Reports of two attacks came in from South Asia in the first days of the new year. Armed militants targeted an Indian air base close to the border with Pakistan and the Indian Consulate in the Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif. The fact that these two terrorist actions were directed against India mainly led people to look to Pakistan. Because the first findings concerning these incidents indicated a Pakistan-based radical group.
The timing of the incidents was certainly striking. Readers will remember that the final months of 2015 were a time when good relations began being established between Pakistan and India. The prime ministers, foreign ministers and security advisors from both countries had met through various means. They had decided to embark on genuine collaboration in order to solve the chronic problems between the two countries. Radical militants were in fact, wittingly or otherwise, targeting the relations between the two. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said in the wake of the attacks that serious steps had been taken to ensure peace between India and Pakistan, and that terrorists were trying to sabotage the process.
The militants in both incidents were neutralized before they could achieve their aims. New turmoil that might afflict South Asia was thus avoided. However, that danger has not been eliminated. Indeed, it is still a major threat. It is therefore important to learn good lessons from the past, to properly understand the true roots of radical terror and to resolve the problem without repeating the same mistakes.
The continuing presence of various terror groups, great and small, in Pakistani territory is a well-known fact. There is a radical ideology that prepares the ground for radical terror and violence in those lands. It is not, as Pakistani officials imagine, the U.S. or Indian secret services or international forces that give birth to and feed that false ideology. The root of the problem needs to be sought, not outside but, in contrast, in the social, political and institutional structures of Pakistani society.
There are two main reasons why Pakistan has come to be effectively equated with the concepts of extremism and terror: the Pakistani secret state apparatus and the fanaticism emerging in the name of Islam.
As with most countries, Pakistan also has foreign policy problems. These are problems that can be resolved through diplomacy, in other words by peaceful means, love and compromise. Yet the Pakistani secret state apparatus continues to use terror, rather than diplomacy, as a foreign policy tool and still represents a major obstacle to a solution.
There is no doubt that the Pakistani secret state apparatus is making a grave error; if it really loves its country and nation, then it needs to realize that secretly backing terror can bring Pakistan nothing but suffering, poverty and turmoil.
The Pakistani secret state apparatus must realize that when it supports armed actions by various radical groups, similar sufferings will be repeated: people who believe in the same Allah, the same religion and the same prophets will slaughter one another. They must seek a solution to problems, not through guns and bombs, but through love, friendship and brotherhood. Otherwise lovelessness, conflict, cruelty and darkness will reign everywhere.
What members of the secret state apparatus are doing, out of fear and concern, is pulling the rug out from under their own feet. If there is no peace in the region, there can be no peace in Pakistan. As a result, the terrible sufferings and troubles in Pakistan will continue; they will be obliged to live deprived of the peace, stability and prosperity for which they long.
The real root of the darkness that enfolds Pakistan is entrenched fanaticism. If Pakistan, an Islamic country, is unable to coalesce and unite around Islamic and Qur’anic values if it cannot live in love, peace and brotherhood, and if it roots itself in nonsense and various traditions, this is all down to fanaticism.
Pakistani students are generally educated in madrassas or public schools. There are estimated to be some 30,000 madrassas and 1.5 million madrassa students in the country. Madrassas provide free religious education and accommodation for the children of poor families ın partıcular. Yet a significant part of these provide religious education that is largely based on nonsense and far removed from the official curriculum and the Qur’an. Some operate outside official knowledge and control, or else their sources of financing are unclear. Most importantly, from the age of seven, students acquire information containing fanaticism, lovelessness and hatred under the name of Islam. When they graduate, they start disseminating all that as religious officials. Such false education naturally allows radicals who emerge in the name of Islam to recruit troops.
Supporters of violence and terror certainly do not emerge from the madrassas alone. Public educational institutions can also produce young minds with a fanatical perspective. Ideas that have no place in the Qur’an and are at total variance with it have become mixed up with the curriculum.
There is only one way to save Pakistan from the breeding grounds of fanaticism and terror, and that is through Islam-based education. Pakistani schools must at once put an end to hate-filled talk and instead teach messages of love, friendship, affection and compassion. Pakistani madrassas and schools must be places where Islam and Qur’anic values are taught in an unadulterated form, and where people of love are produced. Just a tiny part of the millions of dollars of foreign aid will be enough to finance that.
Military operations can never represent a solution for Pakistan in the fight against terror. Because if one cell is neutralized it will immediately be replaced by another. Every militant killed will be replaced by new ones burning with hatred and revenge. Radical organizations have a fanatical ideology and false ideas. They are as they are because of nonsense supposedly taught in the name of Islam in basic Islamic text books. They act in the light of false beliefs diametrically opposed to the Qur’an. The important thing is to kill, not the militant, but the perverse ideology, the devil, in his mind. Therefore, true salvation is only possible through Qur’an-based education. There is no other solution than education through the Qur’an and Islam in its unadulterated form.
Adnan Oktar's piece in Diplomacy Pakistan: