Translation and introduction by GrandeStrategy Staff Rough translation of an interview with Zaid Hamid, a hugely popular Pakistani thinker / analyst / television personality/ Muslim leader and former Mujahideen in Afghanistan who is not particularly known outside Pakistan because his work has been largely in the Urdu language. He is leading a movement that looks to establish an independent and Islamic Pakistan and one of the key people who could be instrumental in establishing an enlightened Islamic state in Pakistan. Transcript is from an exclusive interview on Azaan TV with Zaid Hamid on views related to security threats to Muslims and Pakistanis.
An interview with Zaid Hamid
Many questions, a few gave me list to ask, can’t cover everyone, but whoever we can.. Firstly, people have many problems with your religious background (aqeeda), and with respect to affililiations, What would you have to say to these issues? Zaid: Adeel, ma’shallah, we have been in the media for over 2 – 2 ½ years. Over 2 ½ hundred programs, and also lectures, meetings, etc in large numbers, and in all this, our enemies have never said that we have said anything against the Quran and Sunnah. This is the biggest challenge, our biggest argument. In fact, in all our messages, we talk of love of the Prophet (peace be upon him), love of Pakistan, love of Muslim Ummah, Pakistan’s defense… exposing the kufar.. challenging the kufar head on, and whatever axis there is of the Muslims.. whether our social / political / judicial system, liberate Muslim lands, by Allah’s Mercy, we are attempting to work for it.. We don’t understand why some people would say (n’auzu b’illah) that we are working for the agencies, we are Qadiani, that we don’t believe in the end of the line of prophets, we want to know what we have said that would lead to such conclusions. By the Grace of Allah, our message is expanding, and people from around the world are listening and accepting our ideas… The people who speak against us are faceless and nameless, when people are asked they say that they read this on the web.. and to this day, no one has come out to say this. Such people do not meet the requirements of Shariah (in their allegations) nor do they accept the requirements of the legal system of the country. No one to this day has come up and said these to us directly.. And we know who these people are.. since we have been exposing kufar.. we have figured out the Tehrik-e-Taliban, the Zionists in this government, Kufar’s exploitative interest based system, who are fighting against Allah and his Prophet (peace be upon him) and media’s corrupt elements, we have attacked them all, won’t these people counter attack against us? Quaid-e-Azam was called Kufar-e-Azam, Allama Iqbal was called Kafir and Quadiani. In the history of Islam, all the great scholars and ulema, where attacked by the establishment’s minions.. we never believed we will not be attacked for our mission. We however don’t want to answer them at their level because our mission is too important to be sullied by such insinuations. There is a sentence in Persian – dogs barking does not lower the earning of the beggar. In the Quran it is said beautifully that they want to hide the light of Allah by their disinformation, but Allah will complete his work, no matter. Adeel: People know you for your defiant stand. What was the reason for starting your work? Zaid: Practically, to be honest, there was no specific reason. In 1986 I was almost 22 years of age. I was doing my engineering in my third semester in Karachi University and Allah sent me to Afghanistan, and that was a critical time for Afghanistan. And then one goes to Jihad with all the passion, and Jihad becomes you life. After that you do not need a university or academy to learn.. Jihad becomes the university, where you learn everything, where you become part of global geopolitics, you learn economics, you learn all dimensions of humanity, you learn the spirit of nations, you see the rise and destruction of civilization, you learn to read history, you learn tactics and strategy and operational details.. you live through it, it is not theoretical academy. People call me a doctor out of love, but I am not a doctor. I have spent time in the battlefield. Of life’s 6 years I spent. And from there we analyzed what mistakes we made. What people hear in the air, we spent time in. Names of mujahideen that people hear in books, we have spent time in the battlefield with them. Then the rest of the life we spent thinking and analyzing what we did wrong, why Afghanistan slipped out of our hands, why our Jihad was unsuccessful, we were successful in removing the Soviets, but were not able to build an Islamic state there, what mistakes we made, what examples in history there is.. Who were the traitors, who where the heroes, and to what extent the sacrifices of our martyrs reached.. by 2000 we started a defense consulting / think tank, and our purpose was to make Pakistan aware of the dangers. And 9/11 happened in 2001. Our work became very relevant. In media you have seen us 2 ½ years ago, but our work started about 9 years ago, and if we go back further, we have been involved since 1986. I am not a doctor, a PhD, but it is all acquired through sweat and blood on the battlefields. Adeel: Afghanistan’s history, their tribes, and how in the past they have defeated previous super powers, would you tell us something about this? Zaid: … Geography is a romantic destination.. if you look since Alexander the Great, Afghanistan was one place where his losses were greater than anywhere else put together. And in the years to come, the only time in history Afghans were only defeated once. The Afghans were not a people to be defeated by the sword, and the only time they defeated was because the Sahaba (early Muslims) came not only with a sword but with the idea of Islam, and they accepted Islam. And since then they have been Muslims. And they are a martial race and brave people and with Islam they were doubly strengthened. After this, here there are not only Pashtuns but Tajiks, Uzbecks, Aimuks, Hazaras… but the common bond was Islam, and this is why the powerful dynasties and this is why that all the campaigns by Muslims to India has been through Khyber and Kandahar other than Muhammad Bin Qasim’s. Here, all conquerors where (to Afghanistan) Muslim, and they where accepted because they where Muslim. Mughals who entered accepted because they where Muslim, and others such as Mahmood of Ghaznavi or Shahabuddin Ghauri, where all Muslims. In contemporary history, the Great Game being played by the British and the Russians in the 19th century, the Russians where conquering Muslim lands and coming South, and the British where moving from India towards Central Asia, Afghanistan became a buffer state. Nevertheless, the English tried to conquer Afghanistan. First in 1820s, 30s, 80s and later. Practically they where defeated every time. One example being a (British) column from Jalalabad of 40,000, only had 1 person return. The folklore in Afghanistan talks about these stories. Later, the Soviet invasion was the next major battle, there where other local internal battles in between. But the major next invasion was by the Soviets. And this united the people again, and were defeated in 10 years. And now the US is trying. It is their history that Afghanistan is called the graveyard of empires. It is always the beginning of their end. NATO and Americans will face the same end. Time cannot be determined, 10 or 20 years, or whenever, but it will happen. Time can vary. The US economy is also being destroyed at home. The Soviet Union was defeated because they could not sustain the economy and the US could face a similar economic defeat. They are not being able to contain, with the present troops and resource levels. So either this will be their graveyard or if they are smart they can cut their losses and run. Adeel: The decision made by General Musharaf to join the War on Terror that we become America’s front line state, the people who supported this decision say that if we had not supported, we would have been sent to the stone age. And also, India would have given America bases and we would have been isolated. What would you say about this? Zaid: We have a program on the WOT, in our website brasstacks.pk, we have dvds, cds available and books on this issue, we analyzed these issues then and that our leadership was weak in its decisions and could not take the pressure of the Americans, they had given the same argument that the US would send us to the stone age and that the Taliban don’t listen to us anyways, why should we fight for no reason against the US, let us send these people to Afghanistan, the Afghanis will deal with them themselves, because history shows that whoever goes there is defeated.. all these arguments where given by the ruler then, and in their opinion there was some weight. But the point is, after 9/11 like a mad bull the US was ready to destroy the world, and the world was with the US, in all that whirlwind, the decisions by the rulers made, if we look back now, those rulers should have at least gotten better terms and conditions and define the war on terror, what the relationship between the two countries would be, if the Afghan Taliban are the enemy or if Al Qaeda is the enemy. The Afghan Taliban never attacked any other country, the Americans used to engage in negotiations with them for pipelines to Central Asia. When these negotiations broke down, that was why they wanted to remove the Taliban, and turned Taliban into the enemy, when there was no case against the Taliban in the entire world.. Because of the Taliban, Indian elements where eliminated from Afghanistan, there was no issues in Balochistan, Tehrik-e-Taliban was not present, they eliminated drugs and poppies, so Pakistan did not protect its interest. And with the Northern Alliance government in Afghanistan, pro-Indian elements have come to power. Let us forget what happened then and consider now, why continue the same mistakes today? The point is, now there is a so called democratic state, why are we still supporting NATO and the US, so that we can finish the Afghan Taliban, whiping out the Afghan Taliban means eliminating the majority of people of Afghanistan, how is this possible? What 500,000 Soviet troops couldn’t do, how can NATO and the US do this with 100,000 troops? And why should they? If they couldn’t catch Ossama in 9 years.. And we know why they came here, when they came here there was no lawlessness and civil war, their definition of the problem is take nuclear weapons from Muslim states, divide Pakistan, create an independent Balochistan and prepare Tehrik-e-Taliban to conduct terror inside Pakistan, so that the whole of Pakistan faces suicide attacks and then they can argue that Pakistan is a dysfunctional state and snatch its nuclear weapons. That is the definition of the problem from them. Our parliament of 2 and half years and before that Musharaf never defined the terrorism issue, Indians want to define it with Kashmir, Israel wants to define it according to the Palestinian movement, Russia wants to define it with the Chechens, when did fighting for freedom of their land become the definition of terrorism? If fighting against the Russian occupation was legitimate, why is fighting against the US forces not justified? Both according to International law and according to Shariah, there is no difference between the two. If we called the Soviet occupation haram, how can the US occupation be halal? Adeel: The Americans say that they are peacekeeping troops, they haven’t invaded Afghanistan. Zaid: What peacekeeping force are they? They are an occupation force, they call themselves an occupation force. And by whose permission have these “peacekeepers” come here? Enter Pakistan, occupy Pakistan and call it peacekeeping? Create destruction all over the world and call it peacekeeping? Point is, if they so want peacekeepers, Americans and NATO should leave Afghanistan and allow Muslim countries like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Gulf states, Bangladesh, Indonesia, 10-15 Muslim states can provide peacekeeping troops to Afghanistan. If we send 40-50,000 troops, Afghan Taliban, I can guarantee you will not fire one shot at the peacekeepers. And we would gather the Afghan Muslims together and tell them to sit down and resolve their issues. Since no one Muslim country but 15-20 Muslim countries will send troops, no one will feel that someone is trying to take over their country. Muslims can solve their own problems. We do not need NATO and the US here. And if the world needs a guarantee that there will be no terrorism originating from here, then this Muslim peacekeeping force would provide such a guarantee. Drugs would stop in Afghanistan, Indian elements would be eliminated, Balochistan Liberation Army will come to an end and the Weapons supply of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan would come to an end. The world would find peace. Let us not forget the words of Allama Iqbal (great Muslim philosopher / poet of the 20th century), that Afghanistan is such a land that if there is war there, there will be war everywhere in Asia, and if there is peace there, there will be peace everywhere. It is necessary for Americans and NATO to get out of Afghanistan, and it is necessary to end war there. If they are talking about peacekeepers, Americans are not part of the solution, they are part of the problem. The day they leave, that day the war will end. These people are not sincere, they are dishonest, hypocritical. Their diplomacy is based on Machiavelli, just as the Indian diplomacy is based on Chankia, which is the equivalent of if you want to defeat your enemy, get close to him, and while hugging him stab him in the back. And then cry over his dead body, that my friend is murdered. That is the extent of their fraud and lies. Nixon talked of a statement by Ayub Khan in his memoirs (In the Arena), when the Shah of Iran was murdered and died alone in Syria, being abandoned by his American friends, in his funeral not one American came, Nixon recalled the words of Ayub Khan, that the enmity of America is bad, but her friendship is suicide. If Pakistan has become friends with America today, it has been its suicide, as we can see it today. Its time we revise and redefine this relationship (with America). American war in Afghanistan is not our war, and we have to disengage from this war. Our war has started in our cities, by the rogue elements prepared by America, but the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Omar, Jalaluddin Haqqani, Gulbuddin Hekmathyar are our friends, not our enemies. Adeel: If we ponder upon the Muslim world, those elements that are today attacking the Pakistan Army like the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, etc, if you read about them on the internet, on websites and statements that periodically show up, the argument they present is that America is a Kufar (non Muslim) power and Pakistan Army is its front line ally and the supply line and support is coming through here. And the friend of our enemy is also our enemy and unless Pakistan Army cuts off its support, we are going to continue our attacks. So what would you say about their arguments? What message would you want to send them? Zaid: Is this line of thinking shared by Mullah Omar, Jallaluddin Haqqani and Gulbuddin Hekmathyar? Why is it that to this day Mullah Omar, Jallaluddin Haqqani and Gulbuddin Hekmathyar have not given a Fatwa (ruling) to destroy Pakistan? And then, how can they give such a justification? This is rubbish. They have killed women and children. Committed heinous crimes against the civilian population. What Shariah is this? Destroying schools, where is this from? Taking out dead people from their graves and hanging them, what is this? They should stop this nonsense, we have understood their game. Ignorant, uncivilized and ill-mannered people. Who in the name of deen (religion) and Shariah (Islamic Law) they are giving the justification that Pakistan has become a Kafir state. They are people who give Fatwas (rulings) of kufar (non Muslims). Asthagfirullah al azeem (I seek refuge with the Almighty) they are the people who are hurting the Muslim world most. That since Pakistan is now kufar, killing and taking life and goods, women and children is now allowed. Shameless and ill mannered people who are selling their religion in what manner. TTP are rebels (against) the Muslim Ummah (world).
They are completely separate and different from Gulbuddin Hekmathyar, Mullah Omar and Jalaluddin Haqqani. They have no connection or relationship with the (real) mujahideen. Any party that is trying to destroy or harm Pakistan today, attacking its homes, killing its civilians, with over 80 suicide attacks only in the year 2007, killing over 10,000 civilians, how can they justify their blood? They are the criminal and the lying. Are the Kharijites (hated Muslim rebels, responsible for the collapse of the first Muslim state). Adeel: If we look at the war against the Soviets, we see that the Afghan Mujahideen had international support, support from Pakistan, the US was also behind them, the media portrayed them as heroes. They had one enemy, the Soviet Union. And they also received technology like the Stinger missiles, etc. It took them 10 years to defeat the Soviet Union. If we see the struggle today, how are they surviving and dealing with all the pressure? Zaid: One thing we have to realize is that the Afghan Jihad against the Soviets is propagated to have been funded by the CIA, but whatever the CIA gave, Muslims and Chinese gave 10 times more. Very large shipments of Chinese weapons where sent. Also, the entire Muslim world called for Jihad. From Philippines to North Africa and European.. wherever there were Muslims, they where represented in Afghanistan, and when Muslims would come, they would not come empty handed. There are many wealthy Muslims that are present. Billions of dollars where funneled in to support the resistance against the Soviets. In 1986, Stingers came in, and because of them, the length of the Jihad was reduced, but even if they did not come, we would have defeated the soviets by 1994-95 (rather than 1989), the costs would have been higher for us. Not a single American died, but 1,500,000 Muslims were martyred. It was not an American Jihad, it was our Muslim Ummah’s Jihad. And because of this, in the entire Muslim world, resistance movements started. Do people not note that Kashmir movement gets momentum in 1988 from Afghanistan? Moro resistance in Philippines starts in a similar time frame? Palestinian Intefada, Algeria, Chechen movement, Bosnia’s Jihad, all this was started from the education and training they received in Afghanistan and returned home with it. So the Afghan Jihad was a Jihad of the Muslim world. Our interests had converged with the US against the Soviets. Because they themselves couldn’t fight, they wanted Muslims to fight on their behalf.. if we take arms from the US and destroy India, we are not fighting America’s war, we can get the arms from anywhere. If you look at the anthems of the children, conceptually everyone was clear, nobody took Americans as friends, only allies of convenience. People would talk about capturing Moscow today and capturing Washington DC tomorrow. Conceptually there was no confusion.
The Afghan nation did not see the US as a friend. Secondly, because media is owned by them, 96% of the media is controlled by the Western world, practically they can make anyone good and anyone evil.. the WMDs in Iraq, ultimately we realized it was all fake, the 9/11 drama we all know is fake, this is a media game, disinformation spread is incredible, Dajjal’s (anti-Christ’s) this weapon is very powerful. So it looks like if the world, if the CIA is not going to support the Jihad will end, but even today the Muslim world is supporting the Afghan Jihad. Even today the Chinese axis is supporting them (the Taliban). The Russians are supporting them. Iran is sending equipment and weapons. See, who are the people that have something to lose with NATO and the US being in Afghanistan? Are the Chinese happy? No. The Russians? No. Is Iran happy? No. Pakistan is officially not supporting them. The Muslim world is officially not supporting them. But can you stop the Muslims of the world? No. And this is what is happening. The Muslim world, as before, is supporting the Afghan Jihad today and will continue to do so. And as the Russians got beaten, what do you know what ways are open to Russia to now arm the Taliban against the US and NATO. Afghanistan is the world’s most lawless country. The Americans and NATO, beyond some large cities and highways, practically control nothing. It is the easiest thing in this planet to send weapons to Afghanistan. They talk of Pakistan doing more. Looking at it from a military point of view, to have a resistance movement, you need three things, base areas, infinite supply of weapons, and fighters. All this was taking place at a massive scale in Pakistan during the Soviet era. The entire tribal areas there were training camps all over. And a training camp is not something you can build in your home. It needs some acres of land. To this day, the Americans have not blamed Pakistan for sending truckloads of weapons to Afghanistan. Or that Pakistan has set up large training camps. And, any massive movement of people going from here to there (in Afghanistan). Nothing like this is happening. Even if there is some tribal area in this, it cannot be more than 5%. 95% of the war is being fought in Afghanistan. In the Soviet era, practically 90% of the war effort organization was with us, and going into Afghanistan there would only be operations. The base areas where not inside, but outside in Pakistan.
But now the process has reversed exactly. Since now Americans have very few soldiers in Afghanistan, and the whole countryside is under Taliban, they have no need to have base areas in Pakistan. Afghan Taliban, Gulbuddin Hekmathyar are all inside Afghanistan. To the extent that now they are doing operations in the North, in Kunduz and Mazar-e-Sharif. Those areas traditionally considered non-Taliban areas. And the supply lines are open to them. And the weapons are coming from Russia, China, Iran, and money is coming from every direction. The world’s big drug dealers. The world’s big weapons dealers. The roads of the world are open. To believe that if the CIA won’t support the Mujahideen that they will collapse, this is against history. CIA had not done any great service before, it was the Muslims, who are still supporting them.
(partial script, rest of the interview coming soon)