Blog dedicated to Democracy and Human Rights in Pakistan. Discusses issues of Democracy, Pakistani Politics, Human Rights, Military Rule, Afghanistan, India, South Asia Region, Middle East Politics, War on Terror.
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Palindrome or reverse anagram
Weekly article in Daily Times - On current political crisis in Pakistan
With clock ticking to a NATO withdrawal end next year, the talk of
talks with Taliban in Pakistan is diverting attention from a much needed
military operation against militants. Confused by their surreal expectations,
political opportunism, and lack of understanding of regional security paradigm,
PTI and PML-N are pushing Pakistan to a security black hole.
For one, those advocating the dialogue have got the diagnosis
wrong. For successful dialogue, first thing worth knowing is the demand of the other
party. And the advocates of talks seem to have no clue of Taliban or their
First things first, Taliban are not tribal Pashtuns. True, many
Taliban are Pashtun tribesmen but then there are equal number of Punjabis in
their ranks and then sizable number from South Balochistan (Jind Ullah
recruits) and Kashmir. And then, of course, is the foreign element of Middle
East and Central Asia. So bracketing their struggle with Pashtun grievance is a
gross mistake, and with it goes the argument of link of terrorism with drones.
Second, Taliban's demands are fuzzy at best. Move out of US's war
on terror is one of them. Question one needs to ask is what will be the
parameters of disengagement that will satisfy them. Will they be happy if
Pakistan stops NATO supply lines? If so, why didn't terrorism end when Pakistan
had the supply line blocked for many months post Salala? Will they be happy if
Pakistan takes on drones? But drones were few and far between in 2005 and 2006
and a lot happened even then. In fact, some of the bombings took place (e.g.
attack on New Zealand Cricket Team) even before the drones actually started. Do
they want us to severe diplomatic ties with US and other NATO countries? Or do
they want us to actually fight the NATO occupiers in Afghanistan? We do not
know what they want and neither their advocates are shedding any light on it.
And also, despite this fuzzy/slippery set of demands, even if Pakistan
complies, will they be fine with Pakistan Army remaining in tribal areas and
operating against the armed militias? Will they lay down their arms as a
precondition or alongside? Anyone who answers yes to them is seriously
Third demand is closest to their true intention. Agree or not, but
they have a system of Islamic Shariah in mind and they want to impose it across
the globe. The motives may be political or ideological, but this is the gist of
their movement. So let's talk Shariah. For one, are we fine with their
interpretation of Shariah and ready to let go our way of living, no schooling
for girls, women confined to homes, beard/ dress code imposed? And even if we are
and say Nawaz Sharif reintroduces 15th amendment and becomes Amir-ul-Momineen,
will their struggle end there? If your answer is yes, you need a reality check.
If their guns impose a system, it will be they who will be ruling. So once
Shariah comes, next demand will be that Nawaz Sharif or Munawar Hassan or Imran
Khan or even Sami Ul Haq, for all their pity, step aside and let the true Men
of Shariah (Taliban) rule. If you yield to the demand of the gun, it is the
barrel of gun that will rule, it is this simple!
And then, even if all of it is sorted out, are we ready to be
fodder of a global invasion through Jihad that they propagate. They surely
would not stop at conquering Pakistan. Their ambitions are global and thus we
will be dragged into it.
Another key thing to realize is that for their military
operations, Taliban rely on a network of drug-dealers, arms suppliers etc.
According to estimates of intelligence agencies, Taliban and their local
affiliates patronize a drug trade worth US$ 5bn or more per year. Their base is
in it for mafia operations. A state can talk with insurgents and separatists
but it cannot talk with mafias.
So putting the choice in naive terms of dialogue vs. no dialogue
and our men blowing us for their anger against Americans is naive. The real
question that we need to ask and the real debate we need to have is: are we
ready to let go our way of life to comply with a system of living under Taliban
and are we ready to be the fodder of a Global Jihad against the whole world? Or
do we cherish our way of living and want to preserve and protect it while being
engaged with the world at large? Are we ready to surrender to mafia or the only
way out is to fight it? An honest answer is important but from naive or
deceitful Imran Khan and Ch. Nisar one must, at least, ask for some honesty in
framing the right question.
And then the biggest problem with this dialogue
initiative is the timing of it. By the end of 2014, NATO intends to leave
Afghanistan. In the post-NATO Afghanistan, to have relevance (and relevance we
need there) Pakistan needs to have support of most of 8 key power players there
(Karazais, Haqqanis, Mullah Omar, Dostam, Punjsheris, Hazaras, and Kabuli
establishment and business class). To reach this, support of Mullah and Haqqani
is a must. But if TTP is strong and Pakistan cuts a deal with Mullah and
Haqqani, the bargaining hand of the State of Pakistan will be very weak and
because of their TTP connections, it will be Mullah and Haqqani who will be
dictating terms to Pakistan and forcing us to support them for complete
dominance of Afghanistan; a dominance they will eventually use to dominate Pakistan.
So it is important for the State of Pakistan to get rid of TTP so that it is
State of Pakistan that has a dominant upper hand in dealings with Haqqani and
Mullah. With this, it can prevent them from dominating Afghanistan and force
them to a broad-based power-sharing agreement that involves at least 5 of 8
power players and can protect its and its allies interests in Afghanistan.
Window for that closes in December 2014 and Pakistan needs to break TTP's back
before. Those advocating dialogue are buying time for TTP when time is what we
do not have. In the guise of peace, to an Armageddon we are being pushed to!!!