With respect to Punjab (Panjab) a serious assessment of Taliban penetration on the Pak side of the border would be useful.
It should be obvious even to casual observers by now that Taliban are a Wahhabized takfiri movement of Pushtuns (Pashtuns, Pathans). They (Wahhabized Pushtuns) were empowered by the Zia dictatorship for Cold War purposes and then by Benazir (yes Benazir with a wink from the US Clinton Admin) for hydrocarbon (UNOCAL) and "strategic depth" Pak purposes.
Historically, the penetration of Wahhabism into the subcontinent is via the Deobandi sect. It came directly from…yes the Arabian peninsula through missionaries in the 18th century. So this is not new.
Since the late 1970s, the Saudis have funded the Wahhabization of the Subcontinent region with the Deobandis as a key component.
Perhaps the merry band of 40ish NeoCOINist officers (and a certain Australian buddy of theirs) should take their pasty white faces out of the library and get the asses into the field and into the dung-littered mud.
Here, for example, is a recent take on Pak Punjab (predominantly Berelvi) from a Pak analyst which could be assessed:
"The New York Times reports that Taliban insurgents are teaming up with local militant groups to make inroads in Punjab, and that in at least five towns in southern and western Punjab, including Multan, barber shops, music centres and internet cafes offensive to the militants’ strict interpretation of Islam have received threats.
"The report has instigated a blistering debate here in Punjab on whether, in the days to come, the Taliban can really take over Pakistan’s largest province. Some recent incidents, including attacks on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore and the Manawan Police Training School, raised fears to new heights and many believe that the Taliban, known to have their roots in the tribal culture of frontier region and Afghanistan, have the capacity to expand their control to other parts of Pakistan, most importantly to Punjab.
"The Taliban school of thought simply cannot win support in Punjab. I rest my opinion on three fundamentals because of which the Taliban cannot win in Punjab.
"First, the Taliban philosophy is based on the strict Deobandi school of Islam, which has no room for saints and shrines. The majority of Punjabi Muslims are followers of the Barelvi school; which revolves around the saint and his shrine. Punjabi Muslims have always been emotionality attached with shrines and sufis. When the Taliban locked the mausoleum of Pir Baba in Buner, Punjabi Muslims felt offended, despite the fact that Pir Baba is not a well-known saintly figure in Punjab.
"No one can dare think of closing down the shrines of Data Ganj Bakhsh, Hazrat Mian Mir or Bahauddin Zakaria. Almost every village in Punjab has a shrine, and for Barelvis, shrines are nearly as sacred as mosques. This is not in conformity with the orthodox Ahle Hadith or Deobandi traditions, which do not recognise the shrine or mazar as a religious symbol. In fact, they consider reverence of shrines as apostasy (shirk).
"Second, there is no doubt that Punjabi rural society is caste-based and people care for castes in inter se relationships. However, by no means does this make it a tribal society. The customs even in remote Punjabi villages are far more liberal than tribal customs. The position of women in this society is more elevated than in tribal society; they enjoy more liberties, and in many cases are the sole decision makers.
"In an agricultural economy like Punjab, women are as important as men. In rural Punjab, women working in the fields is a common sight; subjecting them to strict veil and domestic confinement as is the case in the tribal areas of Afghanistan is unimaginable in Punjab.
"In urban centres like Lahore, Multan, Rawalpindi and Faisalabad, women are enjoying an even higher status than in the rural areas. Therefore, it will not be possible for anyone to subject women in Punjab to the kind of restrictions that the Taliban have imposed in the areas under their control. The same applies for harsh punishments: the death penalty was abolished in the area between Delhi and Lahore much before its abolition in the United Kingdom. The reaction to public hanging during the Zia era was so severe that the government was forced to review its policy after only one execution.
"The third reason is the strong emphasis in the Punjabi lower and middle class on education. Even families with income levels as low as Rs 4000 to Rs 6000 per month take pains to send their children, including females, to school. Hence, this very strong societal force will deeply resist any ideology that restricts people from educating their children. Further, proliferation of the free media and a strong cultural base are two other factors that will make it extremely difficult for the Taliban to establish themselves in Punjab."…
On Barelvis see,