Threats to NGOs from Religious Fundamentalism and Talibanisation in North West Pakistan
A: Emergence of religious militancy in North West Pakistan
During Afghan War North West frontier province of Pakistan became a hub of Islamic militants gathered throughout the Islamic World. During Afghan War the militants bagged a lot of money and weapons. After fall of Soviet Union these militants were of no use of the Western world so they became idle. Pakistan Army learned a lot about militancy and destabilizing the neighboring countries through using these war tactics. The experience was replicated in Indian Kashmir and in Afghanistan to bring Kabul under Islamabad control. For Afghanistan the idea of TALIBAN was introduced by Pakistan inelegance agencies. The support to militants was provided by Pakistan Army. After 9/11 incident it was impossible for Pakistan Army to provide open support to the Islamist militants, but it continued to promote the idea by different ways which is practices till the day.
B: Islamic militants becoming getting strong hold in North West Pakistan
The Islamist militants have focused on the tribal areas and abject to North West frontier province and the Pashto speaking areas of the province. The area is very fertile for them because of its tribal nature, common culture, language and race with Afghanistan. The general population is conservative, religious minded and poverty-ridden. Young people are motivated and mobilized by using Islamic philosophy of Holy War and martyrdom.
C: Tactics of Islamic militants (TALIBAN)
– Mobilizing the young people to join
– Attraction of eternal life and direct access to heaven.
– Training of young people for Guerilla war
– Show and use of sophisticated weapons and marching in the streets and on the roads
– Threats of throwing acids on the faces of the women who do not use veils.
– Kidnapping for ransom
– Attacking and killing of people having ideological differences with militants
– Attacks, killing and kidnapping of personal of law enforcing agencies.
– Slaughtering the kidnapped persons and hanging their dead bodies
– Bomb blasting
– Suicide bombing
– Destroying NGOs offices, barbershops, music shops, women tailors shops
-Threatening people by sending them letters and phone calls
D: Surrendering state Acknowledging Identity
The militants have acknowledged themselves in the name of “TTP – Tehreek (Movement) of Taliban Pakistan
The have identified their spokesmen, who have contacts with media and broadcast /publish their interviews and messages through electronic and print media
Establishment of own judicial system and giving punishments
– Taliban have established their judicial and legal system. They give punishment to different people.
– They give punishment of lashes, stoning, shooting and slaughtering the so called accused in public and in some cases media is invited to witness the process of giving punishment and in some cases written letters/messages are left with dead bodies explaining the crimes of the accused such that spying for US, being a prostitute etc. In some cases personal form law implementing agencies are killed and their heads or bodies or shown in public to give a message to other people.
Surrender and demoralization of law enforcing agencies
– The Law enforcing agencies have become too much demoralized and they are unable to face these militants. That is why in many cases they surrender to militants. Police is hesitating to take action against them and personal from FC (Frontier core) are leaving their jobs.
– The militants are able to move during the curfew hours and attack on the people who are against them. It has been stated in the Provincial Assembly of North West frontier province of Pakistan by the Legislatures. The provincial ministers and MPAs have made complaints on the floor of assembly that the militants are allowed to move with sophisticated weapons in the vehicle during curfew hours by law enforcing agencies and army.
– The training camps of militants are very much identified and well known by the people, these militants openly move on the streets and roads.
– The militants send written and phone messages to people from different walks of life but the law enforcing agencies hesitate to register cases against the militants.
– The militants kidnapped the people from the offices, streets, cities and villages but the law enforcing agencies are unable to take action against them. Some people are released for ransom while some are killed.
– The militants are able to attack the police stations, schools, houses, offices and individuals using sophisticated weapons.
– The militants come and burn the schools, offices of NGOs and even houses of those who consider them against them and go back to their shelters very easily.
Making agreements with the militants and providing the militants opportunities to reassemble their force and to give them space.
– The government and army make agreements with militants groups at different time and provide them opportunity to reassemble and re-gather their energy.
– Army makes agreement and ceasefire with the militants
-Political governments are afraid of the security of their leadership and make agreements and ceasefire with the militants.
– The militants captured and arrested are released for the releases of army and law enforcing agencies personals captured by these militants groups.
– The government accepts and fulfills their demands but in response the militants do not honor the agreement but use the time to reassemble.
– The militants arrested during the operations are released from prisons as a term of agreements.
– The militants are agreed to introduce so called Islamic judicial system in different areas.
E: Creating space for Taliban
– The religious political parties and right wing political parties have soft corner for militants and they pressurize and blackmail the government to stop army operation against the militants.
– The government is pressurized by making ceasefires and peace agreements with the militants when the militants become tired. So the army and government make peace agreements and ceasefire with the militants, and by this tactics they become able to re-gather their energies and force.
– There are also some segments in Pakistan Army who give safe escape to the militants. This issue has been raised by the legislatures in the Provincial Assembly of North West frontier province.
-One of the coalition partners of the federal government, Maulana Fazlur Rehman pressurized the federal government to stop the army actions in the month of September 2008 for voting in the favor of Asif Ali Zardari in the presidential elections of Pakistan.
F: Threatening sections of society
– Spies of USA (Those who are against religious fundamentalism and militancy)
– Unveiled women
– Music Centers
– Barber shops
– Girls schools – Law enforcing agencies
G: Threat to NGOs in general Role of religious political leaders in developing sentiments against NGOs:
-General Musharraf accommodate NGOs person in his first government. In reaction the religious circles started propaganda against NGOs and Human Rights Organizations: They issued FATWAS (Religious Orders) against NGOs and declared them agents of USA and Jews.
-They touched the last extent in this regard and the religious political leaders expressed in media that they would not let the NGOs people alive.
– They published articles against NGOs.
– They threatened the women working in NGOs to be sexually abused if seen outside the houses.
Burning alive NGOs personal in their offices
– In the earthquake areas office of the so many NGOs were attacked. The government failed to provide security to NGOs and its workers. NGOs held so many meetings with high ups of the provincial government but no action was taken.
-There are training camps of TALIBAN in Mansehra, the militants came and burnt the office of PLAN INTERNATIONAL (NGO) along with its staff members alive and got escape safely. When the Chief minister was approached by NGOs representatives they asked that government was unable to provide security to NGOs.
Kidnapping NGOs persons
– NGOs workers, volunteers are kidnapped throughout the province. The police does not register their cases and ask them to make personal deals with the TALIBAN. Even members and social workers of small NGOs called CBOs (Community based organizations) are kidnapped for ransom.
Some of kidnapped person have been released for heavy amount while other are still missing.
Qaisar Ismail, 23, completed computer Software Engineering from University of Engineering and Technology Peshawar, Chair of the Coalition on Rights and Responsibilities of Youth (CRY) an organization that focuses on the promotion and protection of rights and responsibilities of young people to help reduce high-risk sexual behavior, working for promoting tolerance, pluralism and non-violent approach among young people of North West frontier province of Pakistan to combat the religious extremism and militancy in the area.