Taimur Rahman Political Archive

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Brace Yourselves: We Must Fight the Taliban

Posted by Taimur Rahman on July 1, 2008

“The operation to root out extremists in tribal areas and on the doorstep of Peshawar has begun. There is bound to be a serious blow back. Brace yourselves.”

It seems that fear of suicide bombs has so permeated our society that many of us simply do not have the stomach for a struggle against the Taliban. But whichever way one turns, such a struggle is both inevitable and necessary. The Taliban are not interested in merely staying within the tribal areas. They are not interested in practicing their medieval barbaric ways in their own areas. Far from it. They are interested in spreading their version of Islam not only all over FATA, not only all over Pakistan, they actually believe that their dogma is the panacea for all the ills of the modern world. Therefore, they are an aggressive force that should not be mistaken for traditional tribals.

The Tehreek e Taliban is out to make Pakistan into another version of Talibanized Afghanistan. The fact that they have managed to get to the gates of Peshawar should not be taken lightly at all.

Some people mistakenly allege that the Taliban have captured the mood of resistance of the Pushtun people. But this is so far from the truth that it is almost laughable. If the Taliban had indeed captured the mood of the Pushtun people, it would not have been the case that the people of Pukhtunkhwa would have given a landslide victory to the secular ANP. Far from it. Media reports from the region are demonstrating that the people of Swat have lost their livelihood because of the ongoing fighting. Malam Jaba, Swat and so many other places that were once places where people from all over Pakistan would come and visit, have been turned into ghost towns. People are emigrating out of these
areas because there is no work. Those that remain wish for the old times to return when there was no Taliban and economic conditions were much better.

Another misconception has to do with the view that negotiations are the only or the best way forward. How can the cause of democracy, civil society, equality, or justice be served by not taking any action against those that have torched dozens of girls schools, murdered 28 peace makers, publicly executed their opponents, razed barber shops, destroyed CD and DVD shops, brunt to a crisp
tourist resorts, kidnapped religious minority groups and have brought chaos to the area? How can justice be served by not doing anything about the murder of democratically elected representatives? These last few days extremists broke into the house of Abdul Kabir in Matta Tehsil (who is the brother of PPP vice president Sher Khan). They not only shot him dead, they also shot dead his wife
and his son. This was followed by the killing of another politicians Muhammed Zameer.

Yesterday, when an unconstitutional military dictator gave the go ahead for a military operation, it was an entirely different matter. However, today the situation is entirely different. Today the democratically elected provincial and federal governments have ordered a military operation to establish law and order.

In this regard, it is also quite disappointing to see the response of the PML(N). The tragedy against ordinary people, against women and minorities, and against any form of dissent, is occurring in front of their eyes. They have not come out with any statement against these atrocities. Instead their only
statement is that they have not been taken into confidence and are even threatening to break the coalition at this sensitive moment. In reality they are completely unwilling to take a principled position against religious extremism. They are unwilling to defend the rights of women, minorities, or working people. That is why they are making excuses about not being taken into confidence while remaining completely silent on the gross forms of injustice that the Taliban are meting out to defenseless people.

The lawyers that have stood for the rule of law need to especially understand that the rule of law is being destroyed by the Taliban. The latter do not stand for the rule of law but against it. They stand for arbitrary executions in the most gruesome and cruel manner imaginable. While standing for the restoration of the judiciary, they should equally condemn the Talibanization of Pakistan.

In conclusion, the democratically elected government, despite all their drawbacks must be supported against the Taliban. Pakistan has now made it to 9th position in the most dysfunctional states in the world (we are just behind Iraq, Somalia, and Afghanistan). The principle reason for this chaotic situation is the growing threat of religious extremism. Although there will no doubt be a blow back to the operation in the NWFP, we have to fight the Taliban. Our survival as a democratic society depends on it.


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