There is one aspect to the whole Pakistan-Afghanistan-Taliban issue that some seem to not see, yet it is a critical aspect.
It answers the important question: why doesn’t Pakistan do more to defeat militancy in Pakistan and originating from Pakistan? The West is worried about the proliferation of militancy in Pakistan, turning Pakistan into a haven and training-ground for terrorists, not to mention a conduit for personnel, materiel, money, and so on. Afghanistan is annoyed that Pakistan isn’t doing more to staunch the Taliban flourishing in the area bordering Afghanistan, from where they launch attacks into Afghanistan, and where Afghani Taliban retreat to recuperate, regroup, or restock. And Pakistanis and Indians are wondering why the Pakistani military and government are not doing more to secure stability and security in Pakistan.
The reason is, actually, quite simple. Money.
If NATO found Usama bin Ladin (y’makh sh’mo), many people will believe there is no more reason to fund Pakistani’s military and its efforts to get rid of the Taliban. Bin Ladin’s dead, game over. And the Pakistani military loses one of its major sources of funding, not to mention relevance.
Similarly, if the Pakistani military were to wipe out the Taliban, why would America (and other Western allies) give huge sums of money to Pakistan (unconditional at times even)? If thr Taliban were swept away, the influx of money would stop. And this isn’t just money going into the public coffers, which the politicians would be worried about. It’s even more dire: it’s money going into the military’s coffers. An unhappy military does not mean good news for Pakistan’s civilians or government.
And so the Taliban will remain. The Pakistani military and government will conduct operations every now and then so as to assuage its Western allies that it is making some use of the funds given to Pakistan for that purpose. But they will not eliminate the Taliban. Indeed, the stronger the Taliban get, the more Pakistan can beg from other states. They can say that because the Taliban is so strong, they need more money and sooner in order to prevent the Taliban from conquering all of Pakistan. Obviously, they would say, they don’t want that to happen, for then they would have nuclear weapons.
May sound somewhat cynical, but it makes sense. Without this money, how would the Pakistani military feed its soldiers?
More factors will be discussed in the upcoming days.
They say Pakistani politics is like a soap opera and a roller coaster. You don’t know what’s going to happen, it’s non-stop drama, and it goes up and down and around and around.
In response to the great opposition from the populace regarding Shariah Nizam-i-Adl Regulation 2009, the government and military have indicated their hesitations. Essentially, they’re saying that they will review the Regulation if it doesn’t solve the problem. On the other hand, there are reports that government officials are negotiating with Taliban militants in other parts of the NWFP to strike a similar deal. (But then, “government officials” negotiated the Regulation, whilst the rest of the government officials were caught in a quandary: support the militant-coddling government officers or not?)
The good news is that this means the government may not have made up its mind finally. The bad news is that because it has not made up its mind, it can choose one, then the other, then the first, etc.
On Sunday, April 19, 2009, my mother, father, and I had a passionate discussion on Pakistan, specifically the signing of the Shariah Nizam-i-Adl Resolution 2009 by President Asif Ali Zardari, before I left for church. My mother said, “When a simple housewife who all she does is cook aloo gosht and do laundry, even she knows that this is a stupid idea, then how could it have been signed?” We tried to explain all the political reasons, but I admit it’s a major case of myopia by Pakistani politicians, if not desperation.
She then asked, “Okay, forget the politicians and army. How come the people aren’t doing anything?”
My father said, “I asked this very question to Mr. XYZ in Karachi. He said it was more than 100 degress at 8 pm. The light was out and had been for a few days. When people have no electricity, no water, and in high temperatures, then, bhaai saahib, these are issues only you discuss, comfortable in America.” In other words, the people have many other things to worry about, more immediate worries.
Problem is that distracted as such, they might be caught unawares when shariah law sweeps through Karachi, or when they look on with amazement as militant, Islamist entities start taking over the Pakistani state. Perhaps this is why they are distracted. But they are distracted. And those who aren’t can’t do anything. Newspaper editorials simply offer more paper with which to wrap roasted peanuts. What will they accomplish?
On Monday, I will reveal what many people say is the real reason for all of Pakistan’s suffering.
Shariah – ( شريعة ), sharee’ah, literally, “way” or “path” – is the law of Islam. While some people call it the religious law, it’s not confined to religious matters, or rather all matters are religious. It codifies issues such as inheritance, civil punishments, crimes, prayer, purification, and all the other observances and performances and laws and regulations. In Sunni Islam, there are four versions of shariah corresponding to the four schools of jurisprudence: Maliki ( مالكي ), Hanbali ( حنبلي ), Hanafi ( حنفي ), and Shafi’i ( شافعي ).
From the advent of Islam through the Ottoman Empire, shariah law, or versions thereof, ruled Muslim lands. With the modernization of Muslim lands, shariah law was replaced with civil law, or shariah law was tempered with civil law. This was the case with Pakistan.
The Pakistani constitution mentions the Qur’an and sunnah (example of Muhammad and prominent early Muslims, and usually refers also to the ahadeeth or sayings of Muhammad and prominent early Muslims) but does not mention shariah, thus trying to establish a system that derives inspiration from the Qur’an and sunnah but that isn’t shariah law.
But Islamists want to reverse this: they want to oust civil law for shariah law. They want a return to the “gold old days” when Muslims behaved like Muslims, and Muslim states supported Islam. Problem is that even before the Europeans left their mark, Muslim states had not been enforcing shariah law as strictly as today’s Islamists want to do so. Indeed, the norm was not to enforce shariah law, which is why Muhiyuddin Muhammad Aurangzeb Alamgir stood out among the Mughal emperors: he tried to enforce it. Others stood out for other reasons: Aurangzeb Alamgir stood out because his Islamism. If it were the norm, why would he stand out? Of course, the Islamists know this: which is why they laud Aurangzeb Alamgir but excoriate his great-grandfather Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar. (Aurangzeb Alamgir was the son of Shah Jehan, who was the son of Jehangir, who was the son of Akbar the Great.)
It seems the Islamists are winning. Problem is that like socialism, their nizam (plan, system) has never worked. All this will do is extend suffering.
Awesome a capella.
I must have listened to this, like, 10 times in a row.
The Qur’an says in in verse 256 of Sooratu-l-Baqarah (soorah 2): ( لا إكراه في الدّين ), laa ikraaha fi-d-deen, which means, “There is no compulsion in religion.”
Why? The Qur’an explains further in the same verse: ( قد تّبيّن الرّشد من الغيّ ), qad ttabayyana-r-rushdu mina-l-ghayy, which is translated as: “Truth stands out clear from error.”
Thus, because the truth is clear, there is no need to force people in matters religious: they all know better, and unto each his/her own to work out his/her own salvation, as it were.
So…whence shariah law and its enforcement of draconian penalties on transgressors?
Well, the fact the the common interpretation of 2:256 is not entirely correct. There is no compulsion in forcing people into the religion – for if they reject it, they do so knowing clearly well that they are wrong – but once a Muslim, the needs and obligations of the Muslim community takes precedence. Thus, any endangerment thereof is severely punished, as is any non-compliance. So, Muhammad should have said, “There is no compulsion in converting others to the religion, but once you’re a Muslim all bets are off.”
In “MPs who opposed Nizam-e-Adl are no longer Muslims: Sufi” on Saturday, April 18, 2009, by Ghulam Farooq of the Daily Times, it is written:
MINGORA: The parliamentarians who opposed the promulgation of Nizam-e-Adl Regulation in the National Assembly are no longer Muslims, Tehreek Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi (TNSM) chief Sufi Muhammad said on Friday.
The TNSM is the Taliban-led coalition that took over Malakand (often referred to as Swat) that seeks to implement shariah law throughout Pakistan. They started with an area that had slowly been turning friendly to the Taliban, which they then conquered. They stipulated that in order for them to lay down their arms, they must be allowed to implement shariah law.
This is an incident of takfeer (proclaiming another person a kaafir or non-Muslim). Technically, this is not permitted because it is forbidden to call a Muslim a non-Muslim, so most jurists say it is better not to take changes and do takfeer mistakenly.
Talking to Daily Times at Maidan Kambar in district Dir, he said Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain had nothing to do with Islam.
Altaf Hussain and the MQM were the only political entities that opposed to recommendation of the Shariah Nizam-i-Adl Regulation 2009. Thus, according to Sufi Muhammad, he is no longer a Muslim. Also, this means that having a spine is un-Islamic, unless the spine is used to whip people into subservience to the most draconian forms of Islam. Or, rather, to be a Muslim = terrorists have a spine (not to mention quite a lot of chutzpah!), and to be a kaafir = having a spine against the terrorists.
Sufi said Taliban had promised to lay down their weapons after the implementation of sharia in Malakand division. He appealed to the people to attend the April 19 public meeting at Mingora’s Grassy Ground to show the rest of the country how much the people of Malakand division loved Islam.
Love Islam = terrorism to intimidate the government, kill soldiers, kill police officers, whip women, et cetera
The TNSM chief said the people would also be briefed on the Nizam-e-Adl in the meeting. He urged the government to appoint qazis across the division. He said the Awami National Party had proved its love for Islam. He also praised parliament for the approval of the draft Nizam-e-Adl Regulation 2009.
“Proved its love for Islam” = become traitors to the laws and political system of the country they reside in and supposedly serve. Also, = supporting and loving terrorists.
He vowed to continue his struggle for the restoration of peace and said he would soon visit the division.
Of course, he couldn’t just ask his cohorts to lay down their weapons. No. It’s all the government’s fault.
I’m not a swearing man, but with many people who have been following Pakistan, all I can say is: “WTF???!!!”
The Pakistani Parliament approved a recommendation to the president of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, to approve what is known as the Shariah Nizam-i-Adl Regulation 2009, which allows the Taliban government of Malakand, an area of the North-West Frontein Province (which is by the border of Afghanistan), to impose Shariah law. Pakistan’s civil law and civil courts will have no import: the Taliban may impose Shariah law.
One of the first things the Taliban government did? Ban education for women.
So, what lesson did we learn? That is militants harrass the police and military and people enough, the government will cave like a house of cards. The only politician with a spine has been Altaf Hussain of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), whom I usually dislike.
Pakistan is…I dunno. I’m dumbfounded by this act. More commentary in the following days.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Jesus’ lonely walk, so to speak, in his poignant talk:
Are we a Christian nation?
The technical answer is that we are not a Christian nation. Unlike many countries, we do not have an official religion. No religion or religious body receives any especial recognition or patronage. (This is one of the purposes of the First Amendment.)
Some might say that Americana is America’s religion – our volumes of scripture are the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, our prophets are the Founding Fathers, our salvation lies in furthering America’s interests, in following the American dream.
But the technicalities do not betray a very real element of America: while America, technically, as a State, is not Christian, at least not officially, the American people are Christian, and thus America is, indeed, unofficially Christian. What’s more, America is not Christian the way England is Christian. America is perhaps one of the most diverse and devout of the Christian nations.
When people go around saying, “Oh, America is not a Christian nation!” they will come off as two-faced. Why is he saying this while America is so overwhelmingly Christian? Is he trying to trick or fool other people?
Today was the day for Birkas haChamah (the Blessing on/of the Sun). According to Talmudic sages, every 28 years the sun returns to the position it was in when God created it. Today was that day. In the morning, Jews (preferrably groups of Jews) gathered, recited a psalm, looked at the sun, and recited the blessing and some more psalms, a passage from the Talmud, and some prayers. In order to prevent inadverdent sun-worship, one is forbidden to look at the sun while praying-reciting, even though one is (ideally) facing it.