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Archive for May, 2009

YEH JANG KAISI JANG HAI–> For the victims of this war against humanity (so called war against terrorism)

May 24, 2009 1 comment

YEH JANG KAISI JANG HAI

JO APNAI MULK MEIN LA BETHAI HO

GHAIRON KI GHULAMI KARTAI HO

AUR HAKIM BAN BETHAI HO

APNON KAI KHOON SAI KHAILTAI HO

AUR FATAIH BAN BETHAI HO

SHAITAAN HO YA HAIWAAN HO TUM

AUR INSAAN BAN BETHAI HO

AURTAIN BACHAI TUM NAI MARAI

APNAI LOGON KO TUM NAI BECHA

NA MULK KI AAN KA KHIAL KIA KUCH

QAUM KI BETION KI IZZAT BECHI

INSAAF KAI DIN KO YAAD RAKHO

WOH DIN JALD HI AAIGA

NA ZOR GOLI KA CHALAI GA PHIR

NA KOI BACHANAI AAIGA

KHUDA KO KIA BHOOL CHUKAI HO

YA KHUDA BHI KHUD BAN BETHAI HO

YEH JANG KAISI JANG HAI

JO APNAI MULK MEIN LA BETHAI HO

SAWAT KI WOH KHUBSURAT WADI

RANGEEN CHASHMON KA BEHTA PAANI

AB KHAK HOA BARBAAD HOA

KHOON KI HAI WAHAN AB ARZANI

FATA HO YA WAZIRISTAN

HAR TARAF JAL RAHA HAI INSAAN

KIA BAROOD KI BU LIKHI HAI AB

QISMAT MEIN HAM INSAANON KAI

KIA HUMAIN TUM HAINWAN SAMAJHTAI HO

YA KHUD TO KHUDAI PAI NAAZ HAI APNI

DEKH RAHA HAI SUB KUCH WO BHI

AIK DIN INSAAF ZAROOR WOH DAIGA

US DIN TUM KIA MAKAR KAROGAI

YA US SAY BHI JANG KAROGAI

YEH JANG KAISI JANG HAI

JO APNAI MULK MEIN LA BETHAI HO

Saga of Afia’s unending torment in NY jail

May 24, 2009 1 comment
So called civilized society, they are the real terrorists and enemies of peace and humanity.Also the people who supported them or are supporting the people like Musharraf,Zardari,Kiyani and so on they all are like Bush and Blaire, followers of their evil goals. Can anyone tell who will provide justice to Afia and punish those who did this to her?
Where are those so called liberals who support this war against humanity because Talibans are no good towards women and stop them from doing jobs and play their role in the society at least they don’t rape them.
Saga of Afia’s unending torment in NY jail(The News)
Thursday, May 07, 2009
By By Mariana Baabar
ISLAMABAD: In the New York Jail six masked men tied her hands behind her back, stripped her naked and made her video film. While being taken back to her cell in a wheelchair a woman covered her with a blanket and begged the masked men not to humiliate Dr Afia Siddiqui.
In response to a question about the nature of security checks, Dr Afia said many a times she was stripped for security check in the New York jail and due to that humiliation she even stopped seeing her lawyer. She despised being stripped for security checks.
This is the first hand report recently compiled by the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas on meeting with Dr Afia Siddiqui on October 7, 2008 at Carswell, Fort Worth, Texas, USA.
The meeting with Dr. Afia at Carswell, Fort Worth, Texas, last year was attended by Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Senator S M Zafar, Senator Muhammad Talha Mahmood, Senator Ms Saadia Abbasi, Iftikhar Ullah Babar, secretary committee/additional secretary and Faqir Syed Asif Hussain, consular, Pakistan embassy, Washington DC.
According to the report, she had been shifted to the Federal Medical Centre at Carswell, Texas for psychological tests and treatment. “She loses track of time and occasionally does not recall names and events. In the medical centre she was also being treated for some gynecological problem. Her gynecologist is a male, while psychologist is a female. She also informed of stone formation in one of her kidneys. According to her a different form of interrogation had begun at the centre but generally conditions were better compared to the New York jail. However, she alleged that she could be killed due to administration of regular injections for speeding her memory loss,” adds the report.
In reply to a question by Senator S M Zafar as to what message she has for the people in Pakistan, she requested that Pakistan should not hand over its citizens to the US for interrogation. She said that when she narrates her story Pakistan should change its foreign policy. Dr Afia was against some clergy in Pakistan and alleged that they did not work for Pakistan. Senator Saadia Abbasi asked if she wanted the delegation to seek permission for any of her family members to visit her in the US, Dr Afia responded that she did not want any member of her family to travel to the US, as she wanted to go back to Pakistan.
When asked by Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed whether she got married to Ammar Ali Balochi, as had been alleged by some US official quarters, she denied knowing Ammar Ali Balochi let alone being married to him. Ammar Ali Balochi is presently under detention at Guantanamo.
Dr Afia Siddiqui wanted to meet her children. Whenever she felt hopeless she wanted to die. Her brother, who lives in Houston, had talked to her only once. She wants to go back to her country and serve her people. Once back in Pakistan she would teach Quran differently. She had fasted during the holy month of Ramazan.
She replied in the negative when Senator Mushahid Hussain asked whether the identity of the delegation was disclosed to her before the meeting. The members of the delegation encouraged her not to lose hope and think positively. Since she was frail they also advised her to eat properly and take care of her health. Senator Mushahid told Dr Afia Siddique that in 2009 she would be in Pakistan. When the delegation said ‘Khuda Hafiz’ (goodbye) to Dr Afia and was about to leave the meeting hall, tears rolled down her cheeks. Before leaving, Senator Mushahid Hussain told her that the entire Pakistani nation was solidly behind her. He said, “There is no charge of terrorism against you and we will seek your release and repatriation to Pakistan.”
Earlier, at the gate of the medical centre the delegation was received by a senior federal representative and security officials of the centre. The members of the delegation passed through security check similar to the one carried out at airports in the US and Europe. During the delegation’s meeting with Dr Afia the US officials stayed at a distance and did not interrupt the meeting or impose any time restriction. The meeting lasted for two hours and 45 minutes. Dr Afia was brought to the meeting with respect and dignity, without any handcuffs and shackles.
The members informed Dr Afia that the delegation was sent by parliament, backed by the government of Pakistan and that she had their full support. Dr Afia Siddiqui asked the delegation if America had attacked Pakistan, to which the members replied in the negative. Dr Afia said that all she remembered was that she was traveling in a taxi to her maternal uncle’s house and later found herself in Bagram, Afghanistan. The delegation asked why she had to leave her home to which she replied that at that time she did not enjoy good relations with her mother due to Afia’s divorce from her husband. She did not know where she was taken as she had problem recollecting and reconciling dates and places.
In Bagram she was physically tortured, however, the Afghans did not humiliate her. Her three children, two sons and a daughter (Ahmad, Suleman and Maryam) were taken away. She was told that her children would be returned only if she confessed to meetings with certain people. She however did not disclose the names of the said people to the delegation. She agreed and feared that this forced confession could go against her in Pakistan. She also feared that her third child, a son by the name of Suleman, might have been killed. She alleged that at Bagram one of the interrogators was an Indian, who was her contemporary at MIT and was interested in her research work.

So called civilized society, they are the real terrorists and enemies of peace and humanity.Also the people who supported them or are supporting them like Musharraf,Zardari,Kiyani and so on they all are like Bush and Blaire followers of their evil goals. Can anyone tell who will provide justice to Afia and punish those who did this to her?

Where are those so called liberals who support this war against humanity because Talibans are no good towards women and stop them from doing jobs and play their role in the society at least they don’t rape them.

Saga of Afia’s unending torment in NY jail(The News)

Thursday, May 07, 2009

By By Mariana Baabar

ISLAMABAD: In the New York Jail six masked men tied her hands behind her back, stripped her naked and made her video film. While being taken back to her cell in a wheelchair a woman covered her with a blanket and begged the masked men not to humiliate Dr Afia Siddiqui.

In response to a question about the nature of security checks, Dr Afia said many a times she was stripped for security check in the New York jail and due to that humiliation she even stopped seeing her lawyer. She despised being stripped for security checks.

This is the first hand report recently compiled by the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas on meeting with Dr Afia Siddiqui on October 7, 2008 at Carswell, Fort Worth, Texas, USA.

The meeting with Dr. Afia at Carswell, Fort Worth, Texas, last year was attended by Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Senator S M Zafar, Senator Muhammad Talha Mahmood, Senator Ms Saadia Abbasi, Iftikhar Ullah Babar, secretary committee/additional secretary and Faqir Syed Asif Hussain, consular, Pakistan embassy, Washington DC.

According to the report, she had been shifted to the Federal Medical Centre at Carswell, Texas for psychological tests and treatment. “She loses track of time and occasionally does not recall names and events. In the medical centre she was also being treated for some gynecological problem. Her gynecologist is a male, while psychologist is a female. She also informed of stone formation in one of her kidneys. According to her a different form of interrogation had begun at the centre but generally conditions were better compared to the New York jail. However, she alleged that she could be killed due to administration of regular injections for speeding her memory loss,” adds the report.

In reply to a question by Senator S M Zafar as to what message she has for the people in Pakistan, she requested that Pakistan should not hand over its citizens to the US for interrogation. She said that when she narrates her story Pakistan should change its foreign policy. Dr Afia was against some clergy in Pakistan and alleged that they did not work for Pakistan. Senator Saadia Abbasi asked if she wanted the delegation to seek permission for any of her family members to visit her in the US, Dr Afia responded that she did not want any member of her family to travel to the US, as she wanted to go back to Pakistan.

When asked by Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed whether she got married to Ammar Ali Balochi, as had been alleged by some US official quarters, she denied knowing Ammar Ali Balochi let alone being married to him. Ammar Ali Balochi is presently under detention at Guantanamo.

Dr Afia Siddiqui wanted to meet her children. Whenever she felt hopeless she wanted to die. Her brother, who lives in Houston, had talked to her only once. She wants to go back to her country and serve her people. Once back in Pakistan she would teach Quran differently. She had fasted during the holy month of Ramazan.

She replied in the negative when Senator Mushahid Hussain asked whether the identity of the delegation was disclosed to her before the meeting. The members of the delegation encouraged her not to lose hope and think positively. Since she was frail they also advised her to eat properly and take care of her health. Senator Mushahid told Dr Afia Siddique that in 2009 she would be in Pakistan. When the delegation said ‘Khuda Hafiz’ (goodbye) to Dr Afia and was about to leave the meeting hall, tears rolled down her cheeks. Before leaving, Senator Mushahid Hussain told her that the entire Pakistani nation was solidly behind her. He said, “There is no charge of terrorism against you and we will seek your release and repatriation to Pakistan.”

Earlier, at the gate of the medical centre the delegation was received by a senior federal representative and security officials of the centre. The members of the delegation passed through security check similar to the one carried out at airports in the US and Europe. During the delegation’s meeting with Dr Afia the US officials stayed at a distance and did not interrupt the meeting or impose any time restriction. The meeting lasted for two hours and 45 minutes. Dr Afia was brought to the meeting with respect and dignity, without any handcuffs and shackles.

The members informed Dr Afia that the delegation was sent by parliament, backed by the government of Pakistan and that she had their full support. Dr Afia Siddiqui asked the delegation if America had attacked Pakistan, to which the members replied in the negative. Dr Afia said that all she remembered was that she was traveling in a taxi to her maternal uncle’s house and later found herself in Bagram, Afghanistan. The delegation asked why she had to leave her home to which she replied that at that time she did not enjoy good relations with her mother due to Afia’s divorce from her husband. She did not know where she was taken as she had problem recollecting and reconciling dates and places.

In Bagram she was physically tortured, however, the Afghans did not humiliate her. Her three children, two sons and a daughter (Ahmad, Suleman and Maryam) were taken away. She was told that her children would be returned only if she confessed to meetings with certain people. She however did not disclose the names of the said people to the delegation. She agreed and feared that this forced confession could go against her in Pakistan. She also feared that her third child, a son by the name of Suleman, might have been killed. She alleged that at Bagram one of the interrogators was an Indian, who was her contemporary at MIT and was interested in her research work.

Where I stand–>Imran Khan (The News)

May 24, 2009 1 comment

Saturday, May 23, 2009
By Imran Khan

It was Goebbels who came up with the brilliant theory that if the government wanted people to follow its policy, it must first instill fear in them and then slap all dissenters with the unpatriotic card. Anyone like me, who disagrees with the current indiscriminate military operation is accused of being a Taliban apologist.

Let me state categorically that I have been against the military operations since the disaster of what was formerly the East Pakistan. From East Pakistan to the present Swat operation, the political mantra has always been “no option but the military”. Successive military operations in Balochistan have only added to the sufferings of the Baloch people, which nurtured the seeds of their disillusionment with the Pakistani state. 

When Bush decided to attack Afghanistan in less than a month after 9/11, I opposed this US policy at every forum, including through the print and electronic media. Later, when he ordered the invasion of Iraq, I joined the nearly 2 million marchers in London opposing the Iraq war. It is noteworthy that at the time, over 90 per cent of Americans supported Bush’s Iraq invasion. Today, the overwhelming opinion in the US is that Iraq was a disaster. Moreover, the so-called “good war” in Afghanistan is being lost and its support dwindling. 

It is not surprising to see the findings of a Rand Corporation study of the last 40 years of terrorist or asymmetric conflicts, which reveal that only 7 per cent of these conflicts were resolved through military means.

When Musharraf buckled under the US pressure and sent the Pakistan Army into Waziristan, I opposed it in parliament and through the media. Speaking to the editors, Musharraf called me a “terrorist without a beard” – as if terrorism is the sole domain of bearded folk. When the Pakistan Army was sent into Waziristan, there were no militant Taliban in Pakistan. As a result of the Army operation, the tribal social and political structure was destroyed throughout Fata and Malakand, and the vacuum has been filled by nine major militant Taliban groups.

Again, at the time Musharraf commenced military action in Balochistan I opposed it and was accused of backing the “anti-state” elements. Today, what was a movement for Baloch rights and autonomy within Pakistan has morphed into a Baloch independence movement. On opposing the Lal Masjid operation, some of the self-appointed “liberals” accused me of backing the Islamic fundamentalists. But soon most of the indefatigable crusaders for human rights joined the critics of the Lal Masjid operation. More sobering is the fact that there were 60 suicide attacks in the aftermath of the slaughter of the Lal Masjid inmates and a steep rise in extremism. The Swat flare-up is a direct consequence of the Lal Masjid operation. 

While discussing my opposition to the current military operation, I must state where I stand politically and ideologically. My political inspiration is derived solely from Quaid-i-Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the constitutionalist and democrat who believed in the rule of law above all else. My ideological moorings are firmly rooted in the political and spiritual dimensions of Allama Iqbal’s exposition of Islam, which not only liberates society from bondage but also the human soul from material desires – releasing the enormous God-given human potential. 

Above all, I am an ardent follower of our Prophet’s (PBUH) example of inspiring the heart and the intellect rather than forcing ideas through the sword – a far cry from what has been happening in Swat in the name of Islam. So on no count can I possibly either support the un-Islamic acts such as beheadings, flogging of women, or forcing a way of life on others, nor am I an apologist for such people – I am only answerable on this count to my conscience and to my God.

As for my opposition to the Malakand military operation, first and foremost I believe that the military option, if it has to be used should always be a last resort. Yet in Swat, the military operation was started barely two weeks after the presidential signing of the accord without alternative political strategies being given a chance. In my opinion, a national conference of all stakeholders, including religious and political parties and groups, particularly those representing Swat, should have been called prior to the operation. A delegation from such a conference should have been mandated to visit Swat and talk reason to the militants and report back to parliament. In other words, every effort should have been made to make the militants abide by the peace deal. All along the political effort, a concerted effort should have been made to gain time to revive civil administration, police, and the paramilitary presence in Swat.

The diehard militants who consistently refused to adhere to peace agreement could have been isolated over time – a key counter-insurgency tactic followed by precise military action to decapacitate the leadership.

Assuming, there was no alternative to the military option, then while it was being planned, arrangements should have been made for the people who were going to be displaced. Sadly, and shamefully, the military operation began suddenly under increased US pressure, timed with Zardari’s US visit and with the least concern for the people of the area. 

The unfolding tragedy that is taking place in Swat is mindboggling. To flush out a few thousand militant Taliban, more than two million people have been forced to live in misery in camps not fit for animals in civilised societies. Even more disturbing is the use of heavy artillery shelling and bombing from the air alongside helicopter gunships in areas with significant civilian population. Despite a heavy blackout, the news coming from the war zone tell tales of dozens if not hundreds of innocent civilian casualties. 

Given the collapse of governance in the country, can we adequately look after so many displaced people – especially as summer temperatures soar? And for how long? The wheat crop has already been lost. If the IDPs cannot return within two months, the fruit cash crops will be at risk. Hence how will they sustain themselves for the coming year? Perhaps most dangerous is the possibility of IDPs’ anger and frustration that besides resulting in riots may also swell the ranks of the militants. 

In such a situation, according to the Army briefing given to the parliamentarians, there is every possibility of the Taliban resurfacing not just in Malakand Division but elsewhere in the country – possibly the urban centres. Can we afford further spread of terrorism in our cities given the precarious security and fragile economic situation? Military action breeds more militancy.

An Army action which has already led to almost 2.5 million displaced countrymen cannot simply be accepted without questions. And, as if we do not already have a crisis, Zardari has declared that the war in Swat is merely the beginning of a wider war, which is likely to engulf other parts of the country. It is time to take stock and stop ourselves from committing collective suicide. What needs to be done is the following:

* The military action unfortunately is already underway but there is no political, particularly governance, strategy which is guiding this operation. That should be the first priority so that the military action does not continue in a political vacuum.

* A clear governance and political strategy that allows the IDPs to return following a swift end to military operation is needed. This strategy should be focused on a system of speedy justice through the Nizam-e-Adl and effective civil administration. The writ of the state and the rule of law go together and this has to be ensured if violent challenges to state and government are to be avoided in the future. 

* The military action, if at all, should have been extremely limited in scale and targeted with precision to minimise civilian casualties. Tragically, this did not happen and my fear is that widespread use of aerial weapons would only result in greater civilian casualties, swelling the ranks of the militants. So the military action needs to be revised to focus more on specific targeting and commando action.

Will any of this happen? Unfortunately in the present mood of the ruling elite, this does not seem likely. Instead, we will see increasing military action in the tribal areas as long as the US is in occupation of Afghanistan. 

In other words, as long as US troops in Afghanistan are perceived to be an occupying force that is anti-Pushtun and anti-Islam, there will be no peace in this region. We are heading in a fatal direction unless we change our strategy and pull out of this insane war that is sinking us into chaos. The longer this persists, the deeper we will find ourselves in this quagmire and we will confront a deeply divided society. 

Finally, my heart bleeds for the poor soldier confronting his own people turned into misguided and brutalised militants and giving his life for a war wrought on him by a corrupt and decadent ruling elite that cannot see beyond the lure of American dollars that have become as much of a curse for this hapless nation as the criminal extremists in our very midst. 

How to clear the mess–>Imran Khan(The News)

May 24, 2009 1 comment

Thursday, April 23, 2009
By Imran Khan

The reason why there is so much despondency in Pakistan is because there is no road map to get out of the so-called War on Terror – a nomenclature that even the Obama Administration has discarded as being a negative misnomer. To cure the patient the diagnosis has to be accurate, otherwise the wrong medicine can sometimes kill the patient. In order to find the cure, first six myths that have been spun around the US-led “Global War on Terror” (GWOT) have to be debunked.

Myth No. 1: This is Pakistan’s war

Since no Pakistani was involved in 9/11 and the CIA-trained Al Qaeda was based in Afghanistan, how does it concern us? It is only when General Musharraf buckled under US pressure and sent our troops into Waziristan in late 2003-early 2004 that Pakistan became a war zone. It took another three years of the Pakistan army following the same senseless tactics as used by the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan (aerial bombardment) plus the slaughter at Lal Masjid, for the creation of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). If our security forces are being targeted today by the Taliban and their suicide bombers, it is because they are perceived to be proxies of the US army. Iran is ideologically opposed to both Al Qaeda and the Taliban yet why are its security forces not attacked by terrorists? The answer is because their President does not pretend to be a bulwark against Islamic extremism in return for US dollars and support.

Michael Scheuer (ex-CIA officer and author of the book Imperial Hubris), writing in The Washington Post in April 2007, cited Musharraf’s loyalty to the US even when it went against Pakistan’s national interests by giving two examples: the first was Musharraf helping the US in removing a pro-Pakistan Afghan government and replacing it with a pro-Indian one; and, the second, for sending Pakistani troops into the tribal areas and turning the tribesmen against the Pakistan army. To fully understand Musharraf’s treachery against Pakistan, it is important to know that almost a 100,000 troops were sent into the tribal areas to target around 1000 suspected Al-Qaeda members – thus earning the enmity of at least 1.5 million armed local tribals in the 7 tribal agencies of Pakistan.

The most shameful aspect of the lie that this is our war is that the government keeps begging the US for more dollars stating that the war is costing the country more than the money it is receiving from the US. If it is our war, then fighting it should not be dependent on funds and material flowing from the US. If it is our war, why do we have no control over it? If it is our war, then why is the US government asking us to do more?

Myth No. 2: This is a war against Islamic extremists ó an ideological war against radical Islam

Was the meteoric rise of Taliban due to their religious ideology? Clearly not, because the Mujahideen were equally religious – Gulbadin Hekmatyar (supported by the ISI) was considered an Islamic fundamentalist. In fact, the reason the Taliban succeeded where the Mujahideen warlords failed, was because they established the rule of law – the Afghans had had enough of the power struggle between the warlord factions that had destroyed what remained of the country’s infrastructure and killed over 100,000 people.

If the Pushtuns of the tribal area wanted to adopt the Taliban religious ideology then surely they would have when the latter was in power in Afghanistan, between 1996 and 2001. Yet there was no Talibanisation in the tribal areas. Interestingly, the only part of Pakistan where the Taliban had an impact was in Swat where Sufi Mohammad started the Shariat Movement. The reason was that while there was rule of law (based on the traditional jirga system) in the tribal areas, the people of Swat had been deprived of easy access to justice ever since the traditional legal system premised on Qazi courts was replaced by Pakistani laws and judicial system, first introduced in 1974. The murder rate shot up from 10 per year in 1974 to almost 700 per year by 1977, when there was an uprising against the Pakistani justice system. The Taliban cashed in on this void of justice to rally the poorer sections of Swat society just as they had attracted the Afghans in a situation of political anarchy and lawlessness in Afghanistan. It is important to make this distinction because the strategy to bring peace must depend on knowing your enemy. Michael Bearden, CIA station chief in Pakistan from 1986 to 1989, wrote in Foreign Affairs magazine that the US is facing the same Pushtun insurgency that was faced by the Soviets in Afghanistan. According to him, as long as NATO is in Afghanistan, the Taliban will get a constant supply of men from the 15

million Pushtun population of Afghanistan and the 25 million Pushtuns of Pakistan. In other words, this Talibanisation is not so much religion-driven as politically-motivated. So the solution to the problem in the tribal belt today does not lie in religion and “moderate” Islam but in a political settlement.

Myth No. 3: If we keep fighting the US war, the super power will bail us out financially through aid packages.

Recently, the Government’s Adviser on Finance stated that the war on terror has cost Pakistan $35 billion while the country has received only $11 billion assistance from the US. I would go a step further and say that this aid is the biggest curse for the country. Not only is it “blood money” for our army killing our own people (there is no precedent for this) but also nothing has destroyed the self-esteem of this country as this one factor. Moreover, there is no end in sight as our cowardly and compromised leadership is ordered to “do more” for the payments made for their services. Above all, this aid and loans are like treating cancer with disprin. It enables the government to delay the much needed surgery of reforms (cutting expenditures and raising revenues); and meanwhile the cancer is spreading and might become terminal.

Myth No. 4: That the next terrorist attack on the US will come from the tribal areas.

First, there is an assumption, based purely on conjecture, that the Al Qaeda leadership is in the tribal areas. In fact, this leadership could well be in the 70 % of Afghan territory that the Taliban control. More importantly, given the growing radicalisation of the educated Muslim youth – in major part because of the continuing US partiality towards Israeli occupation of Palestinian land – why can it not follow that the next terrorist attack on the US could come either from the Middle East or from the marginalised and radicalised Muslims of Europe, motivated by perceived injustices to Islam and the Muslim World.

Myth No. 5: That the ISI is playing a double game and if Pakistan did more the war could be won.

If Talibanisation is growing in Pakistan because of the covert support of ISI in the tribal areas, then surely the growing Taliban control over Afghanistan (70 % of the territory) must be with NATO’s complicity? Surely a more rational understanding would be to see that the strategy being employed is creating hatred against the US and its collaborators. Aerial bombardment and its devastating collateral damage is the biggest gift the US has given to the Taliban. According to official reports, out of the 60 drone attacks conducted between 14 January 2006-April 8 2009, only 10 were on target, killing 14 alleged Al Qaeda. In the process almost 800 Pakistani civilians have been killed, while many lost their homes and limbs.

Despite its military surge effort, the US will eventually pack up and leave like the Soviets, but the “do more” mantra could end up destroying the Pakistan army – especially the ISI which is being targeted specifically for the mess created by the Bush Administration in Afghanistan.

Myth No. 6: That Pakistan could be Talibanised with their version of Islam.

Both Musharraf and Zardari have contributed to this myth in order to get US backing and dollars. Firstly there is no such precedent in the 15-hundred years of Islamic history of a theocracy like that of the Taliban, outside of the recent Taliban period of rule in Afghanistan. However, as mentioned earlier, the Taliban’s ascendancy in Afghanistan was not a result of their religious ideology but their ability to establish order and security in a war-devastated and anarchic Afghanistan.

In Swat, the present mess has arisen because of poor governance issues. Also, it was the manner in which the government handled the situation – simply sending in the army rather than providing better governance – that created space for the Taliban. Just as in Balochistan (under Musharraf) when the army was sent in rather than the Baloch being given their economic and provincial rights, similarly the army in Swat aggravated the situation and the present mess was created.

What Pakistan has to worry about is the chaos and anarchy that are going to stem from the radicalisation of our people because of the failure of successive governments to govern effectively and justly. Karen Armstrong, in her book The Battle for God, gives details of fundamentalist movements that turned militant when they were repressed. Ideas should be fought with counter ideas and dialogue, not guns. Allama Iqbal was able to deal with fundamentalism through his knowledge and intellect. The slaughter of the fundamentalists of Lal Masjid did more to fan extremism and fanaticism than any other single event.

Pakistan is staring down an abyss today and needs to come up with a sovereign nationalist policy to deal with the situation. If we keep on following dictation from Washington, we are doomed. There are many groups operating in the country under the label of “Taliban”. Apart from the small core of religious extremists, the bulk of the fighting men are Pushtun nationalists. Then there are the fighters from the old Jihadi groups. Moreover, the Taliban are also successfully exploiting the class tensions by appealing to the have-nots. But the most damaging for Pakistan are those groups who are being funded primarily from two external sources: first, by those who want to see Pakistan become a “failed state”; and, second, by those who wish to see the US bogged down in the Afghan quagmire.

What needs to be done: A two-pronged strategy is required – focusing on a revised relationship with the US and a cohesive national policy based on domestic compulsions and ground realities.

President Obama, unlike President Bush, is intelligent and has integrity. A select delegation of local experts on the tribal area and Afghanistan should make him understand that the current strategy is a disaster for both Pakistan and the US; that Pakistan can no longer commit suicide by carrying on this endless war against its own people; that we will hold dialogue and win over the Pushtuns of the tribal area and make them deal with the real terrorists while the Pakistan army is gradually pulled out.

At the same time, Pakistan has to move itself to ending drone attacks if the US is not prepared to do so. Closure of the drone base within Pakistan is a necessary beginning as is the need to create space between ourselves and the US, which will alter the ground environment in favour of the Pakistani state. It will immediately get rid of the fanaticism that creates suicide bombers as no longer will they be seen to be on the path to martyrdom by bombing US collaborators. Within this environment a consensual national policy to combat extremism and militancy needs to be evolved centring on dialogue, negotiation and assertion of the writ of the state. Where force is required the state must rely on the paramilitary forces, not the army. Concomitantly, Pakistan needs serious reforms. First and foremost we have to give our people access to justice at the grassroots level – that is, revive the village jury/Panchayat system. Only then will we rid ourselves of the oppressive “thana-kutchery” culture which compels the poor to seek adjudication by the feudals, tribal leaders, tumandars and now by the Taliban also – thereby perpetuating oppression of the dispossessed, especially women.

Second, unless we end the system of parallel education in the country where the rich access private schools and a different examination system while the poor at best only have access to a deprived public school system with its outmoded syllabus and no access to employment. That is why the marginalised future generations are condemned to go to madrassahs which provide them with food for survival and exploit their pent up social anger. We need to bring all our educational institutions into the mainstream with one form of education syllabus and examination system for all – with madrassahs also coming under the same system even while they retain their religious education specialisation.

Third, the level of governance needs to be raised through making appointments on merit in contrast to the worst type of cronyism that is currently on show. Alongside this, a cutting of expenditures is required with the leadership and the elite leading by example through adoption of an austere lifestyle. Also, instead of seeking aid and loans to finance the luxurious lifestyle of the elite, the leadership should pay taxes, declare its assets and bring into the country all money kept in foreign banks abroad. All “benami” transactions, assets and bank accounts should be declared illegal. I believe we will suddenly discover that we are actually quite a self-sufficient country.

Fourth, the state has to widen its direct taxation net and cut down on indirect taxation where the poor subsidise the rich. If corruption and ineptitude are removed, it will be possible for the state to collect income tax more effectively.

A crucial requirement for moving towards stability would be the disarming of all militant groups – which will a real challenge for the leadership but here again, the political elite can lead by example and dismantle their show of guards and private forces.

Finally, fundamentalism should be fought intellectually with sensitivity shown to the religious and heterogeneous roots of culture amongst the Pakistani masses. Solutions have to be evolved from within the nation through tolerance and understanding. Here, we must learn from the Shah of Iran’s attempts to enforce a pseudo-Western identity onto his people and its extreme backlash from Iranian society.

The threat of extremism is directly related to the performance of the state and its ability to deliver justice and welfare to its people.

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