Academic journal article Journal of Political Studies

Sectarian Landscape, Madrasas and Militancy in Punjab

Academic journal article Journal of Political Studies

Sectarian Landscape, Madrasas and Militancy in Punjab

Article excerpt

(ProQuest: ... denotes non-US-ASCII text omitted.)

Introduction

The convergence of sectarianism, extremism and militancy has assumed monstrous proportions in Pakistan and has been feeding terrorism since long. Since 2001, when Pakistan joined the US led international war on terror, there has been a significant deterioration in internal security situation. Particularly, the July 2007 Lal Masjid incident resulted in intensified militant activities throughout Pakistan including assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in December 2008. Thousands of people have been killed in terrorist attacks. After the launch of military operation Rah-e-Rast in Swat, militants have attacked major cities like Lahore and Peshawar, and termed the attacks as retaliation to the operation. The roots of militancy in Pakistan are traced to many socio-political factors. Social deprivation and social inequalities, poverty and illiteracy, drug-smuggling, Afghan refugees, religious exploitation through madrasas and provocative khateebs, and external factors like interplay of power politics at the international and regional levels and activities of hostile intelligence agencies all have had their share in spreading militancy in Pakistan. Before the start of the US led war on terror and especially before 2007 Lal Masjid operation in Islamabad, the terrorist activities were mainly attributed to foreign elements, Afghan groups or Pakhtoon Taliban. Later a group of militants known as Punjabi Taliban came to fore. Though the Punjab Government denied existence of any such group in Punjab, fingers were raised on Punjab based sectarian militant groups particularly those having their presence in South Punjab- being dubbed as hub of terrorists and their sympathizers (The Express Tribune, 2010). An internal security analyst in one of his articles stated, "it is actually Punjab that had turned into the main center of militancy and religious extremism. Most of the banned militant and sectarian outfits have their base in the province." (Hussain, 2014).Basically these were sectarian-turned-jehadi groups who had established their links with FATA based militants and were being identified as Punjabi Talban. Most of the analysts are of the view that the roots of Punjabi Talban go to sectarian groups like SSP, LeJ and JeM. (Hussain, 2009). Earlier in 1980s Punjab has been a battle ground of sectarian fight between Deobandi oriented ASS and Shia oriented SMP. The situation warrants a detailed study of distribution of different sects, their madrasas and activities of their ulema and khateebs in the province. This paper is an attempt to carve out a comparative sectarian scenario along with number of madrasas of each sect, madrasas which are suspected to have links with militants and number of Khateebs of each sects who are involved in fanning sectarianism through their hate-mongering and fiery speeches in each administrative division of Punjab which will be basic unit of analysis. First I will look into percentagewise population of each sect in a division showing which of the four sects is numerically bigger and which is smaller with relative position of each. Thiswill help drawa sectarian landscape of the province. Later I will move towards number of madrasas of each sect in a division. The relevant percentage of madrasas of a particular sect will be compared to the percentage of population of that sect in that division and finally in the province. A look would also be cast on sect-wise number of madrasas suspected to have links with militancy. Then I will move to number of khateebs fanning sectarianism stating their sect with their residential division. This will draw a picture depicting which sect is more radicalized and which areas are more sectarianism prone. The data used in this paper are mostly gathered by the staff of law enforcement and intelligence agencies for their use in connection with maintenance of law and order and official record and may not be completely free of biases. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.