The average Pakistani soldier has already psychologically crossed over to the Jehadi side. It is impossible to convince him to undertake military action against his co-religionist brethren.
New York Times eventually discovers, albeit belatedly, that the average Pakistani is not ready to believe that their home grown jehadis could be behind the recent spate of terror attacks in Pakistan. This explains the pressing need for the Pakistani government officials to fabricate evidence of an Indian hand in South Waziristan. It is another matter that Bill Roggio can easily disprove both the theory of an Indian hand and the purported evidence put forth by the Pakistani versions of Comical Ali.
While satisfying the popular opinion by producing such evidence may be a compulsion for the Pakistani political establishment, the challenge for the Pakistani Army is equally grave. How does the Pakistan army justify the action against fellow Muslim brethren to its troops, that too in an Islamic Republic, with a past history of associating closely with these Jehadis? Well, it has earlier resorted to claiming that the jehadis in Swat were actually Jewish.
There are many who believe that this is all a figment of fertile Indian imagination and a professional Pakistan army faces no such challenge. For those naysayers, here are a couple of slides from the presentation given by a Pakistan army officer, Major Ali Iqbar in a Workshop on Counterinsurgency Leaders held at US Army and Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Center, Fort Leavenworth from 27 to 29 October this year. Major Iqbar was the operations staff officer of 315 Brigade in Swat when the Pakistan army moved in there for Operation Rah-e-Haq in 2007.
After identifying the crisis — of finding an explanation for the soldiers to act against those demanding Islamic Law in an Islamic state — Major Iqbar identifies the foremost challenge for the Pakistan army at the start of the operations.
The good Major doesn’t venture further to explain how his brigade commander and unit commanders successfully overcame this challenge. Perhaps because they did nothing except blame it on a Indian-Zionist conspiracy to destabilise the only Muslim state with a nuclear bomb!
As long as the bones of military aid and equipment are bring thrown by the US, the dog that is the Pakistan army, will have to continue with this charade of acting against certain sections of not-so-friendly Taliban. However even against these so-called enemies of Pakistan, Pakistan army will have to continually invoke the bogey of an Indian hand to motivate its soldiers — drawn from a radically Islamised society — to undertake military operations. When the average Pakistani soldier has already crossed over to the jehadi side — not physically but psychologically — no goading by the brass can force the average trooper to lift his weapon against his own co-religionist brethren.
In terms of perception of religious observance and its role in public life, there seems to be a shift towards the more severe and less tolerant. This doesn’t necessarily translate always into practice, but more a shared understanding that more severe and more rigid must equal more righteous, and that those who are very severe (or even just look it) must be deferred to.
Now, where this gets scary is when you hear a conversation like:
Person 1: “The Taliban couldn’t have blown up the market in Peshawar because a Muslim wouldn’t do that.”
Person 2: “No, the Americans did it. But you know, the market that got blown up catered for women. And you know it’s haram for women to go out of the house.”
Person 1: “oh…..yeah”[AM]