Senate Defence Committee Chairman Mushahid Hussain Sayed on Tuesday termed former US president Ronald Reagan the “biggest non-Muslim jihadi” of the past century who, he claimed, had covertly injected $5 billion in undocumented military assistance to promote violence in the Pakistan-Afghanistan region.
The PML-Q secretary-general made these sarcastic remarks while addressing a seminar held on Peace building in Pakistan, organised by DANIDA and Search for Common Ground.
The seminar presented two studies on the different perceptions about conflict in Pakistan. The findings indicated, among other things, a public perception that US policies in South Asia and the Middle East instigated more conflicts than any other factor. Poverty was observed to be the number one reason for conflict while the role of media and political leadership in conflict management were also came under discussion.
In his closing remarks, Mushahid further highlighted reasons for what he believed to be “an injection of culture of violence” into Pakistan and Afghanistan region.
“The ‘Culture of Kalashnikovs’ was a ‘gift’ of the ‘joint jihad’ of the West and the Muslim World against the Soviet evil empire,” he said. In this vain, he first stressed upon the geo-political factors that trace back to the Afghan jihad days when U.S and NATO forces nurtured networks for flow of fighters and arms.
Mushahid also emphasised on Pakistan’s own political culture as being another factor. He said this political culture was characterised by political tribalism that was essentially intolerant, undemocratic and believed in zero sum games. “A particularly clannish worldview that clings to the notion of I-win, you lose which will always lead to divergent ways that sustain conflicts and violence.”
He also stated that people of Pakistan had an ingrained tolerance that was an essential part of their ethos and therefore, conflicts in Pakistan had arisen from attempts to purposefully ignite intolerance by vested interests.
“Take the example of Afghan refugees,” he said. “Pakistan is the only country in the world that has peacefully hosted such a large population for such a long time.” He also added that no sectarian clashes were ever observed in the aftermath of sectarian-targeted violence to which people responded effectively united as one community, irrespective of their diverse affiliations.