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Tuesday, December 11, 2018
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Social Injustice: Cause of Internal Insecurity in Pakistan
Pakistan is considered as a “faltering” state, blighted by civil-military disconnect and grave internal security mess, but its leaders never thought worth their while to invest in justice. The country was rendered rudderless when its creator Mohammad Ali Jinnah died within less than 13 months of its creation in September 1948. His Muslim League followers never thought of working his vision of Pakistan or, perhaps they did not bother to understand it.

“The Faltering State – Pakistan’s Internal Security Landscape” is a recent book authored by Tariq Khosa, a professional who after joining public service in 1973 remained involved in law enforcement as police chief in Baluchistan, as Federal Secretary of Narcotics Control Division, as Director General of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), as head of Pakistan’s Police who supervised the 2008 Mumbai terror attack investigations. Tariq Khosa is a rare person who has studied Pakistan’s ailment from human angle and exhibited the moral strength in calling a spade a spade. For example, as the police chief in Baluchistan be criticised the kill and dump practice of the Pakistan Army and its agencies. Elsewhere in Pakistan, the book blames the Army for weakening the police by unauthorised orders and taking advantage of the timidity of the civilian government.

Khosa reproduces a part of Jinnah’s famous address to the Constituent Assembly of August 11, 1947 to emphasise that the Father of the Nation had visioned a Muslim-majority country that was not Islamic but just in giving equal importance and treatment to all the citizens of Pakistan. Pakistan, he said would not have a religion of its own. Khosa writes that Jinnah’s vision for Pakistan was for it to be pluralistic, democratic and tolerant to all the citizens of Pakistan. Pakistan, he said would not have a religion of its own policy. Khosa writes that Jinnah’s vision for Pakistan was for it to be pluralistic, democratic and tolerant polity based on the principles of social justice and not a theocracy. “We shall not be an Islamic State, but a liberal democratic Muslim State”. Jinnah was quoted by Khosa.

According to Khosa, Pakistani leaders ignored the message of social justice inherent in Jinnah’s vision. “Without socio-economic justice, we cannot estimate the hydra-headed monsters of terrorism” writes Khosa. The author had taken a leading part in the preparation of the very, very brave and highly acclaimed document called the National Action Plan (NAP) after the gruesome killing of about a hundred children at the Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar by terrorists on December 16, 2014. A meeting called by the Prime Minister, Federal Ministers, all the four Chief Ministers, the Army Chief, intelligence heads, Chief Secretaries and provincial heads of administration reviewed the implantation of the NAP. The meeting agreed that lack of social justice, poverty and failure of the public education system were the main reasons for the proliferation of mosques and madrashas through which various sectarian and religious outfits fight turf wars for economic gain and political power.

There is another result of the denial of social justice. Poor People, sidelined by the rich, seek refuge in urban slums and ramshackle housing colonies that lack basic amenities. The poor are left unattended by the state institutions and they must fend for themselves. “As a result, the instinct for survival attracts them towards crime or militancy. The only places they feel empowered are mosques, madarsas and religious congregations where their vulnerability translates into anger. Disgruntled youth are common fodder for those that propagate an ideology of hatred and persecution to advance their political agenda. This is how innocent seekers of knowledge in the religious seminaries become the Taliban who were nurtured as proxies by our security establishment,” avers Khosa.

Connected with the country-wide growth of criminals, sectarian terrorists, militants and hate preachers in the name of religion is the role of intelligence agencies, the dilemma of the police and insecurity of judges, prosecutors, investigators, witnesses and lawyers. According to the author, no one is safe in a criminal justice system pitted against militants and their patrons in the Deep State of Pakistan. The Deep State, he writes, helps create non-state actors. “The Legislature’s oversight of the intelligence agencies is crucial for public accountability. At present, there is no parliamentary committee on intelligence matters. The Defence and Interior Parliamentary Committee have no mandate to question or assess the strategy and operational framework of the intelligence services,” he writes, adding that the ISI and IB are beyond the ambit of law. They have been working without a legal or constitutional framework. Given the Deep State’s patronage of militants, the state cannot do its duty of protecting judges, investigators, prosecutors, witnesses and lawyers. The result: terror, killings and kidnappings.

But what is the police doing? Khosa argues: “An overwhelming reliance on military institutions has diverted capacity, resources and public trust away from the police.” A survey showed 90 percent of the respondents considered police corrupt.

The rank and file of the police force (strength 6,25,000) in Pakistan is not recruited on merit. They are poorly educated, ill-trained and equipped and poorly paid. They are considered politicised, incompetent, corrupt, insensitive, and ill-disciplined and friends of crime mafias. They are practically governed by the 1861 law which the British government made on the Irish constabulary model after the 1857 revolt against the British rule. Under this law the police could use fear, intimidation and violence in the interest of the State. To protect the people and have good relations were not part of the law. There is a trend of police services to be militarised due to the domination of the military in internal security matters.

Former President and Army Chief Gen Pervez Musharraf produced the Police Order in 2000 to reform the police but the Order eventually fizzled out. Weak police and governance are helping terrorists and insurgents join hands with criminals. Khosa writes that unless the police is reformed, prison reforms cannot be done. He sums up major internal security challenges as lack of national consensus on ways to tackle militancy; absence of a national narrative against the religious and political agenda of the terrorists and militants; weak writ of the state in peripheral areas like FATA (soon to be integrated formally with the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) and Baluchistan, Karachi and the absence of the formal and institutional interaction on the internal security framework among professionals experts and policy makers.

In Baluchistan the Frontier Corps (FC) is deployed to do police functions for which it is not trained. The civilian government says the FC is under it. Yes, it gets its money from the government but works under the Army’s orders. Hence killing and dumping of forcibly disappeared people continues. Courts in Pakistan know it. The author writes unless the security establishment follows the Constitution the issue of disappearances will not be solved.

In its totality, “The Faltering State – Pakistan’s Internal Security Landscape”, traces the country’s internal security mess to virtual rejection of the Jinnah’s message of social justice in his vision of Pakistan he propounded in the Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947. Like many others he also accuses Jinnah’s Muslim League followers off ignoring their Quaid’s vision. But can we blame the followers who throughout the Pakistan movement did not know anything about this vision. It came as a bolt from the blue just about 48 hours before the inauguration of Pakistan. The Muslim Leaguers were not prepared for it. They had already carved out their constituencies on the premise of fundamental Islam.

It might have strengthened the theme of his book if Khosa had thrown some light on the causes of civil-military disconnect. As we have seen in the book this disconnect presides over all internal security problems in Pakistan. Khosa seems to concentrate on Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan as a terrorist group but ignores the groups patronised by the Army like the Haqqani Network, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and its descendent Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD). Their indirect contribution to internal insecurity in Pakistan is perhaps the highest.
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