Mon, Feb 27, 2017 | updated 07:19 PM IST

Pakistan and Turkey: So similar in promoting Islamic fundamentalism and terror to neutralise liberal elements

Updated: Jan 13, 2017 06:31 IST

Islamabad [Pakistan], Jan.13 (ANI): A blog appearing recently in a leading Pakistani daily has sought to establish similarities between Pakistan and Turkey in so far as attracting youth from various parts of the world, convince them to follow a particular sectarian path and equip them with military know how, modern weapons and defence strategies to inflict calamity on large gatherings over the past 30-odd years.

Published by the Express Tribune, the blog says the year 2016 was not a very happy one for Turkey, as its peoples' were subjected to a terror mayhem at airports, weddings, funerals and other public places.

It adds that a similar situation prevailed in the Pakistan of the late 1970s through the mid-1980s, under the Zia-ul-Haq's regime, as also between the years 2010 and 2016.

"The attack that took place in Istanbul on New Year's Eve is a replica of the Taliban attack on a volleyball game in Bannu, exactly seven years ago. The explosion at the Gaziantep wedding is similar to the carnage on a bus carrying wedding guests in the Mohmand tribal region. The attack on the Istanbul airport is a deja vu moment for those who know of the Karachi airport attack in 2014. Despite how far apart we are on the map, if you look closely you'll spot many similarities between what Turkey has become under Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and how Pakistan had changed under General Zia-ul-Haq's rule," says Akhtar Abbas, the author of the blog.

Abbas suggests that in the mid to late 1970s, a conservative General Zia was getting increasingly uncomfortable and beleaguered by a liberal minority that was seeking to change a society deeply rooted in Islamic principles. He believes that in the new millennium Recep Erdogan perhaps feels and is experiencing the same.

Confronted by domestic disturbances, Blogger Abbas maintains that both General Zia and Erdogan used fundamentalist and conservative religious elements in their respective societies to effectively neutralise liberal elements seen as a malaise to be done away with.

For instance, in Pakistan, he says, "Islamic jihad was a tranquilliser injected into the veins of a nation hungry for purpose. Books, newspapers, television programs, public forums were all fine-tuned to churn out a unified message of a big bear knocking at our doorsteps."

In Turkey, more than three decades later, "Even before the military coup, Erdogan had a very active secular opposition vouching against him and it was only the pulsing heart of the religious fundamentalists who could cure such a malaise. Erdogan's overtures to Islamic fundamentalists were thus a balancing stone to gain a loyal following. It was a move that did pay him off during the ill attempted coup when his supporters threw themselves against military tanks to restore him as the president," adds Abbas.

Under General Zia, Pakistan was declared a citadel of Islam, while in the case of Turkey, Erdogan placed the country in historical context, recalling how it was once a super power, the lone Khilafat (Caliphate) in the whole Islamic world, over a century ago.

General Zia and President Erdogan both came to power after a coup against the establishment.

"Both strengthened their control over the government by employing similar tactics: oppressing freedom of expression, arresting and torturing political opponents, controlling educational and religious institutes and harnessing the tides of global politics for their own benefit. They also suppressed several hidden and some open rebellions. Erdogan seems to slowly be turning back on this policy.General Zia wasn't alive to see how his tyrannical policies brought about havoc..One thing is for sure; there is much that separates us in our demographics and geography, but there is a lot that makes us relate to one another in our failures," the Express Tribune quotes Abbas, as saying in his blog. (ANI)

Kabul [Afghanistan], Feb.27 (ANI): The killing of five UAE diplomats in a terror attack in Kandahar was planned in Pakistan, a spokesman of Afghanistan's interior ministry has said.

Full Story >>

Senior Taliban commander killed in Afghanistan

Updated: Feb 27, 2017 18:11 IST

Islamabad [Pakistan], Feb.27 (ANI): The Taliban confirmed on Monday through a statement that one of its senior commanders had been killed in an air strike in Afghanistan's northern Kunduz province.

Full Story >>

Karachi (Sindh) [Pakistan): Sufism is the country's first line of defence against terrorism, said PPP Chairmain Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Monday.

Full Story >>

Karachi [Pakistan], Feb.27 (ANI): Police in Karachi were Monday directed by an anti-terrorism court (ATC) to put the names of Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) leaders Farooq Sattar, Khalid Maqbool and Amir Liaquat on the Exit Control List (ECL).

Full Story >>

Lahore [Pakistan], Feb.27 (ANI): Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has issued show-cause notices to a pilot and two others officials for loading seven extra passengers on a Karachi-Medina flight last month in a violation of air safety regulations.

Full Story >>

Rawalpindi [Pakistan], Feb.27 (ANI): Pakistan security forces have covered the further arrest of 91 suspects from across the country under the Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad counter-terrorism operations.

Full Story >>

Karachi (Sindh) [Pakistan], Feb.27 (ANI): The Governor of Pakistan's Sindh province, Muhammad Zubair, has said that both Pakistan and China will stand to benefit from the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in both the short and long term.

Full Story >>

New Delhi, Feb. 27 (ANI): At least seven people were killed in an attack on a prison bus in Colombo, according to local media reports.

Full Story >>

London [UK], Feb. 27(ANI): The Baloch Cultural Association (BCA) held a conference at Birkbeck University in London.

Full Story >>

Berlin [Germany], Feb.27 (ANI): The Embassy of India, Berlin organized second Diaspora event over the weekend at the embassy in which several Indian associations and prominent members of Diaspora, besides representatives of 16 student associations participated.

Full Story >>

Kathmandu [India], Feb. 27(ANI): The National Seismological Centre (NSC) of Nepal recorded two aftershocks post the Gorkha region earthquake on Monday.

Full Story >>

Hong Kong [China], Feb. 27(ANI): All may not be well between the 'all weather friends' Pakistan and China.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Feb. 27(ANI): As Mahershala Ali became the first Muslim actor to win Oscar for his role in Hollywood flick 'Moonlight', Pakistan's Representative to the United Nations Maleeha Lodhi tweeted in support of his achievement.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C.[USA], Feb. 27(ANI): Hijab-wearing ex-White House Muslim staffer of Bangladeshi-origin has said that she quit her job after U.S. President Donald Trump announced his controversial travel ban, which made her last for eight days in the new administration.

Full Story >>

London [United Kingdom], Feb. 27 (ANI): Dr. Naguman, well- known Baloch writer and author of six books has urged writers, scholars and politicians to work together to preserve mother languages of Baloch people.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [United States], Feb. 27 (ANI): U.S. President Donald Trump's nominee for Navy secretary Philip Bilden has withdrawn his name from consideration citing his financial holdings as the reason.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [United States], Feb. 27 (ANI): Trump administration has cancelled the scheduled informal talks between a North Korean delegation and a team of former U.S. officials by withdrawing its initial approval of the North Koreans' visas.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [United States], Feb 27 (ANI): The family of an Indian engineer, Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who was killed by a gunman in an alleged racial attack had warned him about the consequences of staying in the United States and had asked him to return to India.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Feb. 27 (ANI): U.S. President Donald Trump has said that healthcare would be one of the issues which would be discussed during his formal dinner with Governors today.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [United States], Feb. 27 (ANI): National security adviser of U.S. President Donald Trump, H.R. McMaster has said that using the phrase "radical Islamic terrorism" is not helpful for America as terrorist organizations like ISIS represent a perversion of Islam.

Full Story >>