Turf War

On one of the posts below, a commenter had a really insightful comment, I’ll post the end of it here:

Here too, whereas the Pathan Taliban versus Punjabi Army aspect get’s covered superficially, it is ultimately Sunni Muslim versus Sunni Muslim conflict with Pathans and Punjabis arrayed on both sides. It is a fratricidal war and America is simply a strawman used by both sides to imply the just and righteousness nature of the cause.

I thought of it while reading this moving account of a Pakistani army captain’s death in Swat written by his brother:

On the night of 28th july Waqas was called from kanju post as he was going bak home after a highly successfull stay at swat for 15 ff .. he talked to his family that m coming .. But later that night an operation was planned to search n cordon 5 to 10 miscreants .. his junior LT Mohsin said sir app raat k jagay hain mai chala jata hun .. he refused n with a smile replied “lalay apna khayal rakhen” ..
then he offered prayers with his troops recited Surah kausar motivated them n dey started the opertion .. Waqas was the commander nd was leadin 3 APC’S with infantry troops of 6 AK .. on their way the few miscreants fired rockets at Waqas’s APC .. which missed nd waqas shot dead the person who fired them .. as they went a bit forward .. fire from all sides opened at them ..dey had da wrong information that dere r 5 to 10 miscreants but dere were more den 100 .. nd fierce fighting started .. meanwhile our soldiers got injured ..Waqas jumped off da APC .. nd using da tactics of fire nd move he started rescuing da injured wid his troops following him .. da fight went on for 5 hours .. as he shifted 14 injured soldiers .. as they were about to move .. Waqas was back in da APC .. at that moment one of 6akz soldier got shot .. he shouted “isay uthao” .. but every person was on his position .. he jumped off again nd fired in forward direction n picked him on his shoulders n took him to da APC .. as he was about to shift him in .. he was shot jus abv da chest .. he Shouted “”ALLahoAkbar”” .. (mashallah) n fell .. even in that state he ordered his troops k is banday ko nikalo .. waqas was shifted in da APC .. but due to to much blood coming from his mouth he cudnt ..speak but he kept on reciting from his fingers .. shahadat ki ungli right haath ki khari thi n dusra hath zikar ki position mai .. n Embraced shahadat ( MAshahallah ) .
we recieved his body after 32 hours of his departure but even den fresh blood was coming ( MAshallah ) wid both hands in da same position (mashallah ) .. n as v wer about to bury him .. uski ankhien khud ba khud band hugai ( Mashallah) .. ajj bi uski kabar se khushbu aati hai

There are so many religious references in this account. It really feels like reading the account of the death of a religious saint.

Compare this to the reaction to the recent assassination of Brigadier Moin (who is said to have been involved in the planning of the South Waziristan military operation) on a jihadi forum (that I would prefer not to link to):

salaam alaikoum wa rahmatullah wa barakaktu Brothers, alhamdoullillah this murtad was terminated…mash’Allah! May Allah accept our Brothers in al Firdaws. Amin.

Thank you Brother for those exclusive pictures…too bad we cannot see his face now…
[…]

Here is the picture of the Murtad May he burn in Hell InshAllah!

And on another thread:

as naPak army is facing lot of resistance and receiving heavy blows so they do such tricks on the media and in public by creating new stuff to get more public sympathies and backing and one important thing though you all be knowing but i just got this news that the term “lashker” <- or "Local Tribesmen" or "Local took arms against Talibaan" and bla bla bla these people are serving service men including:
servicemen on army payrolls
ex servicemen on army payrolls
intelliginsea current or ex servicemen on government payrolls and some times their relatives are included to give it a local villager look so don't be confused as i was confused for a long time may Allaah destroy them and their evil plots against the Ummah in general ameen

I think the comment about America being a strawman used by both causes to establish their righteous credentials is spot on. The basic premise – that there are genuine and, to a certain extent, irreconcilable differences between two groups (The Pakistani nationalist right and the Pakistani religious right) who have been together for so long – is so difficult to comprehend that even members of both ideological camps have to invoke the RAW/MOSSAD/CIA nexus to explain every difference since, I guess, a plain old turf war isn’t that inspiring of a concept.

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9 responses to “Turf War

  1. Zubair Sheikh

    Exceptional analysis of a fact! Absolutely, America being used by the both sides to justify their claims. I believe whether its ppl like NFP or ZH, both are not doing any god to the Pakistani Society. Essentially, both are conspiracy theorist trying to get their views out in the public.

  2. Rabia, You are doing wonderful work; a real service to Pakistan and its semi-literate people. Great post!!!

  3. stuka

    Understand your desire to not link to the Jihadi site but could you email the link upon request?

    Thanks.

  4. stuka

    Found it, very interesting.

  5. stuka

    Let me clarify – what I found interesting is that the usage of the English language actually comes across as more upper class on the Jihadi website relative to the “nationalist” site. It’s not just one person – the back forth between the members of the forum, once you get past the Arabic references, comes across as folks who are very comfortable with using the English language on a daily basis.

    Compare that to not just the original post but the general tenor of the blog and commentary and it’s obvious that English is not their first language.

    “a real service to Pakistan and its semi-literate people. ”

    Not exactly sure who the semi-literate people are? The ones who studied Pakistan Studies and are now confused as their world goes to hell around them and basic assumptions are convoluted to make sense? Or those who seem to have chosen an alternative path of absolute clarity?

  6. Rabia

    stuka a lot of them didn’t know basic things about pakistani news, imo they came across as brit pakistanis or even some other nationality. tbh, i found these two quotes really depressing. it made me really sad to read about that captain’s death and then read those horrible beasts celebrating the death of people who are just doing their job; basically just cleaning up the mess made by our brilliant generals.

    thanks for the kind words zubair and abdul…

  7. stuka

    Rabia, I wasn’t making a moral judgement in support of the Jehadi forum posters. The usage of English made for an interesting contrast, but you are right, they could well be Western Pakistanis.

  8. It’s startling how a large faction of our society does indeed cling to the misguided view of the current situation as solely an outcome of America’s being! And though less do it more radically than more, the sympathies towards Talibans certainly are still there, thanks to the overt religious sentiment popular as always in our masses and cashed well by the militants with Islamist outfits.
    What we really need is a clearer view of things presented to the masses – not a conspiracy theory neither one denouncing them. A clear, exact explanation of the current situation and the realization that we need to tackle it and now!

  9. The problem is that it is difficult in Pakistan, given the dominant discourses the army and others have tended to use, to make a good moral case against the Taliban. I’m no neoconservative but I think the advice of Leo Strauss that a people need clear dilineations between good and evil is spot on.

    Pakistanis should be seeing this as a holy war, not merely a matter of national security. These people are not merely challenging the writ of the government: they are evil, pure and simple. They should be destroyed in the same of all that is good, but alas, the Pakistani mentality is not willing to receive such an idea.

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