The Taliban have issued an elaborate seven-page statement detailing their explanation for their reasons to execute Malala Yousufzai. Somebody within the Taliban’s world of terrorism and extortion is churning out their future plan of replacement of Pakistan’s ideology as expressed through its Constitution. Those who see Malala’s expression of protest against the Taliban’s edict of banning female education in Pakistan as an American plot will first have to formally forswear the Constitution. As we shall see, this is going to be an uphill task.
The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan, has issued a more detailed defence of what the terrorists have done:
1) Malala is “grown up” at 14 and, therefore, liable for punishment; 2) In Islam and “Pakhtun traditions”, there is absolutely no room for an attack on a woman of pure virtues. But in cases where a woman is seen as a clear sinner who stands in defiance of Sharia, such a woman is not only allowed to be attacked but there is an obligatory instruction for such an action; and 3) Malala was a spy who divulged secrets of the mujahideen and the Taliban through the BBC and in return received awards and rewards from the Zionists, writing her Gul Makai diaries for the BBC.
What comes next is supported by many in the clerical-madrassa world and their right-wing followers who cannot handle the twin hatreds in the Pakistan of America and the Taliban and wish to ‘forgive’ the latter in order to fight the former. Ehsan joins the anti-Malala frog chorus, saying “she was brought before the media under a pre-planned strategy so that she could pollute the minds of the youth against the Taliban” and that “the Taliban executed the attack on an adult girl only after she emerged as a pivotal character in the media war against us”.
The Taliban have followed this perception by sending out death threats to many media groups where they thought the discussants and hosts had taken a position against them. Let it be accepted that by trying to kill a helpless little girl, the Taliban have got themselves the worst press to date. There is a growing national consensus that the state must now act decisively against the terrorists, even though the political parties, barring the MQM, are using evasive ambiguity on the issue of what action is to be taken.
The irony now is that the other ‘national consensus’ against America, as faithfully reflected by the media, is under challenge by this new ‘national consensus’ being covered faithfully by the same media. Before the Malala incident, the media was doing okay but now it is a ‘westernised, secular puppet of the armed forces’. The contest is now between a demonised West led by America and the real villain on the ground, the TTP, whose dominance in the country is under duress because the state is too weak to counter terrorism effectively.
The voice of Sufi Muhammad speaks through the TTP spokesman: the Taliban Sharia is the only genuine prescription of Islam and must replace the Sharia operating in Pakistan under the Constitution. One should recall that two instances of rejection by Pakistan of the Taliban view of Sharia have been recorded by history: 1) When Sufi Muhammad rejected the view of Islam held by a majority of the ulema in Pakistan, they first tried to reason with him but then dismissed his Sharia as inapplicable; and 2) when the MMA government in the then NWFP tried to implement their Sharia through a Hasba Bill, it was turned down by the Supreme Court.
It would be folly and treasonable for anyone who accepts the version of religion that kills little girls. The TTP tried its ‘quick justice’ in Swat before and it is today doing it in some of the areas it controls, but the people, if given free will, will not accept it. The tragedy, however, is that the state is too weak to defend its citizens against terrorism. The time for ‘talks’ has passed; terror is dictating terms. The military and parliament have to take the decision to fight the war they have been postponing.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 18th, 2012.