Can Afghanistan be Harbinger of Resurgence of Islam

Humiliation of a superpower in Afghanistan has created serious ramifications for the region as well as the globe. Victory of Taliban is bound to initiate a chain of events with long lasting impact. Biggest ramification of the defeat of superpower is that it’s myth of invincibility has been broken

In the context of geopolitics, I had authored an article on Golden Ring of Security in 2018. Same became part of my PhD dissertation. Amidst global transitions, new regions and alliances are emerging. Shifting of power from West to East, Rise of China to replace US as superpower, change in global polarity and Rise of Asia are well accepted outcomes.

Within ambit of these global transitions, hitherto-fore not so integrated countries are finding convergence of interests. Concept of Golden Ring of Security (GROS) is based on a regional alliance between Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran and Turkey. The contours of such a regional grouping have already started to emerge. This alliance is best suited for seeking stability in Afghanistan which I have identified as Threat No1 to CPEC in particular and ambitions of China in general. These regional countries can play a better role in Afghanistan because these are directly impacted by instability in Afghanistan.

Sudden shift in Afghanistan can also have impact on Pakistan related to fillip in activities of TTP. Allama Iqbal had called Afghanistan as heart of Asia. Heart purifies and supplies blood to organs. If Afghanistan becomes functional it will have impact on entire Asia.

This blog is intended to focus on how religion of Islam might gain from victory of Taliban in Afghanistan. If Taliban can exhibit greater maturity (which they are already doing) in giving good governance to Afghanistan, then this victory can become first drop of resurgence of Islam.

Militant Jihad though disfigured in certain cases has been more prevalent in the Muslim World due to global political injustices. Hamas has already greeted Taliban on assumption of power. Taliban have too repeatedly hinted at struggle for liberation of Kashmir. Jihad might again gain prevalence which got bashing for its lumping with terrorism.

Islam as an ideology of justified struggle has gained through success of Taliban. It is foreseen that the victory of Taliban may become harbinger of resurgence of Islam which is long over due.

Shamefaced Superpower

The world is aghast with the outcome in Afghanistan. Indeed it is utter amazement how a superpower has been humbled and embarrassed in the hands of irregular forces. This is what I had written in my book, titled Fighting Shadows in 2018,

“Alas! If Soviet Union had known that Afghanistan was a “graveyard for empires”. One wonders whether the same statement may be repeated tomorrow with reference to the US”

The statement is indeed being repeated. One is bewildered to say the least that how a superpower could be so grossly wrong in its assessments, analysis and intelligence. Weeks ago President Biden asserted that Taliban take over of Kabul was not inevitable. Three days ago US intelligence agencies had predicted that Kabul might fall in 90 days. It has taken 1/30th of time for Kabul to fall. Gross miscalculation seems an understatement.

Almighty superpower has been left to beg Taliban for safety of its embassy staff. It’s equally appalling that a superpower didn’t have contingency planning for evacuation of its embassy staff. First they extricated all troops and then re-inducted a contingent of 6000 soldiers.

On initiation of Operation Enduring Freedom, General Pervez Musharraf had demanded from the US that Northern Alliance should not come to Kabul mounting US tanks. However, the US had no other option because it had to ally with enemy of Taliban. The day Northern Alliance came to Kabul mounting US tanks, the same day India moved into Afghanistan. India had a hey-day with favourable government in Kabul.

Withdrawal of the US from Afghanistan was bound to rectify two distortions in the country due to its presence. Firstly, a flawed political dispensation had to be rectified. Minority rule had to give way to majority rule. Secondly, India had to be cut to size. Both have happened much earlier than expectations.

The tables in Afghanistan haven’t turned rather these have been catapulted. The speed of change is mind boggling. 20 years efforts, money, planning and nation building has gone down the drain.

Rapid changes in Kabul will augur well for overall CPEC related prospective growth and development in the region.

Test of Nerves

In the emerging contours of 21st Century Geopolitics, Pakistan is feeling the heat.

It’s unfortunate but a stark reality that akin to hither-to-fore Pakistan is once again coming to the centre stage of rivalry of giants. First British and Soviet Empire, then US and Soviet Empire, then US and forces of disorder (so to say) and now US and China.

The mere criticality and importance of Pakistan for China as well as contending US is amply proven through two accounts; firstly what kind of efforts China is putting in to retain Pakistan and CPEC and secondly, what kind of efforts opposing camp is putting-in to wean Pakistan away from China and CPEC.

Once again the US has shown how ruthless it is in using and dumping others. Bad days for Pakistan started in particular with new year Tweet of President Trump ie 1 Jan 2018. Then it dawned on to the US that safe exit from Afghanistan isn’t possible sans support of Pakistan. Thus same POTUS reinitiated a bonhomie with Pakistan culminating in visit of PMIK to the US. Now that safe exit has been secured, Pakistan is finding yet again estranged US.

Whatever is happening to Pakistan now, amounts to testing its nerves. Snubbing of Pakistan at environment conference called by President Biden, then snubbing of Pakistan by refusal of President Biden to make a telephone call to PMIK and now snubbing of Pakistan by not inviting to UNSC special session is part of same orchestration. It is aimed at bringing unbearable pressure on to Pakistan. Ultimately, it comes to test of nerves of leadership.

In my PhD dissertation, Coercive US has been identified as one of main threats to CPEC. Pakistan is in deed being coerced.

Iran next doors is excellent example of resoluteness and display of steel nerves. It is expected that Pakistan will display similar steel nerves for betterment of future generations of Pakistan. Opposing forces will try their best. If we succumb we are doomed, we keep standing, these storms with wither away. I am very hopeful that present leadership will not succumb to these pressures and coercion.

A Pariah State and Double Standards of the World

A dispassionate analysis leads to a conclusion that; India has remained a source of conflict in South Asia since it’s independence in 1947. It has had disputes with all of its neighbours and why shouldn’t it have? Seeing it’s strategic thought.

Strategic thought is cumulative response behaviour and attitude of a group of people built over centuries. This becomes a frame of reference of people of that group to react to a given situation. Strategic thought of India is based on Chanakya Doctrine which stipulates, “your neighbour is your natural enemy, whereas neighbour’s neighbour is your friend”. Besides that strategic thought of India is also driven by extremist Hindutva and vision of Akhand Bharat. In this milieu India’s disputes with its neighbours are logical and a foregone conclusion. It’s only for the world not to deny the obvious.

Indian hegemonic attitude has debilitated South Asia with Kautalian Dictum and perpetual instability. South Asia is thus the least integrated, conflict prone and the most impoverished region of the World. Even SAARC failed due to intransigence of India.

In the emerging geopolitics of South Asia, India has emerged as new darling of the US. However, the US is in total denial and disregard of the basic nature of Indian strategic thought. The US seems to be inhibited by BFO (Blinding flash of the obvious). The US is failing to realise that conflict-based Strategic Thought of India renders it incapable of being Net-security provider of the region. India can only suit the US, incase its objectives in the region lie in instability rather than stability.

India is now playing a huge role in marring fair-play of global systems. In 2021, there have been three incidents of stealing of Uranium, but world opted to look other way. There have been reports of drug trafficking, but world is looking other way. Even over 700 days of curfew and heinous crimes of India in Indian Occupied Kashmir has not shaken slumbering conscience of the World. Irrefutable evidence of terrorism and the World is looking other way. Confession of Indian Minister for External Affairs that India has used FATF for political purposes has laid thread-bare meanness-to-the-core of Indian polity. The World will still look other way. Since world isn’t just and fair, so attitude of the world is justified.

However, in the setting of unjust and unfair world, Pakistan must exercise its options. The video attached in the beginning builds a case for mistreated nations like Pakistan to care hoots about biased global organisations like FATF. Pakistan must exercise all of its options to record and rebut impartial attitude of FATF. People of Pakistan must support in building of the case and supporting the government against this blatant injustice.

Change of Heart or Strategy

The US has finally opted to withdraw from Afghanistan. There is a sure implausible deniability regarding failure of a super power in its longest war.

Unfolding of events in Post-US withdrawal is any body’s guess. Crystal-gazing is on and each day new possible scenarios are being churned. All scenarios hold ominous consequences for the unfortunate region of Pakistan and Afghanistan. The regions which have remained disturbed for over two centuries of modern history are yet again standing at cross roads.

In the multidimensional global transitions, the most serious lies in emergence of China as a challenger to the US status of super power. It is critical for the US to block rise of China at the max or retard it’s rise to the min. This in view, the most serious retrospection is needed in certain key questions. What is strategic significance of the region in Sino-US Rivalry?Notwithstanding its withdrawal, can US totally delink from this region? And, on the part of US is it change of heart or strategy?

Rise of China is predicated mainly in two main domains, integration of Eurasian Landmass and mitigation of Malacca Dilemma. The first needs critical land routes through CARs and the second needs direct access to Indian Ocean. Kazakhstan happens to be the linchpin for integration of Eurasian Landmass and Pakistan forms linchpin for access to Indian Ocean. Afghanistan lies in the middle of CARs and Pakistan. While stability in these key regions is critical for China’s ambitions; instability in these regions is equally critical for the US to stop China from rising. Afghanistan can serve to radiate instability in all directions. That much about first question. Now I move to the second.

Based on strategic importance of the region, it can be safely presumed that total delinking from this critical region can not be in the interests of the US. Incase, US totally abandons this region, then China will have an easy run for its ambitious plans. Direct involvement through physical presence may no more suit the US, however, indirect involvement through other ways may be essentially required.

Third question is the most critical and warrants serious deliberations. Does US have a change of heart or strategy. Change of heart can imply that the US, in its heart has accepted failure and has given up on its objectives vis-a-vis Afghanistan and the region. While change of strategy may imply that mode is being changed but objectives are not being abandoned. Instead of direct strategy of fighting and suffering, the US may adopt an indirect strategy to achieve its objectives. 21st Century Warfare has brought to fore the role of Non-state actors. It has been same non-state actors which have humiliated a super power.

What if? the US employs same very non-state actors to create chaos in the regions critical for Chinese ambitions. Conduct of peace talks, concessions to TTA, indications to carry out air strikes only against ISIS in Afghanistan raise suspicions regarding purity of intentions of the US. The above cited video seems to serve as an incitement to TTP for carrying out operations in Pakistan. TTP leader has been given an opportunity for an interview on CNN.

If the US and CIA unfolds such plans, the region is up for a bigger chaos than we have witnessed earlier. Malicious role of non-state actors in Afghanistan can give fillip to ETIM in Xinjiang, IMU in Uzbekistan and TTP of Pakistan. These non-state actors if not well managed can serve interests of the US better than its physical presence in Afghanistan.

Stability in Afghanistan may be more critical than any time in the past. Regional countries must join hands to defeat designs of inimical forces and to prevent instability which will radiate its ill effects in all directions.

Evolving Situation in ME

From Victim to Partner in Holocaust
— Read on

In September 2019, I had the opportunity to visit Holocaust Museum in Washington DC. I had then written the above cited blog. Ever since then attitude of victims of Holocaust has grown from bad to worst. In the intervening period from then to now, ME has witnessed certain meteoric changes which have ushered-in a new cycle of instability in the ME.

Firstly, omnipresent Shia-Sunni discord reached to new heights with animosity of KSA and Iran. As a consequence new war zones emerged in the ME. Secondly, Arab world split into two blocs. KSA led Sunni-Wahabi bloc and Egypt/Iran led bloc which is mix of Sunni and Shia. A non-Arab bloc also tried to rear its head but it was successfully quashed by KSA before its birth. Thirdly, Arab States led by KSA got into new embrace with Israel which seemed bizarre to say the least. Fourthly, MBS initiated ambitious and unsustainable reforms in internal dynamics of KSA. He has ventured to transform KSA from ultra-orthodoxy to ultra-modernity. Such a sudden transition is neither ideologically nor temporally sustainable. In all these four meteoric changes in the ME, KSA has been a torch bearer and harbinger.

At the time of Arab-Israel cuddle, I had predicted that it will bring greater instability and chaos in ME. My basic rationale has been that Israel is a worst kind of revisionist state of the World. It is like a restless octopus which leaves no opportunity to grab more. Israel will never cease to expand and it will expand at the expense of same very Arab-States burying their head like an ostrich and finding solace in so-called peace with Israel.

Forces in the Muslim world inalienably attached to key Muslim interests have not been able to bear a brazen sell-out of Muslim interests. President Erdogan has rightly said, “if we cannot defend Alquds we may lose ability to defend Madina too”. Disunity and indifferent leadership of Muslim world have emboldened, the global-cruel-twins ie Israel and India.

In the presence of atrocities and heinous crimes against Muslims, the aggrieved is left with no option but to resort to asymmetric war. The weaker is compelled to adopt asymmetric techniques of fighting. The enlightened World will then come to question the legality of Jihad. What else people under subjugation can be expected to do? It is foreseen that the present situation might turn into another cycle of global Jihad.

I am reminded of George Friedman who has said in “Next 100 Years” that instability (not stability) is the key interest of the US in ME. Consequently, once again instability has come to rule the roost.

21 Century Geopolitics are in play. Recently Henry Kissinger has desired for better sense to prevail but seemingly, his advise is not being heeded to. The waning US is likely to do all in its domain to muddle the waters. The sole-superpower and its allies are busy in great games. While gaming may be pleasure-some for them, the humanity suffers.

The voice of global conscience is being gagged by the powers to be. FB, Instagram, social media and electronic media is focusing on Hamas actions and Israeli counter-actions, where as the humanity’s suffering is not being highlighted. It is understandable because the powers to be have information-dominance and these are the tools in their hands to achieve this objective. Aljazeera tower has been blown up by Israel to eliminate sources of counter narratives.

The counter balancing emerging powers like China and Russia must step-in to check unbridled powers of sole-superpower and cruelty of global vagabond ie Israel. Muslims must get united and Muslim leadership must shun self-serving interests for religious obligations. OIC should develop fangs rather than being a lame duck. The UN should live up-to its expectations. FB, Instagram, Social Media must serve humanity rather than evil powers. Success of evil powers will be loss of all. Else Hitler may be proven right that the Third World War may be caused by the Jews.

Need for Unity of Muslim Ummah

Withering Away of Muslim Ummah
— Read on

The brazen incidents of blasphemy, hate and desecration of holiest places of Muslims remind me of my above cited blog. If, in early 70s Muslim World was best united, by now it is worst divided. Unfortunately, Arab World – the descendants of prophets are performing the worst in causing divisions.

Once a rival is weak and meek, it emboldens the opposing rival. Leaders of Muslim World are meek, weak, self-serving and utterly devoid of shame.

In recent times Muslim World has displayed utter meekness on utterances of President of France. Now Israel has ventured to commit heinous crime against Muslims on 25th of holiest month of Muslims in third holiest mosque of Islam. Question is why will they not do it? Once we Muslims are totally indifferent to injunctions of Holy Book and Holy Prophet PBUH, we are utterly divided and we are enjoying worldly pleasures we deserve this treatment. Due to divisions and indifference in Muslim World this is the most suitable time for enemies of Muslims and Islam to settle their scores.

Now that Arab World – the harbingers of Islam, have lost moral authority and resolve to look after interests of Islam and powerful countries of Muslim World are also non-Arab, there arises a need for non-Arab Muslim bloc. Almost a year ago chances of such a bloc of Turkey, Malaysia and Pakistan had emerged which were effectively scuttled by mighty KSA. The recent bonhomie between Pakistan and KSA has taken us further away from such an alternate bloc. It is highly unfortunate. Slogan of KSA seems to be, “Na hum karain gay na kissi aur ko kernain den gay” (neither we will do nor will let some one else do).

Muslims are suffering in Kashmir, Palestine and elsewhere and OIC under leadership of KSA is a lame duck. We are well aware of diplomatic spate, Pakistan and KSA had on meekness of OIC. But Alas! We are back to square one.

It’s only Tayyap Erdogan the great Turkish Leader and PMIK who are in the forefront for safeguarding Muslim World. Unless we have unity among Muslim World we shall continue to get bashing.

Even for this objective we need to pray to Allah for making up for the shortfalls in our resolve and commitment to His injunctions.

Cleanliness is Half Faith 2

In every holy month of Ramzan we are reminded of Safai Nisf Imaan Hai by non-Muslims. My Above cited blog had indicated a wakening call given to us by His Excellency, ex German Ambassador to Islamabad, Mr Kobler. This year British High Commissioner His Excellency Mr Christian Turner has given is a wake up call. I wonder when will we realise, first not to create garbage and if we cannot resist then to clean it ourselves rather being embarrassed by no believers of Islam.

My Interpretation of Love

Love is a unique emotion of a human being. No life can be divorced of love. A human feels the need of love as well as displays emotion of love for someone or something. Love can be segregated in two distinct domains ie love for the Creator and worldly love. First definition of love is , “intense feeling of deep affection”. Affection can be with someone or something. All philosophers like, Pluto, Socrates and Aristotle have defined love.

Love is split into three categories ie Eros, Agape and Philia. Eros is between able bodied persons. It’s a relationship between two equals. Eros is directed towards beauty of the beloved and not towards the person itself. An erotic lover admits that he is inferior to the beloved. Erotic lover experiences discernible, analysable, classifiable aggregate qualities of the beloved.

As against erotic love, agapic love is that of a mentor and mentee. It can be relationship of a mother and child. Agapic love has the power to selflessly nurture the beloved. Agapic lover loves its beloved insofar the lover can nurture beloved’s potential. While erotic love is possessive, the agapic love does not demand in return anything from the beloved. Both Eros and Agape treat beloved as an object and not as a human being.

Philia the third category of love, requires understanding of the whole being of the beloved. Love for an illustrious musician by the up and coming musicians can be cited as an example. They love him as a entirety and not as an object unlike Eros and Agape. Philia requires active participation of lover and beloved. Eros and Agape are unidirectional. Erotic lover selflessly takes beauty of the beloved and agapic lover one sidedly supports his beloved’s growth. Contrarily, Philia is a two way street. Philia involves consciousness of the lover and beloved.

Various philosophers have rated any of these categories higher than the rest. There appears to be no real love. Love is relative in relation to the object being loved and purpose of love. Worldly love is interspersed with all three forms of love ie Eros, Agape and Philia. There also seems that there is no permanent love less Agape ie love between mother and child or creator and created. Love seems to be a dynamic process which keeps on changing or varying in its intensity.

I see love as a feeling or enacted emotion of attraction. There is love for parents, love of material things, love for life, love for another human, love for God and love for any belonging – living or non living. God created human being with a set of strengths and shortcomings. It’s the shortcomings which define a human. Once he is able to overpower shortcomings his strengths get an enforcement. A human which manages to eradicate all instinctive shortcomings can transcend to the level of selflessness. And it is the selflessness which defines the true love.

In the worldly domain particularly in case of love for living beings we demand reciprocity. Even in case of love for God, a normal human expects reciprocity however extraordinary lovers of God transcend to the level of selflessness. The journey to selflessness is extremely hard which demands culling of ‘self’. The way nature has created human beings, the self is most empowered and served part of it. In service of self, an ordinary human can end up even destroying himself and anything in its way. The self is served by ego, pride and narcissism. It is the self which is the biggest impediment in eradicating instinctive shortcomings and reaching to the level of selflessness.

While going through definitions of love, one thing struck me ie “it’s an enacted emotion”. A human being enacts the feelings of love. This enactment may be driven by selflessness or self-centricity. These are same very attributes of self which block or limit the emotion of love. In this setting a human being enacts or fakes love. In order to experience truest essence of love whether with creator or a living being the lover has to transcend to higher pedestals of selflessness, egolessness and feelings of inferiority to the beloved

Defining Moments of Pakistan

Pakistan – a country was created with divine blessings and intervention. It has been lucky as well as unlucky in many ways. Loss of founding father in second year of its creation was its biggest loss. Quaid e Azam was a towering personality and his departure created a leadership vacuum. In the absence of sound leadership and a strong foundation which could have only been provided by Quaid e Azam, Pakistan lost its track. It was gradually overpowered by feudal lords. These were same feudal lords about whom Abul Kalam Azad had said in his book, “once Congress of India prior to partition announced that it would bring land reforms in joint India, feudal lords of areas which now form Pakistan rallied to create another state which would not have this problem”. It implied that their objective of creating Pakistan wasn’t La Elaha Illallah.

Till today feudal lords of Pakistan are ruling the roost. They dominate politics, they believe in power of money, they have vested interests and they treat rest of Pakistanis as their Muzaraeen (workers on their lands). Virtually they ruled the country from day one. Mian Nawaz Sharif was first scion of an industrialist family who rose to power. His first government was good, second bad and third worst, in my reckoning due to his gradual overpowering by same feudal lords. Being an industrialist at the beginning he became worst than feudal lords.

Another important aspect relates to repeated play of geopolitics in the region. The US fought finale of Cold War as well as GWOT in neighbourhood of Pakistan. It is said that the quadrant formed by Peshawar & Kabul in the North and Quetta & Kandahar in the South has remained disturbed for last two centuries. Such an instability adversely affected neighbouring regions of Pakistan. Prevalence of prolonged conflict adversely impacted evolution of society as well as institutions of Pakistan. Ibn Khaldun had given a 5 staged evolution of a civil society which comprised, Consolidation, Tyranny, Prosperity, Satisfaction and Success. Smooth evolution of a civil society as well as institutions was only possible incase there were no interventions. Worst intervention could be of a war or a conflict.

Examples of Afghanistan and neighbouring regions of Pakistan could be cited to substantiate this point. Afghanistan was one of the most modern, prosperous and forward looking countries of the region in mid of 20th Century. In the South Asia, first aviation aircraft had landed in Kabul. Perpetual conflict had put the evolution of Afghanistan as a state in reverse cycle. Similarly Quetta and Peshawar were known as dying cities of Pakistan. Once there is an issue of survival, well-to-do families abandon the cities as well as countries for safer places. Same happened with all the regions which saw perpetual state of conflict. Consequently, Kabul, Peshawar and Quetta lost their original high gentry, intelligentsia and institutions besides material losses.

In the repeated play of geopolitics there were military rulers ruling the country. It was a win-win situation for the main antagonist ie the US as well as rulers in Pakistan. Pakistan was doled with easy money. Thanks to splendid strategic location of Pakistan but there is no free lunch. TV Paul has said that Pakistan was suffering from “strategic curse“. In his view due to superior strategic location Pakistan every now and then got easy money so the people of Pakistan lacked motivation to work hard. While Pakistan enjoyed much higher stature in global politics due to its relevance to the US but in the process Pakistan lost in wealth, infrastructure, human life and most seriously its national character.

Accumulatively, in Pakistan; evolution of civil society got into reverse gear, national institutions ceased to grow or degenerated, a new breed of opportunists, sycophants, corrupt, exploiters and parvenus were produced. These negative attributes began to be incentivised as merit got crushed. Humans were greedy by nature and they always focused on their benefit. People started to shy away from genuine hard work and fair play because those were less incentivised than malpractices. Shame and guilt; two key attributes for fair running of a society disappeared. Comparison of Australian society and that of Pakistan could be amazing. Cricket players in Australia cheated on cricket field and whole of the nation condemned it. The players cried on TV and begged for forgiveness. Contrastingly, in Pakistan huge looting and plunder is being condoned by public at large. Corruption is being seen as a higher virtue rather than condemning.

The real battle that Pakistan needs to fight is to retrieve our National character. We were not like this five decades ago. Corrupt were looked down upon. Ladies and teachers were respected. Education was higher priority for parents, guilt and shame were prevailing in society, there were respectable professions, parents used to inculcate higher virtues in children, religious scholars were serving Islam and politics were much cleaner. Today school, home and mosque – three grooming institutions for a child are dysfunctional. Without getting into a blame game, it is felt that the whole societal decay has been consequence of a prolonged conflict and inapt leadership of all kind.

I support PM Imran Khan in this battle which is meant for future of our generations. The right has to prevail in this country rather than the wrong which is the case as of now. We have to revert to morality, integrity, self-esteem and good virtues. Unless corrupt is looked down upon corruption will not cease. Once corrupt is respected by the society they will be motivated to do it more. These are defining moments of our beloved motherland. Let’s condemn all bad virtues even if these are committed by our loved ones. Let’s stand with those who want to retrieve our national pride, honour, dignity and character. If we fail in these defining moments then we will be condemned to be ruled by the corrupt. Allah may help Pakistan and people of Pakistan. Allah may bless us realisation and wisdom to follow true teachings of Islam, Quaid e Azam and Allama Muhammad Iqbal.