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Nothing But the Whole Truth Will Save Us

by Tashbih Sayyed
16 Jan, 2007
What everyone in Pakistan always knew has now, for the first time, being acknowledged by
the U.S. administration publicly: Al-Qaeda has found a secure hideout in Pakistan from
whence they are rebuilding their strength. National Intelligence Director John Negroponte
said the Islamist terrorists have been operating from within Pakistan. But he did not tell the
whole truth; Al-Qaeda has found a secure hideout in Pakistan from whence they are
rebuilding their strength and these terrorists enjoy the support of Sunni/ Wahhabi elements of
Pakistans civil and military establishment and are operating with the full knowledge of
Pakistan authorities. And as long as the U.S. does not tell the whole truth by openly
identifying the elements in Pakistan that have been serving as the lifeline for Al-Qaeda, our
war on Islamist terror will never be successful.

Negroponte told a Senate committee that al-Qaeda was still the militant organization that,
"poses the greatest threat to US interests. He said, "They are cultivating stronger operational
connections and relationships that radiate outward from their leaders' secure hideout in
Pakistan to affiliates throughout the Middle East, North Africa and Europe." The National
Intelligence Director also conceded, "We have captured or killed numerous senior al-Qaeda
operatives, but Al-Qaeda's core elements are resilient. They continue to plot attacks against
our homeland and other targets with the objective of inflicting mass casualties."

It is surprising that Negroponte did not dwell at any length on the reasons why al-Qaeda has
been able to cultivate these stronger operational connections and relationships. He also did
not comment on the factors in Pakistan that are helping al-Qaeda to remain resilient. The
Bush administrations reluctance, in the eyes of many regional political analysts, to call a
spade a spade identify the real culprits in Pakistans civil and military administration - is the
main reason for al-Qaedas continued survival and empowerment.

It is mind-boggling to see the Bush administration declaring on one hand that Pakistan is
harboring the Islamist terrorists and on the other hand, continue to maintain that the sole
Islamic nuclear power is a "vital partner in the global Coalition against terrorism, playing a
key role in the diplomatic, law-enforcement, and military fight to eliminate Al Qaeda." South
Asia experts believe that the continued U.S. reluctance to place the blame where it truly
belongs is causing a lot of grief to the American troops busy fighting the scourge.

The U.S. has to recognize that Global Jihad and Pakistan are the two sides of the same coin.
We will have to understand that Pakistan, without being overhauled completely and
absolutely in terms of its Islamic ideological moorings and its national and territorial
ambitions, will always remain a sanctuary for Islamist extremism. As Husain Haqqani said in
Washington Quarterly, Pakistans status as an Islamic ideological state is rooted deeply in
history and is linked closely both with the praetorian ambitions of the Pakistani military and
the Pakistani elites worldview. For the foreseeable future, Islam will remain a significant
factor in Pakistans politics. Musharraf and his likely successors from the ranks of the
military will continue to seek U.S. economic and military assistance with promises of reform,
but the power of such promises is tempered by the strong links between Pakistans military-
intelligence apparatus and extremist Islamists.
It is true, the observers say, that General Pervez Musharraf has agreed to join in the campaign
to eradicate Islamist terrorism. But, they point out the Generals enthusiasm is not shared by a
very significant and vital portion of Pakistans civil and military establishment. Pakistan on a
grass roots level remains a Taliban country that shares in the passions of Osama bin Laden.
Thats why the Generals efforts to introduce an enlightened and moderate Islam in the
society have been met with scorn and rejection on the popular level. This also explains why
the religious parties that are closely identified with Al-Qaeda and Taliban have remained
popular among the masses.

In November, 2003, the Anti- Defamation League reported, In the October 2002 Pakistani
national elections, a coalition of six Islamic parties known as the United Action Forum
(MMA) won 68 seats, almost 20 percent of the total number of seats, in Pakistan's
parliament, the National Assembly. The MMA controls the provincial assembly in the North
West Frontier Province and is a coalition partner in the Baluchistan assembly, representing
Pashtun-majority regions that border Afghanistan. In late September 2003, the Baluchistan
assembly called for the withdrawal of Pakistani troops hunting Al Qaeda and Taliban
fugitives in the region. Although the resolution has no legal binding force on t he central
government, it is a significant statement of opposition to the President's counterterrorist
activities.

The power of Islamist militancy has been on display in the Islamic state all throughout the
post 9/11 period. The wide spread pro-al-Qaeda sentiments on the street and within the armed
forces have remained in tact despite General Musharrafs claims to the contrary. This has
forced him to enter into an agreement with the Islamist leadership in the Al-Qaeda/Taliban
belt of the country. In April 2004, the Pakistani army declared that it has agreed to stop
operations against tribesmen accused of sheltering al-Qaeda suspects near the Afghan border.
Lieutenant General Hussain declared at the time that the agreement was in Pakistan's interest,
as tribesmen and soldiers killed in recent fighting in the region were all Pakistanis and
Muslims.

On September 5, 2006, the world learned the government of Pakistan had entered into a
peace agreement with the Taliban insurgency that essentially ceded authority in North
Waziristan, the mountainous tribal region bordering Afghanistan, to the Taliban and al Qaeda
and then ten days later Pakistan released a large number of jihadists from prison.

The Telegraph cited Pakistani lawyers who claim that the Pakistani government has freed
2,500 foreigners who were originally held on suspicion of having links to al-Qaeda or the
Taliban over the past four years. This number includes virtually all al-Qaeda prisoners in
Pakistans custody, including those held for the beheading of Wall Street Journal writer
Daniel Pearl.

Pakistan released the terrorists to an Al-Khidmat Foundation that is run by the hard- line
Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami as a welfare organization which in fact is the Maktab al-
Khidmat, the group founded in 1980 by Osama bin Ladens mentor and ideological
inspiration, Abdullah Azzam. Its primary purpose was then and is now to serve as a support
organization for Arab volunteers for the jihad in Afghanistan and elsewhere today. Usama
bin Laden financed this group from its inception. It is from this group that al-Qaeda sprang to
life in 1989.

Pakistan, as expected, rejected Negropontes statement outright. "Pakistan does not provide a
secure hideout to al-Qaeda or any terrorist group," Pakistani foreign office spokeswoman
Tasneem Aslam declared: "In fact the only country that has been instrumental in breaking the
back of al-Qaeda is Pakistan," she said.

Pakistan watchers believe that one of the reasons for the failure of coalition forces in
stemming the resurgence of al-Qaeda is that those very state agencies of Pakistan which are
responsible for the execution of the war efforts against the Islamist terror are actually
supporting Al-Qaeda. And Pakistans continued refusal to acknowledge the problem is a
proof it wants to protect them. Pakistans insistence that al-Qaeda doesnt operate from
within Pakistan betrays its insincerity in the campaign against Global Jihad.

There is no doubt the free world cannot afford to ignore Pakistans role in the development
and spread of Islamist terrorism. We will have to accept that our reluctance to publicly
identify the threat and its sponsors has only exasperated the situation. Islamabads continued
sponsorship of Jihad ideology as preached by organizations like al-Qaeda has enabled the
terrorist organization to evolve into a worldwide phenomenon threatening the open societies
everywhere a fact that was also acknowledged by Negroponte. He said that al-Qaeda was
strengthening its ties across the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.

The fact that most of the major characters and perpetrators of Islamist terrorism have been
found to have some connection with Pakistan should have been enough to provoke a response
from our side. But we still seem to be ignoring the depth of Pakistans involvement in
sustaining the monster; "Pakistan is our partner in the war on terror and has captured several
al-Qaeda leaders," Negroponte said in written testimony submitted to the Senate committee.
How can Negroponte characterize Pakistan as a partner, when it continues to provide safe
heaven to our enemies?

It is a documented fact that each and every Islamist terrorist today has either been directly
trained in or resided in Pakistan or has been inspired, guided and recruited by some one
trained in Pakistan. Pakistan has played a very critical role in connecting the Islamists to each
other. It is also a fact that most of the terrorists have received funding from or through
Pakistan. K.P.S. Gill wrote in Satp, The footprint of every major act of international
Islamist terrorism invariably passes through Pakistan, from 9/11 where virtually all the
participants had trained, resided or met in, coordinated with, or received funding from or
through Pakistan to major acts of terrorism across South Asia and South East Asia, as well
as major networks of terror that have been discovered in Europe.
There are signs that there is a "human pipeline" that arranges for alienated British Muslim
youth many of them of Pakistani heritage born in the UK to travel to Pakistan for
indoctrination and training at temporary terrorist "camps", believed to be operated by the al
Qaeda leaders, according to a report in the current issue of Newsweek. The report quoted
U.S. authorities as saying that the UK-Pakistan pipeline had played a role in several planned
terrorist plots. A U.S. intelligence official said agencies on both sides of the Atlantic had
information linking a 26-year-old London man, Muhammed Al-Ghabra, as a major organizer
for the al Qaeda and other terror groups, to some of the well-known plots [Daily Times,
January 7, 2007].
Anyone who has anything to do with the world affairs knows a majority of Pakistans
population, a significant portion of its civil and military establishment and a vast network of
Islamic religious schools have always been sympathetic to the institution of jihad and have
backed the creation of militant religious outfits to fight its wars in various regions of South
Asia. Pakistan is arguably the only country in the world whose armed forces are known as the
armed forces of Islam and not the armed forces of Pakistan. As such its military and Inter-
services Intelligence (ISI) has not only been instrumental in the creation, training and
logistical support of Al-Qaeda but are incapable of abandoning their very subtle support for
the institution of jihad.

It is time for the world to realize that the open societies are engaged in an existential war
against Islamist terror and only telling the whole truth can save us.