How long will we have to live with insanity? Certainly there is no sign that it is ending. The Taliban seem to be going from bad to worse. The actions of a group in Wana in South Waziristan, who snatched away thousands of metres of cloth from shopkeepers and set it alight, after declaring it was ‘too thin’ and therefore ‘un-Islamic’, truly suggests we are living in an age where madness has taken hold everywhere. The precedent set is also rather dangerous — to put it mildly. One can just imagine frenzied Taliban hordes breaking into cloth stores everywhere and destroying material they deem ‘unsuitable’. Who knows, beyond the issue of the thickness of the cloth — in a season where everyone chooses to dress as lightly as they can, even in places like Wana in the north where summer temperatures are high — they may next make ‘moral’ judgments on colour or pattern, especially as far as clothing for women goes.
There is an aspect to this that goes beyond the farcical. The unfortunate shopkeepers have of course lost a great deal of money. But beyond this, we also see the writ of the Taliban remain in place. It is becoming obvious that they were not defeated, as the military has claimed more than once. They remain firmly in control of areas in the north and are willing to take the most audacious — and absurd — steps in full public view. It would seem then that we have been lied to when we are told that militancy is at an end. Just the opposite seems to be true and there is a need here to think long and hard. Means have to be thought out to drive away the militants and rid people of the mindset they have created. We must also remember this has nothing to do with religion. The Taliban have distorted Islam in a terrible fashion. Their quest is all about power and the use of terror is a means to enforce control. They must be stopped before further harm is done to our nation.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2011.
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