Why does Pakistan glorify terrorists

How dangerous is Pakistan really?

From Willi Germund

• What effects does the killing of al-Qaeda boss Osama bin Laden have on stability and violence in Pakistan itself?

So far, no effects have been felt. The reason is probably that bin Laden's followers try to cover their tracks after the death of their leader. The Pakistani authorities fear that this will change. They suspect authorities and officials as targets. The army and police could also increasingly be caught in the crossfire.

• Which Islamist groups could become particularly violent now?

First of all, everyone. There are dozens of groups and groupings. In the first place one has to name Therik e Taliban, the Pakistani Taliban in the border area with Afghanistan, who cooperate with Al Qaeda. Then there are a number of groupings like Lashkar e Toiba, which have their main base in the most populous province of Punjab along the Indian border. Lashkar e Jangvi is also one of the most dangerous groups. Like Lashkar e Toiba in the past, she fought primarily in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir and is now regarded as an extension of Al Qaeda in Pakistan.

• Why are so many Pakistanis vulnerable to Islamism?

Pakistan doesn't just call itself an Islamic republic. The idea of ​​this state, when it was founded in 1947, was to offer the Muslims of the former British India a home. Military dictator Zia ul-Haq, who took power in 1977, belonged to the arch-conservative fundamentalist Deobandi school of thought and put its Islamist ideas into practice. The curricula have been redesigned accordingly with Canadian support. The Holy War has been glorified ever since.

In the meantime, many generations have grown up with this school education. Today, therefore, the main criterion in almost all things is: Is something good or bad for Islam?

On the other hand, fundamentalist parties have only won a small part of the votes for decades because the big parties dominate the voting machine. But the state institutions are so ailing that religious groups in rural areas have found the void and have formed social networks. Many rural residents send their children to Koran schools run by mullahs because the state school system is so bad.

At the same time, there is a feudal system whose land-owning upper class refuses to have its own wealth taxed. It provides most of the politicians and prevents reforms. The middle class believes less and less in realizing their ambitions in the current corrupt political system. That is why this class is increasingly turning to Islamists who promise law and order.

• Who is behind the attacks that take place almost every day in Pakistan?

There are almost as many explanations as there are attacks. A regional National Liberation Front operates in impoverished Beluchistan. In the metropolis of Karachi, parties, mafia groups, Islamist groups and religious sectarians are engaged in bloody clashes. Islamist groups, drug gangs and Pashtun tribes are fighting each other in the border region with Afghanistan. In addition, groups such as the Pakistani Taliban security forces, tribal leaders and alleged traitors try to intimidate and kill. There are also groups that carry out attacks against Islamists for payment by the Pakistani, Afghan and US secret services.

• Why do Muslims kill Muslims?

A third of Pakistan's population is Shiite. The Sunnis are divided into Barelvis and Deobandis. There are sectarians on all sides fighting each other. In the past few months - in coalition with Al Qaeda - there have been increased attacks by the Taliban, which belong to the Deobandi school of thought, against Barelvi mosques.

• What is the role of the Kashmir conflict in radicalization?

It was more important in the 1990s when Islamabad formed and promoted underground groups that were established in the Indian part of Kashmir. Today these groups are mainly active in Pakistan and Afghanistan. But there are also close alliances with Pakistan's second largest party, the PML-N under former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

• What is the role of the government?

The civilian government engages in political intrigue and tries to focus on the economy and development. She has some control over the police. In the first year after the end of the Pervez Musharraf dictatorship, the elected government only introduced a single law into parliament.

• What is the role of the military?

The military determines foreign and security policy and, in the background, pulls domestic political strings with the help of the ISI secret service. There is the term “test tube politicians” promoted by the secret service. The generals do not allow civil interference in their decisions. The military has cooperated with the US in the past in persecuting al Qaeda members from abroad. However, the generals do not see the Afghan Taliban as part of the terror problem and use them as an aid to pursue political goals in the neighboring country. There are influential people who believe that part of the military also knew about bin Laden's hiding place. But evidence is lacking and the public is unlikely to ever know the full truth.

• How safe are the Pakistani nuclear arsenals?

Pakistan claims they are safe. In the past few years, the United States has provided discreet help to eradicate weaknesses. On the one hand, however, it is conceivable that Pakistani nuclear experts defected to the Islamist. On the other hand, Pakistani critics do not believe that “atomic loss” can be prevented one hundred percent thanks to the material for dirty bombs that could fall into the hands of extremists. The decisive question, however, is what would happen if Islamists came to power in Islamabad.