Durand—Durand (Line) Jihad: Gen Zia-ul-Haq’s Legacy in Pakistan & Afghanistan


Young Pakistani supporters of President Zia-ul-Haq holding commemorative posters.

K.N. Pandita, former Director of the Centre of Central Asian Studies at Kashmir University, writing in The Daily Pioneer (India) examines the roots of the failure to “eradicate” (putting matters mildly) Taliban style jihadism in Afghanistan:

Much as the George Bush Administration may expect the tribal leadership to forge an understanding among themselves that would find endorsement of Islamabad and Kabul later on, the traditional tribal leadership of the Pashtuns has lost the vitality it was once known for. In the wake of the Soviet incursion of Afghanistan, it was the US that had unwittingly contributed maximally to the decline of the Pashtun ethos.

On the other hand, Pakistan, under Gen Zia-ul-Haq, not only volunteered to become the main conduit for supply of American arms to the mujahideen, but also facilitated the opening of thousands of religious seminaries in Pakistan and Afghanistan where the militants were indoctrinated with radicalism. The rise of religious extremist organizations in Pakistan was a logical corollary to the hyper-patronage of the Afghan mujahideen.

Under “President” Zia-ul-Haq’s patronage, the mainstream Pakistani text on jihad warfare by Brigadier S.K. Malik, “The Quranic Concept of War”, was published in Lahore, originally in 1979. Malik’s treatise was endorsed in a laudatory Foreword to the book by his patron, Zia-ul-Haq, as well as a more extended Preface by Allah Buksh K. Brohi, a former Advocate-General of Pakistan. This text—widely studied in Islamic countries, and available in English, Urdu, and Arabic—has been recovered from the bodies of slain jihadists in Kashmir, for example.

Brigadier Malik emphasizes how instilling terror is essential to waging successful jihad campaigns—like those acts of jihad terror we are witnessing, daily, on both sides of the Durand Line:

Terror struck into the hearts of the enemies is not only a means, it is the end in itself. Once a condition of terror into the opponent’s heart is obtained, hardly anything is left to be achieved. It is the point where the means and the end meet and merge. Terror is not a means of imposing decision upon the enemy (sic); it is the decision we wish to impose upon him…

“Jehad,” the Quranic concept of total strategy. Demands the preparation and application of total national power and military instrument is one of its elements. As a component of the total strategy, the military strategy aims at striking terror into the hearts of the enemy from the preparatory stage of war…Under ideal conditions, Jehad can produce a direct decision and force its will upon the enemy. Where that does not happen, military strategy should take over and aim at producing the decision from the military stage. Should that chance be missed, terror should be struck into the enemy during the actual fighting.

…the Book [Quran] does not visualize war being waged with “kid gloves.” It gives us a distinctive concept of total war. It wants both, the nation and the individual, to be at war “in toto,” that is, with all their spiritual, moral, and physical resources. The Holy Quran lays the highest emphasis on the preparation for war. It wants us to prepare ourselves for war to the utmost. The test of utmost preparation lies in our capability to instill terror into the hearts of the enemies.

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