Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Perspectives From Central Asia: Installment Three

More on the diverse sentiments among the various publics in Greater Central Asia:

William Dalrymple, in a 2005 article about attitudes among the Pushtun tribesmen in the Pakistan, quoted a local tribal leader who reveals the social context in which the Taliban have recently gained new strength. Javed Paracha said to Dalrymple, "The people are so desperate." "They are waiting for a solution that will rid them of this feudal-army elite [who control the Pakistan government]. The people want radical change. We teach them in the madrasas that only Islam can provide the justice they seek."

Paracha is a lawyer representing his Islamist-leaning Pathan tribesmen to the Pakistani government. Having survived solitary confinement in a notorious Pakistani prison and torture by the CIA, he enjoys high respect among his neighbors. He founded two of the largest madrassas in Pakistan, the first of which, he proudly says, "produced many of the younger leaders of the Taliban." He envisions the appearance of an Islamic state in Pakistan. There will be a crisis, he says, not only in the tribal areas but in all of Pakistan. He says that in Pakistan there are 200,000 graduates of various schools who cannot find employment - and the number will rise, for half the population is under the age of 21. A "more extreme form of the Taliban is coming to Pakistan," he predicts.

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