– The very fact that these banned organisations are still working so openly in our society, without any fear or even a slight concern for the rule of law and state authority, makes evident the will of the authorities to tackle extremism
Generally throughout the entire history of Pakistan, the defence budget has been continuously increasing. Particularly in the last decade the budget allocated to defence expenditures has witnessed enormous growth, from $ 2.5 billion in 1999 to around $ 5 billion in 2011. The reason cited by defence experts is the various external and internal threats, especially evolving after 9/11 and the initiation of the war on terror. The finance for this growing expenditure is supported through the earnings of the citizens of Pakistan. Let me make it clear to everyone that here I am not making a case against the budget allocated to the security of the country, as security is the foremost issue for Pakistan nowadays. My concern is that if the people of Pakistan are contributing for the defence budget and are willing to sacrifice the financial requirements of other sectors for safeguarding the country, then they also have the right to know what policies are being employed by the security apparatus for this purpose.
Pakistan has been outsourcing its defence activities to civilians or non-military groups since the outset. Starting from the war in Kashmir immediately after independence, during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Kashmir movement and finally in the current war on terror where tribal lashkars (militias) are being formed to battle militancy. Numerous platforms have been invented in various eras according to requirements, whether it is the Pak-Afghan Council, Muttahida Jihad Council or the latest talk of the town, the Pakistan Defence Council (PDC). This last mentioned amalgamation of right-wing mainstream political parties and banned militant outfits has received colossal limelight in the aftermath of the NATO attack. The recent rally held in Lahore on December 18 by the PDC was attended by thousands and was under the very symbol synonymous with the sovereignty of the country. The rally was not only attended by mainstream political figures but also the leaders of banned terrorist organisations. Ijazul Haq, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, General Hamid Gul and Syed Munawar Hasan shared the stage with Hafiz Saeed, head of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD). The reason for the sudden rise of these organisations is very simple. As I mentioned in my previous article, these militant outfits are pouncing on the opportunity to exploit the sentiments of the already enraged citizens for their own vested agenda to regain their foothold. ….
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