International Information Programs
August 8, 2005

August 8, 2005





**  "Pakistan is a cauldron...a big factory to produce combatants for the Holy War."

**  Its madrassas are an "epicenter" of martyr-prone "fidayeen" for "self-service terrorism."

**  Musharraf "survived several attacks," and continues to guide "Pakistan's gloomy future."




'Coming with the same ideology and faith [in] the pursuit of violence'--  Pakistan's populist Urdu-language Khabrain noted that "after Egypt, Pakistan is the largest center of religious learning."  Papers generally agreed Pakistan is a "center of theological formation" for radical Islamists who "mean business."  Germany's left-of-center Berliner Zeitung said "many terrorists ...across the world, have learned their murderous know-how in Pakistan"; Argentina's leading Clarin opined that terrorists are "united by a primitive and perverted reading of Islam,"  while Pakistani papers displayed a different spin.  They expressed anguish that a prominent general publicly accepted that "some Pakistan religious parties" are involved in Afghan cross-border insurgencies.  They found his stance provided a "contradiction" to President Musharraf who has been "girding up his loins to go after the madrassas"; they emphasized also that Musharraf has called on the populace to reject and "distance themselves from extremist elements." 


Pakistan's madrassas: 'under the scanner' and 'again under fire'--  Austria's mass-circulation Kurier asserted, "in religious schools not only the Qur'an is taught, but also jihadism."  Pakistan's "ten thousand madrassas prepare one million students for the rigors of faith," another outlet added.  India's centrist Hindu declared reform of Pakistan's "madrassa system of education is overdue" even as its pro-economic-reforms Pioneer penned, a "Muslim is fearless"; under Qur'anic interpretation "a soldier of jihad is a mujahid who, if he dies fighting, becomes a shaheed and enters jannat (heaven)."  Turkey's mass-appeal Hurriyet faulted terrorists' distorted Qur'anic interpretations to denounce the "perverted ideology of Islamist terror."  The center-right Urdu Pakistan outlet remarked, Pakistan "launched a crackdown against deeni madaris (religious seminaries)" when Musharraf proclaimed an ordinance calling for all madrassas to register by Dec. 31.  Seeing difficulties ahead, the English-language Daily Times commented critically on Pakistan's "dubious task of cleaning up the seminaries."


'Pakistan is a frontline state in the war on terrorism'--  Many global commentators recognized Musharraf's ambivalent status:  he heads a country with "leading generals and political groups known to identify with al-Qaida"; one in which there are Qur'anic schools "where the eggs of the snake of terrorism are incubated."  At the same time, he heralds "no let-up on jihad," positioning Pakistan as "principal ally of the United States in its global war against terrorism."  Spain's centrist La Vanguardia spotlit the "Pakistani paradox" while Indian outlets noted how the general "continues to be" a U.S. ally; they critically advised, "Pak-sponsored terrorism under Gen. Musharraf has had roaring success," adding that with recent UK bombings, it became "more difficult for Pakistan to sustain the lie that all the jihadi training camps have been closed down."  Pakistan's centrist News opined, "there is no quarrel with Musharraf's attempts to clamp down on terrorism."


EDITOR:  Rupert D. Vaughan


EDITOR'S NOTE:  Media Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press sentiment.  Posts select commentary to provide a representative picture of local editorial opinion.  Some commentary is taken directly from the Internet.  This report summarizes and interprets foreign editorial opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government.  This analysis was based on 38 reports from 14 countries from July 24 to August 5, 2005.  Editorial excerpts are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "The Responsibility We Share For Islamist Shock And Awe"


Former editor of the New Statesman magazine,Peter Wilby,commented in the far-left Guardian (8/5): "'Responsibility' is a better word than 'blame'.  We demand it, rightly, of those who carry out the atrocities; we should demand it also of ourselves and our rulers.  The bombers, or rather those who control and influence them, are clear they are at war.  President Bush seemed to agree when he declared a 'war on terror'.  Is our role in this war a just one?  Do we want to continue the war?  If not, what will we do to stop it?  Those are the questions we need to ask ourselves."


FRANCE:  "Living With Terrorism"


Jean-Marie Colombani opined in Le Monde (7/27):  “Iraq was definitely not an answer to terrorism. The U.S. military intervention in this country, as the Europeans predicted, only exacerbated Islamic militants’ resentment… It maintains a good part of the Arab Muslim world in its hatred of the United States and is of course used as a pretext.  Worse: in a world of instant globalization of images, the responsibility of each car-bomb massacre in Baghdad is not attributed to one or another Sunnite rebellion group; it is imputed to the American occupation and considered as another proof of the ‘war’ that the West would be fighting against the Muslim world.  Hundreds of millions of Muslim television viewers make the United States responsible for the daily slaughters that Iraq is going through every day. One can put into question the validity of this thought process but we cannot ignore this prevailing perception.... The epicenter is in Pakistan....  As our reports show it everyday, Pakistan is a cauldron, as the same time as a kind of big factory to produce combatants for the ‘Holy War’....  To have targeted Iraq instead of worrying on time about Pakistan is one of the many nonsenses of Bush government.”


GERMANY:  "Pakistan's Gloomy Future"


Michael Stürmer commented in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (7/26):  "Since U.S. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld traveled to Islamabad after the 9/11 attacks to secure Pakistan's support in the up-coming Afghanistan intervention, the country received loans, equipment and weapons and many recommendations.  But the situation has not improved since....  In the last two years, the U.S. policy turned towards India and supplied the country with technology as part of an Asian stability policy.  But America's power is overstrained and its relations are a guarantee as mush as a danger to the Pakistani establishment.  It is time for the European Union to bear a part of the burden, particularly Britain, which has close economic, political, military and sportive relations with its former colony.   Since America's intervention in the nearby Afghanistan, Musharraf survived several attacks.  Two of them in a military camp got very close to him.  Between Pakistan and an acute nuclear crisis stands the Pakistani army, American Special Forces and the tough general.  A new attack on him is not a question of whether but when.  If the network around al-qaida and bin Ladin seeks a strategic victory, it will not go for small attacks like in Madrid, but commit a big one in Islamabad."




Thomas Klau commented in business daily Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg (7/28):   "Spending more money and increasing the political commitment in the war on the ideological foundation of terrorism is not sufficient.  Police repression and surveillance must also play a role.  The anti-western Islamic terrorism is especially dangerous because its followers intend to shock the world with mega terrorism.  Liberal-minded Europeans should allow the state to step up its measures, which would be unbearable under other circumstances.  However, this must not mean that everything security forces demand should be approved....  We must also defend our values against an omnipotent state.  The arbitrary arrest of suspects without charges, the humiliation and torture of detainees, and violent exports of democracy are Washington's tools in the war on terror.  Europe's policy must differ from it if we want to win the hearts and minds of young Muslims."


"No Rogue State"


Martina Doering noted in left-of-center Berliner Zeitung (7/28):  "Pakistan meets all the criteria for a place on the axis of evil.  It has weapons of mass destruction and leading generals and political groups are known to identify with al Qaida, some might even have links with members of the Islamist movement.  And many terrorists, who operate across the world, have learned their murderous know-how in Pakistan, like some of the assassins in London.  But bombs will not fall on Islamabad, Karachi or Peshawar, because President Musharraf managed to become an indispensable U.S. ally in the war on terror....  Extremists and radicals can live well in this country.  Their ideologists can smugly refer to all the things the U.S. democracy exporter tolerates in Pakistan.  The U.S. policy of 'say nothing, hear nothing and see nothing' is risky.  The U.S. pins its plans and strategies on one man and ignores the fact that this country has everything a failing state needs."     


ITALY:  "Where The Front Line Passes"


Sergio Romano in leading, centrist newsweekly Panorama (8/4):  "To talk about a clash or a war between Islam and the Christian West is an error of analysis that could have repercussions on our strategy.  First of all, the clash is within Islam.  The principal enemies of fundamentalists are Muslim-Arab countries that look to the Western model to modernize themselves, and distance themselves from rigorous observance of Islamic orthodoxy....  They strike the Western model of Islamic modernization and demonstrate its vulnerability.  By demonstrating their strength, they succeed in recruiting new followers.  They seek to hinder the integration of the Islamic community into Western societies.  A supreme commander or a ruling state does not dictate their strategy.  Each national center or local cell decides on objectives and organizes respective actions.  Within this spontaneous strategy, there are still some countries that carry out a particular function.  Iraq is the large training camp where Muslim volunteers learn how to use weapons, guerrilla and terrorism tactics....  Pakistan is a center of theological formation, an enormous campus in which 10 thousand madrassas prepare one million students for the rigors of faith.  Our defense against radical Islam depends in large part on the way in which we will help these two countries rid themselves of their difficult role." 


AUSTRIA:  "America Remains Dependent on Arab Autocrats"


Senior editor for independent daily Salzburger Nachrichten Helmut L. Mueller declared (8/3):  "Taking a closer look at the Islamic pillars of their anti-terror alliance ought to make the Americans tremble with fear.  However, the shock over such wayward charges as Saudi-Arabia and Pakistan has not yet led to a revision of American policy, because Washington is at a loss to find an alternative strategy to pragmatic pacts with unreliable allies....  The consequence of the total disaster in Iraq is that the U.S. cannot do without the Saudis for the time being and that the stability of Saudi-Arabia itself is in danger.  After all, those Saudi Jihadists currently learning the terror trade in Mesopotamia will probably, once the conflict is over, return to their native country and pursue the toppling of the Saudi dynasty there.  What Washington does not seem to be considering is the possibility of changing its own energy policy to lessen its dependence on the oil of the Arab autocrats that promote the terror.  This would mean a medium-term strategy of reducing America's thirst for oil, more careful use of resources, and development of alternative forms of energy. True, that would mean a 'cultural revolution' of everyday life in America, but could be implemented by the U.S. President any time with a prospect of success-- modeled after the 'man on the moon' mission."


"Failed States As Terrorist Paradises"


Foreign affairs editor for mass circulation daily Kurier Livia Klingl wrote (7/28):  "The London assassins have in common that they are from 'failed states' which are paradises for people ready to kill themselves and others....  Somalia, a country in civil war, does not have a functioning government, but in its capital Mogadishu, T-shirts with the portrait of Usama bin Ladin, the idol of those who have no future, can be bought everywhere.  A U.S. military intervention in the country at the Horn of Africa was brief and unsuccessful.  Warlords are dividing the power among themselves and neither secular nor religious authorities have succeeded in bringing them together.  Pakistan has a general who joined the anti-terror forces as its head of state.  However, the border region to Afghanistan (where Usama is said to have hidden) is not controlled by his security organs but by clans and tribes.  In religious schools not only the Qur'an is taught, but also Jihadism.  Usama is a hero there.  Iraq is likewise turning into a failed state at Europe's doorstep.  Mesopotamia, where functioning structures are missing, has become a lighthouse for warriors from all countries of the world instead of a lighthouse for democracy....  A fatal side effect of the Iraq war is the fact that Afghanistan is once again sliding in the direction of Talibanism.  After all, resources that would be necessary for the reconstruction of the huge country were diverted to Saddam."


"War Without Victory"


Paul Lendvai, editor for independent Der Standard commented (7/28):  "Considering the fact that there are 15 million Muslims living in EU countries at present, it is clear that those who are now demanding a end of multiculturalism, openness and tolerance towards immigrants are missing the point. Without cooperation of the religious leaders of the Muslim communities in the West and the entire Islamic world, especially in Pakistan and Saudi-Arabia, terror cannot be successfully combated.... There are no recipes for resolving the tension between freedom and security.  The war against terror is about containing damage. Society has to defend itself, and relativism and playing down that danger are more threatening for the future of an open society than are the temporary surveillance of its citizens that is controlled by legitimized democratic institutions." 


BELGIUM:  "Islamist Terrorist Network In Europe"


Chief editor Michel Konen wrote in independent La Libre Belgique (8/1):  “It is obviously premature to draw conclusions on the existence or not of a major Islamist network throughout Europe whose terrorist attacks would be coordinated by one single person.  Yet, and without falling into paranoia, one cannot but ponder over the recent events.  There is first the easiness with which the suspected bombers of July 7 and 21 seem to travel. One was arrested in Rome after having traveled from London through Paris and Milan. Another was arrested in Zambia after having traveled from South Africa....  A Pakistani network has been blamed for the July 7 bombings.  One knows how influent Al Qaida is in Pakistan, or at least the most extremist Islamists.  The July 21 botched bombings were reportedly committed by terrorists from Eastern Africa. No one ignores the weight that Islam--and also Islamist extremism--has gained in the Horn of Africa.  As a matter of fact, Usama bin Laden has lived in that region of the world, and more precisely in Sudan where, for several months, his organization was based.  The similarities between the July 7 and 21 bombings in London lead one to believe that these kamikaze operations were not a coincidence.  While police were focusing on a Pakistani network after the July 7 bombings, the branch from the Horn of Africa had free hands to act.  One would like Europe not to wait for the next bombing to further step up police and judicial cooperation.”


SPAIN:  "The Pakistani Connection"


Independent El Mundo wrote (7/26): "Part of the Pakistani young people born in Great Britain go to mosques...where extremist and intolerant doctrines are instilled.  This is the breeding ground for terrorists, which justifies the decision of Blair to expel Muslim priests who spread fanaticism.  But Western governments should put pressure on Pakistani president Musharraf so he puts an end to the fundamentalist safe havens that foster hatred and incite young people to the 'jihad.'  Only the combination of both policies will contribute to eradicate this aggressive and destructive Islamism."


"Pakistani Paradox"


Centrist La Vanguardia expressed the view (7/26): "The Pakistani track takes over from the Saudi, Maghribian or Afghan ones in the imagery of Islamism that feeds global terrorism.  The Pakistan of Pervez the great ally of the U.S. in the area....  As it happens with other Islamic regimes, U.S. support is basically aimed at consolidating Musharraf's regime, which has committed itself to elaborate an Islamist ideology that does not question U.S. hegemony.  That is why, every time Islamist radicalism causes problems, the general-president announces the closure of fanatic Qur'an schools where the eggs of the snake of terrorism are incubated....  It is not the first time Musharraf announces the use of a hard hand with Qur'an schools, nor the first time he arrests leaders of extremist organizations that are later released.  In fact, the regime of Islamabad is also based on religious parties that clearly preach the 'jihad.'  Instead of looking for the alliance of democratic and lay groups, he prefers to do it with religious extreme right.  This is the paradox of a regime that leans on Washington and religious fundamentalism, but which has to put a stop to Islamist terrorism."


TURKEY:  "The Ideological Face of Islamist Terror"


Cuneyt Ulsever analyzed in the mass appeal Hurriyet (7/28):  “Islamist or religious terror, regardless of how you name it, has emerged by using the argument that it is an antidote to the global system.  Yet this kind of terror is not only a reaction against the existing ruling strucutre.  It is also a world ideology.... The origins of Islamist terror cannot be found in the Iraq war or the events of 9/11.  The primary purpose of Islamist terror is to expand ‘genuine Islam’ worldwide, including in Muslim countries.  Its strategy is shaped by two concepts: jihad and martyrdom.  Jihad claims to be about protecting Islamic rights.  But it has become a tool in the hands of Islamist terror which, according to terrorists’ interpretation, sanctions the use of force even if the Qur'an dictates otherwise.... The terrorists’ interpretation of jihad has two main features--jihad as self- defense, and jihad to expand Islam.... Because of the interpretation of martyrdom by the terrorists, Islamist terror is now stronger than the most advanced weapons.   A Qur'anic verse (Bakara-154) says that ‘those who were killed in the name of Allah are not dead, but alive.’  The terrorists, who claim to know what’s best for Muslims, distort the verse by adding: ‘those who die for the cause.’  There is no technology or method available to stop a human being who has no concern for his own life from blowing himself up and killing others.  But describing terrorism only as a reaction against other events is a grave mistake.  Muslims should be the most sensitive of all about the ideological manipulation of Islam.  Genuine theological clerics must have the courage to denounce the perverted ideology of Islamist terror, and they must emphasize that Islamist terror is not an act of reaction.”


"It’s Not That simple"


Sami Kohen wrote in the mass appeal Milliyet (7/27):  “It would be wrong to blame Pakistan for having sole responsibiity for the recent terrorist attacks in the UK and Egypt.  Similarly, some of the arguments claiming to analyze the ‘deeper reasons’ for terror are also misleading.  Terrorism, in its global scheme, is a very complex issue that cannot be explained by a single factor.  The suggested arguments only explain the reasons for the expansion of international terrorism.  These include Iraq, Palestine issue, perceived injustice, poverty, and oppressive regimes.  Terrorism experts seem to agree on certain points.  Global terrorism is being carried out at the initiative of Al-Qaida.  But it is being conducted by autonomous groups that exist in many different countries.  This is a kind of ‘self-service terrorism’ as the French “Liberation” has put it.  These autonomous working groups share some common points.  They come from the same ideology and faith, and agree on the pursuit of violence.”




JORDAN:  "Jihad Against Terrorism"


Columnist Rasmi Hamzeh wrote on the op-ed page of center-left, influential Arabic daily Al-Dustour (7/26):  "Without knowing, we have found ourselves citizens living in a state of comprehensive war, a world war against terrorism....  This new war is so complex that all the people on this earth are victims of it and all the governments in the world are on one side fighting against an invisible enemy that strikes hard and brutally, fuelled by an extremist ideology that has nothing to do with religion or citizenship, and whose perpetrators provide their bodies as non-discriminatory killing devices.  What characterizes this war, this jihad against terrorism, is that it is endless.  In fact, its methods continue to expand and develop and its battle arenas are spreading everywhere.  We do not like to find excuses for the spread of terrorism and extremism, but it is the duty of research centers and governments to analyze this outbreak of these human entities.  It is not enough to resort to the easy option of blaming Islam simply because most of these suicide bombers belong to it....  Rice said clearly in Cairo two months ago:  the United States bears the responsibility for the status of the Arab world today.  It has supported regimes in order to maintain the stability of the region at the expense of democracy and civil society.  We lost the stability of regimes as well as democracy.  Do any of these reasons [for terrorism] require all this brutality and violence?  The answer is a big no, and yet we have to search deep for groups that could constitute fuel for the organizations that recruit, finance, and plan.  Working on phenomena of violence and extremism is not enough.  We must work on the root causes that push a young man to blow up his body with such brutality.”




INDIA:  "Pakistan's Madrassas, In Perspective"


Centrist The Hindu editorialized (8/5): "President Pervez Musharraf's announcement that Pakistan's madrassas are once again under the scanner underscores the fine balance he has had to maintain since September 2001 between deflecting criticism from the West about the country's `jihad factories' and sparking a dangerous reaction from the religious Right at home. Soon after 9/11, the United States placed a list of demands before General Musharraf; one of these was the `reform' of the madrassa system of education....  The reform of the madrassa system is certainly overdue.  President Musharraf's method, however, seems to be to signal or reiterate his reformist intentions every time Muslim terrorists with an alleged Pakistani link strike on western soil. This merely contradicts his own reasonable claim that not all seminaries are breeding grounds for terrorists. Focusing obsessively on madrassas is to overlook other reasons for the growth and expansion of Al Qaida--and the deadly autonomous cells the Al Qaida kind of world--view has spawned in far-flung parts of the world. The British Government's reluctance to accept the link between its Iraq policy and the London bombings is typical of western obscurantism that has much in common with religious fundamentalism. There is absolutely no need for official Indian policy to join in this obfuscation of the larger truth.  A handful of Pakistan's seminaries are certainly associated with militant Islam--these appear more in need of a firm hand than reform.  But in a social context where the state education system is dysfunctional, there is a need to identify practical alternatives to the madrassas, which offer a measure of literacy and learning, however outmoded or inadequate. If the impression about the role they play is the opposite, President Musharraf must accept some of the blame for distorting the picture in his anxiety to appease and, in a sense, pull the wool over the eyes of, his Western patrons."


"Taking On Terror"


J K Dutt, retired Lieutenant-Colonel, Indian Army wrote an op-ed centrist The Statesman (8/5): “India has a dubious reputation as a haven for terrorists.  A few samples of this truism make worthy substantiation. We possess no subjective law on terrorism, our legal process in this regard being ad hoc....  Probably the most farcical part of it all is our indirect admission to the U.S.A. that we are incapable of tackling Pakistan sponsored trans-border terrorism so America must do the needful. This plea was made by LK Advani during his time and of late by Pranab Mukherjee....  The person who must be having the biggest laugh after the Ayodhya strike is Pervez Musharraf. Being a master at realpolitik, he has been shaking hands with New Delhi on the one side and encouraging terrorism ex-PoK on the other.  Ever since the Chhatisinghpura massacre of early 2000, Pak-sponsored terrorism under Gen Musharraf has had a roaring success, thanks to our ineptness in facing this permanent threat to our very existence as a unified nation-state. We surrendered the initiative to Pakistan when terrorism started 18 years back, permitting various terrorist groups to hit us at will in any part of India....  It is the need of the hour that India as a nation shed its acceptance of terrorism. We display a sense of wrath at the U.S.A. for its forays into Afghanistan, Iraq et al but remain docile when we ourselves suffer casualties on account of terrorism. Spain set an emulative example last year of what citizens can do if the government is not up to the mark in tackling terrorism--just ask Jose Aznar, the deposed Prime Minister of Spain!”


"No Let-up On Jihad"


Guwahati English left-of-center The Sentinel remarked (8/4): "No matter what Pakistan may be saying...about winding up its jihadi training camps, it has done nothing of the sort. Naturally, the Indian media has long harped on this fact of life, but the rest of the world seems to have taken no notice of what we have been saying.  All because Pakistan has been the principal ally of the United States in its so-called global war against terrorism ... It has been convenient for the U.S. to turn a Nelsonian eye on whatever Pakistan does or does not do, for Pakistan also has too many American skeletons in its cupboard....  However, the recent terrorist bombings of London and Egypt have made it far more difficult for Pakistan to sustain the lie that all the jihadi training camps have been closed down....   And it is unlikely that any country in the world will now question the list of such jihadi training camps in Pakistan,,,,  Over the years, the West has tended to play down India’s legitimate concerns about the relentless export of terrorism from Pakistan to India....  There is no denying that the failure of India’s diplomatic initiatives and exercises is largely to blame for its cowardly bilateral relations with both Pakistan and Bangladesh."


"Kashmir As Catalyst"


Centrist The Indian Express (8/2):  “The specter of violence is haunting Kashmir once again. Terrorist attacks are on the increase. There is also very little doubt that, at the present juncture, terrorism is being fuelled largely from across the border....  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and General Pervez Musharraf had, at their last meeting in New Delhi, agreed to work towards softer borders between India and Pakistan. But the term 'soft borders' is once again acquiring a sinister double-meaning. There is the legitimate trickle of people, goods and services that represents hope for the peace process.  But this trickle is being increasingly dwarfed in significance by the infiltration of militants. For the West, Pakistan has once again become the object of attention largely because of the association of Pakistanis with the attacks in London. But the influx of terrorists into India is more robust evidence of the fact that American pressure on Pakistan to curb terrorism is not yielding the desired results. If Indian journalists can track militants, it is disingenuous of Pakistan to deny any knowledge of their activities."


"Another Musharraf Charm Offensive"  


Muralidhar Reddy analyzed in centrist The Hindu (8/1):  “On Friday last, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf held forth...with 80-odd foreign correspondents.... It was a charm offensive by the General. Highlighting the latest crackdown against fundamentalist elements within his country, he sounded determined to eliminate the menace. Conscious of the scepticism on the latest crackdown, Gen. Musharraf offered a host of reasons why he could not take the campaign against the fundamentalists to its logical conclusion post-9/11....   It is incredible that Gen. Musharraf should claim that a million Taliban would have poured into the streets of Pakistan had he gone ahead with measures to curb militancy [in 2002]. The American-led alliance commenced operations in Afghanistan in the first week of October 2001 and the Taliban was ousted within the next six weeks. Barring a demonstration here and there, Pakistan remained by and large peaceful. The reports in the Western media about a backlash in Pakistan to the developments in Afghanistan proved to be just hype. The Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), a conglomerate of pro-Taliban parties...not only took part in the election but for the first time in Pakistan's history emerged as a credible political force....  Part of the MMA's success was attributed to the prevailing anti-American sentiment post-9/11. But no less important was the generous help it reportedly got from several intelligence agencies.... Going by Gen. Musharraf's argument on the pro-Taliban sentiment prevalent in 2002, one wonders where the one million Taliban have disappeared in 2005? Have they left Pakistan? Or has the mindset of a majority of the million Taliban, who were ready to march on to the streets, changed on account of the government policies in the last four years? Or is the government now in a position to challenge the might of the million Taliban?"


"Not Just An Act of Terrorism"


Prafull Goradia commented in the pro-economic-reforms Pioneer (8/1):  “The bomb blasts in London on July 7 were another bloody battle in the course of World War IV. Another dramatic encounter was 9/11....  This war is more truly a global conflagration than any of the previous three.... Evidently, the manner of combat and the nature of weapons varied from war to war....  The fourth war is fought by terrorist gangs on the one side and state retaliations on the other. The Anglo-American interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq are examples....  What is the casus belli of World War IV? It is the result of Islam's aspiration of the world's conquest.... Islamists mean business. Or else, how could they find batches after batches of fidayeens even when a suicide may be unnecessary? A soldier of jihad is a mujahid who, if he dies fighting, becomes a shaheed and enters jannat (heaven) where the best of everything is laid out.  Remember, a Muslim is fearless. Or else how would he risk such a provocation as in England, Spain, Russia, the U.S., etc.  The inspiration to be a fearless Muslim derives from the ordainment of the Prophet who proclaimed: 'You should know that the earth belongs to Allah and His Apostle' (Hadith-4363, Sahih Muslim by Imam Muslim).”


Are Our Madrassas Different?"


Former editor, UNI Samuel Baid remarked in the pro-economic-reforms Pioneer (7/31):  “Mention of madrassas in Pakistan ignites inquisitiveness about India's own madrassas.  Are there ideological similarities between the two?  Do they follow similar militant philosophies?  One commonality is that they are owned and run by the same Islamic bodies which, however, maintain separate entities and objectives in India and Pakistan. These Islamic bodies include the Deobandis, Brelvis, the Jamaat-e-Islami and others.  Each has different interpretations of Islam which percolate to their respective madrassas.  Madrassas in India and Pakistan however are poles apart. In India, madrassas have had a history of staunch nationalism while in Pakistan they have been turned into cradles of sectarian hatred and global terrorism.  Pakistani madrassa students are known to have been used by Islamic parties, intelligence agencies and even foreign powers as mercenaries to help create unrest within the country or for carrying out terrorist activities outside their country's borders.  Such roles are unthinkable for students of Indian madrassas.  With their history of nationalism behind them, the Indian madrasas have lived in an atmosphere of liberalism and tolerance--the natural result of uninterrupted secular democracy and adherence to constitutionalism.  On the other hand, the two nation theory, which the fundamentalists interpreted as Islamic ideology, suppression of the political system and democracy and disregard of the dominance of the Army, left no room for nationalism in Pakistan.

The religious politics that Islamic parties of Indian origin have played in Pakistan through their political strength and madrassas have been responsible for the country's backwardness....   Recent reports say that among the Asians in England, Indians, including Indian Muslims, come out on top in terms of education and employment.  The Pakistanis stand at the bottom.  Gen Pervez Musharraf, who has ordered a crackdown on madrasas and jihadi groups, must ask himself why the Deobandis, Brelvis and the Jamaat-e-Islami and their madrasas continue to be nationalists and carry a positive mindset in India?”


"Perviz-ive Question"


Wilson John, Senior Fellow, observer Research Foundation expressed this opinion in the pro-BJP right-of-center Pioneer (7/31)  “It does not require much investigation or analysis to prove that Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf is not really inclined to set his house in order when it comes to terrorism....  President Musharraf had announced on January 12, 2002, that it would be mandatory for all madrassas to be registered under a new law.  He threatened that madrassas indulging in extremist or terrorist activities would be shut down. Three years down the line, all that talk of madrassa reform has gone down the drain, literally, with the Education Ministry (Daily Times, July 26, 2007) stating that Rs 1.56 crore had been disbursed to madarsas for carrying out reforms without any visible impact. In fact, the newspaper reported that the issue of madrassa reform is caught in red tape between the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Ministry of Interior over jurisdiction.”


"Musharraf's Two Types of Terrorism"


Prawin Sawhney commented in Editor Force (7/31):  “Despite the 7/7 London bombings, President Pervez Musharraf continues to be the U.S. ally in its war against terror. It is another matter that since 9/11, the global war on terror has slowly but surely divided itself into regional and national wars on terror....  Importantly, Musharraf cannot abandon Pakistan army's policies towards Afghanistan and J&K, the later being of utmost import. His challenge, therefore, is to run with the hare and hunt with the hound.  He must make the distinction between two types of terrorism: One, that comprises of jihadis that he is fighting alongside the U.S., and the other, are the so-called freedom fighters in J&K whom he wholeheartedly supports.  Unfortunately, the terrorists do not make this clear-cut distinction resulting in many terrorists groups flourishing within Pakistan and not listening to his diktat ... J&K, however, is a different case. It is simply not possible for terrorists to cross the LoC without help from the Pakistan army. Ironically, Musharraf does not hide this fact.  Despite the peace process with India, he has refused to dismantle terrorist infrastructure that supports infiltration into J&K. Contrary to the perception in the Indian media, Musharraf has never committed himself to say that infiltrations inside J&K are by terrorists; jihadis who have a world vision of furtherance of Islam."


"The Aliens Have Landed"


Vikram Sood expressed the view in the nationalist Hindustan Times (7/28):  "Al-Qaida mainly comprises Arabs but the London attacks were carried out by British-born persons of Pakistani origin and connections....  The attacks are not because of hatred for the Western way of life but about its policies. Even those Muslims who may not agree with bin Laden's cult of violence and hatred agree with him about the intent of U.S. policies. The current wave of extreme violence sweeping the Muslim world is an indication of the intensity and universality of this hatred. This arises from U.S. actions on Muslim lands, which permit every Muslim to defend his faith and to participate in jihad.... The problem is going to stay with us for a long time to come. It will certainly not get frightened away by the sound of crunching glass under the jackboot for there is no military solution. In fact, to call it a war against terror and give each operation pompous names like `Enduring Freedom' or `Infinite Justice' only inflames passions further. The solution would lie in reform and the best reforms come from within a society, not those that are sought to be imposed; in a less arrogant approach to the problem; in cutting off the radical leadership from its following; in better intelligence; with governments working for their own people and not for other interests.”


PAKISTAN:  "Pakistan Not Responsible for Terrorism: President's Clarification"


An editorial in the center-right Urdu daily Pakistan remarked (8/5):  "In an interview with BBC president Musharraf said that Pakistan is not responsible for terrorism in the world....  Mr. President's clarifications are right, but if he takes a look at his past speeches he would know that the world has taken advantage of his speeches in humiliating Pakistan.  In these speeches Mr. President repeatedly admitted that Pakistan tribal areas have become terrorism bases....  The President has rightly said that the responsibility of terrorism outside Pakistan can't be put on Pakistan.  It would be better if President Musharraf stressed the point that the outside world is responsible for terrorism and bloodshed in Pakistan, for it left Pakistan in the lurch after the end of Afghan jihad."


"Dubious Task Of Cleaning Up The Seminaries"


An editorial in the Lahore-based liberal English-language Daily Times stated (8/3): "President Musharraf, it appears, is finally girding up his loins to go after the madrassas.  He says that, despite objections from the ruling PMLQ, all foreign students in the Madarassas will be sent packing.  This 'reformist' step was not taking hold because three ministries were squabbling over the task--mainly because they did not agree on the presidential decision.  The Interior Minister, Aftab Sherpao, was willing to clamp down on the shady side of the Madarassa hinterland as was the “secular” education minister in the cabinet, ex-ISI Chief General (retired) Javed Ashraf Qazi; but the Religious Affairs Minister, Ejazul Haq, who still boasts the messianic role of his father vis-à-vis the seminaries and Afghan refugees, was clearly a hold-out....  Hence General Qazi and Mr. Haq, while not in agreement with the objectives of their joint endeavor, will probably get bogged down before the December 31 deadline is reached.  The country is ringing with objections to President Musharraf’s decision, not a little encouraged by the squabbling that has engulfed the ruling coalition."


"Justified Stand Of Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain"


The center-right Urdu daily Pakistan wrote (8/2):  "Pakistan Muslim League President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain said while talking to newsmen that foreign students [of seminaries] who entered Pakistan legally would not be deported.  He said that in this respect the statement of President Musharraf was misunderstood....  Ch. Shujaat said that he would hold meeting with the President and the Prime Minister to resolve the issue....  Ch. Shujaat's statement is encouraging and prudent.  It is hoped that the government would not demonstrate nervousness under U.S. and Britain pressure and reconsider the issue cool headedly."


"Show Mirror To Britain But...."


The second largest Urdu daily Nawa-e-Waqt expressed the view (8/2):  "Britain's demand for action against seminaries in Pakistan is wrong and tantamount to interference in the affairs of a sovereign state.  Similarly, asking Britain [reference to President Musharraf's statement] to ban Hizbut Tahrir and Al Muhajiroon or the question as to why does Britain grant political asylum to victims of state oppression on humanitarian grounds is not something Britain should be blamed for.  Britain is a civilized country with rule of law and hundreds of thousands of Muslims enjoy all the civil rights.  Britain can't be criticized for giving these civil liberties.  Britain should play its role for the resolution of the Kashmir and Palestine disputes and should not wait for withdrawing its troops from Iraq.  It should not create trouble for its Muslim population following the footsteps of America.  It is not appropriate to suggest to Britain that it should stop being champion of human rights and should take measures transgressing civil and human rights....  Consider the problem Pakistan would face on the return of its citizens if Britain began creating problems for Pakistani Muslims like America.


"Criminal Negligence Of The West"


Popular Islamabad-based Urdu daily Ausaf editorialized (8/2): "President Musharraf has criticized the double standards of British administration, and said that it had failed in controlling extremism on its own soil....  Despite the fact that Pakistan is a frontline state in the war on terrorism, and had achieved so much success, if no one is ready to realize our contributions, Pakistan should leave this apologetic stance.  Britain is the country where not only extremist groups, but other criminals also take asylum.  However, the British government they always exert pressure on Pakistan to do something in this regard.  President Musharraf has also explained the root causes of terrorism.  Without addressing these causes, there is no chance to win this ongoing war against terrorism.  Injustice produces terrorism, violence and other evils in a society.  Thousands of innocent people are being killed in Kashmir, Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq, but the superpowers keep silent on these atrocities.  So, how can anyone hope for a long-lasting peace in the world?"


"The President's Appeal"


The centrist national English daily The News editorialized (8/1): "President Musharraf's passionate call on people to reject retrogressive forces comes at a time when his government is under intense pressure from Western countries to end the charade of progressive reforms and take concrete actions.  Speaking at a public rally in Swat Valley this weekend, General Musharraf has asked people to distance themselves from extremist elements in the upcoming local elections....  This is all very confusing for the people, who are being called on to change their perceptions that were created by the state over decades.  It is perhaps this perplexity that is creating confusion in some people's minds.  At the same time, the people find flaws in Gen. Musharraf's argument, as it was the same religious forces which in December 2003 extended their support to him at a critical point, and enabled him to retain his dual offices till 2007.  Unless the state overcomes its contradictions and narrow down the difference between its words and actions, people will continue to doubt even the most sincere words uttered by top leaders.  Although there is no quarrel with President Musharraf's attempts to clamp down on terrorism, it cannot be rooted out through cosmetic surgery.  The cancer spread deep in the society as well as the institutions of the state can be removed only through an extensive operation."


"Religious Seminaries And Foreign Students Issue"


The center-right Urdu daily Pakistan wrote (7/31):  "While briefing foreign journalists, president General Musharraf announced that foreign students of Pakistani seminaries would have to go back....  The government of Pakistan had not been consistent in its reaction after London explosions.  On the one hand it said that London blasts had no connection with Pakistan but on the other hand it launched crackdown against deeni madaris.  The government claims that it hasn’t gone for the crackdown under Britain pressure and that the operation is being carried out in keeping with national needs.  On the other hand Prime Minister Blair said on TV that he is desperately waiting for the crackdown on Pakistan's religious seminaries.  And when hundreds of people were arrested as a result of the crackdown in Pakistan then Mr. Blair expressed satisfaction over the action.  If the crackdown did not have foreign bearing then why this specific time was chosen for the operation.  There had not been any tragedy within the country that involved foreign or Pakistani students of these seminaries."


"Madarassa Ordinance: Foreign Students Be Given Special Certificates"


The populist Urdu daily Khabrain commented (7/31):  President Musharraf has said that the Madrassa Ordinance would be issued in the next few days according to which all madrassas would have to be registered by December 31....  Madarassa registration is a positive step that should have been taken a long time ago....  The scope of this ordinance should be increased to include universities and colleges where foreigners are studying. We must not ignore the fact that those who have recently been accused of terrorism were not Madarassa students, but had been educated in some of the world's best universities....   Students who are involved in suspicious activities must be proceeded against, their visas should be cancelled and they should be deported. But deporting those students who are merely getting an education here would create the impression in public that this step is being taken to please the U.S. or Britain.  After Egypt, Pakistan is the largest center of religious learning.  Madarassas should be registered, should be monitored, but the decision to deport students who have spent years getting an education here should be reviewed.


"General Safdar Hussain's Interview" 


An editorial note in the second largest Urdu-language Nawa-e-Waqt stated (7/27):  "Corps Commander Peshawar Lieutenant General Safdar Hussain has said in a TV interview that the Taliban are regrouping in Afghanistan and some Pakistani religious parties are helping them in this respect....  The Afghan government and other Afghan leaders had been hurling similar accusations against Pakistan and our government always refuted the allegations.  General Safdar Hussain has accepted all this allegations and accepted some Pakistan religious parties involvement in this connection.  American Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzade had repeatedly used Usama bin Laden's name to level the same accusations against Pakistan and our government had denied these statements repeatedly....  What prompted General Safdar to get embroiled in these issues and implicate Pakistan in these problems?" 




The center-right national English daily The Nation editorialized (7/27):  "It is to be noted that while the President and PM are assuring the international community that Pakistan is neither 'breeding terrorism' nor aiding insurgencies across its borders, the Peshawar Corps Commander, General Safdar, has said Taliban elements are active, regrouping under the umbrella of Pakistani religious parties to disrupt Afghanistan's forthcoming parliamentary elections.  This amidst continuous accusations from Kabul that vested interests in Pakistan are exploiting the Afghan resistance; a charge Mr. Aziz had to personally take up with Mr. Karzai during their recent meeting....  In the light of his remarks about Pakistan having done more than any other country to curb Islamic militancy, General Safdar's remarks amount to a contradiction of sorts.  At a time when Pakistan's image is again under fire, statements like his are unwarranted, and bound to add fuel to anti-Pakistan rhetoric around the globe.  It is important to remind the world that during the entire U.S.-led War on Terror, Pakistan has facilitated the international community, not the terrorists.  The West's tendency to overlook this is unfortunate. 




ZAMBIA:   "Zambia Probes UK Militant's Pakistan Link"


The Times of Zambia noted (8/5): "Zambian security services investigating a suspected British militant wanted by the U.S. have extended their probe to Pakistan, through Interpol."




CANADA:  "War Of Words"


Foreign affairs columnist Eric Margolis commented in the conservative tabloid Ottawa Sun (7/24): "[A]nyone who claims you can bomb, invade and occupy other people's nations and not get return fire is being either incredibly naive or untruthful.  Murdering civilians in London, New York or Tel Aviv is a heinous crime.  But to many people around the globe, so was the trumped-up invasion of Iraq that violated every norm of international law, the ongoing U.S. occupation of Afghanistan, and the agony of Palestine.  Deporting or jailing loudmouth radical Muslim clerics and closing madrassas won't stop the dangerous jihadist movement.  Neither will blaming Islam or Pakistan. Terrorist violence is the effect, not the cause. The west must crack down on home-grown extremists, but it also needs to change its inflammatory, counter-productive policies in the Muslim world."


ARGENTINA:  "Exclusion, Fanaticism And Drugs, Common Trademark Of The Attackers"  


Maria Laura Avignolo, Paris-based correspondent for leading Clarin, opined (8/1): "They are addicted to drugs, and converted to the most radical Islam when they were in jail, after the crimes for which they were convicted. They were denounced to the Police by their parents or families that identified them. This is the common characteristic of the terrorists that failed to detonate their bombs in London the past July 21. Their lack of identity with the country where they were born or harbored them is the other tragedy of a second generation of Pakistanis or young immigrants. They only seek support in radical and 'Jihad' Islam, in an attempt to find a purpose for their lives, vis-à-vis their frustrated integration in a society that assists them, but doesn't include them, and condemns them to a ghetto. Their parents might be dressed like in a market in Lahore or Mogadishu, they 'hate' the U.S., view Western values with distrust, are against war in Iraq and the occupation of Palestine by Israel, but reject martyrdom or the murder of their fellow citizens and neighbors. They believe the attacks are deeply 'anti-Islamic.' Their children 'the second generation' are British, not immigrants, they studied in English schools, speak English perfectly as well as the language of their parents. And feel they belong nowhere, confused in their identity and only united by a primitive and perverted reading of Islam, which makes their families desperate.  The war in Iraq, the sights of the suicides and their destruction and 9/11 gave an erroneous purpose to a generation that is lost, without a sense of belonging."



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