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    New York Times article on Pakistan

    October 10, 2000

    A Jihad Leader Finds the U.S. Perplexingly Fickle

    Barry Bearak/ The New York Times

    LAHORE, Pakistan, Oct. 2 — The professor uses henna to redden his long beard, and that, along with a natural smile, makes him appear somewhat jovial, an unexpected cheerfulness from someone who commands what many believe to be a group of terrorists.

    Killing, of course, is a pious man's obligation, "to destroy the forces of evil and disbelief," explained the professor, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed. His rapidly growing organization, Lashkar-e-Taiba (the Army of the Pure), is duty-bound to "bring death to oppressors."

    With that in mind, he sends hundreds of Pakistanis to fight in the jihad against India in Kashmir, he said. First the young men are taught to recite the Koran and to reflect on the virtues of a reverent Muslim society. Then, as with almost any other army, they are taught how to fire automatic weapons, set off explosives and slit throats.

    But these days the killing by Lashkar is too often confused with killing by others, the professor said testily. He is distressed by "Indian propaganda" that falsely accuses the Army of the Pure of slaying the purely innocent, as in the massacre of 35 Sikh villagers in March on the day President Clinton arrived in India for a visit.

    And this concerns him: the State Department is considering Lashkar for Washington's roster of the world's most wicked, the blacklist of "foreign terrorist organizations."

    "This would be a grave injustice," said Mr. Saeed. "We do not kill civilians, only aggressors. We don't believe it right to kill even a non-Muslim unless he is an aggressor."

    The interview was conducted in one of Lashkar's many offices in the historic city of Lahore. Cookies and dried fruit were brought in on silver platters. The politeness was exemplary, though in serving an American guest, the graciousness did not extend to removing a wall poster that showed the American flag in flames, along with the Indian flag.

    "Destroy the nonbelievers," the placard read.

    The professor's anxiety about the opinions of the State Department was a bit puzzling. Why does he care? The punitive effect of being on the blacklist would be minimal, he admitted. Lashkar has little need for American visas. It has no assets to freeze in American banks.

    Mostly, he said, he is offended by the simple gall of it. "Who is America to judge us?" he said. "We don't trust America, and we certainly do not see it as a champion of justice."

    He has fired off a letter of protest.

    Mr. Saeed is 53, retired now as a professor of Islamic studies at an engineering college. In the 1980's he went off to fight in the jihad that chased Soviet invaders out of neighboring Afghanistan.

    "America supported us with guns," he said. "If we were not terrorists then, why are we terrorists now? How can Americans stand for such double standards?"

    To him, the 53-year-old custody battle for the Himalayan territory of Kashmir is an open-and-shut case, with Pakistan in the right. He likens the Indian "occupation" of the disputed territory to the imperialism of the Soviets.

    Not only does he want Kashmir to become a part of Pakistan, but he also wants Pakistan to become a part of a global Islamic state. "Muslims throughout the world are one country," he said.

    Mr. Saeed's vexation with America is hardly uncommon in this nation of 150 million. Uncle Sam is perceived to favor India, the emerging regional superpower and a potential market with one billion consumers. Pakistan, on the other hand, is near financial collapse.

    In addition to jihad, men like Mr. Saeed provide schools to the masses, places where the poor can send their children to be both educated and fed. Those are services that Pakistan's relentless tag team of military and civilian governments has been unable to provide.

    Mr. Saeed sits atop more than the Army of the Pure. In 1989 he began the Markaz Ad-daawah Wal Irshad, the Center for Preaching. It has more than 130 schools and a modern- looking university that rises out of the wheat fields near Lahore.

    Lashkar is now a political force within Pakistan, just as it is a guerrilla army in Kashmir. The money behind the group, the professor said, comes entirely from private donors. He denied widely held suspicions that Lashkar is on the payroll of Pakistan's government, whose intelligence agencies have been a willing sponsor of the 11-year-old Kashmir jihad.

    "People who send their sons to fight in jihad also give money for that purpose," the professor said vaguely, uncomfortable with the subject. "Do not ask me about numbers."

    Mr. Saeed had selected the group's media center for the meeting. Only a single guard was stationed out front, a machine gun in his hand, an ammunition belt across his shoulder. Inside, young men were hunched over computer keyboards, writing for Lashkar's various magazines. An escort enforced a ban on photographing people. The professor said the capture of human images is forbidden by Islam.

    Lashkar has proven itself a clever self-promoter. Its posters are bright and arresting. Its magazines are enticing, with articles like "Koran and Astronomy" and "Prophet's Medicine: Olive Is the Cure for 70 Diseases." The last page in the international edition of Voice of Islam is a recruitment pitch for jihad: "Learn how to use swords, spears, daggers and how to attack disbeliever forces, how to set up an ambush and lay siege to the camps and cantonments of the enemy, how to protect yourself and other oppressed Muslims during crackdowns and blackouts. Learn all these things through the Koran."

    The professor made a gift of a bound volume of back issues of the magazine. He was tiring of all this talk about terrorism, though his interest slightly revived when the subject turned to Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. He said those apocalyptic bombs were good to have, but only as a means to deter an enemy.

    "To use such weapons in jihad would be un-Islamic," he said, pointing his finger. "To use them: that is terrorism. And what is the only country to use them?"

    The answer left him with a triumphant smile.

    "America," he said. "So who is the terrorist?"

    Yes. I read the same in print this morning.. it is a pretty bad picture of rising religious fundamentalism in our country. There were two photos accompanying the article, that showed burning US and Indian Flags, and a glossy poster reading “Death to non-believers” with two missiles and a note at the bottom “what is the use for these” – a reference to the missiles.

    The Professor is obviously uncomfortable about disclosing who finances their operations. Saudi Arabia.


      The events in the Middle East should be an eye opener for any Muslim. We need to support organizations such as Lasker-Tayyaba, and Hamas. I can't think of any other way to defend Muslims from genocides taking place all over the world.


        The problem is that most Pakistanis think that there can be a military solution to the Kashmir problem. Many on this forum even think that Pakistan can inflict a military defeat on India in a war over Kashmir. This kind of thinking is not realistic. It would be fair to say that India has messed up Kashmir big time. Our politicians (including Kashmir's) should be made accountable for their misdeeds. But what about Pakistan -- successive military regimes have tried to use force to settle the dispute. So this Pakistan government is no different -- Gen. Musharraf feels he can win some holy war in Kashmir. He obviously misjudges India's will. You can't blackmail a country the size of India using violence and expect it to go down on its knees. The solution should be acceptable to ALL parties -- even Pakistan, but this is not the way to go about it. I don't think anyone has tried to understand India's viewpoint here. No one realises how much is at stake for India and to what lengths India will go to safegaurd what we feel is our territorial integrity. The "professor" may find a lot of people ready for "jihad" given the kind of unemployment levels in this part of the world, but he'll only increase the bloodshed in the region and innocent people will be used as scapegoats.


          BK just to point out that many great nations have been brought to their knees and lower by small groups.
          Afghanistan and Russia.
          Vietnam and US.
          Israel and Hizbollah.
          White South Africans against the ANZ.
          Etc etc etc.
          There are many examples.
          Second the issue of kashmir is going to be hard one.
          But as long as India does not meet for talks nothing can happen.
          The basic fact is india does not to discuss the issue with pakistan as an equal party.
          Kashmir was/is/and never will be a internal india conflict.
          Why doesn't the govt accept that and live in reality instead of going around with 70,000 and fighting with kashmiri and pakistani mujahideens and getting innocenst killed in the cross fire.
          As for the article i agree with what the guy has to say.
          But the pictures as NYA stated are very negative.

          You can't fix stupid. So might as well troll them!


            Salaam all,
            I want you guys to clarify something for me. I've recently started keepingup with political pakistan, so pleas epardon my ignorance.
            If I have the story right, after Kashmir is freed from india, how would pakistan benefit from it?
            Also, why is Azad Kashmir free and not the other part of Kashir? How did that happen.

            Thank You Guys,

            P.S. I woudl appreciate a non biased opinion.


              Someone said this in general forum: "Pakistan is fort of Islam"

              I think, it is.

              "Never Judge a Religion by it's People, Judge a Religion by it's Scripture!"

              India/USA does not want to end the Kashmir conflict! They will keep watching and keep killing innocent civilians(Muslims) and do nothing. And they call themselves champions of Justice and human rights<BULL-SH**>

              Madam, all of the rivers in Pakistan start off in Kashmir. If India has Kashmir, it will make dams and block all of the water coming to Pakistan<no water, no crops>. At the same time India can block and let go of the water suddenly destroying Pakistani lands and homes by floods.

              *V~V~V*He came, He saw, He conquered*V~V~V*

              [This message has been edited by The Watcher (edited October 10, 2000).]


                >>>BK just to point out that many great nations have been brought to their knees and lower by small groups.

                CM, I think you also need to add that these groups were able to bring down the adveraries after recieving external support. None of these "groups" would have triumped had they not recieved support, both financially and morally, from external allies with deep pockets.

                US flooded afghanistan mujahideens with weapons to combat Russia.
                Russia and China flooded Vietnam to combat US.
                US Flooded Isreal with wapons and money to contain Middle East.
                Nations boycotted South Africa until it became a basket case and change its ways.


                  Watcher it was King Farroq said that to the first Pakistani Ambassador in Egypt.
                  Also Mundyya stated that here nearly a year ago.

                  CROIRE A L'INCROYABLE
                  You can't fix stupid. So might as well troll them!


                    Very true Ghalib.
                    Hey i thought you were boycotting the politics boards as they give you a head ache.

                    CROIRE A L'INCROYABLE
                    You can't fix stupid. So might as well troll them!


                      Yes, oh yeah mundaya he said in General forum in post " what is one thing pakistan is proud of" - by Godzilla.

                      Hey, Pakistan is only Muslim country with an Atomic Bomb and largest Army.

                      *V~V~V*He came, He saw, He conquered*V~V~V*


                        yaar.... its "love to hate you" relationhip.

                        p.s. I never said I would boycott. Just don't want to get involve at the level I did last time...


                          Ready for Jehad
                          A first-hand account from Pakistan on how the proxy war is bred and sustained

                          By Ghulam Hasnain in Muzaffarabad and Karachi


                            Finally i found this post.
                            I was looking for it.
                            Ghalib a love to hate relationship eh???
                            Same with me and the general forum which i read but find to docile to post at.
                            So just Ghalib lets get another jewish palestinian post going here.
                            May i be the first to take all your words out of context???

                            CROIRE A L'INCROYABLE
                            You can't fix stupid. So might as well troll them!