Pakistan is a victim of many delusions - a country where the army
and civilian leadership "live in perpetual self-delusion" and take
on "jihadist overtones" that does not rule out orchestration of
another Mumbai-style attack in the future, says a Europe-based,
Pakistan-born political analyst.
However, if that were to happen, pressure will mount on India to
Ishtiaq Ahmed, professor emeritus of political science at
Stockholm University and also honorary senior fellow of the
Institute of South Asian Studies, said here: "Pakistan is a victim
of many delusions. The army and the civilian leadership live in
perpetual self-delusion and this is the main problem which they
Ahmed, who is of Pakistani descent, was here for a roundtable
discussion on "From Jihad to Jihadism: Lessons for Southern Asia".
"I don't think jihad is on the rise. The first wave of Al Qaeda
leaders, who joined Osama bin Laden in the 1980s, is down to a few
dozen people on the run in the tribal areas of northwestern
"The second wave of terrorists who trained in Al-Qaeda's camps in
Afghanistan during the 1990s has also been devastated, with about
100 hiding out on the Pakistani frontier. So, clearly, it's been
on the wane," Ahmed told IANS in an interview.
He added that according to a RAND Corp report ", (of the) 83
terrorist attacks in the United States between 9/11 and the end of
2009, only three...were clearly connected with the jihadist
While the radical Islamic groups from Egypt to Jordan to Malaysia
have lost much of military and political support, the situation in
Pakistan is different.
Outfits like Jaish-e-Muhammad, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Al Qaeda,
Jalaluddin and Siraj Haqqani's network and Tehrik-e-Taliban
continue to thrive and pose danger to the West and Pakistan's
immediate neighbour India, he said.
"The government's jihadist connections go back to the country's
creation (in 1947) as an ideological, Islamic state, which makes
it difficult for Pakistan to overcome its Jihadist overtones,"
Ahmed, who is at present working on a book "Is Pakistan a Garrison
State?", said: "At present there is no present idea of jihad in
Pakistan. But there is Jihadism, which is an adopted form of
jihad, launched with the help of non-Muslim state/actors."
Contrary to popular beliefs, he said that India will not react
militarily even if another 26/11 happens.
At least 166 people were killed in the November 26, 2008, Mumbai
terror attack when 10 gunmen from Pakistan sneaked into India's
financial capital and let loose a reign of terror.
"I can't say whether a 26/11 would happen again. The rogue
elements still exist in Pakistan. If it does, I don't think India
will go for a war with Pakistan. War has never been in India's
interest," said Ahmed.
Ahmed went on to say that India won't come back to the dialogue
table and instead put pressure on Pakistan through its allies and
foreign powers if at all a Mumbai-II happens.
"I don't think India will continue with the dialogue. It should
not. They have shown enough restraint. Pressure is immense on
India to act. They may try hot pursuit or pressurise the foreign
powers to act. A lot depends on who provokes whom. It will be a
very tense moment," Ahmed said.
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