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Reviving Jihad

Media in Islamabad believes that reviving Jihad will be the most 'dangerous option' for Pakistan, writes Meenakshi Iyer.

india Updated: May 19, 2006 21:03 IST

History records instances of the call for jihad being invoked by Islamic leaders to 'legitimate' wars of conquest.

And history repeats itself. The wars of conquest may or may not be legitimate.

In the context ofIndia, Pakistan relations, Jihad has remained a crucial factor. Pakistan is not the original birth place of such organisations.

Islamic fundamentalism had spread to Pakistan after the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran.

It was in the 1990s that Pakistan diverted mujahideens from Afghan war to Kashmir and thus began a saga of bloody struggle.

With the US mounting pressure on Musharraf, the so called "freedom struggle" has mellowed, but there are fears that the Jihad option may resume.

And one of the primary reasons for the resumption of Jihad could be the slow pace of India, Pakistan talks over Kashmir.

Writer Amir Mir has aptly said that "Jihad is still alive and kicking in Kashmir".

"The respective leaders of these organisations, Maulana Masood Azhar, Maulana Fazlur Rehman Khalil, and Pir Syed Salahuddin, remain at large, and the pattern of treatment being meted out to them by the administration suggests they are being kept on a leash, ready to wage a controlled jihad in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir," says Mir, the former editor of Weekly Independent.

A press release issued by the United Jihad Council last week had termed the talks with India "futile".

"One-sided pragmatism and confidence building measures, which are not reciprocated by the Indian side, have caused irreparable damage to the ongoing freedom struggle in the (Kashmir) Valley," Syed Salahuddin of Hizbul Mujahideen had said.

Pakistan's policy on Kashmir has undergone a sea change and it may not match the ideologies of Syed Salahuddin and the religious parties in Pakistan.

The Pakistan administration at present is under tremendous pressure to solve the Kashmir issue. The Opposition keeps nudging the Musharraf regime to show progress on Kashmir.

But, the media in Islamabad believes that reviving Jihad will be the most "dangerous option" for Pakistan.

"If there is a message...that Musharraf should now reverse his policy on Kashmir -- and the unspoken corollary is "resume the Jihadi option" -- it is the most ill-advised foreign policy guideline ever given to the government," says the Daily Times.

"Nothing would be gained by reviving such an option because, more than India, the world will frown on it and Pakistan will once again lose all international support," the paper adds.

Pakistan's present foreign policy has come under fire from the Opposition parties, who say that the borders with India and Afghanistan have become insecure as a result of a "direction-less" and "double-faced" policy.

On Kashmir, the parties say that the "right to self-determination" was reduced to "a matter pertaining to cross-border terrorism."

In a slight take off from this view, Daily Times says, "one of the successful foreign policy planks of Pakistan in recent years has been 'normalisation' with India, based on a system of 'peace dialogue' between the two states.

This amply makes it clear that under no circumstances, the two neighbours should give up on talks.

First Published: May 19, 2006 20:50 IST