Islamic extremism is the most lethal weapon in the arsenal of Pakistan Army. Rawalpindi uses this munition whenever it sees righteous political thinking gaining ground or there’s a perceptible rise in public awareness in areas under its occupation. Pakistani generals know quite well that a vigilant population never allows arbitrary infringement of fundamental rights and would raise its voice against misappropriation of resources that would put Pakistan Army in the dock. And the panacea for all ills of Pakistani generals is islamic extremism.
Radical islamic extremism becomes all the more important when it comes to the Pakistan occupied portions of Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, because, islamic extremism in any part of Kashmir and/or Gilgit-Baltistan ensures international eyeballs and unlimited source of funds. In the name of being saviours of Islam, Pakistan Army collects huge funds from gullible Muslims around the world, pockets a large sum for themselves and use the remaining to add fuel to islamic terrorism. This is how Rawalpindi has managed to rule across Pakistan with an iron fist for the last seventy years.
This script is now being re-enacted in Gilgit-Baltistan.
Over the last few years people across Gilgit-Baltistan have been raising their voice against human rights violations, sexual exploitation by Pak Army soldiers and against the illegal land grabbing business of Pak military. A new thinking was shaping the collective consciousness.
Questions were also raised about the malignant policies of Islamabad and fingers were being pointed towards military establishment for illegal appropriation of natural resources of Gilgit-Baltistan. Recent protests in Skardu against the illegal land grabbing by Pakistan Air Force (PAF) had rung alarm bells in Rawalpindi. It did not end here. Islamabad and the military establishment are vexed by public demands to put an end to illegal and coercive occupation of local people’s land by Pakistan Army, punish the army personnel involved in sexual assaults and grant of autonomy to Gilgit-Baltistan.
It’s in this backdrop that Rawalpindi fired its first salvo by unleashing fugitive islamic terrorist Habib-ur-Rehman on Gilgit-Baltistan.
On July 7, a video surfaced on social media where Habib-ur-Rehman and his accomplices were seen holding an open court (kangaroo court) in Gilgit-Baltistan. This kangaroo court went on through the day with heavily armed islamic terrorists taking turns to address the locals.
Who is Habib-ur-Rehman?
Habib-ur-Rehman along with other islamic terrorists was involved in the killing of ten foreign mountaineers at Nanga Parbat in 2013. He was also the perpetrator of the attack on a passenger bus in Mansehra district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The passenger bus was stopped at Lulusar and twenty Shia passengers were killed after being identified.
Habib-ur-Rehman and his band of islamic radicals were also involved in the burning of a girls’ school in the Diamer district of Gilgit-Baltistan. Liaquat Khan, Habib’s accomplice, was also involved in other extremist incidents besides the Nanga Parbat incident.
Later on all these terrorists were arrested by the Gilgit-Baltistan Police. However, Habib-ur-Rehman along with two other terrorists managed to escape from the Gilgit Jail in 2015. He then went into hiding after escaping from jail, albeit under supervision of Rawalpindi. The Paki generals have now pulled out Habib-ur-Rehman when they need his ‘services’ to start a fresh wave of islamic extremism across Gilgit-Baltistan. And so on July 7 Habib-ur-Rehman held this kangaroo court at the polo ground in Babusar Top at Diamer district, where he was interviewed by a local reporter who released the ‘video interview’ on social media.
In the video, Habib-ur-Rehman openly claims that he had an agreement with the Pakistani government and its intelligence agencies. It was under this agreement that Habib-ur-Rehman and other terrorists held the day long kangaroo court under the banner of “Mujahideen Gilgit-Baltistan and Kohistan” where religious, secular, economic, social, domestic and foreign issues were discussed.
Habib-ur-Rehman ‘Hakwanda’ announced that Islamabad must ensure the implementation of peace agreement reached on February 20, 2019 at Khanjari Guchhar in Gilgit-Baltistan. “We call for peace and want lasting peace in Gilgit-Baltistan,” he said at the kangaroo court.
All this is sham.
The real objective of holding this kangaroo court was to spread the word across Gilgit-Baltistan that the new custodians of Islam have arrived and they will interpret Islamic tenets for the locals.
Mubarak Jan, the Gilgit-Baltistan Police spokesman declined to comment about the kangaroo court held by terrorist Habib-ur-Rehman, probably upon orders from Rawalpindi to stay away from this larger gambit.
Senior police officials of Gilgit-Baltistan confirmed that the leader of Habib-ur-Rehman’s group is one Maulvi Abdul Hameed. This group calls itself “Mujahideen Gilgit-Baltistan and Kohistan” who have anointed themselves as the authority for Gilgit-Baltistan.
Pakistan Army’s dirty game in Gilgit-Baltistan
This sudden emergence of Habib-ur-Rehman and other islamic radical terrorists under the banner of “Mujahideen Gilgit-Baltistan and Kohistan” after seven years and the refusal of local administration to take any action against them is itself a proof that all of this has been planned by Pakistan’s military establishment.
Holding of a kangaroo court and releasing video interview in social media is an effort to terrorise locals across Gilgit-Baltistan and stifle their demands for political, social and fundamental rights.
And this has already started giving the desired results to Rawalpindi.
There’s panic among locals over the return of Taliban-styled islamic terrorists to Gilgit-Baltistan. The intelligentsia, elders and diaspora of Gilgit-Baltistan say this fresh wave of Talibanization and terrorism after a spate of seven years is only to instill fear amongst locals such that they give up their natural resources and other basic rights including the demands of provincial autonomy. The sudden public appearance of known criminals and terrorists like Habib-ur-Rehman with sophisticated weapons and his holding of a kangaroo court proves that they have complete patronage of the military establishment who have been imposed on the people of Gilgit-Baltistan.
The unbridled Islamic radicalization in Gilgit-Baltistan will serve two objectives for the Pakistan Army. One, it will tighten their vice-like grip over the region, and two, this would help raise funds from the world and Islamabad in the name of maintaining peace and security in ‘troubled’ areas of Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.
So, over the next two or three years “Mujahideen Gilgit-Baltistan and Kohistan” would increase its activities in Gilgit-Baltistan, and with a worsening law and order situation the Pakistan Army would force Islamabad’s civilian government to sanction a huge budget in the name of military operations. The Paki soldiers in the name of conducting military operations will rob local people of their homes and livestock. There would be a fresh spate of illegal land grabbing by Pakistan’s military personnel. This has happened earlier and it would happen again. During military operations Pak Army gets huge tracts of land vacated, which then goes into their control forever.
Kashmiris and locals across Gilgit-Baltistan fear that the withdrawal of US and NATO forces from Afghanistan will lead to a spread of terrorism across the region. If the Taliban continue to advance and control more areas in Afghanistan the spill over of Islamic terrorism will reach the Indian side of Kashmir as well. Massive influx of Taliban has been going on in Pashtun regions such as Waziristan and now this has come over to Gilgit-Baltistan also.
Re-emergence of islamic terrorists in Gilgit-Baltistan is a testament to the fact that Pakistan Army is spreading Talibanization in regions adjacent to India in order to destabilize India.
Over the past three decades, Indian authorities have taken tough measures to deal with islamic terrorism in Kashmir that has indeed controlled terrorism in the region. But the war is far from over. All these islamic radicals who had fled Kashmir have now regrouped in Afghanistan. They have set their foot in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK) and Gilgit-Baltistan. The impact of all this would be seen on Indian side of Kashmir and Ladakh.
India must take aggressive steps and reset its foreign policy to contain this rising scourge of islamic terrorism that has come knocking at its door.