News Watch, Side Feature, South Asia

Kala Pani to Guantanamo Bay, British Raj to American Slavery

Two Pakistani brothers were released from the Guantánamo Bay military prison Thursday after two decades in custody with no charges, the Department of Defense announced. The brothers were transferred to US custody after Pakistani officials arrested them in their home city of Karachi in 2002. After about a year and a half in CIA custody, they were moved to the detention center in 2004. (BBC)

The Guantanamo Bay is not the first prison of its kind, it has similarities with a infamous nightmare prison from history, built for the people of the Subcontinent, where freedom fighters were sent and never returned from. The Port Blair Island of Andamans became an apt place for the British to punish the freedom fighters. This prison was further extended and solitary confinement cells were added and that earned it the name of cellular cells. The prisoners here were harnessed to the pestle and forced to move around in circles as animals to extract oil from seeds, and this could continue for hours.

Forcefeeding through tubes was practiced if the prisoners went on hunger strike, and that resulted in the deaths of many. Brutal practices portray two elements, one is extreme fear of your prisoner and the second is no fear of accountability. This is what makes Islam stand out from all other systems practiced. From personal life to social, judicial and military matters, everything is backed by Ahkaam Shariah. Orders of a superior do not turn haram into halal, which we saw happening in colonialist rule and now under the capitalist system. Obeying insane orders opening doors to a new level of horrors of power abuse. The USA after 9/11 faced the same terror of freedom fighters, as faced by the British colonizers, and chose the same solution of transporting their terror far away, imprisoning and torturing the ones whose mere existence, name or belief terrorized them.

As a result of the War on Terror, since 2002, roughly 780 detainees have been held at the American military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Now, 32 remain. The USA opened the detention center in reaction to the 9/11 attacks. It was intended to hold the prisoners suspected of having links to al-Qaida or the Taliban. Then defense secretary, Donald H. Rumsfeld, labelled these men “the worst of the worst”, which basically points at the deep-seated fear of the prisoners. Detainees here were subjected to what the CIA calls enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs) These included physically slapping or grabbing prisoners, extended sleep deprivation, placing prisoners in “stress positions” in which a large amount of weight is placed on one or two muscles for a long period of time, and waterboarding, a technique designed to simulate drowning, by placing prisoners upside down and pouring water over their mouth and nose. The Rabbani brothers, like many others, were handed over to the USA by Pakistani officials after then-President Pervez Musharraf chose America as an ally after being clearly told that “You are either with us or against us,” and in case of being against us, “be prepared to be bombed back to the Stone Age.”

With this decision of Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan not only plunged into America’s war but also started the countdown of people losing their trust in the policies of the Pakistan Army. Musharraf in his memoir, In the Line of Fire, admitted taking money and handing over people to other countries. Those people who were just randomly picked by their own, interrogated by their own and handed over to the ones they never considered their own.
Here we must understand that the US Government is trying to close this prison not because of any moral awakenings but because of the burden it puts on the US economy, so they are slowly releasing these people who like one of the Rabbani brothers have never met or seen one of their children, who was born after their abduction.

The current rulers may try and take credit of the release which they had no control over to get public admiration. These rulers can only be any help if they first help set themselves free from the shackles of slavery. There is no difference between them and the man harnessed and extracting oil. In fact that harnessed imprisoned man is superior in the eyes of Allah (swt) for owning and embracing his belief, while these rulers going round and round in invisible harnesses are going to drown in all the money they are collecting for themselves and will be severely punished for their crimes.

The role of the dawah carrier in these circumstances is to bring notice to the damages this deal with the devil has done and create awareness that if we do not get rid of the traitor rulers, the names of the prisons may keep changing but all the thinking minds and bodies will be targeted and transferred to these prisons. The Khilafah (Caliphate) state will not only protect its citizens but will also make sure to save the world from such brutal acts and this can be a reason of our spreading the Deen of Allah (swt). Allah (swt) has assigned the ruler of the Muslims with grave responsibility of the protection of His people and only a true believer will protect them from harms of this world and the Hereafter. Irony is that when the Japanese occupied the Kala Pani Island during World War II, in 1942, its British administrators were imprisoned in the same cells they used for the people of the Subcontinent.

(وَكَأَيِّن مِّن نَّبِيّٖ قَٰتَلَ مَعَهُ رِبِّيُّونَ كَثِير فَمَا وَهَنُواْ لِمَآ أَصَابَهُمۡ فِي سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ وَمَا ضَعُفُواْ وَمَا ٱسۡتَكَانُواْۗ وَٱللَّهُ يُحِبُّ ٱلصَّـٰبِرِينَ)

“And many a Prophet (i.e. many from amongst the Prophets) fought (in Allah’s cause) and along with him (fought) large bands of religious learned men. But they never lost heart for that which did befall them in Allah’s way, nor did they weaken nor degrade themselves. And Allah loves As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.).” [Aali-Imran: 146].

Ikhlaq Jehan