Militancy, Terrorism and Regime Change in Pakistan


Pakistan’s political history reminds us about political instability and the continued struggle of civilian institutions for power under a powerful military. History also shows that whenever Pakistan’s elected political government refused to fulfill America’s interests, the Army stepped in and overthrew elected governments by suspending the constitution.  The history of romance between Pakistan and the USA begins at the birth of Pakistan. Almost as early as Pakistan appeared on world map, Soviet leader Marshal Stalin was the first to sent an invitation letter recognizing Pakistan as a sovereign state. But unfortunately, the Pakistani leadership rejected its natural ally’s invitation to visit Moscow by jumping in the American camp.  As a token of friendship, Pakistan received the assassination of its first Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan from America. According to CIA declassified documents; US killed Khan through Kabul man in quest for Iran’s oil. Today most historians consider the rejection of the USSR’s invitation to be Pakistan’s great historical blunder, and as a result Pakistan is still facing the consequences. American friendship gave nothing to Pakistan except separation in the shape of Bangladesh, militancy, terrorism, and political instability. Unfortunately, US forcefully turned secular, liberal, and progressive Pakistan into an Islamic extremist factory through regime change tactics. 

After the shameful surrender of Pakistan’s army in 1971 during a war with India, the military dictatorship stepped down and handed over the country to elected left-wing political party Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). The chairman of PPP, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, put the country on the track of development. He created a new constitution and introduced reforms in the country. He turned his personal friendship with Mao Zedong into a Pakistan-China friendship. He also tried to unfreeze relations with USSR by inviting it to invest in Pakistan. He gave a new concept to Islamic Socialism. His anti-imperialist aspirations alarmed the US. He invited all Muslim leaders to Pakistan in 1974, and proposed the idea of an Islamic banking system with one Islamic currency. But when Bhutto refused to stop Pakistan’s Nuclear Program despite the warning of Henry Kissinger, America toppled his government through a military coup.

One Bhutto follower said, “...see in 1977 Bhutto was removed and hurriedly executed. And in just about 24 months, Russia was in Afghanistan (December 1979) and Pakistan, USA, Saudi Arabia et al were all there together running an "Islamic Jihad" against the Communists. It takes more than a year to plan an invasion so big or a counter-attack so effective no?...Both the CIA and the KGB knew what each one of them were doing, planning....But Bhutto was the "wild card" in the overall Western game plan. Read his book If I am tells you all.".” (CIA Sent Bhutto to the Gallows)

Unfortunately, it’s true that Army chief General Zia ul Haq, as a tool of the CIA, pushed the country into to the darkness under the shadow of the Pentagon’s Islamist Jihad. Zia was the favorite guy of Israel, which is why through the installation of Zia secular Pakistan was tuned into Islamic extremist factory. At that time the Pakistan army chief had became the godfather of Mujahedeen. By creating a Military-Mullah alliance, the holy Islamic jihad was launched in Afghanistan with Israeli weapons.  Extremist Sunnis - Wahabi and Takfiri - from Muslim countries were exported by Saudi Arabia to Pakistan in the name of jihad. The Pakistan army trained and launched them in Afghanistan against the USSR. Besides the Afghan war, the Mullah-Military alliance inside Pakistan launched a crackdown against the progressive, secular, and liberal sects of society.  Politicians and intellectuals were jailed, censorship in the media was introduced, and journalists were lashed publically.  Music, film, cinema, even culture were under attack by this army supported extremist mullahs. 

Chief sponsor of militancy, Zia once said at the end of 1981, “Pakistan is like Israel, an ideological state. Take out the Judaism from Israel and it will fall like a house of cards. Take Islam out of Pakistan and make it a secular state; it would collapse.”

History has shown that not secularism but Pakistan’s army’s own created terrorists are the only threat to the collapse of Pakistan.

Not only Pakistan and Afghanistan, but also Palestine is the victim of Zia’s brutality. On the killing of 250,000 Palestinians by the Pakistan army, Zia was awarded Jordan’s highest honour for the services rendered.

According to Pakistan’s leftist scholar Lal Khan, “The intensity of the bloodletting by Zia ul Haq and King Hussain was such that one of the founder fathers of Israel, Moshe Dayan, cynically remarked:“King Hussein, with help from Zia-ul-Haq of the Pakistani army, sent in his Bedouin army on 27 September to clear out the Palestinian bases in Jordan. Hussein killed more Palestinians in eleven days than Israel could kill in twenty years.” Also, a year later, they participated in the bloody civil war and massacres in East Bengal. Again, in the 1980’s, Zia ul Haq, who was now the head of state, rented the Pakistani military institutions to American Imperialism and forged the “dollar jihad” to overthrow the Afghan revolution of 1978.

In short, as a tool of regime change, Zia had made terrorism as state asset. From 1980 to till date Pakistan and Afghanistan both are suffering in terrorism and militancy  

Religious divide and Pakistan as a hub of proxies between Saudi Arab and Iran

After Iran, Pakistan is the 2nd biggest country of Shia population with a Sunni majority. The Islamic revolution in Iran and the Islamization policy of Zia were the main reasons of sectarian divide in Pakistan, and now the sectarian issue has become the major destabilizing factor in the country’s political, social, religious, and security order. It is not only the cause of unrest, disorder, and violence in society, but the sectarian conflict has resulted in thousands of deaths from suicide attacks, bomb blasts, assassinations, and other terrorist acts in Pakistan. Saudi Arabia and Iran are directly involved in the promotion of their respective sects. 

Being a sponsor of the Afghan war, Saudi Arabia benefitted by emerging a dominant player in the Muslim world and by exporting its violent ideology to Pakistan and Afghanistan to counter Iranian influence. Wahhabi ideology was pumped into the Sunni populace in Pakistan with Saudi funding. Hundred of Mosques and Madrassas (seminaries) were built and Sunni militant groups were created and funded by Saudi Arabia. After Syria, Pakistan is now also considered the battlefield of proxies between Saudi Arabia and Iran.  

In Pakistan, not only Shia but also other minorities such as Ahmadi, Ismali, Christen, Hindu, and Sikh all are under attack by extremist religious groups, and the State has failed to protect them. State actors, instead of seeking the management and resolution of the conflict that has divided Muslims on sectarian grounds, have tried to exploit the issue for political objectives.

U-Turn and Re- Evaluation policy 

Militancy, Terrorism, Poor law and situation order, political instability and regime change experiments, Sectarian violence and color revolutions have turned Pakistan into a fragile state. Being the most allied ally of America, Pakistan acted as an American Vassal. Washington deliberately twisted Pakistan into Problemistan for achieving its Western objectives. 

After the series of events regarding the violation of sovereignty through airborne warfare, Pakistan’s establishment took bold steps against America’s dirty play by reviewing its “Special Status”. American forces were ordered to leave the country. The Blackwater/Xe’ services were shutdown and all its covert operational cells in Karachi, Peshawar, Islamabad, and other cities were forcefully closed after the strict actions of the Pakistani authorities. Pakistan introduced new regulations to monitor INGOs and foreign funding. CIA drone airbases were vacated from Pakistan, and now recently after the American drone attack in Balochistan, Pakistan’s strict diplomatic reaction and warning to the US hinted that Pakistan is no more a vassal state where American forces can land at anytime. 

Pakistan has not only defeated US proxies but it has re-evaluated its diplomatic relations with USA. Pakistan is the only country that survived the American war on terror. In fact, like Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan, Pakistan was also on the target list. Therefore all problems that the people of Pakistan are suffering originated from the American invasion of Afghanistan. Like other state organs, Pakistani media had also been used like the American propaganda machine in American war on terror campaign against its own country. Private TV channels and newspapers were given direct funds from the American presidential office. In short, The Secret US War in Pakistan had not only brought Pakistan on the edge of collapse but it also pushed Pakistan and India into war. Countless false flag events were staged by Xe services in sub-continent to spoil the Pakistan-India peace talk’s negotiations. 

Islamabad’s total strategic shift to Beijing changed the whole scenario of the region. In May 2011, when Pakistan and the US were near to open war, Beijing - the forever friend of Islamabad - gave a clear-cut ultimatum to Washington that any attack on Pakistan would be construed as an attack on China. According to reports, this blunt warning represents the first known strategic ultimatum received by the United States in half a century, going back to Soviet warnings during the Berlin crisis of 1958-1961, and indicates the grave danger of general war growing out of the US-Pakistan confrontation.

Now after joining the China’s Silk Road initiative, Pakistan is going to repair and re-adjust itself through introducing reforms from the institutional level to basic units, because a strong and stable Pakistan is in favor of China. For this purpose Pakistan launched the non-discriminative military operation “Zarab e Azab” against terrorists and militants.  For the terrorists’ trails special military courts were established and an effective mechanism to eliminate the militancy from the country was introduced under the National Action Plan (NAP), which was established by the Twenty-first Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan. Meanwhile, the given time period of this action plan was two years, which is now near to ending. 

After the implementation of twenty points National Action Plan, Pakistan has gained a lot of success in the fight against militancy, but to choke terror funding under NAP is a great challenge because most terrorist groups and extremist religious organizations are directly funded by other Muslims countries. However, the government is trying to scan all money channels that come from foreign countries by executing NAP. For this purpose approximately more than 200 seminaries were sealed and their foreign bank accounts were frozen to stop the spreading of extremism, but if the government announces a ban on one organization’s name, then it will appear with other name and bank account. The government only can trace money channels through the banking system while mostly terrorist’s organizations and unregistered religious groups are against the banking system and they never use banks. Moreover, Pakistan requested to Saudi Arabia, Iran, UAE, and other gulf countries to stop funding the terrorists. But the government has failed to obtain the cooperation of these countries due to internal pressure, as Muslim charities that come from gulf countries are the main source of extremism and militancy. Unfortunately, the Government and its institutions have failed to scan these charities that are used to promote sectarian violence and extremist ideology. For this purpose, Pakistan will have to take bold steps for the larger interest of the country. 

A great opportunity to prevent Arabs from using its land for their proxies was missed by Pakistan. Recently the Supreme Court of Pakistan banned hunting of the endangered migratory bird Houbara Bustard, but unfortunately on the government’s plea that hunting is the one of the mainstays of Pakistan’s foreign policy with gulf countries, the court has declared its own judgment null and void. If the government is in favor of Central Asian endangered migratory bird hunting, special measures to prevent Arab’s dirty game against Balochistan and Iran should be introduced.   

It’s much needed that Pakistan should keep itself away from any war theater that is going to be a stage for the master of chaos. Pakistan had already refused to join the Saudi led coalition against Yemen, and now it should refuse the Saudi NATO-like alliance. Pakistan has to learn from history. The war on terror that Pakistan is suffering from was not the war of Pakistan. This war was waged on Pakistan deliberately through regime change tactics. The USA and Saudi joint venture snatched the real face of Pakistan by converting it into a Jihadi factory. The same thing happened with Afghanistan. Now Pakistan is in search of its real national identity. Extremism is not part of its culture, so it can be easily defeated through the development that is already knocking on its door.

 The end of the “Please-punch” policy and repairing 

Pakistan is revising her relations with US and is going to repair the damage by approaching Russia and China. Pro-west local media presented it as the isolation of Pakistan. In fact, Pakistan’s strategic tilt towards China and Russia is an act against unipolar hegemony. Therefore, unipolar well-wishers are turning their backs on Islamabad and giving preference to new-Delhi, and they already found Modi’s India as an ally where their forces can land. This author wrote about this new alignment in an article: “It appears that India is going to take a U-turn by joining the US-led anti-regional alliance to block the upcoming regional development project that has reached its neighborhood. Modi’s current move to join the US-led anti-China coalition drew increasing concern domestically as well as internationally, as the region is already on the verge of war over territorial disputes.”  

US ambitions to prepare India against China and to punish Pakistan for joining China are so alarming and dangerous for the peace in the region. The US-India nexus against the encirclement of China and Pakistan can be observed from South China Sea to South Asia. While on the other side, the US-led NATO war games against Russia in the Black Sea hinted that the US wants war to prevent the multipolarity of globe. That’s why NATO encircles Russia. So in this scenario, Pakistan is not isolated but it has found multipolar world alternatives. Therefore, now china, with the backing of Central Asian states, is fixing Pakistan’s damage through economic assistance. 


In this emerging scenario, the US is utilizing Pakistan’s internal hostile situation to persuade them to achieve objectives. Now it’s time for Pakistan to learn from Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s understandings, as he characterized American policy towards Pakistan as a ‘Please-Punch’ approach. Unfortunately, Pakistan’s situation is subjected by America through this approach time and again. Now as China and Russia are ready to repair the damage to Pakistan that was administered by the US, it’s time for Pakistan to draw the line so that US hegemony in South Asia can be minimized through regional peaceful integration.  If Pakistan does not do this, the US will continue imposing its strategic objectives on Pakistan.