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