By Fazal Rahman, Ph.D. January 24, 2016
This is a brief comment on the January 20, 2016 attack on the students and faculty of the Bacha Khan University (BKU) in Charsadda, Khyberpaktunkhwa (KPK) Province, in Pakistan, by four young militants of a Taliban faction, which is lead by Umar Mansoor, who also had masterminded the December 16, 2014 attack on Army Public School (APS) at Peshawar, in the same province, in which 150 students and faculty were killed and 121 wounded. Reports of figures for the BKU attack vary between 22 to 50 killed and dozens injured. All four of the young attackers from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) were also killed by the security forces. I had written an article on the APS attack with the following link, in which I analyzed the nature and causes of state and non-state terrorism, as well as the foundation of these in the US and NATO invasions and wars in South Asia. That analysis is also applicable to these problems in the Middle East and elsewhere. This comment should be read within the context and analysis of that earlier paper. As mentioned in that paper, thousands of people in the FATA-in which Umar Mansoor is a member of one of the tribes-have been killed and wounded in the Pakistani military operations and US drone attacks (actual figures, which are likely to be much higher, are not available, as journalists and others are not allowed in the attacked areas), and one million made homeless and internally displaced persons, and thousands fleeing to Afghanistan as refugees.
Umar Mansoor, with the long beard, released the following video, which was made before the attack, in which he explained his reasons for attacking the educational institutions. He is speaking in Pashto language, which is spoken by majority of people in Afghanistan and in the KPK Province of Pakistan, which borders on Afghanistan. This is the language of Pathans. I made the following translation of Umar Mansoor’s message into English.
Translation of Umar Mansoor’s Message
After paying respects to Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), Umar Mansoor says that he wants to say two or three things to those people of Pakistan who have honor and dignity. First thing is that the corrupt rulers of Pakistan have been challenging the rule and orders of Allah for more than half a century. And Allah has been warning them for that in different ways, including earth quakes, floods, and storms. But, like the people during Noah’s time, instead of repentance, their violations have kept on increasing. Remember that Allah had destroyed everyone and everything to punish them. If the people of Pakistan do not repent their sins of worshipping other gods and the so-called democracy of the West, then the people of the provinces of Punjab and Sindh should also wait for Allah’s Azabs (punishments), because it is Allah’s Law to destroy a country and its people who start worshipping other things.
The other thing I want to say is that, after great deal of thinking and reflection, we are starting our sacred attacks with that against the Bacha Khan University because such schools are the breeding grounds and foundations for producing the military and political elites and leaders, the unjust and corrupt western democratic system, the judiciary, judges, magistrates, lawyers, law colleges-in which they tailor the minds of people, who later make laws that are contrary to the laws of Allah. The sinister and filthy institution of the military consists of the products of such universities. Lieutenants, captains, majors, colonels, brigadiers, lieutenant generals, corps commanders, major generals, generals, are all produced by these institutions. This whole sinister institution of military is repressing and destroying people who have raised their voices to establish a system that would be a reflection of Allah’s will, rule, and commands. The parliament, senate, and the cabinet are established and maintained on the basis of this military. They also decide who become the foreign, internal, law, and defense ministers, as well as the governors and chief ministers of provinces and even members of the national assembly. Members of the national assembly, elected by the people, then make laws contrary to the laws of Allah. This is their reality and real basis. We have done full consultations and discussions on these issues and have agreed that from now on we will target such universities and schools that produce such military officers, judges, politicians, and lawyers. These universities, colleges, and schools are their foundations, and with the blessings of Allah, we have decided and are determined to kill them there and destroy these foundations. As long as these foundations are there and Allah’s rule and laws are not established, with Allah’s blessings, we will continue our actions against all the universities, colleges, and schools, throughout Pakistan.
I want to tell the religious leaders that Torah included 4000 laws. When the bani-Israel made some temporary changes in one of them, Allah declared them infidels and kafirs. I want to ask them that when the whole system is anti-Islamic, kafir, and western democratic-and after the Army Public School incident, the government created the repressive National Action Plan, which consists of 21 clauses-then why is Pakistan not declared anti-Islamic and kafir, when bani-Israel were declared kafirs by Allah, because they temporarily changed only one of his laws? All the system of Pakistan is anti-Islamic, western democratic, and kafir. How can such a country not be kafir? We demand that the religious scholars of Pakistan expose these facts to the Muslim world and Muslim people, otherwise our hands and those of our martyrs will be at your throats on the Day of the Judgment. The Holy Quran was sent to us by Allah for guidance and laws to live by. Its contents also include instructions for governing. They should explain why the man-made systems, colleges, universities, and schools of the US and UK are being replicated in Pakistan, instead of those based on Quranic teachings? These systems have been imposed on us, and with the help of Allah, we want to destroy them and terminate their foundations. We want to establish Allah’s system and governance based upon Allah’s instructions. We demand that they raise the issue of governance. We have raised this issue and have started our actions accordingly.
End of translated message
Much of what Umar Mansoor is saying about the role of educational institutions in producing the various current and future professionals, elites, and leaders of an extremely unjust and corrupt politico-economic system in Pakistan is accurate. However, that situation is not unique to Pakistan. It also exists in all the capitalist societies to variable degrees, for example, in the US, in the form of Military-Industrial-Media-Academic-Complex (MIMAC). His condemnation of almost all the country’s institutions is also on the mark. However, he is doing that from the Islamic theocratic perspectives and is advocating the establishment of a social, cultural, and politico-economic system that was created more than 1400 years ago, when the new religion of Islam came into being, under drastically different feudal and slave-owning historical, social, cultural, and politico-economic conditions. The current era of technocratic capitalism and advanced technocratic capitalism started many centuries ago, with its own political, economic, cultural, scientifico-technological, educational, and other institutions. To imagine that reverting back to the previous historical epoch is possible at all, is delusionary in the extreme. The immense current problems of social injustice, inequality, deprivations, corruption, pollution of nature and human nature, militarism, capitalism, imperialism, and wars and conflicts cannot be solved by reverting back to more than 1400 years old political economy of Islam, which was based upon the feudal and slave-owning socio-economic formations. Islam, like the other major religions, advocates the principles of justice, equality, compassion, and higher qualities and values of human nature. However, the specific nature of these varies in different historical periods and levels of the development of various societies, which requires their holistically rational-spiritual analyses for the identification and implementation at those different stages. Umar Mansoor’s identification of various social problems of Pakistan is, by and large, accurate. However, his vague general statements and proposals for their solutions are not only impossibilities, but would lead to worsening of some of those problems. Moreover, his advocacy of attacks on the educational institutions, for his stated reasons, will not achieve anything positive. To the contrary, like in case of APS attack, these will only produce greater hostility and animosity towards their perpetrators, not only in the government and security forces, but also in much of the general population. It is totally self-defeating. How can he imagine that such actions in a few institutions can have any desired effect in a country where millions of students are studying at thousands of such educational institutions? These will not even make a tiny dent for his desired purposes. This should be self-evident to any person capable of any rational thought. According to reports, the spokesman of the main organization, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Mohammad Khorasani, has dissociated the TTP from this new action by the Umar Mansoor’s faction.
The fundamental problem in Umar Mansoor’s, as well as TTP’s, Afghan Taliban’s, and almost all the religion-based organizations’, approach to the great social and politico-economic problems of society consists of the failure to identify the real causes of these problems, which are rooted in the political economy of capitalism, feudalism, and other class-divided systems. Under the current conditions of all-pervasive dominance of capitalism almost everywhere, only the overthrow of capitalism and its replacement with socialism is capable of solving these problems. However, that is way beyond the horizons of Umar Mansoor and almost all the religion-based movements for social change, even when some of them criticize the excesses of unbridled capitalism.
Educational and research and development institutions, throughout the various countries of the world, including the so-called Muslim countries, are the most important parts of the intellectual apparatus, analogous to mind in the human body, of various politico-economic systems and class-based power structures, which maintain the status quo of class domination internally, as well as establish their relative positions within the system of international relations, which are basically based upon the relative economic and military powers. In countries in which capitalism is dominant, these constitute the intellectual organs of the capitalist class and system. Under imperialism, these organs of the capitalist-imperialist class and system extend their tentacles throughout the world, in addition to internally. They have been diabolically successful in doing that, not only in the Third World, including the so-called Muslim countries, but also in the Second World of former socialist countries that has disappeared, after the grand betrayals of socialism. Comprador, corrupt, and subservient ruling capitalist classes, as well as all their politico-economic, military, educational, media and other institutions, collaborate with and submit to their counterparts in the imperialist countries. In Pakistan, such collaboration and submission has been more extreme and worse than most other Third World and so-called Muslim countries.
As far as the educational institutions are concerned, these are being replicated and imitated from the models of those in the imperialist centers, first and foremost from the US. As the intellectuals and academics in these countries have failed to produce alternative textbooks, these are also being imported and taught in various areas of social and other sciences at their colleges and universities. Of course, almost everyone is in an almost exclusively materialistic and frenzied rat-race to advance in careers, financial positions, and status within the status quo.
These complex and difficult problems and their complex causes need extensive knowledge, insights, and analyses for their accurate identification and comprehension. Without changing the class-basis of their origin and preservation, it is impossible to change the status quo in any significant way. As far as the urgently needed politico-economic changes are concerned, Umar Mansoor’s and other Taliban’s abstract religious fervor, and advocacy of violent actions against the educational institutions in Pakistan, are irrational and counter-productive in the extreme, and will make the situation even worse. It is also true that the Pakistani government’s and military’s policy and actions in FATA-which constitute massive state terrorism-dictated by the US and NATO imperialists, are sinisterly irrational, foolish, and self-destructive, and have caused great losses of lives, means of livings, and sufferings for millions of inhabitants of FATA. Anger and revulsion against such great sins and crimes there must be enormous. However, almost all the governments and states in the world, as well as the UN, are not only silent about that, but are supporting that massive state terrorism, and one-sidedly condemning the incomparably smaller and less-damage-causing non-state terrorism of TTP and its allies, which is, by and large, the product of the former.
Umar Mansoor is the TTP leader of Dara Adam Khel tribal area, among some other areas of the KPK Province. In Dara Adam Khel, there are numerous manufacturers of a wide variety of small arms and ammunition, most of them owned and operated by highly skilled local individual owners. These are freely available to anyone who can buy them. So is hashish and numerous other products that are legally banned in other areas. The governmental regulation and control in FATA has always been minimal and the established legal system of Pakistan has not been applied there. FATA tribal societies have been perhaps closer to anarchism than any others. People grow up there in very different social and political environment than rest of the country and rest of the world, which has powerful effects on their individual and collective mass psychologies and behavior. Among other things, they do not put up with laws, regulations, and other controls of the state, which domesticated humans in other areas internalize, take for granted, and adhere to automatically. People of FATA have extraordinary courage, energy, and toughness and are action-oriented. They have always fought and won against great odds. If they could be transformed into fighters for socialism, the politico-economic environment of not only Pakistan, but the whole region can change. However, both in FATA of Pakistan and in Afghanistan, the Pathans are organized around religion and are fighting to bring about an Islamic revolution, in addition to the expulsion of American and NATO invading forces and removal of their puppet governments.
Untamed and Undomesticated tribal men of FATA, Pakistan