Victory for the terrorists?

Published: October 1, 2011

Will the government ensure that the statutes in APC are implemented to the letter? PHOTO: APP

PML-N President Nawaz Sharif has asked the next question: what now? He said on September 30 that he was apprehensive that the joint declaration announced at the All Parties Conference (APC) would not be implemented just like the earlier unanimous resolutions passed at joint sittings of parliament. It goes without saying that the main thrust of the APC statement — which is against the United States — will remain unrealised, just like the earlier statements. But what is important is that the ‘internal thrust’ of the statement too will remain unrealised. The question is: why talk to the Taliban from a position of weakness?

Some of the invitees of the APC feared international reprisal. Maulana Fazlur Rehman recommended talking to Russia and China to prevent America from imposing sanctions on Pakistan through the UN Security Council. He, however, forgets that Russia is still chafing over the defeat of the Soviet Union and complains of Pakistan’s involvement in the recent attacks in Moscow by Chechen extremists. And Maulana Samiul Haq — whose madrassa is named Haqqania — said that the Haqqani network is indigenous to Pakistan despite the fact that it controls several provinces in Afghanistan and attacks Kabul at will. Point to note: like his father, commander Sirajuddin Haqqani attended Maulana Samiul Haq’s madrassa Darul Ulum Haqqania, in Akora Khattak, near Peshawar.

Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani says he is opposed to “military operations against our own people”. The next question is who will talk to the Taliban — Pakistani and Afghan — to persuade them to spare innocent Pakistanis and safeguard Pakistan’s interests in Afghanistan? It won’t be the PPP government; it can only be the military and its thinking arm, the ISI. Will the Taliban talk? And the other — equally important — question is that what signal will Pakistan’s requesting talks send to the Taliban? Surely, not one that would suggest that Pakistan is seeking negotiations from a point of strength.

Every time someone reports that the Taliban of all brands — including the ones found in abundance in Punjab — are joined at the hip with al Qaeda, he gets mauled. The truth is that talking to the Taliban is actually talking to al Qaeda. The other truth is that al Qaeda is strong because of the network it has developed inside Pakistan. Not only are the non-state actors linked to it but also the madrassa network from Peshawar to Karachi.

Meanwhile, the military, as seen from the recent arrest of a brigadier, is busy cleansing itself of terrorist sympathisers. The new al Qaeda chief, Ayman al Zawahiri — as if in anticipation — has already published a critique of the Pakistan Constitution, laying out the minimum that it will require from the military before agreeing to peace. And the peace that will be achieved in pursuance of the objectives spelled out by the APC will let al Qaeda and its appendages stay on in Pakistan, and with greater power and influence.

In this context, the future looks very ominous. Many ordinary Pakistanis would not want to see in their country a regime like that of the Taliban in Afghanistan in the 1990s. That would be a most frightening possibility, one that clearly most sections of the media either is ignoring or perhaps wouldn’t mind being realised. After all, it has been said, and with some justification, that over the years, society has been radicalised to such an extent that some people may well be sympathetic to the cause of the Taliban, and by that, also al Qaeda. What is most disturbing post-APC is that the Pakistani military seems to think that it is not worth fighting the Taliban and their various allied groups, notwithstanding the fact that most of the 30,000 people who we say have been killed following our participation in the war on terror after 9/11 have died at the hands of the extremists and militants. And it boggles one’s mind to see that how can the politicians of this country not see this clear connection. They are living in a fool’s paradise if they think that with the Americans gone, the Taliban will hand in their weapons and give up their cause to set up a rigid theocratic state in Pakistan. If this is not a victory for the terrorists, one doesn’t know what is.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 2nd, 2011.

Reader Comments (10)

  • fahad ullah dar
    Oct 1, 2011 - 9:31PM

    You have always been talking about Democracy.Now in APC almost all major political stake holders were present and when they came up with something concrete and unanimos decesion why you are having a problem with that ? ? I dont understand why you have a problem with every thing that goes against USA interests

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  • Tombo
    Oct 1, 2011 - 9:46PM

    Hey this international battle between US and her allies & bad guys isn’t about being a victory for the terrorists. It’s their perspective that we are the infidels and that they are righteous. But in reality, it’s the other way around.

    We shouldn’t let the terrorists win. Or better yet, we can’t. Unless we don’t want to have the United States hang around for long. But that’s up to certain “divine influences” or our destiny, fate etc. if you know what I mean! Yikes.

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  • Sal
    Oct 1, 2011 - 10:05PM

    30000 people weren’t killed all by taleban n al Qaeda. The afghan taleban r the proper ones who r only fighting America. The rest r terrorists used by India America to destabilize us. Many r also used by politicians to keep their rural areas uneducated. They cause blasts in school n blame on taleban. The rest r used to achieve absurd sectarian killings in the name of IslamRecommend

  • Cautious
    Oct 1, 2011 - 11:41PM

    The question is: why talk to the
    Taliban from a position of weakness?

    Nothing new here – in the past when Pakistan has confronted the Taliban and suffered major casualties it negotiates a face saving agreement. What amazes me is the selective memory of people who ignore the fact that the Taliban have never honored an agreement – what makes them believe they would honor a new agreement?
    ,

    Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez
    Kayani says he is opposed to “military
    operations against our own people”.

    This is an extraordinary statement – it basically says that so long as a terrorist is a Pakistani he won’t be confronted. It also raises the obvious question that if Pakistan won’t confront a Pakistani terrorist then who will?
    .

    Meanwhile, the military, as seen from
    the recent arrest of a brigadier, is
    busy cleansing itself of terrorist
    sympathisers.

    I would observe that the Brigadier’s arrest had more to do with his plotting to remove Kayani than his ties to terrorist. If Kayani were serious about removing terrorist sympathizers there would be hundreds arrested by now.

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  • Gul bahadur
    Oct 2, 2011 - 12:03AM

    All of us have become indifferent to realities of life.Our politicians,our religious lot,our beaurocrats and all those who control instruments of public opinion have one objective and that is ,STEAL MONEY AND BUY PROPERTY outside Pakistan.We have a saying in pushto” I AM CHARSI LET EVERYONE’S WIFE BECOME CHARSI(MIRIJUANA SMOKER).This is exactly the attitude of our common man.Our worker can’t earn bread,I mean NAAN for his children and our Policy makers including the Army Generals enjoy the luxury of multimillion dollars limousines.What would you expect from that empty stomach? You would be fool to expect any mercy from him.Enough is enough.Who cares about what system we have….Taliban or any other system which provides food to the hungry stomach.

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  • Pan Mat
    Oct 2, 2011 - 12:08AM

    @fahad ullah dar:

    Not sure if you understand the norms of democracy, the power of democracy is not in chest thumping but in honest introspection by all stake holders. The introspection happens because people with differing opinion has to be accommodated and their questions need to be answered.

    Nawaz Sharif was told by military establishment that “we will answer all your questions” and the topic never came up again. The most troubling part about Pakistani society is that anyone who raises voice about military establishment or religion is termed either unpatriotic or blasphemer. This creates an environment of coercion leaving no room for debate and introspection.

    The sad part is that even after APC, there is no clarity on next steps or Pakistani interest. The fact that most part of your media still keeps debating about Two nation theory (after 64 years) and if war on terror is America’s war or Pakistan’s war (after 30,000 deaths and 10 years) are manifestations of this flawed system.

    Here is the ultimate part – unlike most Pakistani thinks that things will get better with US withdrawal fro Afghanistan, it will only get worse.

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  • Straight Fire
    Oct 2, 2011 - 12:20AM

    ‘Terror’ is bound to win in every situation. The only thing that can beat is even more ‘Terror’
    It will increase slowly if left aside, and it will increase aggressively if tried to be crumbled

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  • Gadhay kay pechay bhains.........
    Oct 2, 2011 - 3:53PM

    @fahad ullah dar:
    Fahad…………………. take a lucky guess!
    If the US simply left the area, I am sure the problem will go away.
    ET needs to understand that this s a juncture where you are either with us or against us.
    US is a country that never apologized for the illegal war it started in Iraq and you are over flowing with the desire for truth even if it is detrimental to larger national interest? I say that because no one’s hands are clean.no one yet we want the truth or shisha dikhai from the weak…
    Seriously, the editorials need to stop coming in from NY.Recommend

  • Oct 2, 2011 - 6:24PM

    don’t worry, this policy of negotiations and peace treaties with terrorists has failed 20 times before in Pakistan and will fail again in the future.

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  • R S JOHAR
    Oct 3, 2011 - 7:47PM

    @Gadhay kay pechay bhains………:
    My dear friend, what ET has analysed is the absolute truth about the bleak and dark future that lies ahead, while the military and rulers are keeping their ears and eyes shut. The terrorism in Pakistan will not go away with the departure of US from Afghanistan but would become multi-fold with each passing day since terrorists sensing victory would spread their wings in Pakistan. If you or others sympathisers of Taleban have made up their mind that Talebanisation of Pakistan would bring peace and prosperity to the country, then there can be no further discussion on the subject and one can only say- May God help Pakistan.

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