PHOTO : TIWN
Cross border terrorism: focus on Pakistan, by, New Delhi, Shipra, 2016, xviii + 294 + index pp., $49.75 (Rs995/-) (hardback), ISBN 9788175418424. Review by Lt Gen J R Mukherjee, PVSM,
AVSM, VSM (Retd), former General Officer Commanding Kashmir (15 Corps) and Chief of Staff Eastern Command.
National Research Professor Jayanta Kumar Ray’s book on Cross border terrorism
Focus on Pakistan is a brilliant, thought provoking analysis of Pakistan’s emergence as a fountainhead of International ‘Jehadi Terrorism’. The book is well researched, analytical, thought provoking and a worthwhile addition to one’s library. It offers important insights into why, this is so; why we have repeatedly failed to punish Pakistan for its proxy war against us and the US role in the same. The author at the outset draws on statements made by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad in 1946 during an interview with a journalist on the Muslim League’s flawed view, that Muslims could be united through their religion by creating Pakistan – it is for this reason that he stated that the Arab World though Muslim had no political unity and that there is so much strife between Sunnis and Shias. Azad also predicted that Bangladesh would break away from Pakistan.
The book includes a fairly exhaustive introduction, wherein the author explains the birth of Jehadi terrorism - its effect on, the Arab world, the partition of India, propagation of Jehadi terrorism as a strategy in Pakistan and it’s role and the war crimes committed in East Pakistan leading to the birth of Bangladesh.
The book is divided into 4 Chapters (Chapters 2 to 5) encompassing events in Pakistan, Afghanistan, leading to development of International Jehadi Terrorism with Pakistan as the epicenter and USA’s funding and use of Pakistan as a proxy to defeat the USSR in Afghanistan and their total incompetence in visualizing the effect of the same, resulting in Pakistan becoming the home of International Terrorism and culminating in the events of 9/11.
In Chapter 3, the author puts across further spread and entrenchment of Jehadi terrorism in Afghanistan, Pakistan and its impact on India with a surge of terrorist attacks including, that on Mumbai on 26/11, other cities all over India and the incompetence of the Indian, US and for that matter Pakistan Governments to deal with the same. The Chapter endswith the killing of Bin Laden, the Al Qaeda Chief, in Abbotabad, Pakistan, by US Special Forces on 1 May 2011.
Chapter 4 covers, the aftermath in Pakistan to the killing of Bin Laden, US Drone attackson terrorists in Pakistan, Pakistani Army and Governmental support to Jehadi terrorism and their reactions to US attacks, US plans to pull out of Afghanistan, subsequent Pakistani military clamp down on the ‘Bad Taliban’ in Pakistan, Indo Pak relations and terrorist strikes in India and the Modi Government coming into power in India – the Chapter ends indicating these developments with some optimism – unfortunately as we now see, the events thereafter till date and after publication of this book have proved otherwise.
In Chapter 5, the author based on certain literature by some pro western experts onIslamic literature, highlights the anomalies in the Koran and Mohammad’s life, whose interpretation has given rise to Wahabism/Salafism and consequently Jehadi Terrorism. These interpretations perpetrate hatred towards non Muslims, oppression and enslavement of non believers, justifies a Jehad or holy war against them and their indiscrimate killing including women , children and committing atrocities against them, use of terror in such a war to defeat their opponents. He ends the Chapter by advising readers to accept Maulana Abul Kalam Azad’s (a great Islamic scholar) interpretation of Islam.
In the concluding Chapter, the author dwells on the likely effects of the US and NATO pull out from Afghanistan, the necessity to further clamp down on terrorism in Pakistan, that India needs to act in a more forceful manner in dealing with terrorism and Pakistan. He stresses on the need for better Sino Indian and (Indo Us relations to counter terror. He then dwell on the expanding crescent of International Jehadi terrorism in the form of the ISIS, events in the Middle East, the West’s reaction to the same and the probability of ISIS taking deep root in Pakistan if not controlled with serious consequences for India. He ends placing hope on the Modi Government to act more forcefully against Pakistan and terror.
The author brings out emphatically that Jehadi Terrorism has emerged out of faulty interpretation, preaching of Islam and proselytization to the same by elements of Islamic leadership, initially from Saudi Arabia in the form of Wahabism/Salafi-ism. This became the primary strategy by Islamic Leaders to establish their Islamic empire/Caliphate. He explains at length various facets of Islam that could be misinterpreted to further political expansionthrough the use of Jehadi Terror as a strategy and weapon and gives examples of the same through history. In more recent times this strategy and virulent form of Islam was exported by Saudi leadership through Wahabi/Salafi preachers, lavishly funded through oil money to various parts of the world – particularly Pakistan where the Pakistani leadership found this as the ideal strategy and weapon with which to equip Pakistan to defeat the vision of India. He explains the reasons for the Sectarian violence between the Sunnis and Shias. The creation and rise of the Taliban and the role of Pakistan in the same is explained in detail as also the factions in the Taliban, their role in defeating USSR in Afghanistan and subsequently the battle for control of Afghanistan by the Al Qaida and the Taliban conjointly.
He describes the rise of the home grown Pakistani Taliban based primarily out of Punjab and other Jehadi terrorist groups who are used by Pakistan to support the Taliban and carry out acts of Terrorism in J & K and the rest of India. He describes the detailed lead up to 9/11 and Pakistan sponsored acts of terrorism in India including 26/11 and subsequently and the total incompetence of both the US and the Indian Governments in preparing themselves to deal with such a situation. He also describes in a fair amount of detail how Islamic Fundamentalism has become strongly ingrained in Pakistan and the inability of the Pakistani Government and their Army to control the same. He then describes the rise of home grown fundamentalism Supported extensively by Pakistan, in India in the form of SIMI, IM and other local sleeper modules of the LET and JEM.
He describes Pakistani discomfiture to the US killing of Bin Laden on Pakistani soil as also to US drone attacks against Afghan Taliban leaders inside Pakistan and the deterioration in Pak US relations. He discusses Pakistan’s battles with the Pakistani Taliban inside Pakistan and brings out clearly that the major sufferer from Pakistani home grown Islamic Fundamentalism was actually Pakistan citing facts to support the same. He is critical of Indian Leaders who failed to deal with Pakistan forcefully enough leading to a spurt in acts of terror in India from 2008 onwards.
In his concluding observations he discusses the likely consequences of the West’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, the birth of the ISIS and the likelihood of this taking root in Pakistan and the region. He expresses hope that the Modi Government would be more effective in dealing with the terror threat. He ends on a slightly optimistic note placing more faith on the Modi as also the US Governments and even Pakistan that they would succeed in bring the situation under control.
I have enjoyed reading this book and strongly feel that its readers would be educated by this thought provoking analysis of Pakistan’s emergence as a fountainhead of International ‘Jehadi Terrorism’. I do however feel that the author will face a great deal of criticism for his exposition of facets of Islam and the Koran, that he has so strongly highlighted as being the main contributing factors for Islamic Fundamentalism and Jehadi Terrorism.