From Muhajir (refugee) to Mujahid (the holy warrior) is a research-oriented book which was written by Dr. Fazal-ur-Rahim Marwat who has served in the Afghan Refugees Commissionerate, as vice chancellor Bacha Khan University, and is a research scholar. This book was published in 2004 having myriad of topics within such as Pakistan_ Afghanistan relations, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Afghan refugees in Pakistan and Iran, their manipulation, the Jihad culture, etc. This book was published by Pakistan, study center, university of Peshawar.
The forward of this book has been written by renowned human rights activist, Pashtun nationalist, and historian Mr. Afrasiab Khattak who observes that the Soviet-Afghan war was supposed to be the ‘mother of all ideological battles. He further says about Pakistan,s policy towards Afghanistan that Pakistan even the country’s civilian Chief Executives in the 80s and 90s had no say in formulating our Afghan policy. He further analyzes that there is great potential for growth of cooperation between the two countries in almost every field.
The first Chapter of the said book bears the title of ‘The Strategic Trap for the Afghan Refugees’. The writer has shed light upon the geography of Pakistan, and its internal issues such as demographic challenges, ideology, constitutional crisis, economic fragility, cultural issues, political instability, and Pakistan-Afghanistan relations. He observes about the relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan that this being the case, Pakistanis and the Afghans have been living in a state of constant tension and suspicion since the creation of Pakistan in 1947. He further argues that despite many commonalities between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the respective countries somehow failed to develop close and cordial relations with each other before.
Dr. Marwat calls the Soviet invasion a blessing in disguise for Pakistan in the sense that Pakistan was isolated at that time owing to its nuclear program, because of Carter,s sanctions in 1978, its deteriorated relations with the US, and huge economic crises. After becoming an ally of the US and West, they along with the Gulf region reached out to help Pakistan. He says that war brought relief for General Zia ul Haq too who was under internal and external pressures.
This chapter contains how Pakistan responded to the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, Pakistan,s support to Guerrillas against the Russian invasion, and the role of civilian leadership in the formulation of Afghan policy during the Soviet invasion. At the same time a separate cell of Afghanistan affairs was established in the ministry of foreign affairs. In addition, the writer says that meanwhile, the Afghanistan refugees commissionerate was also established which was responsible for the details, records, and other issues related to the Afghan migrants. In the said chapter he gives details that how many refugees entered Pakistan from 1973 to 1990 which according to him were 3.7 million. He also talks about the legal and Islamic ideological status of Afghan refugees in Pakistan.
Notwithstanding Dr. Marwat talks about the School syllabus for Afghan refugees children. He says that the syllabus was introduced with more stress on religious indoctrination, and not with the national aspirations of the Afghans. He asserts that at the primary level the material in the mathematics books was such: If out of 10 atheists, 5 were killed by 1 Muslim, 5 would be left. 5 guns + 5 guns = 10 guns. 15 bullets – 10 bullets = 5 bullets, etc.
Since then the Afghan children were converted into the children of war and were indoctrinated into warriors as 50 percent of migrants were children. He analysis that the inclusion of the concept of Jehad in the school curriculum linked to the University of Nebraska, Omaha, USA is a clear example, that the USA cannot absolve itself from the past sins of creating extremists, fundamentalists, and Ben Ladens. It is very strange and pathetic to note that all these products of the education and schools of the Afghans fought each other to destroy their nation.
At the end of the chapter Zia,s Islamization process has discussed. Chapter two of the reviewed book having the title the Illusory ‘Peshawar Seven’ Tanzimat (Parties); deals with the Afghan war, the resistance of Afghan parties, the internal instability in Afghanistan before the USSR,s invasion, the role of Pakistan and Iran concerning the refugee’s crisis and their policy towards Afghanistan, and the genesis of Jehad in Afghanistan that had cemented before the invasion of the Red army.
History testifies that the toppling of King Zahir Shah opened new vistas of political instability in Afghanistan. King Zahir Shah had at least united the Afghan nation. Once he was overthrown by Dawood Khan (his cousin) and the then prime minister, after that what we have been witnessing in Afghanistan are chaos, anarchy, civil war, instability, economic fragility, etc. After the overthrow of Zahir Shah the country was plunged into political unrest and within 6 years it witnessed 4 rulers until the Russian invasion in December 1979.
Dr. Marwat in this chapter talks about as to how Russian forces were invited. That how a campaign was launched against the PDPA government by the local tribal chiefs and clergies owing to their differences with the PDPA government as the PDPA government was impressed by Marxist Leninists ideology.
The most important aspect of resistance against the Red Army was the concept of Jehad which became a cemented force in the war against the USSR by the Afghans with special respect to the Pashtun nations and Pashtun religious parties which we have been witnessing yet. The writer says that the cry of “Islam in danger” was raised, and the movement of ghaza and jehad was carried to the extreme. Different religious and nationalist groups were gathered together. It must be astonishing for the readers that Jehad in Afghanistan was declared against the PDPA government on November 27, 1979, before the Soviet invasion which took place on December 27, 1979, by many parties particularly Hezb I Islami, Jamiat I Islami, Jarqat I Inqlabi Islami, etc. An alliance Paiman-Ittehad-e-Islami (a pledge to Islamic unity) was established in September 1979. It means Jehad was declared against the then-Afghan government. It reflects Afghans were fighting against the Afghans.
Dr. Fazal ur Rahim Marwat articulates that these Seven parties: Hezb-e-Islami of Hikmatyra group, Hezb-e-Islami Maulvi Younas Khalis section, Jamiat-e-Islami, Ittehad-e-Islami, Mahaz-e-Millie-e-Islami, Jabha-de-Nijat-e-Milli-e-Afghanistan, and Harkat-e-Inqilab-e-Afghanistan in which the last three who were Islamic nationalist were at the front of the Jehad and radicalization of the Afghan nation. He says that Molana Fazal Rehman of JUI F and Molana Samiul Haq,s JUI S were favoring these parties while the Pashtun nationalist parties in Pakistan the ANP and the PKMAP were pro_ PDPA government. He further claims that the Mujahideen who took refuge in Iran remained more or less neutral. While Pakistan offered them shelter and the means to continue their struggle. He is of the view that Pakistan participated in the war so that to break the triangle of Russia, India, and Afghanistan. He also discusses the US involvement in the Afghan war and its support for the Mujahedeen. Dr. Fazal ur Rahim Marwat (as he had served in the commissionerate of the Afghan refugees and had keenly seen the Afghan refugees and loves thar time ) opines that Afghan Refugees were used as a weapon against the USSR.
One of the pertinent aspects that has been pinpointed by Dr. Marwat which is still relevant in the present situation of the Pashtun mainland was that the Afghan crisis posed a direct threat to the traditional Pashtun nationalism, and its leadership in the Pashtun belt of Pakistan the shocks of which have been facing at present where hundreds of tribal chiefs have lost their lives, where hundreds of schools have been bombed, where their business has devested, where trade activities have halted, and where the Pashtun belt has plunged into the hell of prolonged bloodshed.
Chapter three bearing the title of ‘A Foreign Aid Bonanza for the Afghan Refugees’ starts with a Russian proverb“When money speaks, the truth keeps silent” which deals how money and arms, and ammunition were poured into the Afghan mainland, Pakistan,s threats from Afghanistan, impacts of the Russian invasion on Pakistan and Afghanistan, the guerrilla attributes of the Afghans, and gigantic spread of extremism in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Dr. Fazal ur Rahim Marwat observes that the threat of India and the Pashtunistan issue shaped the then foreign policy of Pakistan concerning Afghanistan. In my M.phil thesis having the title ‘Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and its implications on Pakistan and Afghanistan’ i had added a chapter on whether Pakistan was the real target of the Red army or not. The writers and historians are divided on the topic. Dr. Marwat in this regard has an opinion that Pakistan was the target too as he says, “The Red tide was moving towards Khyber Pass.”
The writer observes the guerrilla attributes of the Afghan Migrants who were used as anti_Russian forces during the war and that they (Afghan refugees) had all the basic attributes of successful guerrilla fighters, commitment to their cause, they had physical and mental abilities and could observe the tasks, they knew their area of operations, particularly the mountainous areas, they were highly courageous and had an affinity with weapons. Having these qualities they needed weapons and training which were provided by the allies to them.
The said chapter contains vast data on aid and ammunition. The writer says that during the war the Soviets were pouring aid in Afghanistan before the invasion up to 1979 was increasing too. While the US, west, and Gulf were providing aid to the resistance groups and allies in the shape of military and humanitarian aid. The writer has also pointed out the impacts of the Russian invasion on Pakistan and Afghanistan and says the drug culture was immensely increased in Afghanistan that penetrated the tribal areas of Pakistan too. He further analyses that religious extremism increased manyfold in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He is of the opinion that, “The unholy alliance of the CIA, ISI and Islamic fundamentalist parties with the three Asian actors- Deng Xiaoping, Sadat, and Zia at the forefront opened the “Pandora’s Box” of extremism, fundamentalism, and drug trafficking in combating the menace of Soviet Communism.”
At the end of the book Dr. Fazal ur Rahim Marwat provides a conclusion, Findings, and recommendations. In recommendations, he says that the Afghan war created and nourished religious extremism, terrorism, and Kalashnikov culture among the Afghan refugees, their foreign colleagues, and the local population of Pakistan.
He is against war and gives a pacifist approach and suggests that all issues should be solved under the flag of the UN and he calls upon the UN to take steps for internal convention on refugees. He also speaks loudly to tolerate and spread education against extremism.
This well-documented and research-oriented work of Dr. Fazal Ur Rahim Marwat is itself an authority on Pak_Afghan relations, the Russian invasion of Afghanistan and its impacts on Pakistan and Afghanistan, the use of Afghanistan,s mainland as proxy land of regional and international powers, the indoctrination of the Afghan refugees and using them as a frontline force against the Red Army on the basis of Jehad, and gives a detailed insight of the Russian_Afghan war. This book provides admirable data and a holistic approach for the researchers interested in Afghan affairs, Pakistan,s policy towards Afghanistan, and the role of America, China, the West, Arab countries, and Iran in Afghanistan.