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Dual Citizenship

Reader comment on item: U.S. Improvising on Security Five Years After 9/11

Submitted by Rakshas 10 Anan (India), Sep 6, 2006 at 00:58

I don't know if Pakistani Americans are allowed dual citizenship, permitted to travel on either US or Pakistani passports when travelling abroad. And if yes, how does it influence the US security considerations?

During the Cold War years, there was very close collaboration between the US military establishment and its Pakistan counterpart, since Pakistan was the frontline US ally against the Soviets. This permitted a very large number of Pakistani military personnel to work in restricted military areas in the US. Many of these personnel and their close relatives eventually settled in the US.

At the same time, there was a very large in-flow of Pakistani illegal immigrants (large relative to the total population size of a militarised Islamist Pakistan, esp. since the days of its assassinated President, Zia-ul-Haq). This flow originated mostly from places in Europe like Frankfurt, which served as an important location for the illegal human traffic. Many of these men could acquire citizenship through marriage in the US, and the marriage could be dissolved once they had succeeded in the main objective. And then there were those who were granted asylum from the reppressive military dictatorship, although this was more common in UK than US!

What this has perhaps ensured, with considerable security concerns for the US is that currently there is a strong network of ex-military (and political) presence of Pakistanis in the US. It is double jeopardy should they also bear dual citizenship of a fast radicalising Islamist Pakistan (with a natural allegiance to the Koranic injunction of holding the religion above nationality). The issue of homeland security is also subverted by the religious injunction related to Dar-ul-Harb, i.e. non-Islamic lands, for continuing the struggle (jihad) until the non-Islamic homeland is converted to the Dar-ul-Islam!

Given the very open nature of the US society and its liberal democratic framework, it would be very interesting to see in effect how this situation is resolved in the near future, now that the battlelines are becoming sharper, allowing little room for ambiguity!

The same considerations of dual citizenship also continue to tax my mind in the context of the 9/11 Attack Against America: whether many of the terrorists on that suicide mission were in fact Pakistanis holding dual citizenship, travelling on Saudi Arabian passports. They certainly did not look like Arabs, except for a few like Mohammad Atta. The rest could have been from the PAF, bearing Saudi-sounding names on false passports. If this seems far fetched, there is no explanation for the ambiguity of identity surrounding many of the apprehended Pakistani terrorists at the time and thereafter!

A natural corollary is concerning the name Al Qaida itself, (as a front for the Taliban-ISI conglomerate -- based on traditional Saudi funding ever since the concept of an Islamic bomb was first voiced -- and currently housed in the lawless mountainous Islamist terrain of Waziristan in western Pakistan)! It would be appropriate, if by a curious twist of ISI Islamist irony, the name derives from the very roots of Pakistan, in the title bestowed upon its then Islamist founder, the Quaid-i-Azzam, Mohammad Ali Jinnah! We do know that the Taliban is a creation of Pakistan to combat the foot soldiers of USSR during the invasion of Afghanistan, and its later morphing into Al Qaida would certainly also be a brainwave of the ISI, no stranger to terrorism in the cause of Islamic jihad -- the chief weapon in the final period of the Soviet regime in Afghanistan! Who can believe that a nebulous outlaw terrorist organisation can for five years of being hunted by powerful governments, survive inclement weather in one of the most inhospitable terrains on earth, and go from strength to strength without strong backing from a nuclear armed nation hell-bent on pursuing its agenda through international subterfuge?

This would in fact posit Pakistan at the very fountainhead of Islamic jihad, given all the extremist proclamations of completing the task of 'Islamisation of India' that regularly emanage from the terrorists groups based in Pakistan -- a strong emotive and radical mobilisation appeal for its most-backward population! The anti-India genie of the Cold War era seems to have now assumed megalomaniacal proportions against its own benefactors becoming the primary target!!!

What all of this connotes in terms of achieving homeland security in the US, with a large bristling Islamist population of Pakistani origins (and also Bangladeshi, since they are in the same Islamist bracket with strong past fundamentalist ties with each other) is a matter of speculation, although the overall trends are alarmingly obvious.

The weblogs of Dr. Daniel Pipes, Robert Spencer, et al are very aware of the problems and issues related to the emerging trends in relation to the US security concerns. But it is also disturbing to see the changes gradually creeping in especially on the campus scene, where Islamist censorship is becoming fairly vigorous. The Pakistani lobbies in Washington DC, and also on Madison Avenue, were fairly sophisticated during the Cold War years, to the detriment of India during its lone struggle against cross-border terrorism for over three decades. Their influence is visible even now, in the carefully worded and even constrained US government response to the latest Al Qaida threat after the foiled airlines plot in UK (and related to an alleged Saudi fatwa for killing 10 million)!

I think non-Islamic governments all over the world are very slow in their response to the challenge of Islamist terrorism that seems to have now acquired critical mass and momentum of its own, while also having to bear in mind the sensibilities of a fast-radicalising Muslim citizenry in their midst, which seems less concerned with national security than with their 'rights as Muslims' that are directly antithetical to the history and free traditions of America! Since it is the wheel that squeals the loudest that gets the oil, the moderate Muslim voices continue to be utterly swamped by those that clamour for Islamism in the West, including the rule of sharia. And it is these voices that policy-makers must contend with, in determining the carefully nuanced response to the threats within and outside!

Overall it seems, Heads you lose, Tails they win!!! I'd be interested in knowing from Dr. Daniel Pipes how he sees this conundrum, and if there can be a positive prognosis for the future given the rotten state of jihad in our midst!


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Daniel Pipes replies:

Moderate Muslims, even heads of government, are weak these days. It will take much work over many years if they are to become a real force.

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