B. Raman in OutlookIndia points out that “till now, strategic analysts have been focusing only on the dangers of a possible Talibanisation or Al Qaedisation of the Pakistan Army. It is time now to pay more attention to Pakistan’s scientific community as well.” (Thanks to Jean-Luc.)
Pakistan is not the original birth place of the Islamic fundamentalist and jihadi organizations. Islamic fundamentalism and jihadi terrorism were born elsewhere in the Islamic Ummah and thereafter spread to Pakistan after the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran.
But, Pakistan is the original birth place of the concept of the nuclear jihad, which highlighted the need for an Islamic atomic bomb and advocated the right and the religious obligation of the Muslims to acquire weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and use them, if necessary, to protect their religion. The jihadi terrorists and their ideologues in Pakistan perceived the nuclear weapon as the ultimate weapon of retribution against States which they viewed as enemies of Islam, particularly the USA and Israel. . . .
It was only subsequently that Pakistani jihadi organizations such as the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM) and fundamentalist organizations such as the Jamaat-e-Islami (JEI) and the Jamiat-ul-Ulema Islam (JUI) adopted Z.A.Bhutto’s depiction of the Islamic bomb and projected it as rightfully belonging to the Islamic Ummah as a whole.
They described Pakistan’s nuclear and missile capability as held by it on trust on behalf of the Ummah. In 2000, when Abdul Sattar, Gen.Pervez Musharraf’s then Foreign Minister, advocated Pakistan’s signing of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), the Islamic fundamentalist and jihadi organizations started a public campaign against him and projected him as a traitor and as anti-Islam. Thereafter, he gave up his advocacy.
After he shifted to Afghanistan from the Sudan in 1996, Osama bin Laden of Al Qaeda not only started speaking of the right and the religious obligation of the Muslims to acquire WMD and use them, if necessary, to protect Islam, but also initiated a project for the acquisition/ development of WMD under the leadership of Abu Khabab in his training complex in Afghanistan.
After 1998, Al Qaeda and the International Islamic Front (IIF) for Jihad against the Crusaders and the Jewish People launched a campaign for the recruitment of students of science and scientists already working in the scientific establishments of the Islamic countries for helping them in their quest for the acquisition/development of WMD.
Of particular interest is this, in light of the prevailing view that jihad ideology spreads only among the ignorant, who are manipulated through religious language used by cunning leaders as a cover for their political aims. In fact, international jihad is born of Islamic traditionalism, and appeals to thinking people on Islamic grounds:
Many analysts of what has come to be known as catastrophic or new terrorism have remarked on the presence of a large number of educated persons in the ranks of the jihadi terrorist organizations. Even the pre-1991 ideological terrorist organizations of the world, influenced by leftist ideologies, had attracted a large number of educated youth. Thus, the attraction of educated youth to terrorism is not a new phenomenon. Most of them were students or graduates or teachers of humanities. There were hardly any students of science or scientists in their ranks.