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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2710

Talibanisation has assumed dangerous proportions

By Asif Haroon Raja

After the terrorists’ attacks in the two cities of USA on 9/11, Al-Qaeda based in Afghanistan was blamed for the terrorist attacks and Mulla Omar was asked to hand over Osama bin Laden and other leaders of Al Qaeda for interrogation. When Omar refused to hand them over without furnishing proof of their involvement, Afghanistan was invaded by USA and its allied forces in October 2001 under the pretext of ending human rights violations and restoring democracy.

Pakistan ditched its neighbour and became a frontline state to fight the US war on terror and helped US troops in capturing Afghanistan. Finding themselves cornered from all directions, the Taliban as well as the Al-Qaeda considered it prudent to make a tactical retreat and go underground. Majority took refuge in FATA, NWFP, western Baluchistan and AJK, while some went to Iran and other Muslim countries. Thereafter they were hounded by the whole world to liquidate them.

The Muslim countries ruled by authoritarian rulers are extending whole hearted support to USA in its global war against terrorism by way of nabbing Al-Qaeda fugitives and giving them no quarter. Despite the scorched earth policy the Taliban and al-Qaeda managed to regroup and started to strike back at the occupying forces in southern Afghanistan from 2002 onwards. They added suicide attacks as one of the means to bleed the hordes of opponents that went about tightening the noose around them. Within two years they gained an upper hand in southern and eastern provinces of Afghanistan where the Pashtun are in majority. They are now striking their targets in other parts of the country as well. Karzai regime studded with elements of non-Pashtun Northern Alliance elements has lost its standing and has begun to totter. USA has now changed its tunes from use of force alone to that of dialogue with the Taliban.

War on terror in Pakistan has been intensified since last July and several fronts have been opened. Bajaur and Swat in particular have seen intense fighting between the security forces and the militants. Although hundreds of militants have been killed during the last three months and their houses and strongholds destroyed, the militants are not giving up. Despite use of jetfighters, gunship helicopters, artillery, tanks and lashkars, the battle continues unabated. Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan under Baitullah still retains complete sway over the entire tribal belt and settled areas of NWFP and to hope that any meaningful results would accrue by ignoring him would be naïve. Since Fazlullah takes command from Baitullah, hence the key to peace in FATA and in Swat is in the hands of Baitullah.

When he offered a hand of friendship to the new government thinking that the era of US puppet Musharraf and his dummy King’s Party was over, it was a God given opportunity which should have been cashed in. However, the opportunity has been squandered since the remote control has again been handed over by new leaders to Washington. In search for short-term economic gains and to earn the pleasure of sole super power, they are again bent upon putting the very survival of the country at stake. Following in the footsteps of Musharraf with whom the PPP has maintained cordial relations from the very beginning, they have also declared the enemies of USA as Pakistan’s enemies. They are considered as outcast and unworthy of negotiations. Tutored by Washington, the PPP leaders are making great efforts to convince the people and their elected members that war on terror is not American war but Pakistan’s war.

While adopting a tough stand against so-called militants, our weak-kneed leaders have shown no courage to defend our borders against repeated incursions by US drones. Whatever threatening language Obama had used during his election campaign has been put into practice. So far USA has carried out 80 border and air violations of our territorial integrity. All these intrusions against our sovereignty have been over looked thereby encouraging the offender to indulge in such offensive acts at will. US drones have begun to violate our air space frequently and each attack has taken lives.

Our rulers look the other way to repeated border and air violations and missile attacks. Deaths of so many innocent civilians have been callously ignored and not even a strong protest launched. Each time that our custodians opted to remain mum; we compromised our sovereignty and our deterrence value. Their vacillation has emboldened our adversaries. It is widely suspected that Hellfire missiles were fired by US Predators under a secret understanding arrived at with Musharraf led army. If it is true, giving a licence to others to kill our people on our soil is utterly disgusting and inexcusable. Had there not been such an understanding then muteness on our part was equally ignoble. Failure of our current rulers to respond in kind to aggressive acts which are taking lives of innocent people gives an impression that they too are continuing with the policy of Musharraf which is even more shameful. Recent report of Washington Post alleges that Zardari on his last trip to Washington had agreed to ignore drone attacks but would resort to protests as a gimmick to mellow down the sentiments of the people.

In their bid to eliminate vice and promote virtue, the local Taliban are burning girls’ schools and video/music shops, closing barber shops and threatening barbers not to shave beards, forcing women to wear veils and not to mix up with men, closing down all brothels and drug dens, beheading murderers and inflicting lashes to thieves. They urge people to adhere to five-time prayers and to grow beards and not to indulge in criminal activities. These acts have given a handle to the western world led by USA and the liberals in Pakistan to demonise them and paint them as monsters having no regard for human and women rights.

It may be noted that the Taliban (excluding the fake ones) do not indulge in immoral acts. They have taken upon themselves to purify their areas of influence of all vices since law enforcement agencies have either expressed their inability to deal with criminals or have become their accomplices. Torching of schools, beheading of security personnel and kidnapping of Chinese have mostly been done by foreign agents to defame the Taliban and to destabilise Pakistan. The law courts rived in complex procedures take donkey years to award verdicts. In most cases the victims either die waiting for justice or give up as a bad job. Lower courts have become notorious for accepting graft to declare an offender innocent and the victim a criminal. The elite class is above law; they bend laws with impunity. Under the circumstances the poor class suffering from injustices and none to listen to their woes, speedy and cheap justice offered by the Taliban is welcomed by them.

Except for the elite and the liberal class the majority which is conservative and religious is not scared of Baitullah Mahsud and his types. They were first wary of Musharraf and now they are fed up of Zardari and their types who have dual standards and are insensitive to the needs of the poor. Whatever they utter in respect of the poor is rhetoric and lip service. In the last 61 years each leader has been talking of improving the lot of poor, removal of literacy and poverty, improvement of healthcare and provision of clean drinking water and speedy and cheap justice. On ground nothing has been achieved in these vital areas. Rather things have gone from bad to worse. Deterioration of state of affairs has been at the cost of the poor only since the rich class has prospered leaps and bounds.

Those who advocate decimation of Islamic militants who in their jaundiced view are using Islam for vile purposes forget that seculars and liberals have caused irreparable harm to the cause of Islam and unity of Ummah. In their urge to emulate western lifestyle and to project western world as the role model for others, they constantly undermine Islam by indulging in poisonous propaganda against Islamists. To win favours from their mentors in the west, they have distorted Islamic culture by inculcating Hindu and western customs and traditions. Islamic culture prescribed in Holy Quran and practiced by Holy Prophet (PBUH) is ridiculed as medieval and outmoded. They fail to realise that immorality and decadence of values and not militancy will destroy the nation.

The rotten system of democracy, judiciary and governance that is being run by inept leaders for the last 61 years has given rise to Talibanisation. The putrid Anglo-Saxon judicial system that has lost confidence of the people had a glimmer of hope of revival under chief justice Iftikhar. That hope has been given a death blow by NRO washed leaders since they are allergic to independent judiciary and want to retain corrupt and subservient judiciary and to retain their regal style of living. Such mini mind and Washington controlled rulers are incapable of beating back the threat of Talibanisation that has begun to assume dangerous proportions.

Asif Haroon Rajais a defence and political analyst based in Rawalpindi.

- Asian Tribune -

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