Why Imran is not right

Published: October 30, 2012

KARACHI: This is with reference to the article “Why Imran is right” (October 27). The subject matter of the article reflects the misconception prevalent in a particular section of society that fails to differentiate between state and non-state actors. Without justifying the inappropriate actions of any of the two forces, one must understand that drawing a parallel between the US and the Taliban is based on the lack of understanding about how a legitimate political set-up operates.

While the US is a state and its government is elected through a due election process under its Constitution, the Taliban is a self-proclaimed entity not recognised by any state as a legitimate force. On top of that, it is a well-established fact that the US very much recognises Pakistan as a sovereign state and resorts to drone strikes with the express or tacit permission of the government of Pakistan, whereas the Taliban do not even recognise the state of Pakistan nor its Constitution, let alone its elected government. While the loss of precious lives of innocent people as a result of drone strikes is collateral damage and the intention is to target the terrorists, the attacks that the Taliban resort to are directed towards innocent people intentionally.

Before drawing any parallels between any two entities or forces, we must first appreciate the difference between the legitimacy of those entities. While we must ask the US government to immediately halt drone strikes, we must also ask the Taliban to give up their weapons and surrender themselves to the Pakistani government so that they can be tried under the law of the land. This is the just and lawful option before we think about starting any negotiations. If we talk about negotiations without this process, then it will be tantamount to suggesting negotiations with all criminals who are involved in various types of crimes. The question is: would we like to negotiate with a target killer?

Saleemullah Shaikh

Published in The Express Tribune, October 31st, 2012.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • Omer
    Oct 31, 2012 - 12:23AM

    very well said..


  • Falcon
    Oct 31, 2012 - 12:23AM

    Saleemullah – Interesting. Out of curiosity, does it mean that nation states can go around killing people because they are legitimate while the non-state actors can’t? Shouldn’t justice apply equally to both? Lastly, since TTP is behind the terrorist attacks on Pakistani state, in your view should we bring about 25 – 30 thousand militants to justice by putting them in jail at once or kill all of them since they have gone against the state illegitimately?


  • Logical
    Oct 31, 2012 - 10:13AM

    in karachi, on daily basis regularly, 10 to 15 innocent people die why we not just start drone attacks on militants or militant parties along with military action we will accept the collateral damage because intentions will be good.

    why dont u understand military action is not solution but it could only be part of solution if required.


  • Shehryar
    Oct 31, 2012 - 4:18PM

    I request to the author of this letter to suggest the same to Unites States and Nato who are trying to negotiate with Taliban, have set up an office in Doha for them and now requesting Pakistani authorities to issue Taliban the passports for traveling purposes. I wonder how the killers in Afghanistan are different to killers in Pakistan?


  • roadkashehzada
    Oct 31, 2012 - 4:38PM

    its amazing how we start defending taliban and deflect any attack on them under cover of drone attacks, and other acts of USA. my simple question is, if drone attacks are wrong, how are suicide attacks right? why is IK tight lipped on that? doesnt he see fear in the eyes of every pakistani and barbed wires on every office of pakistan from one end to other?
    now question is right, “how to tackle with the guys?” wht IK wants is one extreme and putting 30-35k militants is other. we need to study integration of other militants into national politics. take irish republic army for example. i would love to study the mechanism they adopted to put their weapons down. but prob with taliban is they have so many splinter groups and nobody knows who is their chief. other problem is they are not willing to negotiate for anything less than everything. and people advocating negotiations are only pressurizing Government of Pakistan and dont utter a single word to stop them wht they are doing. debate of action and reaction is probably the oldest debate on earth.


  • Mir Agha
    Nov 1, 2012 - 7:36AM

    perfect logic. That’s why the Blasphemy Laws should stay as their intention is not to target minorities but to target libel speech.


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