat; women were asked to leave their jobs... [and told that] they should remain home and fully cover themselves....
"There have been such threats. In Chakwal, threats were issued to schools and colleges to segregate men and women. And women teachers were told to wear the chadar or the burqa by evening, or their schools would be blown up. We all know that such threats are received in both villages and cities... Can we see the full picture by linking these things together? Our experts have also said that there is no need to wait until the situation in the country is worse and out of control. Our guests have said, very aptly, that these organizations keep changing their shape, like cancer. It remains to be seen whether we can recognize them and safeguard our country..."
Fouzia Saeed: "The Militants of Pakistan Have... Banned Internet, Television and Books; These Enemies of Schools and Knowledge Opposed Anything That Brings People Knowledge"
Fouzia Saeed: "Viewers, I'm Fouzia Saeed with our program 'Who Are These People?' ... We have seen that whenever a group wants to take full control of a community, it starts imposing bans on the lifestyle of the people living there, on their thinking, and on their movements. On the other side, they start propagating their ideology on a full scale... Our program today focuses on how they cut off and isolate, a community and then how do they start indoctrinating and propagating their ideology.
"We find many examples in the world in this regard. Take the example of North Korea, where the government has cut its people from the whole world in order to establish one man as their spiritual leader. No television is allowed there, no books reach there, and they believe what the government wants them to believe. Take the [instance of] Nazi Germany; what kinds of methods did they use to control the Jewish communities? Take also the example of Cuba; the government keeps on eye on its people and their movements, and no one can go abroad. And its government thinks that imposing a system is best, so that the people don't see other systems.
"There is no need to look at other countries. We find it in our own country, in the form of the feudal system – where there are Sardars and Chaudhries [i.e. feudal lords]. You will find that at times they keep their community under control. You cannot send your children to school without their permission; you cannot leave your village without their permission. These methods of control are in place so that they can maintain their status and power over their community. We can see it in our homes too; in some, but not all, there are tyrant husbands who want full control over their wives. What does he do at first? He cuts off her relations with her parents. And then he cuts off her links with her friends and relatives. Then he bans her movements and finances, and then he thinks that now his truth will be accepted.
"So these are the methods, and as we have seen, the militants of Pakistan have used them in abundance and in brutal ways. It was a very easy method for them. They banned the Internet, television and books. And these enemies of schools and knowledge opposed anything that brings people knowledge and enlightens them. They cut people off from all these things, and isolated them, and then started their propaganda."
Muhammad Sufyan: A Madrassa Student Said: "If We Participate In Jihad and Are Martyred, Allah Will Send 10 People To Paradise Along With Us"
Muhammad Rashid, social activist and politician
Fouzia Saeed [continuing]: "So, viewers, let us begin today's program. I would like to introduce today's guest first; he is Professor Muhammad Ismail, from Peshawar. He has done great service in the field of education, and people know him more for his professorship in Peshawar. Besides that, he is a social worker and a leader. He started this work in, I think, 1985 and worked for peace and pluralism.
"Our second guest is Muhammad Rashid Sahib. He is also a social worker, but has also been in politics and has been Nazim [an elected official] of the union council.
"Both of you have been politically active and are considered very truthful. Thank you for coming. Before we start our discussion we would like to show you a short story. Here is one of our colleagues who lived in a madrassa for quite a long period. Let us see what his experience was, and then we will proceed with our talk."
Short Film – Story by Muhammad Sufyan: "It was my father's desire. In fact, he wanted me to do hifz [memorize the Koran], something that he for some reason could not do and decided that if he had a son his son would do it. When I reached the third grade, he put me in a madrassa. The first thing I remember from my childhood is being beaten with a rod, the kind used to pull down shutters.
"As I got older, they dealt more harshly with me. They don't deal very harshly with children in at first. I started nazra [recitation of the Koran] and then I started hifz along with that. I kept on doing this and once I was beaten so badly that my skull was fractured.
"I could not tell my family that I was beaten so badly, because of fear. The environment of my house was quite different for my sisters and brothers; they went to [regular] school. Fridays at the madrassa there was no school; I would go in the morning for Fajr [morning prayer] and study there till 12 noon, and when I got home only my mother would be there, because my brothers and sisters were at school. Then I went back [to the madrassa] for Zuhar [afternoon prayer] when my father, brothers and sisters would be home for lunch, and I never saw them. I would feel so lonely. I was eager to know know what they learned and read at school. I had forgotten about school, about what happened there. It was a kind of suffocation.
"You can't do anything you want. My brother and cousins would wear pants suits. When I wore that sometimes, and someone saw me wearing it, the next day there was a lot of criticism. Similarly, at my uncle's wedding I wore a... suit and tie, and there was a band playing there. The Qari Sahib [Koran teacher] saw me in the wedding procession, and when I went back [to the madrassa] after the wedding, he made me stand before everyone and [mocked me], saying I had been wearing a tie and it looked like my tongue was hanging out... and that I had felt no shame when the band was playing around me. I thought to myself, Why are they doing this? They could have simply told me not to do this. But he made me stand [before everyone] and criticized me.
"The madrassa [teachers] [prevent the children from knowing] what is happening in the outside world. In my opinion, the children are entitled to know what is happening in the rest of the world. They must be given computers and they must know how to use them. They should know about a cell phone so that they can talk and make contact with those who are far away from them. When I talked to my cousin, I was afraid of him, although he was younger than me, because he knew so much; he used computers and played games. I used to fear him because... he attended private school and wore nice clothes. I felt like I was nothing.
"At the time of Asr [mid-afternoon prayer], a hadith [saying or deed of Prophet Muhammad] was recited in our madrassa, and after that there was a short lecture... Once there was a [lesson in] Hadith on jihad, and at that time we had the jihad of Kashmir on our minds. [The cleric] told us... that this a good path, and that we all must be sure to participate in it however we could. He said that if we participated in jihad and were martyred, Allah would send 10 people along with us to Paradise. He asked me how many people were in my family, and I told him five. He said, You are one and you will take the other four to Paradise, that is, your whole family will go to Paradise [if you are martyred in jihad]."
"When I Left The Madrassa [After Beatings]... And There Was Any Bell [Knock] At The Door, I Would Awaken Afraid That Somebody From The Madrassa Had Come To Fetch Me"
Muhammad Sufyan [continuing]: "I thought that this [bringing them to Paradise] was an easy thing I could do for my family. I watched [the cleric]; he was well-built and knew karate. He said that he would teach us karate; he taught us one day, and the next, but when we went to the madrassa the third day, we learned that he was not there. He had fled because the government and the ISI [the Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistani military] were after him. Then we thought that that is where we were headed.
"If I had gone to a school and not been mistreated, and not insulted and humiliated in front of everybody, I would have done Hifz by now.
"I did not go to madrassa after that beating, because I couldn't learn the lesson of the day by heart. My family learned that I wasn't going. They looked for me and I came back home because I had no other place to go. Then abbu [father] asked me to make more of an effort and do it, because I had already done so much. So I returned, and the same thing kept happening. Time passed, but when next I was beaten, two men held my feet and two held my arms, and they beat me badly. I said to myself that this time I wouldn't go home either.
"I fled the madrassa as soon as I found Qari Sahib busy somewhere else. I did not even take my shoes. I roamed all day, and my family looked for me and was worried. I remained in the area, and at night I was on the road and abbu came up to me from behind and beat me all the way home, which wasn't far away. I told him to send me [to work] in a bicycle or motorcycle repair shop but I was not going to go to the madrassa any more.
"When I left the madrassa [after beatings], even if I was sleeping, and there was any bell [knock] at the door, I would awaken afraid that somebody from the madrassa had come to fetch me.
"Had they done any good work, all our people and our government would have been with us. I don't know how many there are like me. Their family puts [children in the madrassa] without asking them what they want. Some leave their children there because they are disabled. They say that this child has some handicaps, he cannot speak properly, so we'll put him in the madrassa. Dull children are usually put in the madrassa. Living among those children makes you feel just like them...
"Those who go there should be asked if they are willing to go, and only those who say yes should be sent there. When I left [the madrassa] I belonged neither to the madrassa nor to a school."
Professor M. Ismail: "They Were Against TV, Internet, And Information – Because They Had Their Own [Ideal of] Truth And They Wanted to Take Society Hostage And Feed Their Truth To It... This Is The Methodology Used By... The Taliban"
Professor M. Ismail, academic from Peshawar
Fouzia Saeed: "Rashid Sahib, I would like to ask you first. Whatever we have seen, I am not talking about FATA or Swat only. Here we also saw that CD is haram; music is haram; CD shops were burned; a kind of hatred was created in people's hearts about music and creative works, and after that we watch the films made [by the Taliban themselves], and music is being composed and their films are being sold. What is this mystery?"
Rashid Ali: "The trend which they are following has no place [in society]. From what we have learned, and what we have studied, we know that the Sufis brought this religion to us. Their methodology was that they would see the evil within them."
Fouzia Saeed: "This was the religion of Sufis, but these people [i.e. the Taliban] turned dead against Sufis."
Professor M. Ismail: "They were against TV, Internet, and information because they had their own [idea of] the truth, and they wanted to take the society hostage and then feed their truth to it. Anything, any ideal or any truth that challenged their ideology, they close down all the windows, doors, and holes.
"As you said, they took the same methodology that is taken by dictators to put their ideology into the minds and hearts of the people. This is the methodology used by these religious groups, extremists and the Taliban There are still some places in Peshawar where cable is not allowed. You take the example of Peshawar city; they also blew up Internet cafes, along with CDs shop. And they do this because they want people to listen only to them."
Rashid Ali: "Barber Shops Received [Taliban Threat] Letters In Our Areas... Because They Shave [Beards]...; We Were Happy That Ziaul Haq Had The Holy Koran Recited At The UN [in the 1980s]"
Fouzia Saeed: "They have been against anything inspiring people to think, anything that puts questions into people's minds?"
Professor M. Ismail: "They have been doing this for quite some time. And anyone who raises such questions, they make them a target, to set an example for others."
Fouzia Saeed: "Rashid Sahib, could you give me some examples where they have targeted and banned things that foster thinking and that provide us information from outside?"
Rashid Ali: "Never mind the information; barber shops also received letters in our areas (Fouzia Saeed: Because they talk). Not because they talk, but because they shave [beards]. They want there to be no television, no Internet, and no barber shops, so that people should go to the time caves."
Fouzia Saeed: "...They built their own checkposts, and started asking people [whether they were going], and this created a kind of ban on movement, because people were afraid that they would be asked. They have also implicated people, sometimes saying that this or that person is going to Islamabad more often, say, or is passing on information about them [to the security agencies], and announcing their names on the radio. How do you checks and restrictions on movements?"
Rashid Ali:"The government's [sharia-for-peace] agreement handed all the people of Swat to them. Sometime in 1985, the government and the leaders, when we were only political activists, adopted a policy with them. What is happening today is only the continuation of that [policy] (Fouzia Saeed: They were putting down roots then).
"We were happy that Ziaul Haq had the Holy Koran recited at the UN, and [George H.] Bush came here [to an earthquake relief camp in Pakistan] and said that he was a Mujahid. And our people, and Afghans, whistled in the audience that Bush called himself a Mujahid. [This was the result of] how our government performed in this region in the past and how they dealt with it. We belong to the Pashtun areas and ours is a very liberal society."
Professor M. Ismail: "An NGO, 'Rise,' Worked For Peace And Pluralism; To Stop Them, The Taliban Marched Daily Against Them, Demanding A Ban On That Institution"
Fouzia Saeed: "What do you say? Was the environment affected by that?"
Professor M. Ismail: "I would like to add to what he said. Two things were very common in the Pashtun community. One was mosques, and there used to be a hujra [room] along with the mosque wall where music was played. Under the government of MMA [Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal coalition of religious parties in what is now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province], music and stage plays were banned in those halls (Fouzia Saeed: And artists were exiled from Peshawar). And I would like to say to Rashid Sahib that recently the very popular actor Janan of Pashtu was abducted and held hostage for 40 days, and when he returned he called a press conference and said that he used to do very bad things and now was repenting.
"Haroon Bacha, a very good singer of Swabi [a town in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province]. He fled because he had received threatening letters from the Taliban. I have myself seen young peace activists receiving threatening letters from the Taliban, warning, You work for peace and stop people from jihad, and threatening them with death. This happened in Swabi.
"I will tell you another story from Swabi. There was an NGO, 'Rise,' which worked for peace and pluralism; to stop them, the Taliban marched daily against them, demanding a ban on that institution. And the state accepted their demands, and the institution was closed down because they [the Taliban] had demanded an end to such things."
Fouzia Saeed: "We come to the conclusion that they wanted to close down everything that compelled people to think."
Professor M. Ismail: "They were against anything which created questioning, and they wanted people to follow only what they say."
Fouzia Saeed: "Now [they] have isolated [the people]; there is an effective ban on movement; there is no television, and the schools have also been burned..."
Professor M. Ismail: "At the end of it, through their mosques and mobilization circles and through their FM radios, they mobilized people in the Pashtun areas, asking people to bring out their TV sets and burn them. In the Pashtun areas, these things are happening. Some people bring out their TV sets and burned them in front of others, to motivate them. They call TV very wrong, apostate, and say no one should watch it, and that anyone who wants to listen to anything should listen to their FM. In every village, in my own village, FM is listened to openly every day, while this or that person propagates his particular ideology."
Fouzia Saeed: "And they keep on propagating the only truth, as we have mentioned."
Professor M. Ismail: "And what is his truth? He [Maulana Fazlullah of the Taliban] asks men to grow beards and women to turn off the TV in their homes, and tells women not to leave their homes. They are still using FM radio to propagate their ideology, and they have banned the cultural customs and creeds of Pashtuns, such as mela thela [rural exhibitions and fairs where music is played] by declaring them haram and acts of unbelief."
Professor M. Ismail: "I Said That If We Were Headed Towards Talibanization, Then We Were Going Towards a Big Threat; On That, They Registered a Blasphemy Case Against Me And Kept Me In Bannu Jail"
Fouzia Saeed: "Rashid Sahib, tell us about the process of indoctrination – once you have isolated the community and started brainwashing people, and are also giving all these things an Islamic color, and are also elevating the position of the Mujahid. As he said, burning TV sets has also become an act of virtue, and people cannot connect this that they are against TV because it compels people to think and understand. Please tell me, giving examples, about their other methods of indoctrination and brainwashing."
Rashid Ali: "[It is happening] where there is poverty, and all these diseases are linked with poverty."
Professor M. Ismail: "I would like to say that perhaps Rashid Sahib has not studied our [Pashtun] society properly. The people in Peshawar are not so poor; they are well-to-do. You can see that they are burning our schools."
Fouzia Saeed: "They use some mechanism at one place and others, like poverty, at another place."
Professor M. Ismail: "Take the example of their use of funeral prayers in villages. Who delivers a lecture at the funeral? They bring a specific maulvi [cleric], who will not be the maulvi of our mohalla [locality], he will be the extremist. He will come there and take his position at the grave and motivate the people for jihad. He will try to tell them a truth and through that will try to indoctrinate them with his ideology."
Fouzia Saeed: "If you challenge him, what will he do?"
Professor M. Ismail: "He has formed a group there, and he will tell you that you are an apostate, an infidel who has spread shamelessness, and he will isolate you. He will use his weapons of isolation, and then people would say that you are evil. They will ask why you stop him for no reason when he is saying religious things."
Fouzia Saeed: "A case of blasphemy was also made against you. Would you tell us briefly about that?"
Professor M. Ismail: "In 2000, I felt that Talibanization was growing. In a speech, I said that if we were headed towards Talibanization, then we were going towards a big threat. On that, they registered a blasphemy case against me, and kept me in Bannu prison and treated me harshly for five years."
Fouzia Saeed: "Some political leaders are spreading lots of confusion. As long as our youths try to understand what the whole mystery is about, they create another confusion by calling them heroes and Mujahid and, in a true sense of the term, want to spread Islam."
Professor M. Ismail: "No, that is not the confusion, they intentionally obscure so that no one can challenge them. Who said this? This was said by a great maulana [cleric] in the government, a very pious and great leader. They say it to the media, and with all audacity, and there is none to stop him. I was put behind bars for blasphemy just for calling the Taliban a threat. But no one would say anything to him."
Professor M. Ismail: "The Veil Culture That They [the Madrassas/Taliban] Brought Among Girls Is Being Promoted All Around; In This Way, They Promote Their Particular Ideology, That Hates the Other"
Fouzia Saeed: "As we talked about the isolation of the community – that they first isolate a community and then they use their propaganda. Similarly, if we see the environment of a madrassa – for many such people have come out of a madrassa – will you say something about that environment, as we listened to the story of one of our friends?
"We have seen in our research the atmosphere in the madrassas, how they first isolate and then begin the indoctrination process. There are lots of madrassas here, and in Islamabad alone there are over 300. Can you tell me a little about the environment in the madrassas in your area?"
Professor M. Ismail: "Their approach is based on hatred. They call their ideology the only truth, and they create so much hatred against other people, other ideologies, and other thinking that their existence cannot be tolerated."
Fouzia Saeed: "Very true. Do you think that the madrassas have been hijacked, or they are only like that, as we have talked about mosques that they take over?"
Professor M. Ismail: "Before 1990, I did not see any madrassa in my locality, but after 1990 there were five, six or seven madrassas. The veil culture that they brought among girls is being promoted all around. In this way, they promote their particular ideology, that hates the other, and enforce their ideology."
Fouzia Saeed: "In the beginning, people had this impression that they are talking about Islam, and want to bring sharia, but gradually it came to light that this was not the only thing. They tried to impose their world view, and all of us have to see it accordingly. And what they perceived to be right, all of us should call them right. In my opinion, this is a very valid point.
"Now I would like to sum up our discussion a little bit, because our discussion covered a vast area. What we talked about today was how these militants isolate a community and then indoctrinate it with their ideology. We also discussed how people and children are being isolated in the madrassa environment; they are being totally cut off from the outside world, and in some places they don't even go home to their parents and live only there [in the madrassa]. After that they are brainwashed and given the only, the one truth, and brought to a point where they are willing to take their own lives...
"We must think about this, that they issue fatwas against television and music, and declare them haram according to Islam, and then we have to understand why they do that. Why are they so dead against creativity? Why are they so against the thinking process? Why are they against knowing more than one reality?
"We must not fall prey to these strategies, and we and our coming generation must safeguard this country and the culture of this country, and also our thinking so that we ourselves can find more than one reality...."
Fouzia Saeed: "There Comes a Stage When They [Taliban] Feel the Need to Make Contacts with Professional Criminals...; They Don't Go to Those Criminals Only...; Those Criminals Also Come to Them for They have a Kind of Legitimacy in the Community"
Mujahid Hussain, researcher on Southern Punjab
Fouzia Saeed: "Viewers, I'm Fouzia Saeed with our program 'Who Are These People?' As you know, we have been talking throughout our program about who these terrorists and militants are, how they operate and enter a locality and gradually take full control of a community. What is their strategy? What are their operations, and what kinds of systems do they develop? We are observing all these things closely."
"Viewers, we saw how they enter a locality by constructing a mosque and then developing it into a madrassa. Then they start thrusting their ideas on others, and create an environment under which people gradually come under great terror.
"There comes a stage when they begin developing a relationship with professional criminals in the area. Perhaps they do this because they need to obtain weapons or resources, or they need their help in implementing the dreaded system of punishment. We need to know that they go not only to these criminals; these criminals also come to them, for they have a kind of legitimacy in the community and they have also attained the role of a religious leader there, and have also become social workers to some extent. And by creating a political vacuum, they try to grab the political leadership also.
"In today's program, we will see the stage [before they become terror organizations]. When does this situation occur, and why does it happen that professional criminals try to form connections with them?
"Let me first introduce you to our guests in the studios. This is Mujahid Hussain from Lahore. Many thanks to him. He lives abroad, but returns here regularly for research work. He has done great work on Southern Punjab. We would like to know whatever conclusions he has reached about that region.
"Aamir, you have made a great contribution, which I find it necessary to mention here. Besides your book Jihad From A To Z, you have written a great deal and also done much research. In this program, we try to bring research-based information to our viewers, and we would try to come to any conclusion."
Ghulam Farooq, Swat-Based Editor: The Taliban "Set Up Their Courts...; They Issued Judgments On a Daily Basis – And Anyone Who Did Not Obey Their Orders Was Instantly Killed"
Ghulam Farooq, Swat-based editor
Fouzia Saeed [continuing]: "Viewers, we present to you a story in the beginning of our program. We have talked to someone in today's program also. First, please watch this, and then we will commence our discussion."
Ghulam Farooq's Story
Ghulam Farooq, editor-in-chief of the Daily Shamal, Swat: "After the 9/11 American incidents, it so happened here that many people of the banned organization [Tehreek-e-Nifaz-e-] Shariat-e-Muhammadi went to Afghanistan and were martyred there. Those whom you call former jihadis also came here after the end of the Taliban government there, because they had a connection with the people [i.e. militants] here. Similarly, there were incidents like [the military operations in] Jamia Hafsa and Bajaur madrassas in this country, and they saw an opportunity and forged unity.
"Besides the professional jihadis, there were people with criminal backgrounds. They united and in no time they took Swat district and the whole of the region hostage, and established their complete rule.
"Their first targets were security forces, police, FCs [Frontier Constabulary members], Army and Frontier Corps. Members of these organizations were brutally butchered, and decapitated, and bodies were even exhumed [and hanged in public]. Then there was a wave of targeted killings, in which all the notable people of Swat were killed.
"Five or six hundred people were killed in targeted killings, and we would hear news on a daily basis that such a person was killed in such an area. Then, there was a situation in which you would find two, three, or four bodies at Mengora Chowk [Swat district's main town center].
"There were also professional killers involved, and they would murder people for money. They were wanted by the government. There were also land mafias, who had usurped government lands. When they got no platform they thought to join the Taliban, no one would say anything, and even government and security forces would not say anything. And the Khwaneen [the elders] of these areas would also not say anything.
"Now, you have got this platform, now you may do whatever you want. They set up their courts. They issued judgments in their courts on a daily basis, and whoever did not obey their orders was instantly killed..."
"What Devastated the People [of Swat] Most On The Psychological Level Was These Militants' FM [Radio Broadcasts]"
Ghulam Farooq [continuing]: "Two, three, or four people would gather somewhere and say that they are the Taliban. But what devastated the people most on the mental level was these militants' FM [radio broadcasts]. They destroyed 80% of the people on the mental level through their FM... They would issue threats against someone in the night, and in the morning his dead body was found.
"Would you believe that as a journalist, if we used to write about a suicide bombing as a 'suicide bombing,' they would ask us to write 'Fidayee' [martyrdom] attack? And if we wrote 'Fidayee,' then the ISPR [the Inter-Services Public Relations department of the Pakistan Army] would ask why we did that and tell us to write 'suicide bombing.' They would ask us to call them militants and 'talib.'
"When any security force member was martyred, we would write 'martyr,' and when any were killed we would write 'killed'; they [the Taliban] would ask us to write 'martyr' for them too. They kept up the psychological pressure on us; they posted warnings outside our office to 'keep your qibla [direction] correct or our Fidayeen will not spare you.' In the end, they also started openly threatening journalists openly."
Muhammad Amir Rana: "Under the First Agreement That [Former Taliban Chief] Baitullah Mehsud Made [With The Pakistani Government]... His Men Would Not Go To Afghanistan, And In Return the Government Would Allow Him To... Impose Sharia"
Muhammad Amir Rana, noted terrorism expert
Fouzia Saeed: "Amir, you tell us, for you have done research. Do they need to form friendship with the criminals over there?"
Muhammad Amir Rana: "The nexus between criminals and militants in Pakistan is different in different places. You would find the pattern totally different in FATA; and in Karachi, which has been the supply line of militants, it would be completely different. Perhaps Mujahid Sahib will tell you better, but it is totally different in Central Punjab and Southern Punjab."
Fouzia Saeed: "Is there a nexus?"
Muhammad Amir Rana: "Perhaps, but the processes are different at various levels. For example, the pattern that developed in the tribal areas after the Taliban had taken over from Baitullah Mehsud; look at their strategy and the same strategy followed in other tribal areas and NWFP [now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province]. They have the religious legitimacy first, then they define the aim that they had in Afghanistan. And their second aim was sharia enforcement. These give them a moral authority, in addition to a religious one. Then they start working according to their vision, as you have seen.
"The first agreement that Baitullah Mehsud made [with the government of Pakistan]... [was that] he would not let his men to go to Afghanistan, and in return the government would allow him to establish a sharia police and impose sharia. When sharia was imposed, you should know that their first target was not the tribal elders, but the criminal networks. The reason behind that was that you need public support first and you get that only when you hit those criminal associated with your social and economic life."
Fouzia Saeed: "Their first stage is like that, to support the social cause and take a role like that of a Robin Hood."
Muhammad Amir Rana: "Robin Hoodism is a common feature... then there comes a stage when they feel some sort of need from some criminal networks. If we take the example of Waziristan as a case study, we know that any insurgent group has a defined religious and social vision. You may agree or disagree on their political vision. They have a very ambiguous line on economy. They have no plan for that in their minds. You will find this feature common among militants, including the Taliban. Then their nexus starts developing dire circumstances. You find it in Swat and up to Darra Adam Khel [both in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa]. The criminal groups don't attain legitimacy, but their first attempt is to become part of that organization and movement..."
Fouzia Saeed: "They keep including them into their fold. We used to keep hearing, and I have been to Afghanistan many times in past years, that there was drug money which provided them with much funding, and that they used to levy taxes for the safe passage of their trucks, and for that also they might be needing these criminal people?"
Muhammad Amir Rana: "In my view, that is a very different topic. If you look at the tribal economy, you would find that it is not documented. It has a particular pattern where there is a Sarraf [local money lender] and Hundi [money transfer, usually informal]. If you study it in detail you find it quite complex. You are right in saying that the role of the Taliban was also as a controller of the passages, and that is also a major stakeholder in the whole economic structure. It does not only take the passage toll, but it shows a pattern and style of the economy in the tribal areas for the money they send or receive from outside or the purchase of the weapons or all the logistics they get [depends on that]. They benefit from it."
Mujahid Hussain: "If You Talk About Punjab, All Those Groups, Which Are Extremists And Promote Extremism – They Have Their Roots in the Political Parties of the Area"
Fouzia Saeed: "Now I would like to ask Mujahid Sahib: Would you tell us about the intensity of the links they form with gangs, mafia, and criminal elements, whatever you may say? Am I talking about the petty criminals or about the mafia with deep roots?"
Mujahid Hussain: "I have a little different view from yours. If you talk about Punjab, all those groups which are extremists and are promoting extremism – they have their roots in the political parties of the area. Either they have their roots in political parties or in those religious political parties which became strong during the 70s.
"For example, if we take Southern Punjab, you find that the majority of the people who are with these groups now were associated with the movement of Khatm-e-Nabuwwat in 1974, or even in 1953. They have been defined in a way that they can protest, they can paralyze private life, and they can build pressure on the government (Fouzia Saeed: They can take law into their own hands); they can exert pressure and unfortunately the activists of the students' organizations of some religious parties were also included among them.
"Over time, they have become great leaders. They are the members of parliament or important figures. But when we carry out research as to how they began their journey, we find that they were hoodlums basically, who used their power on the local police stations or could assemble people for protests or burned tires or closed down the marketplaces.
"The basic thing is how much capability for terror they have. This was the situation in Punjab, and when we come forward, what we find more astonishing is that those who gave them maximum support for their programs or for their activities was our business class rather than the political parties."
Mujahid Hussain: "Whenever these groups needed money for jihad and for fighting other religious sects, you will find a donation box on general shops in the market (Fouzia Saeed: They donate a great deal). Now they certainly don't know that with such donations, these groups are going to cut the throats of people of other sects (Fouzia Saeed: Our people donate a great deal in the name of religion). As for your questions about the criminal groups, I would like to say that they did not go to them, but the criminal groups contacted the religious and extremist groups for the extra cover for their designs."
Fouzia Saeed: "There are groups that have a very religious and social outlook, but behind that there are criminal and mafia goals, and people do not understand their facade. Those groups also survived?"
Mujahid Hussain: "Yes, of course. There are baffling incidents. Only two or three months ago, there were some incidents, and we have three incidents before us. First, people were killed and houses were set ablaze in [the town of] Gojra; after that people were killed and houses were burnt in a Jethikey village of Sialkot."
Fouzia Saeed: "Emerald Mines Became A Source Of Huge Money [For The Taliban] – And Then Rich People Were Looted And Government Properties... Were Auctioned Off In The Name Of Maal-E-Ghanimat [War Booty]"
Fouzia Saeed: "Criminals gain legitimacy and power, and the political and other parties find activists for their works - like creating terror or suppressing their opposition and others."
Mujahid Hussain: "Basically, it is a two-way process. Political parties benefit because they want to suppress their opposition, and if their opponent belongs to any other religious sect, then it becomes easier for them. There are examples. Amir knows what happened in Jhang, and besides that people have been killed in different districts of Southern Punjab.
"The perplexing trend is that the majority of those who were killed belonged to a particular party, and those who are killing and those who are supporting them belong to a particular political party, and political parties are benefitting from them – so much so that some people from extremist groups became ministers in the provincial assembly [of Punjab]. We have seen how dreaded criminals escaped police custody."
Muhammad Amir Rana: "I fully agree with Mujahid. The trend in Punjab is a little bit different, and also in Karachi. Here, militant groups are directly involved in criminal activities, from looting banks and highway robbery to other big criminal activities. If you start from Islamabad and go towards Karachi, you will find that the proportion of their direct involvements increases.
"As we have earlier discussed, regarding their economic vision – they don't view economy as we do, in terms of the state's vision. Second, there are two reasons as to why the business classes support them. The money they had to pay as taxes; only about half of that money is spent in charitable acts, e.g. alms and donations to madrassas. They evade their national liability [for paying taxes], and they get protection from these groups, which could be religious or extremist religious groups."
Fouzia Saeed: "They would have also been distributing the burden of their money to some extent also. Do they also try to shed the burden of their conscience through these things?"
Muhammad Amir Rana: "This could be a reason, but we have seen in Lahore how nakedly these business classes kept using religious groups against the criminal groups. There was a clear pattern there."
Fouzia Saeed: "A small thing that came out of my research is that when the Taliban or other groups come to killing, they don't differentiate between who was on their side and who was on the other side. When they go on a killing spree, they kill all. Whenever I do some [discussion] sessions, I see that many people take their side so that if they ever come to that area they will be spared..."
Mujahid Hussain: "There is one more thing. The thing that is much promoted and the thing that religious and terrorist organizations do; that is that in the eyes of the common people and the business class they seem to be challenging the state. (Fouzia Saeed: They feel good about that) For example, who makes the decision to set the clock forward or back an hour [a reference to the Taliban time zone]?"
Fouzia Saeed: "I would like to pull you a little back towards their resources because, we have many evidences in the northern areas [along the Afghan border]. There are the research works of AIRRA [Aryana Institute for Regional Research and Advocacy, Peshawar] and you also have your research that emerald mines became a source of huge money, and then rich people were looted and government properties, including the fans and bulbs in them, were put on auction in the name of maal-e-ghanimat [war booty]. And there is one pattern of abduction money which is at least very common in the areas of north. Then there are links with timber mafias, who regularly supply money. There are drug mafias. And there is a toll tax on all the trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan and they get money from there. Besides, there are countries that fund them. Would you tell us about the funding in the south [of Pakistan]?"
Mujahid Hussain: "It Is Very Easy For... [The Taliban] To Procure Weapons...; There Are Some Manufacturers In Those Areas Who Manufacture Better And the Latest Weapons for These Groups Only"
Muhammad Amir Rana: "They run their business in the name of education. We found a trend that all their hospitals and health centers are there with a business intent [to earn money]. Then we have seen in the real estate business how these organizations invest. You will find it clearly, and even in the transport business you will find huge investments of these insurgent militant organizations. Since tribal areas are in our focus right now, we get attracted towards that; and there also the pattern is almost the same. They took over marble mines and did looting and killings. The main thing is that they don't have any economic vision, which damages a state the most. It is perhaps not a big threat for the state if a religious, extremist, political leader or criminal claims that this region is theirs. It is also not a threat for the state when a person says that these people were their followers. What disturbs a state the most is when somebody threatens its fiscal and economic system..."
Fouzia Saeed: "Do you want to say that since their economic plan is not very systematic, they have to take the law into their hands more often, and because of that there comes more disruption [in the running of the] state when they are beheading, killing, and threatening people? I would like to ask you, Mujahid, about the weapons, because there are many questions about that. Where do they get these advanced level weapons, and in so much quantity? Who brings them? There is a kind of mystery around it. Please put some light on it also."
Mujahid Hussain: "It is very easy for them to procure weapons. We have some reports from the newspapers that there are some manufacturers in those areas who manufacture better and the latest weapons for these groups only. They sell it to them, and in a way they also pay their taxes to them, so that they could be saved from attacks; and donations from them also continue.
"But in my view our border with Afghanistan is not safe, and beside that the working of our law enforcement agencies... has also not been very exemplary. All these militant groups certainly have weapons, but in our country even some individuals have such weapons, which security forces don't have. I give you an example that in 1995-96, I was writing about Gujarat and at that time the weapons that the common gangs had, Pakistani security forces did not have. I think that all the resources of latest weapons are there in our border areas... You can buy it there and it is manufactured there. Those who were fond of the latest weapons and wanted to have licensed weapons from abroad, now they get it from FATA, for they get the same quality with all other facilities, and at the same time also at cheaper rates."
Fouzia Saeed: "And they have learned manufacturing bombs very easily."
Mujahid Hussain: "The second thing is that the bombs they have used in explosions are indigenously developed. For more results they use more materials."
Fouzia Saeed: "They make it with a pressure cooker, with the kerosene stove. They are using indigenous technology in these things. They started making radio stations and weapons, and it seems they make their tools on their own. We have less time, but I think that we have touched the key points.
"Viewers, we were talking at this stage about how the professional criminals associate with them. We talked about their mutual benefits. Whether they are religious and political parties or whether they are the militant groups, they also find it beneficial to bring the criminals in their fold; and the professional criminals benefit too as they get legitimacy, they find a kind of power in the garb of religion and their influences increase. They serve each other; be it for getting weapons and gathering resources, or be it for creating terror or for curbing their opposition.
"We have also seen in today's discussion that the pattern is not quite similar throughout Pakistan. It was different in the North, where people are abducted to get money; they get money through death threats. There are emerald mines and narcotics with which money is associated. We found a little bit different pattern in the South. But it is important that as common people we must understand all these patterns. It is not that they may be similar, but when we are giving any donation then we must think for what this mosque is being made, and also think about the money you are putting in the [donation] boxes lying in the market is not being used for purchasing guns, which would kill our children. These are such things which we cannot ignore now..."
Fouzia Saeed: "They Live Among Us And We Cannot Recognize Them Because They... Veil Their Faces In The Name Of Serving Humanity Or Serving Religion...; And If We Recognize Them Sometimes, We Don't Speak [Against Them], Fearing That They Would Feel Bad"
Dr. Fouzia Saeed, presenter and social scientist
Fouzia Saeed: "Viewers, we are coming very close in our quest to know them... As you know we have been talking about these people who keep exploding bombs and keep doing suicide bombings. If you see a bit seriously you will find that they live among us and we cannot recognize them, because they keep a kind of veil on their faces in the name of serving humanity or serving religion, or in the name of the contractors of Muslim ummah. And if we recognize them sometimes, we don't speak [against them] fearing that they would feel bad, or we think that they might do anything to our family members, or if we are indulging in sacrilegious activities against our religion and desecrating our tradition? These kinds of confusion co-exist and we try to find out answers to such questions...
"They also create terror and panic among the masses, so that people should not question them and their leadership. In today's program, we will see how they tackle the traditional leadership. It is to be thought here that they have made a social place and have also taken over the religious leadership, but how do they tackle the traditional and continuing political leadership in the tribal areas, and how do they carve out places for themselves, and how do they take over a place?
"Before beginning our program I would like to introduce our guests. Nazish Brohi is with us in the studios; she has been doing research and is a social scientist. She has done much research on women's issues and has also written about them. She has a book about the impact on women during the MMA government and also the impact on our culture. He is Khadim Hussain; he is also a researcher and a professor at the Bahria University. There is an organization called AIRRA which has been keeping an eye on these things and keeps posting materials on internet and also keeps officials informed with their research-based materials. He has been its coordinator also... I would like to begin with you, Nazish.
"We have talked in our previous programs about how they build mosques and madrassas, and through that they try to acquire the religious leadership. Then they do some social work for which they get a little bit of social backing, and people think that they are doing good things. But leadership is a big affair – be it traditional tribal leadership or political leadership. How do they create a vacuum so that they could take that over? Please elaborate it a little bit."
Nazish Brohi: "If you look at the tribal culture or wherever there is a tribal system, you will find that there comes a kind of wave [of change], where the traditional leadership is challenged after a gap of some period. It is done because of how one could achieve a kind of status in the society. There are two methods of that in the tribal areas of Pakistan about which we are talking. One, you get into jirga and get your acceptance established. The second thing is that you challenge the power symbol. And the more powerful your power symbol, the more strength you get after defeating it. This is a general trend, whether the Taliban use it or not.
"There is one other thing with this Taliban or Pakistani Taliban, whatever name you give them, and that is the use of religion. I would say that a wave of challenge to the leadership is seen after every 15 or 20 years, and that is a common phenomenon in that community. As far as the Taliban are concerned, they do it in phases. It doesn't happen that they declare war one day and take over (Fouzia Saeed: Like it happened in the past that they conquered). They gradually do it, and along with it they keep establishing their credibility also. They challenge the political leaders on the latter stage. At first they make a place for themselves. As you have said in your previous programs that they make a markaz or a madrassa, but they do a kind of ground setting for them. It is not confined to tribal areas only; it is there throughout Pakistan."
Nazish Barohi: "When They Embark On Achieving Their Goals [To Acquire Social Position], They Help People On The Social Level, They Take A Nominal Fee [Or None]... In Madrassa; They Also Send Flour" To Widows And Orphans
Nazish Brohi: [continuing] "As you see in the '80s that along with our foreign policies with Afghanistan, a kind of social conservatism also spread (Fouzia Saeed: As they spread their norms according to their ideology). But I would like to say that these are not separate things, but they are linked together. Your political ambition doesn't get legitimacy until you create that atmosphere. When you spread conservatism or radicalism in the society in that way, only that endorses you and gives you an opportunity to take forward your political ambition on that basis. You would find this in this case.
"We have also found their particular steps. As you said that when they embark on achieving their goals they help people on the social level, they take a nominal fee or they don't take any fee in madrassa, they also send flour to some people (Fouzia Saeed: For widows and orphans. That is a very traditional way for creating their position). When they have established their position, then they work for their political interests because that [area] has already become a constituency for them. Often we come to hear that they are fighting against some class-based system. I would say that they don't fight against the class system, but instead they are making a new class system. For example, they had driven out those traditional feudalists, or those who had more than four dozen lands from Swat."
Fouzia Saeed: "How did they drive them out?"
Nazish Brohi: "They had a list in which they had perhaps 40-45 names, and that was their most wanted list (Fouzia Saeed: And they used a radio station for that). Half of them fled from there, and the rest were assassinated through targeted killings. Khadim Sahib would tell you more about this. They killed them or have threatened them, and also killed their family members. They created a vacuum [in community leadership] through this tactic. They did one more thing after driving them out: they asked those who worked in the fields to take the crops off their fields. In this way, we can say that on class level they gave some power and a kind of hope to the poor people.
"But on the other hand, they also create new classes, for example, women and minorities. We have seen that they tried to levy jizya [Islamic tax] in Bajaur or some other places (Fouzia Saeed: They also make a class on the basis of who is with them and who is not with them when they make their power base). Or you may take the example of performing artists. Music, song, and drums are part of tribal culture, and when you sideline them from the society [it creates a class division]; those whom we say are poor people, they also create a kind of gulf among them by patronizing one of them and going against others, and making them fight. They create the vacuum in the leadership from above and divide their followers into categories, and get them to fight against each other. And it also endorses their leadership, clarifying who are with them and who are not."
Khadim Hussain: "When They [The Taliban] Want To Acquire Power In Society, It Becomes Necessary To Do Away With All The Power Centers In The Society...; [By] 2008 They Had Killed About 480" Local Leaders
Fouzia Saeed: "You are saying that basically they use simple techniques to establish their position – either kill them or threaten them so that they take flight. We had presented a program on how they create terror. In fact, they create it before this stage because they know that people might react, and to avoid that [reaction] they hang a few people in the chowks [town centers] to have control over their reaction."
"Khadim Sahib, will you please tell us how they take over from the traditional leadership as Nazish said a few things about it?"
Khadim Hussain: "We have talked over it earlier also; it is the stage of ideological propagation. And then they seep into the society gradually, as you have said. The thing you are saying about the social and political leadership is that they do away with those people [the leadership]; it is the part of social control. When they want to have power in society, it becomes necessary to do away with all the power centers in the society. But I would like to add one more thing with this that they bring in an ideological shift in their ideological propagation which they first do to pave their way for social control. They then link and correlate that ideological shift with the international ideological shift. For example there is Jihad. They bring in a very basic change in the explanation of Jihad.
"For example, it is an accepted rule (according to Islamic rulings) that Jihad cannot be waged in [Islamic] Emirates but they bring in a shift in that and say that it can be done. The second thing is that if somewhere people are being oppressed, then Jihad can be waged by going there but if there is a Jihad announced by the state like the one in Palestine, then they will not go to fight there. They will fight the Palestinian wars in Swat, Orakzai and Waziristan (Fouzia Saeed: And these changes they make on their own?). I think those who come in the way of these changes, like the religious leadership, they have already dealt with them in the previous stages when they had entered into the social leadership.
"According to our research up to the beginning of 2008 they had killed about 480 people in FATA. Some of them have been killed during Jirga [meetings of elders). For example, Jirga is sitting to take a joint decision, there is an indication that there is a power structure present in the society (Fouzia: It is intact); the values are intact, norms are intact and judicial institutions are intact. It is very important to explode these judicial institutions and if it is not done so, then it would not be possible for the terrorists, or whom you call the Taliban, to establish any such institution."
Khadim Hussain: The Taliban "Describe The Rabab, A Musical Instrument, As An Evil Tool"
Khadim Hussain [continuing]: "You see that in Malakand division [Swat and neighboring districts] they killed some 270-280 social and political workers and leadership by 2009 in targeted killings. They have disturbed the settled atmosphere, including the government administration. This leadership was associated with the state bodies and also with social norms... and cultural aspects like cultural norms and performing arts of the society which Nazish mentioned (Fouzia Saeed: This was the tradition of that area and was a folk tradition). This folk tradition [of organizing jirgas] has been there for centuries and thousands of years but nobody thought of it bad ever or considered it against the tenets of Islam.
"They describe the rabab, a musical instrument, as an evil tool. What can we say about the TV; they also broke the pictures which were beaten together with the rabab. You could not have that cultural space unless you displace them from there. Therefore, it was thought necessary to keep the performing artists aside. You cannot destabilize the social institution unless you do away with the people associated with it, as you do with the social and political leadership. After doing away with them, they find the atmosphere quite clear for them; and up to this stage during the whole process the common people come to this conclusion that the state is not coming to their help, and perhaps they don't have the power to protest on their own (Fouzia Saeed: And they are terrified too)...
"Of course; they isolate them and don't let them meet each other, and they have already done away with the institutions where these people could have met. And after that there remains no hindrance for them to taking over control. It comes automatically to them. In my view, it is a very successful strategy which they have adopted to grab power in Swat, Malakand Division, and also in FATA. And now they are adopting it in Southern Punjab and interior areas also."
Nazish Barohi: The Taliban "Give Weapons To The People And Ask To Kill Anyone They Find Going Against Their Ideology; Fear Comes At Later Stage, But People Feel In The Beginning That They Are Being Empowered"
Nazish Barohi, social scientist and author
Fouzia Saeed: "And this pattern is seen [throughout the country]. Nazish, tell us because now the pattern is visible and it has come out in your research too; but people don't know much about that. They think as if they are killing only those who are enemies of Islam, as some time ago they announced that they are spies and that is why they are beheading them. Why doesn't this [message] go out that they are doing away with the traditional leadership; and it is not that they are only killing spies and the enemies of Islam, but they are creating a place for themselves? Why is such there misunderstanding among the people?"
Nazish Barohi: "In my view, what we were talking about – fear and terror – also comes after a phase. Unless the people accept them, there does not come any vacuum; and this fear and terror comes on later stages. Like Tank, Dera Ismail Khan or Dera Adam Khel, there were attacks on Jirgas which happened at a very later stage. What we are watching is that they are creating their position and are carrying out attacks on faraway towns and lands; and it is continuing from 2003. We see the change after 2006 and 2007, their internal policing starts at a very later stage. (Fouzia Saeed: And you say that ideological propagation and making the environment congenial becomes basis for them?)
"You see, people are empowered in a sense also, i.e. you make common people into militia by giving them weapons and telling them to safeguard themselves (Fouzia Saeed: And there is also a sense of belongingness with a mission. They tell you that you are a mujahid and you feel very happy about that). And you give weapons to the people and ask to kill anyone they find going against their ideology. Fear comes at later stage, but people feel in the beginning that they are being empowered."
Fouzia Saeed: "As Khadim Sahib said that they keep on grabbing social space because one can put up one's viewpoint only when there is a vacuum."
Khadim Hussain: "Yes, this is a process; they watch the society and its dynamics also. They don't take any crazy step but a very calculated step (Fouzia Saeed: Their methodology is very calculated)."
Nazish Barohi: "Actually, there are their grievances. And we must think over this, that the issues they take up are those issues which are very close to them."
Fouzia Saeed: "Once they take out their mask [then this happens]. As you have once mentioned that when they take over, they know that there would be reaction. You know that the people are with you but when you [they] start cutting their throats the people would not be with them. They create a kind of terror and fear in the society before doing that..."
Nazish Barohi: "They Keep On Creating Their Space; [The] State Or Other [Government] Institutions Keep Giving Them Space Too...; When They Abduct Someone And Then Set Conditions For His Release, Then The State Is Forced To Negotiate With Them"
Khadim Hussain: "I would like to give you a few examples in this regard. A father, whose son the Taliban wanted to take for their recruitment, told me himself that he was refusing to go with them; then they issued a fatwa in their courts to kill him. I am talking about Swat. His father is standing and his mother and uncle and maternal uncles all are standing there and two Taliban are taking away that boy and nobody makes even a sigh. The atmosphere of terror basically snatches the communication process of human beings (Fouzia Saeed: An atmosphere of helplessness).
"It should be acknowledged whatever resentments be; sometimes there are genuine resentments of people. For example, there is a person who has not heard his full name with his own ears and he has always been called by his half name only and when he hears his full name and that too with the addition of a respectable title 'Sahib' [Mr.] on FM radio station [you may guess] what would be his reaction to this social recognition?"
Fouzia Saeed: "Obviously, there would be a feeling of lots of honor. This is the way they took up things, and people who gave donations or supported them were acknowledged while others [who did not do so] were threatened too and were asked to leave the city by night. We have seen the impact of these [acknowledgements] and threats. As you said, first they make the atmosphere congenial for themselves and then they strike so that they could take the leadership on a large scale."
Nazish Barohi: "But you can see that this atmosphere is also provided to them. On one side, as you have seen, they keep on creating their space; and on the other state or other [government] institutions keep giving them space too because they keep backtracking [from their responsibility to prevent these groups]. You may see that there is a great role of kidnappings and abductions also. When they abduct someone and then set conditions for his release, then the state is forced to negotiate with them.
"You may find that the peace deal [with the Taliban] which was done in 2004-05 gave them much space. I think they started levying taxes after that. If they stop mass scale suicide attacks, then they come to kidnapping. And then the state says that it agrees to their conditions and with that they get more space because there are actors with which they can put their conditions and negotiate... Their mission of coming to the leadership gets completed."
Fouzia Saeed: "It gets completed. And the point you are making regarding yielding the space is very important because [common] people also do the same. Time and again we keep telling our viewers about the stages that such things are still happening in their surroundings. It is not only the story of Swat or Waziristan or Kandahar it is the story of Islamabad, Multan, Rahim Yar Khan, and also Karachi. We also find that these stages keep coming in those areas also. If a madrassa is being established in our locality which is getting expanded, as we have watched a story here in our program that a madrassa became a three-storied and four-storied building while the people around could not know about it, it is also related to this that we keep yielding the space."
Khadim Hussain: "Initially... [People's] Perception... Was That The State Itself Presented Them [i.e. The Taliban] As A Legitimized Force... As If It Has Acquired Them As Tool For Their Foreign Policies To Engage Them In The Fight Somewhere [e.g. In Afghanistan And Kashmir]"
Fouzia Saeed: "Masud Azhar Sahib [chief of militant organization Jaish-e-Muhammad] has been running his madrassa for many years in Southern Punjab. The patronage might have been taken back now; but they run it through the system of donation only; they levy proper taxes at that place. Now my state says that he has turned back but we see these things step by step."
Khadim Hussain: "We have collected people's perception regarding yielding the space of how they think about this process. Initially, their perception about them was that the state itself presented them as a legitimized force. According to their perception, the state presented them as if it has required them as tool for their foreign policies to engage them in the fight somewhere [e.g. in Afghanistan and Kashmir]... When it was happening, the governor of the NWFP [Owais Ahmed Ghani of North West Frontier Province, now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa] was publicly supporting the rising leadership of the militants or the Taliban at that time in FATA or other areas of Pakistan. And this is a well-known fact."
Fouzia Saeed: "That is why the confusion spread among people. They said that they considered them [the Taliban] good people, but wondered how come they have turned into bad people now. The confusion was because of this also that earlier they were legitimate and then they went out on their own path in pursuit of their dreams."
Khadim Hussain: "Now this question arises here as to why the people spared them when every house keeps guns there, in the area we are talking about, and the Taliban have also guns, they did not fight. There are a few things to be noted here. The first is that the state was very much lenient to them (Fouzia Saeed: which the people saw in the past) and people saw that state is very powerful and they cannot fight with it. The second thing is that they were trained and were running their training camps for a long time; they were properly organized like military and people were not organized properly; and if they opposed, they got beaten.
"The third thing is that they had delegitimized the people's protest religiously. So, the questions which would have been raised were not being raised – neither from media or intelligentsia nor from the thinking class of people. There was complete silence and because of that they kept on delegitimizing the protest. And they called them 'martyr' those who died from their side in those protests and they called them 'spies' or other things about those who died on the other side."
Fouzia Saeed: "This confusion has been continuing up to this time and some of the political leaders tried to create it intentionally. They still call them martyrs who explode bombs and some people call these people martyrs, and that is why there is so much confusion."
Khadim Hussain: "I want to ask why some of our religious scholars do not come forward openly. Why don't they declare targeted killing as haram? They want to justify that they are doing so because of this and that reason; and they are doing it because American troops are in Afghanistan (Fouzia Saeed: They created much misunderstanding). They keep saying that they are doing this because they have this problem and they are doing so because they have that issue. Then you are justifying those who have that kind of issue should start doing that."
Fouzia Saeed: "Viewers, we talked in our today's program that after they have gradually taken over the social and religious leadership, how they take over the whole area and how they deal with the traditional leadership. The things that came out from our discussion are: either they kill them [the traditional leadership] or force them to take flight; and for common people they create so much fear and terror that they cannot react. I don't want to say that the traditional leadership should come back so that the Taliban should not come. I think that the traditional leadership in itself was coming to that stage when it became easy for the Taliban to demolish it. However, we came to this conclusion that the Taliban follow, to a greater extent, their strategy to maintain their legitimacy in that community and by the time they shed their masks people have gone so much on the back foot that they cannot react..."
Slain Pakistani Cop's Mother: "I Am Happy At His Martyrdom; It Was The Will Of Allah; Maybe Allah Has Done Well For Us; Only A Few People Attain Martyrdom"
Fouzia Saeed: "Viewers, I'm Fouzia Saeed, with our program 'Who Are These People?' [The Taliban and other Islamists] have been wearing lots of masks and have hidden behind many veils, but through these programs we take off these veils one by one. So far we have talked about how they take a community hostage.... Ultimately they become their leaders and start negotiating with the government as their representatives... In today's program, we would look at the entire country, as we kept on watching a community [or a locality] in our previous programs. We will see how they negotiate and engage in networking in the country through which, perhaps, their goal is to take the whole country hostage and take its control; and how they create terror by exploding bombs at times here and at another there. In today's program, we will see how the poison gets spread.
"Before we begin our discussion on today's program, I would like to introduce you to our guests. First of all, Bahroz Khan Sahib, thank you for coming here; he is a senior journalist and has come from Peshawar. We present our analyses in this program as social analysts. Our second guest is Irfan Raza; he is a sociologist and has been working in the field of social development for 12 years, and he is also a social activist. We would discuss the topic, but before that we always present a short story to our viewers. This is either an incident or a story of a person who has been a victim of extremism and Talibanization.
"It is so because if there is a bomb explosion, you don't just keep quiet after asking how many people were killed. We don't want that it should remain just a news item. When we look into the life and story of every individual we find how much impact it has among the people, and how much have been the losses. So far, we have told many stories –some from Swabi, some form Mardan and some from Swat. But today we will talk about other areas. Viewers, we will tell you a story of Islamabad today. Let us watch."
Testimony By Slain Cop's Relatives
Narrator: "20 September 2008. Sometime after Iftar [the breaking of fast] on Ramadan 19, a dump truck tried to enter the Marriot Hotel, but the vigilant security personnel on duty tried to stop it through all available means. Meanwhile, the front portion of the truck caught fire. Muhammad Yaqub, Masudur Rahman, and other security personnel kept trying extinguishing the fire but – [footage of explosion, funeral, people weeping, ambulances, hospital, more people]. The flower of somebody's marriage garland was burned in the fire of tyranny, and the dream of an innocent person was thrown into the flames. Is there any remedy for the grief of the widow and mother of Masud, who brought up her four-year-old son alone?"
Masud's mother: "I am happy at his martyrdom but I have two types of regrets – one of his youthfulness, and second of my labor. It was the will of Allah. Maybe, Allah has done well for us. Only a few people attain martyrdom, but since we are weak at heart we cannot bear it [sobs]."
Masud's brother: "Those who are killed do not know why they were killed. And those who kill also don't know as why they are killing these innocent people."
Masud's mother: "We are poor people. I brought up my son with many difficulties, only I know. My heels have become Surma [powder] living this life. This has become a common trend – explosion, explosion, and explosion. But only those experience it, whose near and dear ones get killed. We can live in difficulties; we can wear bad clothes; we can eat ordinary meals; we don't need anything. We only need harmony; we want peace in the country.
"His [Masud's] son was born on January 2. He was born three months and 10 days after the death of his father. I used to pray to Allah to give birth to my son's heir. Allah accepted my prayers. We were happy also. When his child was born we were much pleased (sobs). But we cannot bear the grief of my son. There is no lack of anything; his father has left so much that he will not die of hunger, but the place of his father will not be filled."
Bahroz Khan: "Since They Could No Longer Train People In Afghanistan After The Fall Of The Taliban Government... And When Their Training Camps In Afghanistan Did Not Remain Active, Then They Came To Our Areas Of South Waziristan, North Waziristan, Bajaur And Swat"
Bahroz Khan, senior journalist from Peshawar
Fouzia Saeed: "After listening to such stories and watching such situations, we feel pain. When we watch news on TV or read it in newspapers, we find that there were bomb explosions at different places. We see it separately at times, and at times we say 'can't it stop?' But in today's program we would like to link these dots and try to see what kind of shape it takes, and what do we understand from all these things? Bahroz Sahib, I would like to ask you first: how is this networking done in your area?"
Bahroz Khan: "When a private militia is encouraged by the state, it becomes a state within the state (Fouzia Saeed: Then it becomes difficult to control it). It becomes difficult because you gave a task [to fight the Taliban], and with that you also gave the full authority, and they learned it. After that they make their own networks. There are Lahore-based organizations, and we are also listening about these organizations in Bahawalpur (Fouzia Saeed: It has spread very much in Southern Punjab) and other organizations. These organizations were used [during the 1980s] in Afghanistan, where they established their links.
"After the Taliban government fell in Afghanistan [in 2011], they had no work left there. Their bases could not remain there, so they shifted to our tribal areas in Swat and the Malakand division in which Swat, Shangla, Dir, Buner are included. There is an offshoot of Wahhabism which is called the Panjpeer (Panjpeer is small village in district Swabi) school of thought, and now they have developed links with other groups. For example, Maulana Sufi Muhammad was running his own organization [Tehreek-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi or TSNM] but when his son-in-law [Swat Taliban chief Maulana Fazlullah] came in, he had links with Waziristan and Bannu or Karachi too. Their networking is very strong. There is one other thing that they get proper funding."
Fouzia Saeed: "I would like to ask that people often ask that Sufi Muhammad had one organization and Fazlullah made another; why can't they be in one organization? All these small leaders make their organizations and then do the networking [with other militant organizations]? How does it happen?"
Bahroz Khan: "When Sufi Muhammad led 10,000-12,000 tribesmen with spades and axes and old guns to Afghanistan [to fight against the U.S. forces after 9/11] and got them killed there, he was jailed for that. His incomplete mission was to be completed in one or the other way. His son-in-law had gone to Afghanistan at that time, but he had no importance at that time (Fouzia Saeed: He had not become a full-fledged leader at that time). When Maulana Sufi [Muhammad] was put behind bars he [Fazlullah] started an FM radio in Swat. As you said, they started consolidating their social position. In the beginning he collected donations from people and used to urge people to destroy their TV and other electronic gadgets. When they got power, they got it done forcefully."
Fouzia Saeed: "Fazlullah and Sufi Muhammad, both of them belonged to Swat, but our research says that when they came back from Afghanistan, there were teachers with them who also properly trained them for terrorism and in making bomb. Is this true?"
Bahroz Khan: "This is absolutely true, because since they could no longer train people any more in Afghanistan after the fall of Taliban government... and when their training camps in Afghanistan did not remain active, then they came to our areas of South Waziristan, North Waziristan, Bajaur and Swat. There is the area of Gat Peuchar in the upper Swat valley which has been under their occupation since 1990 (Fouzia Saeed: They had their training centers there). They had vigorous training; they made tunnels, caves, and set up an underground network there. When the Pakistani government became a warrantor and became a partner [with the U.S.] in the Afghanistan war, then they started the same war against Pakistan and people got to know that they have their strong presence here also."
Irfan Raza: "[In Central Punjab] This Process Started After 1985; Within No Time, Big Madrassas With The Capacity Of 10,000-15,000 Residential Students Suddenly Came Into Being Before Our Eyes; They [Militant Groups] Have Built Madrassas With 20-30 Foot Boundary Walls"
Irfan Raza, sociologist and social activist
Fouzia Saeed: "In my view, it is a very vital point because most of the people do not come to know about what is happening around them unless the situation slips from our control.
"Irfan, since you belong to DG Khan [Dera Ghazi Khan in Punjab province], please brief us a little bit about the situation there, because the people there are not aware of what is happening around them. We have been talking much about north and frontier areas; please tell us about DG Khan."
Irfan Raza: "There is no history of the spread of this poison. The Saraiki belt of Punjab – the areas of the central part of Pakistan where people speak Saraiki language – and in which Dera Ghazi Khan Division, Bahawalpur Division and Multan Division come; this process started after 1985. And within no time big madrassas with the capacity of 10,000-15,000 residential students suddenly came into being before our eyes in the surrounding areas of our cities. They [militant groups] have built madrassas with 20-30 foot boundary walls with barbed wire, after acquiring 12 to 14 acres of lands. These madrassas were kept guarded, and security guards were deployed there with banned weapons.
"The important thing is that the Saraiki area is a very cultured area. They have a very rich culture. They celebrate Baisakhi [spring festival by peasants] and other fairs, and people participate in those fairs and exhibitions and discuss things (Fouzia Saeed: It means that it was not very suitable for extremism, if seen historically). When the Salafi school of thought of Wahhabism penetrated the area and made its place there, then we suddenly came to know that petty maulanas [clerics] from the backward areas of Dera Ghazi Khan started suddenly moving in land cruisers. And people suddenly saw big construction there, and they said that donations are being collected in the name of Allah. There is a mosque in the heart of the Dera Ghazi Khan city, which is in the middle of Liaqat Khan Bazaar. That mosque was occupied and there is the situation now that people of the Salafi school of thought say their prayers 15 minutes before the people of Ahl-e-Sunnat in that mosque."
Fouzia Saeed: "Are the people watching these things? I have this opinion that people notice these things, but they don't visualize as to what sort of storm it would bring."
Irfan Raza: "If I talk about the city of Dera Ghazi Khan, in the settled or urban area of the city there would not be even one percent children who are getting education in these madrassas. All these children who reside there are brought from rural areas. They have big buses for that. Big congregations are organized here in accordance with the culture in vogue in that area, and they carry out their propagation. These congregations are organized on such a big scale that 10 to 15 lakh [one lakh equivalent to 100,000 Rupees] are spent in one night; there is the congregation of Dastar Bandi (convocation), end of Qadianiat, and there is the conference of Khatm-e-Nabuwwat and safeguard of the Prophethood."
Bahroz Khan: "The Taliban Openly Recognized the [Islamist] Chechen Government... Although The World Did Not... Then They Attained A Kind Of Legitimacy There"
Fouzia Saeed: "I would like to ask you, Bahroz Sahib; We have talked how these organizations are networking on the national level. There is Afghanistan, and I would like to go to international levels as to how these people are connected to other countries."
Bahroz Khan: "The international networking [by militants] began developing from Afghanistan. Now the Americans have openly written about it; there is a book, Charlie Wilson's War; it has revealed that criminals from the Arab countries were given a sort of amnesty that if they go and fight in Afghanistan, they would be allowed to marry also. These criminals were brought from there and were given training... This made a kind of networking. Then people from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan came there (Fouzia Saeed: And the people from Chechnya...) and Afghanistan became a kind of center of these people. The Taliban openly recognized the [Islamist] Chechen government; although the world did not do so, they did. Then they got a kind of legitimacy there.
"When their positions did not remain the way they used to be [before 9/11], then they came to our country. All these people are present there in our tribal belt along the Afghan border in some or the other shape. Their networks are still intact. They carry out their activities on both the sides of the border."
Fouzia Saeed: "Irfan Sahib, please tell us with regard to India also that there is a kind of misunderstanding that somebody went out from here and came back after carrying out some activities, as we are not ready to believe that somebody came from Afghanistan and carried out their activities in Pakistan. There are some like-minded organizations in India also, with which they have some networking. We have talked about other countries also. Please give your opinion on it."
Irfan Raza: "If you look at the level of Dera Ghazi Khan or Southern Punjab, you will find that there are organizations like the World Islamic Mission, International Jamiat and Force or International Organization for the Safeguard of Khatm-e-Nabuwwat against Qadianiat. There are also big madrassas, which is a kind of state within the state, and there is a kind of myth among the people that people from all over the country and world come there [to the madrassas in Pakistan] and spend their time, or they hide there after doing criminal activities.
"But there occurred a recent incident at Chaman, which is the border of the frontier with Afghanistan and which connects Dera Ghazi Khan with Karakoram Range. The police arrested a wagon in which there were 12 people and the police told the media that all of them were non-resident Pakistanis, including some Uzbeks. The second day there came a statement from the district government or the local administration that yes, they were foreigners, and some of them were Uzbeks and while some others were Chechens and of other [nationalities], but they had the complete travel papers with valid visas. But there arises a question that we don't have any visa centre at the Chaman border, or that is not any entry point from where you would allow them and stamp them to enter into Pakistan."
Fouzia Saeed: "That means the people have now started noticing the arrival of foreigners, but earlier there was a lot of silence, but now they are also being arrested?"
Irfan Raza: "Now people raise questions formally when they see the big banners in which it is written that certain alim (Islamic scholar) from Indonesia would visit and certain alim from Saudi Arabia would address the convocation conference or some khateeb [one who delivers khutba or sermon] of some big mosque would come. Now people ask as to why they are doing so."
Fouzia Saeed: "Thank you very much for your opinion. Viewers, we were discussing how the poison which is prepared at a place gets spread. We watched the story of a community, about how it was taken hostage. Today we talked about how these people want to make this country and the whole world their hostage. They cannot do so, but it is necessary for us to understand their target and recognize them. We talked how they bring together the people of their thinking and mindset. We also talked how their connections are made on a national level. The news of the bomb explosion, which we watch on television, at times takes place in Lahore and at times in Karachi, Khyber Bazaar, and at times it happens at the UN office in Islamabad.
"We have tried to link these points and found that it is not so that the Taliban have come from Afghanistan and settled in our northern areas and are doing terrorism there only, but there are many organizations there in the country which have the same mindset and they are getting connected. And through these bomb explosions people are being terrorized in the same way as we have said in our programs, that people are terrorized within a community through harsh punishment, or the whole country. The way their attacks are being defused through the courage of our people and through operations..."
Faryal Gauhar, actress and filmmaker
Fouzia Saeed: "The Taliban Have Targeted Women Prominently Throughout Their Ideological Campaign To Take Over The Traditional Leadership"
Fouzia Saeed: "Viewers, who are these people who burn girls' schools? Who are these people who ask the women not to go out of their homes? Who are the people who do not let the poor women earn their livelihood and who are the people who say that na-mahram [the one with whom Islam has allowed marriage] should not look at you? Are these not the same people who lash women by taking them to the markets or those from where we recover unethical films? Who are they and what do they want from the women? We would try to find the answer to these questions in today's program.
"I would like to introduce you with our guests. Here is Faryal Gauhar, who is a well-known personality; she is an actress, a film maker. She made documentaries and her Tibbi Gali [a tele-film on the lives of outcasts and sex workers] that has been very popular. She has written two novels and her second novel was New Space for Further Burials, which has the context of Afghanistan. She did the research, wrote it and also produced it. Our second guest is Nazish Barohi; she is a women's rights and social activist; she has been doing research and is a social scientist. She has done much research on women's issues and has also written about them. She has a book in which she has written about the impact on women during the MMA government.
"Faryal, I would like to start with you. We have seen that the Taliban have targeted women prominently throughout their ideological campaign to take over the traditional leadership, and there was a prominent role of women when they created terror and gave punishment. What kind of system did they want to implement or what is the role of women in that?"
Faryal Gauhar: "Fouzia, wherever the woman is and particularly under the patriarchal system, woman is the weakest section and comes last in the stratification of society. Women belong to the powerless division of society or those whose voices have been taken from them. Using them or thrusting something on them or oppressing them or hoping that they would endure everything silently, this is not the system of the Taliban alone. You would find it all over the world and in the history. [And it happens] especially in the war or civil war as it happened in Afghanistan and in some parts of our country. Since you two are social scientists I think you can put it in a better way. I'm a political economist. So far as my research goes my concern is towards the whole society and it has not been limited to the productive or reproductive role of the women only. The Taliban is a new phenomenon but the patriarchal system has been there for long time in our country and the south Asian countries, which we call developing countries."
Fouzia Saeed: "You have rightly said about the patriarchal society but a kind of tradition was also established to make your women wear the traditional dress though you may change your dress code."
Faryal Gauhar: "Women have always been taken as a cultural signifier in the history and in all the regions. But it becomes a little bit complex in our society when we try to isolate it or want to see it while analyzing the Taliban. If you look at the genesis of it and if you find its roots strong then it is surprising for me to find the sudden brouhaha over it after the coming of the Taliban. We have been doing the struggle against the patriarchal society for the past 62 years in the state of Pakistan but now it has come to fore for the first time as to really what is happening with Pakistan."
Nazish Barohi: "The Tribal People Say That Carrying Guns Is Their Culture – And When They Kill Another Person With That Gun, We Say That It is Their Culture, And When They Kill the State [e.g. Soldiers] We Say That It Is Terrorism"
Fouzia Saeed: "It has not come fully yet. Nazish, I would like to let us know what impact is being made on our ideology on the whole although people were enraged on some of the incidents of punishment to women by the Taliban."
Nazish Barohi: "I would like to begin with this, that we find the patriarchal system in Pakistan similar to other countries. But there is a politics behind every issue, the politics of recognition. When doesn't a matter become an issue for us? As she [Faryal] has said that its roots are there in our culture and heritage, there is something that comes through religion and culture. There are lots of things that are left behind and there are others which are carried forward. Then [it is to be seen] who are taking decisions for them and whose interests are being served by those things."
Fouzia Saeed: "Please give some examples, so that things are a little bit clear."
Nazish Barohi: "As people [clerics] often give example, that you invite a country to Islam and if it does not accept your invitation then go and conquer it. But no one is going there for that. Why don't you write to the U.S. that you are going to conquer them? Similarly, they say about slavery. But there is no slavery... They are not realistic. Which are those things which have allowed the things to continue till date? It has to be given due attention. As you have mentioned a little bit in your program about the harsh and brutal punishment and we had seen on TV that a woman was scourged...
"We have also heard from some journalists that they are not allowed to go to some tribal areas [where these things happen] for there is security threat. Let us see in the areas of Jacobabad in Sindh province where there is high concentration of the Karo kari [honor killing] incidents, and there is also no security advisory why don't you go there. If you look at the statistics of the Aurat Foundation, you would find that maximum violence against women is being done in central Punjab. There is no problem there..."
"The tribal people say that carrying a gun is their culture, and when they kill another person with that gun, we say that it is their culture, and when they kill the state [e.g. soldiers], we say that it is terrorism. A thing was being endorsed in the culture. Even now, when we go to those areas we find that our state has this position that foreigners [non-Pakistani militants] should be expelled from those places because Uzbeks and Chechens are being patronized there. For example, we are going there where arms are being raised against the state. We are still not saying that the rights of women are being thwarted or whether it was there at all? There is no system of adult franchise in the whole area [northern region] but we are not still talking about the basic rights which are being either given by our constitution or by the human rights. I think about why are we going in those areas and on what basis are we going to intervene in those areas should also be taken into account."
Nazish Barohi: The Taliban "Also Keep Women Engaged... We Have Seen On Radio Programs In Swat That They Had Special Hours And Programs For Women"
Fouzia Saeed: "What I gathered from both of you is that the women's issue is a bigger issue and it is not the issue related to this topic only. So, we have to look at the bigger context, only then we will be able to understand this in smaller context [such as the Taliban's directives against women]. I would like to ask you Nazish before I go to Faryal that when the incident of [the Taliban's] flogging of Chand Bibi happened and the video was shown, there was a big reaction against that and the Supreme Court took the suo motu action but it was taken back later, maybe because of this reason that it would create more problem for women. But there was a huge reaction against that [i.e. the flogging].
"There was a reaction about what happened was wrong, but there was another reaction which said that the video was false. Common people are saying this. You saw people being butchered and you saw the cutting of throat with a saw on YouTube; you never said that it was false, but when an issue of a woman was raised by people, I would say that there was much counterreaction against that. Will you tell the reason behind that?"
Nazish Barohi: "The case of Chand Bibi [a Swat girl given 34 lashes by the Taliban, in an incident captured on video] was highly controversial because it came on media. When violence against women is done on public space in Pakistan, then only we come to see it. As the incident with Mukhtar Mai [a victim of a gang-rape ordered by local council in Pakistan] happened in a closed room (Fouzia Saeed: Or FIR was lodged) or the incident that took place in Baluchistan. Then it comes into public notice. The incidents that happen in private space, we don't come to know about them. Since we don't see it, then we find such types of excuses to give this judgment that things were fine here earlier, like before 2005 or 2000, whatever cut-off mark you take. We don't get to see the violence against women in peacetime and it is important that they should come into our notice for they are the indicators. That is to say women are used as a signboard in the community. That is when you want to send a message into an area or a tribe or a society you use them as you make use of media for the body of a women is used like a sign post... if a woman is paraded in the market or something being written on their clothes is also a sign and videos of these things are also there.
"But when the Taliban did it, they crossed a limit. But we have to see it also that they also keep women engaged; they keep a sort of contact with them. We have seen on radio programs in Swat that they had special hours and programs for women (Fouzia Saeed: And their issues were dealt with). They used to do so that if a husband does not give the daily expenses then they used to issue a fatwa [Islamic decree] on that. They properly engage women and women have real problems and want their solution. If they thought that their issues would be solved through them only, then they tried to go their side. But with that we have also seen that when they [Taliban] establish their position in the community through these means, then they make a change in their strategy (Fouzia Saeed: Make a turnaround) and there comes internal persecution..."
Faryal Gauhar: "There Are Taliban In Our Homes, In Our Minds, And In Our Hearts... They Are The Offspring Of Mullah Omar, But We Have Had Our Taliban For Centuries"
Fouzia Saeed: "Where there comes the issue of women, there comes religion – whether it comes in other issues or not. If it is about your clothing, it would come there. Religion would not come in men's garb. It happens in our [country] also that if there comes any family issue in the assembly, it is directed to the religious affairs instead of sending it to committees of women's issues. We keep maintaining this position on women issues and the Taliban have also used it very much. When there is a debate or discussion on women's issues in the media they think it necessary to bring in a maulvi on their issues. You can bring in any man or the government against the women (Faryal Gauhar: Maulvis are also men). But as a man, anybody could be brought before a woman and it is not necessary to bring a man with a religious identity. As there are two aspects of things it is not necessary to put the religious aspect only when it comes to the women's issue. Will you tell us about this link on the basis of your study of that culture?"
Faryal Gauhar: "There is a simple way to resolve the issue which is not being solved before you or you are pushing it backward so that you need not find any solution. As you were saying about the religious aspect with women's issues, there is no threat to Islam if a man is roaming around in pants, coat and tie, or underwear, but if a woman has her hair cut and if she is also smoking, then Islam is seen as endangered. If a man is smoking hemp extract and has come after murdering someone and had done theft and dacoitee then there is no harm in those things, as if they are legal in Islam or Islamic rules do not apply to them. I think it is really simple.
"As I have said earlier, the Taliban is a phenomenon which has come out of a particular soil and context. There are Taliban in our houses, in our minds and in our hearts and they have been sitting for long. These Taliban are the offspring of Mullah Omar but we have our Taliban for centuries. This is the truth, Fouzia, let us not kid ourselves. We consider ourselves enlightened and educated and we have also taken our education in the West but do we give our daughters this freedom, which is her right in the religion, to choose her husband? She has got this right to get education up to the level she wants. She has the right to make these choices enshrined and codified in the religion. But there is no mention of religion anywhere. (Fouzia Saeed: Or evidence is not taken from there).
"The debate for me is not only the debate of political economy; the debate for me is that this is a very hypocrite nation. Today they suddenly find the Taliban as their enemies and four months ago they were their associates. Do you know when the ANP government had signed this pact of Nizam-e-Adl [shari'a-for peace pact permitting the Taliban to enforce Islamic shari'a] on 15 or 16 February in the Jirga the only women cabinet minister of the ANP cabinet was picked up by arms and escorted out of the hall by two men in beard? She was not allowed. I met the ANP leaders and the ministers in the ANP government and I asked them where the secularism of Bacha Khan had gone, and now you are making decisions with them [the Taliban] over a cup of tea, where is no voice of women."
Fouzia Saeed: "As Far As Women Are Concerned, We Have To Look To The Taliban Living Within Ourselves – Which Doesn't Wear Long Beards And Turbans"
Nazish Barohi: "The non-religious organizations also take forward this discourse."
Fouzia Saeed: "There too people have entered. We have talked here that this is there in media, political parties and bureaucracy."
Faryal Gauhar: "It goes towards the conspiracy theory then. It is not that people have entered there are people. Their thinking is that women are inferior and should be curbed. They are so afraid of women that they had to keep them in a kind of detention, under the limitation of chador [veil] and chardiwari [boundary walls]. If they are left [free], there would be upheaval."
Nazish Barohi: "It is a part of give and take. You had said why religion comes whenever there comes the issue of women. It is based on a kind of give and take, negotiation and trade-off. They say that on women's issues we have listened to the ideas of these people, but regarding the army operation [against the Taliban] in the tribal areas we are not going to listen to the Jamaat-e-Islami at all. But we would listen to what Jamaat-e-Islami has to say regarding what could be the dress of women, their behavior and their mode of interaction, because they have been given their quota."
Fouzia Saeed: "There are no women in the two parties about which you are talking regarding give and take? As you were talking about the give and take, it looked as if women are a party but here women are only a subject.
"We had started with this: that on the one hand you promote women with honor and also imprison them through that only; and on the other you show the contradictory behavior because you dishonor the things you yourself consider as honor. What are these contradictions? I would like to present a brief summary of our talks to our viewers. One thing is that when we look at women in the context of extremists and militants, we cannot confine the women's issue to that context only. We have to watch the whole culture and civilization. We agreed that the way the Taliban or terrorist groups used religion they also used the exploitation of women in the similar vein because it was easy to convince the majority. It is easiest to curb women whenever they use the whip of religion or culture as Faryal and Nazish both said that it becomes easy to lash the weaker section and poor people. In that way they were used. But we have to look towards the misunderstandings which have their roots so widespread and deep into our society that we sometimes cannot see them. As far as women are concerned we have to look to the Taliban living within ourselves, which does not wear long beards and turbans. We have to understand them, and only then will we be able to fight against the tragedy that is before us..."
"We Gave Them All Our Money And Gold – And Then They Said That Men Should Not Shave; And Then They Started Putting Bans On Women; Then They Gradually Started Their Activities Against the Government"
Abdul Mannan, local resident
Fouzia Saeed: "Viewers, we have been saying this through our series of program that the Taliban or terrorists take full control of the community step by step. You don't come to know when the water has risen above your heads. We have seen this process very minutely and have studied it at length and we found that they start with a mosque, a madrassa which grows into markaz. They create their legitimacy. They grow there not only physically but ideologically also and they create a kind of orthodox environment there which welcomes their arrival there. The people start to react only when they make a change and start terrorizing and thrusting their ideology on them. We have seen that people have reacted differently at different stages.
"And today's program will focus on how it becomes very difficult to counter them when they have already started terrorizing people through brutal punishment and bomb explosions. But there are some people who have been resolute from the very beginning against them and who are still standing bravely against them. They don't care if they get punished for that. They think it necessary for themselves not to leave their ground. We would see in today's program as how people reacted at different stages and where the Pakistani nation stands today as we are not talking about a particular area but for the whole country.
"Before we start our discussion, I would like to introduce you with our guests. First of all meet Abdul Hai, who originally belongs to Quetta [capital of Baluchistan province], but he is based in Peshawar and is a journalist. Dr. Shoaib Ahmed has also been doing research on this topic for a long time. His focus has been more on rehabilitation in past two years. Viewers, as you know we tell you a story or show you something in our program and then we go towards discussion. Since we are discussing the reaction of the people it is better if we listen to some of their views."
1st Testimony, from Abdul Mannan: "When the Taliban came here, they said at first that they would build a madrassa here. Your children will get education and people would say their prayers, they said. That is why we supported them. We gave them all of our money and gold. And then they said that men should not shave. And then they started putting bans on women and issued orders that women should not leave their houses without the veil. Then they gradually started their activities against the government. Then they started damaging buildings of schools, colleges and government offices. After that we all went against them. When the army started operation against the Taliban, we supported the army fully."
2nd Testimony, from Asmatullah: "I am a resident of Gali Gram. My name is Asmatullah. There are no Taliban here now and neither there is any support to them. Our area has become peaceful. There was no support to them above the area of Saidu Sharif [capital of former Swat state] and no one gave them any donation. Our people remained peaceful. Allah willing we will fully support the army. The army has saved us from the oppression of the Taliban and now we cannot bear the presence of Taliban in this area."
Abdul Hai: In Waziristan "Around 500 Elders Were Killed [By Taliban], And That Created A Vacuum And The Taliban Penetrated There; The Tribal Communities There Either Surrendered With Their Elders Or Kept Silent"
Abdul Hai, journalist
Fouzia Saeed: "Abdul Hai Sahib, you two watched these views, that there is a kind of resentment and rage among the people. There is a kind of grief also. The reactions are very mixed. There is much emotion. Earlier, we came to listen to such incidents in months and we have seen the whole incident in Swat. Now, we feel a kind of fear in turning on to the television for the incidents are happening on hourly basis. This is getting increased and is spreading from one place to other areas of the country.
"People at first became very close to them and had a very sympathetic attitude, befriended them, became their activists – but then we also saw terror [growing] gradually. Will you tell us in short as to what was the reaction of people in those communities which were directly affected?"
Abdul Hai: "Well, I would like to divide it in two parts. Militancy is there in Malakand division, as also in the adjoining Bajaur Agency and Mohmand Agency. There is another part which consists of North and South Waziristan, Kurram and Orakzai or other settled adjoining areas. [The form of militancy] is different [in these two areas]. Take the Malakand Division and Bajaur Agency jointly for the communities that have been there were with the Taliban some time ago (Fouzia Saeed: There was much support in the beginning). Of course, but then the Taliban started punishing people, cutting their throats, and started targeting liberal and literate people who could have opposed them. Their demand for a shari'a court was also accepted [by the government]. Even after these things, when they continued thrusting their ideology on the people then there was an opposition in that area. You will not find support for the Taliban in the community in large numbers.
"There has been this understanding in the people of both Upper and Lower Dir [district] from the very beginning and because of that they kept them at bay. They made lashkar [anti-Taliban militia] and jirga and never allowed them to enter that area in comparison to other areas. So far as I know Buner, I have found that people are 100 percent against them there but they have been trapped (Fouzia Saeed: The people of Buner fought them to a greater extent). They did compete but in the end they could not fight because there arose a controversy that the commissioner of Malakand Division, who was detained and now has been released, has succeeded in controlling them (Fouzia Saeed: They were of the opinion that he has reined in them but when he was allowed to go then the takeover took place. You are right in a way).
"There were 300 people; the [tribal] himself talked to me and talked to the media. He said that they were resolute till the end and they were terrified only when the commissioner told him on phone that the Taliban were in great numbers and that they could not be able to fight them. The Taliban came in only when they had retreated. This is the one picture.
"In North and South Waziristan, those who could resist continued resisting in the beginning, 2004 and 2005. (Fouzia Saeed: the Taliban had great mobility there earlier). Yes, when the Taliban came there was a pressure from the state and the West and the U.S. to finish them. There was some resistance from the state administration through the tribal courts. But around 500 elders were killed and that created a vacuum and the Taliban penetrated there. The tribal communities there either surrendered with their elders or kept silent or a large number of families [migrated and] could be found in Peshawar, Dera Ismail Khan, Karachi and Abottabad. Now, the Taliban are there and people are to some extent in comfort in Malakand Division because the Taliban do not interfere in people's affairs now."
Abdul Hai: "[People's Perception is That] Jihad can Serve the Strategic Interest of Pakistan; The Second Perception is That Pakistan Supports America Only For The Money; This Perception Indirectly Strengthened Militancy in the Region"
Fouzia Saeed: "Our people have returned to Swat in large numbers, and business business has been restored to some extent. When I went there I found a little bit of resentment in the people but I have also seen a kind of enthusiasm in them that they want to reestablish themselves. What is your opinion in this regard?"
Dr. Shoaib Ahmed: "Let me first add a few things to this, then I will come to Swat because Dr. Sahib has described it comprehensively. Leaving Swat alone, there occurred a few sporadic incidents in which GHQ [the General Headquarters of Pakistan Army in Rawalpindi] in October 2009] was also targeted; or as we have seen in Punjab in the past few weeks a kind of thinking has developed in the community. Since I have direct interaction with the youth and I remain with them for weeks I have seen that there has come a kind of unity among people similar to that was forged at national level after the earthquake [in 2005]. It may not be good news for the Taliban but I have found it. If you look at the media reports on the incident of Manawa [police training center in Lahore attacked in March 2009] you will find that the common people were asking the troopers how they could be of any help to them (Fouzia Saeed: The way they came out with flowers. We have seen it in Islamabad also that people show a kind of unity when this kind of things happen.)
"Similarly, you will find it happening on a few occasions that people came out after the attack on Sri Lankan team in Lahore and they put up pictures of the martyred people and expressed their tributes. In the GHQ attack too, people paid their tribute to the people who shed their blood for the country. This sentiment and this thinking have become important for the nation once again. I'm very confident and am feeling a kind of solace that the Pakistani people (by the Grace of Allah) are once again united against those who had the agenda to weaken it."
Fouzia Saeed: "I am happy to listen to this optimism. I also work with the youth and there were many youth among them who expressed their views. But despite all these, my question is that the way this nation should have strongly reacted against the killings in large numbers that did not come as was my expectation and the expectation of many other people. Loss of life is the last thing but the killing of so many innocent people [is uncalled for]."
Abdul Hai: "I think that this perception is there; it is not only in the people but it is also in the institutions and among policy makers and those who adopt these policies that the Taliban and government or establishment is one. And for that [perception] there are some instances and also some confusion (Fouzia Saeed: And confusions are created also). Yes, and if you look on all these things, then the people take them to be one.
"There are two reasons for this. One, Jihad can serve the strategic interest of Pakistan in the region in a better way. The second perception is that Pakistan supports America only for getting money. In my view, this perception strengthened militancy in the region indirectly."
Dr. Shoaib Ahmed, researcher
Fouzia Saeed: "[Taliban's Terrorism] Used to Be In The Streets And Lanes – But Now It Has Come To Homes; They Knock At The Door And Ask Whether There Is Any Daughter You Want To Marry Off"
Shoaib Ahmed: "I will also add to this that our media and our political leaders have their role also. This war is no longer like any conventional war. It has become a very non-conventional war. If you look at the history of Vietnam where the U.S. itself confessed that the situation would have been different had they fought with them coming into the battlefield? It is right to hold the government, political leaders and media responsible but I find people more responsible (Fouzia Saeed: We should also hold the extremists responsible). No, they are there but they are on the other side.
"But this conventional approach has to be changed. We have to convert the long-term plan into a short-term one and we have to see it that every individual stands up against them. This has come to the streets and lanes (Fouzia Saeed: It used to be in the streets and lanes, but now it has come to homes; they knock at the door and ask whether there is any daughter you want to marry off. It has gotten to this point...)
"Absolutely; that is why I would appeal to the people to change their individual thinking and unite on this front. And every individual has to take it as a responsibility. I am pained to look at this that a terrorist is escaping in a lane leaving his guns and people make his videos with their mobiles but no one tries to stop him by hitting him with a stone so that the security forces could come and capture him. People have come to this extent that they switch on the television to know the score of the death tolls in certain explosion. Everyone tries to confirm the numbers of the people killed. On the contrary, people should think individually that the fire that is there in the neighbor's could come to their homes also."
Fouzia Saeed: "Now this fire has come inside our houses. It is not away from us anymore. You have been in the UK and you have come very recently. You have been doing research on this [terrorism] there also. I would like to know a little bit about our Pakistani brethren living in foreign countries because I was surprised to find their communication on internet. I have seen that there were campaigns on this but the students at a prestigious university, I have seen, had very orthodox views on this. They said that they would raise the funds for the IDPs [internally displaced persons, or refuges as a result of anti-Taliban Pakistani military operation] but they would not intervene in the rest of the political agenda. They were not calling the Taliban bad and I was surprised to see that. Please tell me something on this; Shoaib Sahib first."
Abdul Hai: "[Pakistanis] Who Have Settled... [In The UK] Or Were Born And Brought Up There Are More Tilted Towards Extremism; If You Come To Know The Cause Of This, You Will Find That It Is Linked With The Issue Of Their Identity There"
Shoaib Ahmed: "I have seen two groups among the students or the Pakistani community settled in abroad. Kakar Sahib would tell you more about the settled community. Those who went from here hold different views. I myself went there for a post-doctorate degree and I have been a student myself there so I too have much experiences and I have direct interactions with them. (Fouzia Saeed: They are more concerned for the country [Pakistan].) They are more concerned because of their position there.
"You must have seen what happened in Manchester when 11 of them were picked up by their [British] agencies and they were investigated. They could not find any clear link except a few cases. So, our common students in foreign countries are much concerned. They go there with this view that they are going to a liberal country where they will have all their democratic rights and if they feel a kind of suffocation in that community, then it will be a bit difficult for them..."
Fouzia Saeed: "Please tell me in short as to what is their reaction, of those who are settled there [in the UK]?"
Abdul Hai: "So far as my experience is concerned, as I have been there and also kept interacting with the people, those who are settled there or have been born and brought up there are more tilted towards extremism. If you come to know the cause of this, you will find that it is linked with the issue of their identity there. Their parents are traditionally Pakistani and there is gap between them and their parents for the reason that they have been brought up there. The second thing is that they have a kind of gap with the culture they have gone to. Basically they live between the two vacuums. Neither they are being accepted [in the UK] nor do they have an understanding with them. So, it is a question of identity."
Fouzia Saeed: The Whole Country Is Adopting A Kind Of Self-Censorship On Themselves, As People Are Leaving Music On Their Own, Or Women Are Not Coming Out Of Their Homes As They Used To"
Fouzia Saeed: "I want to know the long term strategy. We have said that the people were afraid of them or were happy with them or were in anger or confronted bravely but this was the instant reaction. But there is a reaction from the whole community in which we find conservatism, self-censorship; people have forsaken music or have started growing beards the same way. Please tell us in brief about that."
Shoaib Ahmed: "You will find a mixed trend towards conservatism. There is a large section of people in the community who are fed up with traditional ways. I was asked a question during my final presentation in the UK: 'Are you conservative Muslim or a modern Muslim?' I replied that I'm here in your country and I have got the similar education as you have; I can speak the way you speak; I can dress up as you dress up; do you think that I have come from a cave or live in caves...?"
Fouzia Saeed: "We see the long-term reaction that people are going towards conservatism gradually by themselves. Either they are directly being persecuted or not but the whole country [Pakistan] is adopting a kind of self-censorship on themselves as people are leaving music on their own or women are not coming out of their homes as they used to do. It looks like they are doing it out of fear. Please give your views on it."
Abdul Hai: "I would agree to it for we live here and are grown up now so we can sense how much conservatism has increased. I have interactions with the people and have found that it is not necessary for the people to become militants or extremists through mixing with the Taliban. In the long term I see that you have to deconstruct the whole discourse even if you have freed the people from the Taliban (Fouzia Saeed: The ideology has spread much more beyond our speculation).
"I think that we are doing away with militancy in pockets. If we finish it [terrorism/Taliban] in Swat it would raise its head in Bajaur and if it is done away with in Bajaur then it would come in Sargodha. So, you have to address the whole discourse, be it political, religious or constitutional, conceptually. Otherwise in the long term there would be some movement in the name of muezzin [caller for prayers] or there would be some imam [prayer leader] movement. Only name would be changed, the thinking and ideology would be the same."
Fouzia Saeed: "However, we have time constraints; otherwise I wanted to talk more about this topic. Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to sum it up. So far as the people's reactions are concerned, we saw that people gave their support initially in those areas where the Taliban directly went and took over. There are people who get afraid of them and there are a few who remain resolute against them. Leave those areas which came under their direct invasion. If you see on the whole [i.e. the areas not under their control] you find that there is a kind of complacency; people say mind your business and keep quite. May be this is there because of fear, non-relatedness or unawareness but in any case when it comes to peace and existence of Pakistan we see youth and social workers standing there.
"We have also seen various movements and a full transmission was there on Peace by the PTV. We saw thousands of activists coming from all cities where they stamped their votes for peace, saying that they were ready to come along on any issue for the benefit of Pakistan. It feels good to see this sentiment but with it comes this question: that those who have not yet stood up, why they have not stood up [against the Taliban]. If the issue is so grave then the reaction of people should be more powerful. Anyways, the courageous will lead the way and the youth will come along then..."
 The News (Pakistan), January 16, 2009.
 Dawn (Pakistan), January 1, 2009.
 Dawn (Pakistan), January 1, 2009.
 The News (Pakistan), January 21, 2009.
 Wrazpanra Wahdat (Pakistan), January 5, 2009.
 www.tolafghan.com (Afghanistan), January 17, 2009.
 See MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1064, Concern In Pakistan Over Government's Negotiations With The Taliban, February 3, 2014.
 See MEMRI Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, On Facebook, New Terror Group Ahrar-ul-Hind Vows Attacks In Urban Areas Of Pakistan, March 4, 2014.
 See MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 740, Militant Organizations Reviving in the Jihadist Hub of Punjab, September 20, 2011.
 The 12 episodes of the program can be viewed at the following YouTube links (links were live at time of publication):