Now that it has come to light that Pakistan may have given nuclear secrets to Iran and North Korea, we must ask what may have been the motivations of those who did so. In an editorial entitled “Jihad and loss of internal sovereignty,” the Daily Times of Pakistan acknowledges that jihad was likely to have been high on the list.
The editorial focuses on two news items: “According to a Foreign Office spokesman in Islamabad, investigations show that ‘certain individuals might have been motivated by personal ambition or greed’ in facilitating possible nuclear technology transfers from Pakistan to Iran. The government says it will take to task anyone found involved in such activity. In another interesting report, we learn of a top Chinese ‘terrorist’ by the name of Hasan Mahsum who was shot dead in Pakistan’s South Waziristan area during a military operation last October. Mr Mahsum was supposed to have links with Al Qaeda.
“Two conclusions can be immediately drawn from these news items. First, that the sale of our nuclear secrets was probably more a result of lack of state control over individuals working in our nuclear establishment than any conscious or permitted state policy. Two, the killing of Hasan Mahsum should surprises us about the extent of penetration of our country by persons accused of terrorism by the countries of their origin. Both cases point to a lack of internal state control and jurisdiction in the past decade.”
This lack of internal state control, says the editorial, became particularly acute in connection with jihad ideology: “Internal control was lost after the compulsion of importing warriors led to their immunity from the law inside Pakistan. Once such immunity was granted through special agencies handling jihad, larger sections of the state began to be included in it. Jihad, when it is not declared by the Islamic state, tends to eat at the fabric of the state’s sovereignty. Just as foreign mujahideen had a free run of the country, the personnel involved in the strategy of jihad gradually assumed immunity. In this context, the nuclear programme became an integral part of the strategy of deniable proxy jihad. In 1999, for example, when scientists from our nuclear establishment were decorated on Pakistan Day, most of them were proud to sport flowing beards, overtly displaying their political and religious viewpoint!
And: “In her second tenure, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto got the ISI to register the ‘foreign’ mujahideen in Peshawar in the wake of Egypt’s complaint that Mohammad Shawky al-Islambouli, a brother of the killer of President Anwer Sadat, was being sheltered there. The ISI came up with 5,000 names: 1,142 Egyptians, 981 Saudis, 946 Algerians, 771 Jordanians, 326 Iraqis, 292 Syrians, 234 Sudanese, 199 Libyans, 117 Libyans and 102 Moroccans. The world now knows how Pakistan became the bridge between Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and the ‘takfeer’-based Algerian-FIS breakaway organisation called the GIA whose terrorists had lived in the guesthouses in Peshawar. There is also an established connection with Iraqi Mulla Krekar’s Kurdish organisation whose members also came to join the jihad in Peshawar. Krekar, originally Najmuddin Feraj Ahmad, taught at Islamabad’s Islamic University where he also met Abdallah Azzam, Osama’s man in Peshawar. The University routinely employed Egyptian fundamentalist clerics in its faculty. Ramzi Yusuf, the first bomber of the Trade Center in New York, frequented the hostel of the University and this appeared in the Pakistani press. Similarly, one can explain how the Indonesian terrorist Hambali, the Bali bomber, and his brother wound up in Karachi. There are hundreds of examples of how the country simply gave away its internal sovereignty. Pakistani scientists and doctors began going to Afghanistan and meeting Osama bin Laden in the wake of the international terrorists. Just like the jihadi leaders who vowed divine rage, most of them were in it for money. Doctors were found in Lahore with huge amounts of dollars in their possession.
“If 9/11 had not happened and the UN Security Council had not forced Pakistan to reimpose internal controls, more and more Pakistanis would have found their way into the toils of global terrorism. We already have our plate full. We have to clean up and return to normalcy after years of chaos. But first we must correctly grasp the enormity of the task ahead of us.”