Negotiate with the TTP?

Published: January 11, 2013
The author retired as professor of physics from Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad

The author retired as professor of physics from Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad

With their hands tied together, 21 abducted off-duty Levies personnel were lined up in a cricket ground near Peshawar on December 30, 2012, and then summarily executed. Negotiations conducted through village elders with TTP militants had failed after the militants refused ransom money. Instead, their demands were purely ideological: Pakistan must accept sharia law, break off relations with the United States, and restore the caliphate. The killers, as well as those they killed, had probably prayed and fasted with equal fastidiousness. But as salaried soldiers of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan — which the TTP says is a state of the kuffar (unbelievers) — they were wajibul qatl (deserving of death).

This mass execution — one of many — shows that Pakistan’s military and security establishment is bleeding from a thousand cuts. Its enemies are the relentless foot soldiers of an army that says it is an army of God. Most fighters are local villagers and well known to other residents, but some are Uzbeks and Arabs. Last week’s communique by the TTP’s high command rejects that non-Pakistanis, as well as al Qaeda militants, are “foreigners” because Islam recognises no national boundaries. This time around even Interior Minister Rehman Malik dared not claim that the killers were Indian or US agents. The pretense of a foreign hand is up, or nearly so. Army Chief General Kayani, in his much celebrated August 14, 2012 speech, said, “We realise that the most difficult task for any army is to fight against its own people”. This pill must have been bitter to swallow.

There are only three choices in dealing with this internal enemy: surrender, fight, or talk. Surrender is out of the question. Fighting without public support is a recipe for failure. And so that leaves only talking. But, as things at present stand, negotiations will fail. Last week, Hakeemullah Mehsud flatly refused to lay down arms while talking. This leaves only one viable option: talk, but only from a position of strength. No matter how much ground one cedes, it is never enough.

The militants are so extreme that they kill even those belonging to their ideological universe. General Hamid Gul, fiery supporter of the Taliban and the sharia state, was helpless when militants kidnapped and executed Squadron Leader Khalid Khawaja and Colonel Imam, his former colleagues. The late Qazi Hussain Ahmad of the Jamaat-e-Islami adamantly refused to condemn Taliban-claimed suicide attacks but was targeted by a burqa-clad female suicide bomber in Mohmand. Maulana Fazlur Rahman, the self-professed father of the Taliban, has been repeatedly targeted by suicide attackers and rocket fire; and Imran Khan’s anti-drone march fell apart when the TTP threatened to attack his convoy (the threat was partially retracted later). But the biggest loser has been the military, which has lost thousands of fine soldiers. Many have been tortured before being killed — all in the name of Islam.

It is ironic that things should have turned out this way because the Pakistan Army also thinks of itself as the Army of God. Since the 1980s, the army’s mission has been to protect the “ideological borders of Pakistan” together with the physical borders. The 1994 army’s Green Book states that “the existence and survival of Pakistan depend upon complete implementation of Islamic ideology in true sense. If the ideology is not preserved then the very existence of Pakistan becomes doubtful”. This thinking was reflected in the banners at army recruiting centres displaying, “iman, taqwa, jihad fi sabil Allah” (faith, piety and jihad in God’s way).

But now that the TTP insists that it is the real army of Islam, the old narrative has stopped working. The public largely sees the Taliban as sincere, although somewhat overzealous. Therefore, soldiers killed fighting them are quietly buried, while those killed in Pakistan-India wars are remembered as shaheeds through the streets and roads bearing their names. The military’s morale has plummeted: to quote General Kayani, “Disillusionment, desperation, religious bigotry, political disharmony and discord seem to permeate our lives”. He goes on to say that “No state can afford a parallel system of governance and militias, and that extremism is the gravest threat to Pakistan”.

General Kayani’s counter-narrative is quintessentially liberal: “Any person who believes his opinion to be the final verdict is an extremist. More so, if one tries to enforce his opinion through use of gun, it becomes terrorism. Islam does not allow anyone to claim to be a know all, and flirt with divinity.” This amounts to a welcome redefinition of the philosophy, as well as fighting goals, of the Pakistan Army.

Brilliantly stated, sir! But your actions do little to address the grave concerns you raised. In still stronger words, identical concerns were contained in the landmark January 12, 2002 speech by your predecessor, General Musharraf. He banned several terrorist organisations, started reforming madrassas, and announced a de-weaponisation programme. All this was insincere and so, a decade later, the enemy is stronger and more confident.

The army’s failure is one of will and strategy. How does it help to whip up anti-Americanism by publically condemning drones — a precision weapon with smaller collateral damage when compared to aircraft and artillery — while privately asking for more strikes? Or to eliminate journalists such as Saleem Shahzad who expose the enemy within the ranks? The mysterious rise and fall of the Difa-e-Pakistan Council, as well as the rush to block Nato lines and then the rush to unblock them, merely strengthened those who kill our soldiers and the helpless citizens of this country.

If Pakistan is to be at peace with itself, the army must stop seeing everything through the prism of competition and war with India. To prosper, Pakistan must overcome its hatred for India and leave Kashmir as a problem to be solved by Kashmiris. Muddled thinking has left Pakistan exhausted and indifferent to its own suffering. The notion in army circles that Pakistan’s civil war is transient, and will disappear if unnamed string-pullers stop their mischief, is delusional — this war will be long and bitter. The military must limit itself to defending the people of Pakistan from violence and to ensuring that their constitutional and civil rights are protected. It must cease posturing as the defender of ideological frontiers. Our army must become Pakistan’s army, not an army of God.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 12th, 2013.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (75)

  • ashok sai
    Jan 11, 2013 - 11:07PM

    But sir, an army has the country called
    Pakistan not the other way.


  • Mirza
    Jan 11, 2013 - 11:16PM

    A pragmatic and factual Op Ed by ET. As pointed out there have been great speeches by army chief and Gen Mush. However, there has been not much action and it is left to NATO to counter the terrorists living in Pakistan. Beside many examples of swift army action like whipping up frenzy against killing of 2 dozen soldiers in war zone. Dashing to London by Gen Pasha and three HC CJ for an unsigned and undated memo based upon one foreign witness. No such urgency to do anything against these brutal killers of innocent Pakistani civilians and ethnic cleansing of minorities and smaller sects. There is no will or indication to control these assets gone rogue.Recommend

  • lalai
    Jan 11, 2013 - 11:17PM

    Killing one man makes you a murderer while killing one million makes you a conqueror. Believing in negotiation with TTP is similar to believing in the philosophy of might is right.


  • Jan 11, 2013 - 11:21PM

    Pakistani state is on a ventilator.


  • gp65.
    Jan 11, 2013 - 11:28PM

    A voice for sanity. A cry in wilderness.

    Sadly, the price of the current ideological moorings are not paid by the army leaders but the poor and hungry in India and Pakistan when a disproportionate amount of resource is directedto guns rather than butter. Nor are they the only victims of this misguided policy. In the 90s, thousands of innocent Indian civilians were killed by the jihadis pushed byPakistan and now thousands of innocent Pakistanis are dying as the seeds of jihad are being harvested as the fruit of faithbased terror. These deaths are needless and heartbreaking.


  • Yoghurt lover
    Jan 11, 2013 - 11:29PM



    How is it that the simple truth which you see is obscure to 99.9999% of Pakistanis.

    I’m sorry to say 99% of Pakistan is extremely stupid. There are comments linking cricket series with recent LOC flare ups. It cannot get foolish than this.

    How is it that U see one thing and the Hafiz saeeds, Fazl-Ur-Rehmans, Rashid Sheikhs, Hamid Guls, Zaid Hamids, Imran Khans see a different thing?

    How is it even humanly possible that such wide gap exists between 1% of a country and 99% of the country?

    Any rational human being will fail to understand.


  • M.Sadiq
    Jan 11, 2013 - 11:44PM

    Wonderful pragmatic analysis of internal security situation of our country. Our security policy makers (militray and politicians) must get something practicle out of this great article.


  • Arifq
    Jan 12, 2013 - 12:05AM

    In the early days of this war against extremism, I remember when Pakistani soldiers were martyred there was a segment of clerics who openly condemned these soldiers and would not allow prayers for their funeral. None of these clerics were challenged or berated for their extreme rhetoric and open sedition. Ideologically we have enslaved ourselves to religion before the state allowing people to kill, threaten and spread anarchy in the name of Islam with no accountability. As a first step, we must stand with those murdered in Quetta and demand action against LEJ and its supporters. TTP insurgency continues to prosper because of implicit and explicit sponsorship by state and non-state actors, this umbilical cord needs to be severed.


  • patriot
    Jan 12, 2013 - 12:14AM

    Just one question Dr. Hoodbhoy… are you an expert on every topic? or its just being negative wherever it fits..


  • Sanjay
    Jan 12, 2013 - 12:15AM

    Very rational & logical analysis. The final line – “Our army must become Pakistan’s army, not an army of God.” also sums up the direction that Pakistani army should be headed to.


  • Polwala
    Jan 12, 2013 - 12:39AM

    Simply brilliant.
    Mr Hoodbhoy has said it all and said it without fudging or mincing words. Pakistan’s obsession with India and seeking parity with India at all costs and through a strong military has created chaos in the country and messed up many generations of its citizens. The damage is lasting and will take generations to repair at a great human and financial cost. If the military started a clean up operation it will take a long time to work. There will be initially more downs than ups but with support of the masses, it will work. Talking to TTP for appeasement would be a grave mistake. Talk to them for one purpose only and that is to read them the Riot Act. Army of Pakistan cannot afford to lose to the Army of God. Otherwise, life is Pakistan will not be worth living.


  • Ahmed Ibrahim
    Jan 12, 2013 - 12:46AM

    What a brilliant article… but I think with US stopping combat operations later this year, we must also be desperate to achieve peace. Even if that means acceding some land. Otherwise, if the Afghan Taliban turn towards us. WE will be in serious trouble!


  • Shabbar Rizvi
    Jan 12, 2013 - 12:55AM

    Great article. It is sad and depressing to see even when hundreds of our soldiers are beheaded, thousands have laid their lives and even more injured beyond repair, the nation is still divided. TTP is having a field day. So sad :(


  • Jan 12, 2013 - 1:07AM

    @ashok sai, you also have the likes of Brig. Rawat Singh and (late) Bal Thackeray. Snap out of your self-righteous delusion. At least our army is waking up to it. Yours is sleeping into it now.


  • Jan 12, 2013 - 1:17AM

    Let Drones negotiate with the TTP.


  • sabi
    Jan 12, 2013 - 1:31AM

    They want to leave blanket but blanket doesn’t.Now this is a film which has no interval.
    In this country nothing is un constitutional.Terrorism is constitutional as it and encourages anyone willing to play with religion.If humans interfere in God’s domain then outcomes are extremely dangerous Pakistan is living example.
    Excellant article kudos and regards


  • Asim
    Jan 12, 2013 - 1:48AM

    Really agree with your last sentence


  • sabi
    Jan 12, 2013 - 1:56AM

    Who will tell these ignorant religious ideaologies are not implemented but preached with love and patience and choice to accept or reject is given to the individuals.This is what is called freedom of conscience.There is no compulsion in religion.Pakistan like every civilised nation nation needs secular land.Otherwise there is only destruction.Can’t they see it in Pakistan.


  • Jawad U Rehman
    Jan 12, 2013 - 2:05AM

    Brilliant ! Show me another army in the world which has seen massacre after massacre of its soldiers (execution style), has tolerated its headquarters getting attacked, had its military/navy/air bases under siege, had lost many of its finest generals, officers, and jawans – and yet it has no resolve to wipe out the enemy ! If that is not position of weakness – what is? Why not attain ascendancy over the enemy once and for all – through an all out war, have them defeated, THEN negotiate for their laying down of arms, and re-integration in society. Why would TTP lay down arms after having scared our army and politicians with brutal murders and attacks, while enjoying freedom of movement and operations in wide territory controlled by them. The first requirement for any sustainable peace scenario is army’s COMPLETE control over every inch of Pakistani territory.


  • Abid P. Khan
    Jan 12, 2013 - 2:44AM

    “Just one question Dr. Hoodbhoy… are you an expert on every topic? or its just being negative wherever it fits..”

    Some people are more educated than the others.


  • ballu
    Jan 12, 2013 - 3:50AM

    @Patriot …….If zaid hamid is expert in all topics and most of Pakistanis brethren praise him includding you mr patriot then why not Sir Hoodbhoy… He is more educated and decent looking then Zaid hamid. Recommend

  • Adil
    Jan 12, 2013 - 4:58AM

    Oi Yogurt Lover! How dare you call 99.9999% of Pakisranis stupid. There are millions of Pakstnis who are liberal, secular, intellectuals and more educated than YOUR flippant comments suggest. Don’t dare condemn a whole people because of ignorance of a section of a society, however large in numbers it may well be. There existence is of course a tragedy, but you would be surprised how many millions of Pakistanis are as liberal and open minded as any in the rest of the world. What if I were to call your people 99.999% stupid! Would that be logical or fair. I don’t think so, unless you all take your yogurt with lemon!
    As for tbe esteemed Profesor’s article – absolutely brilliant again. I am absolutely sure millions of broad minded Pakistanis will agree with you – contrary to what some might say! Keep up the good work.


  • critic
    Jan 12, 2013 - 5:02AM

    The article was going fine until the last paragraph. Somehow the discussion of taliban, pakistan and its army concluded on relations between pak army and india.


  • gp65.
    Jan 12, 2013 - 7:18AM

    @critic: “The article was going fine until the last paragraph. Somehow the discussion of taliban, pakistan and its army concluded on relations between pak army and india.”

    The issues are linked as per the author. According to the author, the reason Pakistan leadership is not able to get the entire Pakistani awaam behind it to crush Taliban is because Taliban have positioned themselves as army of God. This is also the reason that many within its own ranks are Taliban sympathizers. And where did the credibility of the army of God come from? From Pakistani army’s own positioning. In order to whip up anger against India which had not attacked Pakistan, the notion of hate the kuffar because we are army of God was aggressively marketed by the army for decades.

    IF PAkistan now wants to delegitimize TTP, it has to de-market the concept of army of God and position itself as army of Pakistan. It cannot achieve that without dialing down the manufactured outrage against Hindus and India.

    At least this is what I thought the author meant to say. Hope it makes sense.


  • sadhana
    Jan 12, 2013 - 7:18AM

    Always wondered what is the reason for Pak Punjabis’ boundless self-satisfaction. Have never found any rational reason – but it occurs to me perhaps they think they are God’s chosen. The Pak Army and its motto comes from the Pak people, and from Pak Punjabis, not from Mars.

    These intra-Pak disputes over who is closer to God are then very natural. Are you asking Pakistanis to give up their divine chosen-ness?


  • Feroz
    Jan 12, 2013 - 8:28AM

    The Military is like a Deer caught in the headlights, can see but unable to move. The rank and file has seen their Institution create, train and back many of these same groups now ravaging the Nation. They were ideological brothers that saw the same threats, shared the same goals and visualized the same enemy. State welfare or welfare of people did not figure in their calculations. How on Earth can this same Army fight these evil militants now, were they not the heroes when they attacked Mumbai and subjugated Afghanistan.
    The militants are not being annihilated because their is no appetite in the rank and file of the Army. The ruse of their being no Political consensus is bogus. The Politicians know the Army does not want to fight these monsters which is the real reason they are not showing consensus. The Politicians in Pakistan have always been the fall guys. Given this context it is in everyone’s interest to continue to blame RAW / CIA / Mossad for every citizen being killed on the street, rather than face the real threats with firm action.


  • Yoghurt lover
    Jan 12, 2013 - 8:42AM


    Don’t get angry. You have to understand that in any country more than 90% of the people are stupid. That’s the reason almost all countries on earth suffer from one or another type of chronic problem.

    Perhaps in India 95% are stupid (or why do you think we elect corrupt politicians?) and in Pakistan 99%. It’s just a small difference in number which makes a big difference to the country.

    What do you think about America where a majority of people hide behind the second amendment and support gun culture. They have the results right before their eyes. More innocent people are killed in gun violence in America than most other developed countries.

    Also, perhaps you belong to that 1%.


  • Yoghurt lover
    Jan 12, 2013 - 8:53AM


    “The article was going fine until the last paragraph. Somehow the discussion of taliban, pakistan and its army concluded on relations between pak army and india.”

    You belong to the 99% of Pakistan. Not smart, to put it mildly. You will not understand what he has said.

    Let me put it in simpler terms.

    Mr. Hoodbhoy says “Listen Pakistan, forget Kashmir to achieve peace”.


  • Jan 12, 2013 - 9:13AM

    You know what’s sad is that many of the TTP had cut their teeth with L-e-J in the heart of Punjab? And these terrorists and militants are still insanely considered to serve a ‘purpose’ or ‘utility’ with the political and military classes?

    The state and public are just so ideologically messed up, insincere and self sabotaging.

    Hamid Gul was never helpless, these were his choices. Any other nation would have tried him as a traitor. But Pak will not. The murder of his colleagues are the consequences of his own support and betrayal. Unfortunately such violent sabotage, treason to reason is practised institution and societal wide for self regional and ideological gains.


  • Ammar
    Jan 12, 2013 - 9:38AM

    Excellent Article. Brilliant Hoodbhoy.

    @ Indians

    It’s not 99% Pakistanis who see it otherwise or are stupid. Dominant percentage see it the same way. I wonder why citizens of the world’s perfect state with no poverty, human rights issues and so-called secularism get lot of time commenting on Pakistan’s problems instead of watching their own.


  • Ammar
    Jan 12, 2013 - 9:43AM

    @ Yoghurt Lover

    It’s pretty lame of you using that language. You definitely need improvement on decency.

    @ ET

    you might need to look into it again to be sure.


  • xetrov
    Jan 12, 2013 - 10:03AM

    this article was going fine until the last paragraph, which made me recall that SAFMA is behind some of our media but this made me think that its not only the media this includes professors as well..

    so the whole article was set up 2 make people embrace that Kashmir is not our issue. *

    To prosper, Pakistan must overcome its
    hatred for India and leave Kashmir as
    a problem to be solved by Kashmiris

    okay we leave this problem solved by Kashmiris, bt the Kashmiris dont want this problem to be solved without Pakistan.


  • Murad
    Jan 12, 2013 - 10:07AM

    One of the most thought provoking, and inspirational article i have ever read in my life concerning the religious extremism that is bleeding us white. Sir, bravo, thats all i can say and i wish General kayani gets to read this as well.


  • John B
    Jan 12, 2013 - 10:34AM

    Negotiate with Nazi?

    We have answer in history.


  • Yoghurt lover
    Jan 12, 2013 - 10:37AM


    Looks like truth tastes bitter for you.

    You write “It’s not 99% Pakistanis who see it otherwise or are stupid. Dominant percentage see it the same way. I wonder why citizens of the world’s perfect state with no poverty, human rights issues and so-called secularism get lot of time commenting on Pakistan’s problems instead of watching their own.”

    Take a wild guess why! If Pakistan was not such a trouble-maker for India, India wouldn’t care about pakistan or even be good friends with Pakistan like with the rest of our neighbors.


  • saleem
    Jan 12, 2013 - 10:41AM

    we will never give up on kashmir which is rightfully ours.


  • jagjit sidhoo.
    Jan 12, 2013 - 10:56AM

    “Our army must become Pakistan’s army, not an army of God.” In that one sentence u have given the solution .We humans are his creation he does not need us to protect him or enhance his glory . We would be doing him a service if we look after ourselves .


  • ahmad sohail
    Jan 12, 2013 - 10:56AM

    very thoughtful and true to the last word.


  • jagjit sidhoo.
    Jan 12, 2013 - 12:03PM

    @Adil: Lets put it this way, we do not have to many sensible people on both sides of the border. .


  • Jan 12, 2013 - 12:22PM

    I’ll go a little further and ask: Whats wrong with implementing Sharia in Pakistan, as asked by the TTP?

    Islam is said to be THE Religion and a perfect ideology. Sharia is a natural consequence. Why are everyone in Pakistan fighting it, especially the liberals?

    If they think it is imperfect, meaning it also includes saying negative thing of Islam, why not go ahead and admit it openly?

    Of course the People are confused. TTP’s only demand is Sharia and implementation of an Islamic system.

    Same thing is happening now in Egypt, Syria, even in Turkey! All Muslim majority countries.

    The people of all the Muslim majority countries have been fed with the canard that Islam is the greatest and they will make sure that is carried through.

    Pakistan, by nature of being an Islamic state with a Muslim majority, is doomed. Sooner or later. This call for Sharia will NEVER cease.


  • Khan of Cape Town
    Jan 12, 2013 - 12:27PM

    @Yoghurt lover: Mr. Lover, The result of the delusion created by your so-called 99 percent, has reached to the limits that, within 10 hours, Pakistan had to suffer two different bomb attacks: one on Tableeghi center in Swat, and another on Shia Hazara community in Quetta. You and your ideological masters keep daydreaming, and soon will you see this country falling apart. You better eat Yoghurt and stop thinking about serious issues.


  • faheema
    Jan 12, 2013 - 12:37PM

    There is dire need to act against ruthless talibans and their supporters as army did react and judiciary cooperated against memo gate.


  • Enlightened
    Jan 12, 2013 - 12:45PM

    Excellent article. The web of TTP and sectarian violence being woven around the entire length and breadth of Pakistan by both agencies is getting thicker each passing day which might choke the country sooner than later. Both civilian govt and the military are guilty of their inaction and especially the latter who control the country through remote control. The civilian govt being weak had no control anytime before but with elections around the corner it can ill-afford to be on the wrong side of any militant organisation including sectarian ones whose cadres are used for garning votes of the majority community. But the military who has the capability to control violence in Pakistan has gone into its shell citing lack of political will and support to its establishment for their inaction. Pakistan without the support of its two major establishments has become rudderless and situation is going out of control with TTP and LeJ along with other militant organisation unleashing violence and mayhem in the entire country with state remaining as a mute spectator. Neither the political class nor the military in anyway are affected by this violence but people of the Pakistan especially the minorities have to bear the brunt of this mindless violence are made to suffer silently. These are sure signs of a failed state which is going towards the state of an anarchy but who cares as long as their own cathedrals are intact.


  • Parvez
    Jan 12, 2013 - 1:03PM

    Excellent – one of your best write ups.
    History is hard to deny. Right up to Zia’s time the army was a conventional army. Americas need to get the Russians out of Afghanistan changed all that. The original concept of the use of jihad / religion and the money along with it, to achieve this end is what transformed the thought process within the army. The crucial mistake made was after achieving the objective, in the ensuing euphoria they forgot or deliberately so, to dismantle this thought process. What we see today is called ‘ blow back ‘ by the Americans and everyone but most of all Pakistan is suffering from this.


  • Waqar
    Jan 12, 2013 - 1:03PM


    “we will never give up on kashmir which is rightfully ours.”

    Kashmir belongs to Kashmiris. Who are you to claim that it is “rightfully” yours?


  • observer
    Jan 12, 2013 - 1:25PM

    Excellent and Timely article.

    This reminds me of another essay that I had read in the past. This essay illustrated the dilemma of the Pakistan army, which is trained to fight on the slogan of Allah-u-Akbar. How does this army fight an ‘enemy’ that can shout Allah-u-Akbar, louder?

    The indoctrination needs a revisit and now.


  • jagjit sidhoo.
    Jan 12, 2013 - 1:34PM

    @saleem: The 2 nation theory is your concept not ours . We believe Hindu , Muslim ,Sikh , Christian, Jain and Parses can all live together . Things are far from perfect in India but the average citizen is more secure in India than in Pakistan so looks like our model is a better
    one than yours . India has insurgencies in the Northeast , Punjab and J&K but the idea that regional majorities need to separate from India to find their own “space” does not gel with our ethos. You have your Muslim majority Pakistan look after your people and let us look after ours . So be rest assured that we will ensure that the map of India will stays the way it is . Live and prosper in Muslim majority Pakistan we will do our bit to live and prosper in secular India .


  • DB
    Jan 12, 2013 - 1:49PM

    @Jawad U Rehman:
    “Show me another army in the world which has seen massacre after massacre of its soldiers (execution style), has tolerated its headquarters getting attacked, had its military/navy/air bases under siege, had lost many of its finest generals, officers, and jawans – and yet it has no resolve to wipe out the enemy ! “

    That other army is army of US who despite losing so much cannot wait to run away from Afghanistan. Wake up.


  • Raza Khan
    Jan 12, 2013 - 1:55PM

    Superb Article! Hope our Army can understand and reacts before nothing is left to save. Hats off to Doctor PH. Glad to have you among us.


  • prashant
    Jan 12, 2013 - 2:56PM

    excellent article sir……..


  • Jan 12, 2013 - 3:59PM

    General Kayani’s counter-narrative is quintessentially liberal: “Any person who believes his opinion to be the final verdict is an extremist. More so, if one tries to enforce his opinion through use of gun, it becomes terrorism. Islam does not allow anyone to claim to be a know all, and flirt with divinity.” This amounts to a welcome redefinition of the philosophy, as well as fighting goals, of the Pakistan Army.
    Brilliant and thought provoking analysis by a scientist of a pure science on a deep rooted political mess created and cemented by both the civilian and military rulers. My instinct of pragmatism has now been overtaken by cynicism and I am not really hopeful that the current civilian leadership will show some courage and sagacity to steer the country out of the prevailing mess posing a grave threat to the survival of the state.For this we need a courageous and sagacious leaders like President Jayawardene and President Ms Chadrekha Kumartunga of Sri Lanka.


  • Wajeeh
    Jan 12, 2013 - 4:54PM

    whoever speaks truth why people take him as negative and pessimist?. when will we start looking at our faults if not now then never ever. The real threat to Pakistan is internal not external. @patriot:


  • bmniac
    Jan 12, 2013 - 5:47PM

    Prof Hoodbhoy
    As usual you have gone into the heart of the matter.This is difficult to accept when a people are into denial and believe in fantasies


  • Watan dost
    Jan 12, 2013 - 7:52PM

    Regardless of how much indian agents in the media try, Pakistan is not going to leave kashmir at any cost, countless of our soldiers have laid down their lives for the cause of kashmir and we will get kashmir out of the clutches of india. Kashmir belongs to pakistan, let there be no doubt in anyone´s mind.


  • murtaza hasan
    Jan 12, 2013 - 7:53PM

    “The army’s failure is one of will and strategy”. strategy can go wrong agreed but please dont doubt the will of an army which has lost good about 6000 officers and soldiers in the war. u rightly identified that “Fighting without public support is a recipe for failure” so dont u think that its the will of the nation that has falterred. no army can fight without nations support ….and this nation still is unwilling to call spade a spade, enemy as enemy.


  • Vijay K
    Jan 12, 2013 - 11:05PM

    @FreedomOfHeresy: Pakistani state is on a ventilator. And the America has its hand on the oxygen valve.
    Prof Hoodbhoy has stirred a hornets nest by mentioning Kashmir. Judging by the comments of my Pakistani brothers here (and they are the educated lot, eg the likes of lalaji) I’m afraid we will be stuck in this quagmire for a good while.
    On a more pessimistic note, I see the reverse happening : Pakistan and India will be made to go to war so that we buy more weapons to bring the West out of recession. And the clouds are already darkening. Vested parties (of which there are many.. home and abroad) are already smiling and nodding at each other. In the end, their children will prosper, ours will remain 3rd world for ever.


  • DevilHunterX
    Jan 12, 2013 - 11:37PM

    Is there any street / public place named after any personality / city of Pakistan in Kashmir?


  • Faqir Ipi
    Jan 13, 2013 - 1:29AM

    The government (whether that of General Musharraf or Mr Zardari or Mr Hoti) is happy to actually promote militancy in Pashtuns from southern KPk rather than to check it because they have realized that it is the best way to milk the west.

    The ruling elite including military, whose higher ranks get to enjoy of this aid while the lower ranks lose their lives in tribal belt and Waziristan, is also quite happy with the arrangement. So are the top bosses in the ISI. Thus, the more aid the US and its allies give in the name of terrorism the more terrorism we will see in Pakistan. Since the US and many within Pakistan are refusing to see the dangers of the military strategy, we are only going to see more of this dangerous game. It is up to the Pashtuns and the people of this country to raise their voice to make this puppet government put an end to this nonsense because it is simply a death trap.


  • Faqir Ipi
    Jan 13, 2013 - 1:31AM

    Pakistan’s largest tribal area Waziristan, dotted with bleak hills and long stretches of barren land rich in natural resources, has always been in the news since 9/11. Wazirs and Mehsuds have not attempted to assert their sovereign rights over their natural resources for which they are justified, and this phenomenon should not become a bone of contention for those ruling rather ruining from Peshawar, Islamabad and Rawalpindi like PH. There is a widespread sense of deprivation among Wazirs and Mehsuds, which is the result of the colonial approach of the rulers, political agents, military generals, who have been at the helm of affairs from time to time with immunity. At the same time we cannot exonerate certain Khans/Maliks and political leaders either. They have been in power but have done nothing to ameliorate the lot their people.


  • Faqir Ipi
    Jan 13, 2013 - 1:33AM

    Thousands of people have gone missing without any trace. The incumbent PPP government led by Zardari and earlier Gen Musharaf made tall claims of new era devolpment in tribal area. The 18th Constitutional Amendment did not have any thing for Waziristan and tribal area. If Gilgit and Balitistan can made a seperate province on Agha Khan request, why can’t Waziristan be made an independent entity.

    Killings and kidnappings have become the order of the day in Waziristan.

    Things got much worse in Waziristan during the military dictator Gen Musharraf’s and Zardari’s regimes spanning over decade. They allegedly let lose a reign of terror in the Waziristan which have uprooting of thousand families and resulted in the mass killing due to food/medicine shortage road blockages and by US Drones, Pakistan Army without any hint in press/media. Anyone who allegedly challenge the writ of corrupt ruling elites is either killed or is picked up by agencies.

    These tragic incidents will prove turning point for whole country. The masses will virtually rise to revolt. Several armed groups have emerged to challenge the writ of the federal government, army and political agents. Travel across Waziristan is not not possible due to road blockage by LEAs and also not safe. Government installations are being attacked. Masses are being targeted which has forced them to move to other provinces resulting in human drain from Waziristan.


  • Faqir Ipi
    Jan 13, 2013 - 1:37AM

    The ruling elites from Peshawar, Islamabad, R/Pindi has refused to learn lessons from the past 10 years experience in Waziristan. Military intervention can seem simple but is, in fact, a complex affair with the potential for unintended consequences. This is a highly unpalatable and frightening option pregnant with the possibility of widespread chaos and prolonged social instability.

    The Coporate media, particularly the electronic media, is playing like an orchestra by resorting to one-sided reporting and propaganda against Pashtuns from Southern Part of KPk (DI Khan, Bannu, Lucky Marvat, Waziristan, Kohat) to justify the military intervention. Geo, Saama, Dunyaa, Dawn all are following the script in totality. Programmes presented by the smiling anchors with their excited voices will soon start giving details of the “humanitarian” blitz on Waziristan will be appalling to watch.

    Since 9/11, under US patronage Pakistan LEAs (Both Military and Non Military) have been “responsible for torture, inhuman treatment and even extrajudicial executions of Pashtuns from Southern KPk ( Waziristan, Bannu, Di Khan, Kohat, Orakzai, Kurram & Lucky Marvat).

    There are arbitrary arrests of citizens as well as arbitrary searches of homes. Prolonged pre-trial detention is a serious problem, and judicial corruption, inefficiency, and executive interference undermines due process. Ruling elites (mostly from Peshawar, Charsada, Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi) backed by US/UK have monopoly over all news papers, television and radio stations.

    Hailing from Southern District/areas of Pashtun Khwa (Bannu, Lucky Marvat, DI Khan, Kohat, Waziristan, I am fed up from Pushtun establishment from Charsada, Wali Bagh, Mardan, Peshawar. Most of Governors, CMs , Ministers, Commissioners, DCOs, DPOs , Secretaries are/were from Mardna, Swabi, Charsada and Wali Bagh during past 60 years.

    We Pashtuns from southern districts are slaves at three level.

    At basic level we are slaves of Pushtun establishment from Charsada, Wali Bagh, Mardan, Peshawar.

    At national level we are slaves of Urdu/Punjabi ruling establishment.

    At international level we are slaves of US/West war lords.


  • Faqir Ipi
    Jan 13, 2013 - 1:38AM

    Bush, Blair, Dick Cheney, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Armitage, John Bolton, Zalmay Khalilzad, Condoleezza Rice, Obama, Mush, Zardari, Karzai, Pasha, Kayani, Hoti

    I am a Pashtun and Muslim, born in a an area, which is on less than 1 hour drive from Waziristan (The troubled area in north of Pakistan). My heart cries for the Pashtun children & women in Af-Pak, you have killed.

    You are directly responsible for war crimes and Pashtun Genocide and while I know there is no court of justice that is going to have the gut to try you here on earth, but I carry a faith stronger than the mountains which tells me that justice will catch up with you, either here or in the Hereafter.

    We have no hope of a brighter life. Instead, we have darkness that now engulfs us from all sides. I do not think I will ever be able to make listen to me. Plz remember: there is a verdict of history that awaits all men who rise to power and that verdict has already been passed against you.


  • Faqir Ipi
    Jan 13, 2013 - 1:41AM

    I feel insulted, as a Human, Muslim and Pakistani citizen, when I hear that Mardan, Wali Bagh, Peshawar, Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Quetta can not be droned and bombed because it’s a ‘core part’ of Pakistan.

    Is our Waziristan not part of Pakistan or Pashtuns?

    Are our valiant tribal Pakistanis/Pashtuns from waziristan expendable ?

    Where are US Blood Dollars provided for tribal areas by foreign governments?

    Why not just track the assets and princely life styles of the all Governor PKp, Political Agents, DMGs in Governor Sectt, and FC commanders since 9/11?

    Were they all belonged to tribal area ?

    The road via Jandola, linking Waziristan with the rest of the country, has been closed during last several years. No alternative route was left open to them to travel to any other place, except for travel to Afghanistan via Angoor Ada or to go all the way through Balochistan to reach other parts of the country—a journey which is not only long but also dangerous.

    What if Pashtuns contractors (so called Nationalist) daily suffer similarly while travelling to Wali Bagh, Swabi, Mardan, Charsada ?

    What if Liberal Fanatics living in Defense, CDA, Malls Roads and Societies daily suffer similarly while travelling to Islamabad, Peshawar, Karachi, Lahore Islamabad?

    Similarly South Waziristan is known for cultivation of the best fruits/vegetables (apples, apricots, plums and tomatoes). Because of the road closure and army operations, the locals could not transport their fruit and vegetables to the markets in Punjab / Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

    What if similar heavy financial losses are suffered by Pashtuns contractors (so called Nationalist from Wali Bagh, Mardan, Charsada) or those Liberal Fanatics living in DHAs, Malls Roads and Societies of Peshawar, Karachi, Lahore Islamabad ?

    Pashtuns from Waziristan don’t have enough to eat, don’t have a job and no prospects in life. They are wronged they have no redress. There are tortured daily by political agents, police, caught up for years in endless grind of court cases. There is endemic corruption all round. Every government deprtt, serves itself, not anything as esoteric as the people.

    If this is not recruiting ground for Talibanism, what is ?


  • Faqir Ipi
    Jan 13, 2013 - 1:42AM

    It’s worth noting that the reconstruction and peace restoration of Waziristan, which is in far far worse condition than Swat, does not merited the same evangelical media enthusiasm that Swat has.

    Even the money (US Blood $) that was so many times and publicly promised to Waziristan by Mush/Zardari has not been handed over. Rather consumed in thin Air in FATA Sectt Peshawar, Islamabad by corrupt, inefficient and ineffective Politicians, Generals, Bureaucrats, Businessmen, Police and Media.

    Could it be because Waziristan is far away from Peshawar, therefore not feasible for those chosen contractor and well connected in Peshawar, Pindi and Islamabad ? So there isn’t much money to be extracted from the vanquished Waziristan.

    On the other hand, we were told that next military operation, next jet bombing, next road blocks, next IDPs wave would result in peace and then miracle jump-start of the Waziristan economy. It’s funny how the interests of those ruling (and ruining) us from Peshawar, Pindi, Islamabad and Lahore are so often, so successfully, and so deliberately confused with the interests of the masses in Pakistan by incident like Malala, Swat Vedio.


  • Faqir Ipi
    Jan 13, 2013 - 1:44AM

    Sitting outside Waziristan and looking into its matters is just like measuring the depth of sea while flying in an aircraft over it.

    From someone, hailing from an area on less than 1 Hour drive from Waziristan however not knowing much about know about OBL, Alqaeda, Taliban.

    Only heared massaged and prepared reports of Salim Safi, Hamid Mir, Rahimullah Yousafzai, CNN, Fox, BBC

    Sitting outside Pakistan and looking into its matters is just like Measuring the depth of sea while flying in an aircraft over it.

    Television is not facts rather illusion, circus and amusement park. Turn off the TV.

    Media is not the fact rather illusion, circus and amusement park of OBL, Al-Qaeda, Taliban and off course dead bodies of Wazirs, Mehsuds only among Pashtuns.

    Turn off the TV.


  • Sohaib Rashid
    Jan 13, 2013 - 10:32AM

    Very Truly ad Honestly written article Sir ! I hope the State Institutions like Army,Judiciary,Executive etc listen to you and pay heed to your advice…and I hope more and more people in public turn to your viewpoint and understand it, because now it is the question of the very existence of the state………..and I also do hope that there are more and more people like in you our country who also have the courage to speak their mind fearlessly ! Only then our Beloved Country Pakistan would truly become a Modern, Progressive, Democratic Country just like we envision it !! Bravo !!!


  • Jan 13, 2013 - 11:51AM


    I am not a Pakistani, fellow netizen. I am playing Devil’s Advocate.

    Pakistan is an Islamic Country, founded by a party called Muslim League, as a result of Two Nation Theory, why shouldn’t it have a proper Sharia system?


  • Adnan
    Jan 13, 2013 - 4:20PM

    Respected PH,
    Its a wonderful military analysis by you.All the facts and figures are up to mark and irk the men in uniform particularly on high ranks.The talibanization of our society started from army under the leadership of general Zia.It takes time, if luckily they will get, to eliminate the taliban factor from army. secondly army don’t want friendly relations with India as their superiority turned down and their existence seems to be in danger.They hire people specially to create hatred among people against India.Now a days hafiz saeed is its darling as his banned organization enchanting hatred slogans and comments on walls of almost every city,against India.
    Thanks for the vision which you (PH) give us.Luck we are.


  • Muhammad Rehan
    Jan 13, 2013 - 11:57PM

    From a person of as ordinarily secular mentallity as yours, an article like this was very expected. You will never regret the mistake to join US so called war against terrorism against your own people and a hypocrite person like you will never condemn the killings of hundreds of students in Lal Masjid, the main turning points for the present unrest in our country, you just want to bring the whole of Pakistan in the same secular state of mind as yours. No one, either you, or Taliban, should be allowed to suppress their ideology on the masses, and negiatiaion is the only and only way out of present situation.


  • Mubarak Khan
    Jan 14, 2013 - 2:53AM

    When an ecosystem goes so out of balance from introduction of a new predator (Taliban) that it challenges the very existence of the Ecosystem (Pakistan) then the only way to counter it is not negotiating with it but to throw all your resources at it and defeat it and then sign an armistice once you break their back e.g. Tamil Tigers.

    Pakistan should use all of its might and resources to fight this religio-fascist insurgency – use bombs, chemicals whatever you can. Hit them hard and hit them everywhere. They only understand the language of power – either you hit them or they will continue to bleed you. Recommend

  • gp65 .
    Jan 14, 2013 - 7:49AM

    @Adnan: I agree with most of what you said. Except this statement:
    “The talibanization of our society started from army under the leadership of general Zia”

    I would say that the Talibanisation of the Pakistani army started with Gen Zia. but the Talibanisation of the society started much earlier:
    Some markers are: 1946 : Direct action day when neighbour attacked neghbour just because religion was different
    1954: Objective resolution: Where some Pakistanis were considered less equal than others based on religion
    1974: Where state decided that it had the authority to decide what the religion of a person was.


  • observer
    Jan 14, 2013 - 11:59AM

    @Faqir Ipi:

    If this is not recruiting ground for Talibanism, what is ?

    Are you a recruit?

    Or are you one of the recruiters?

    However, your point about Droning Mardan, Wali Bagh, Peshawar, Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Quetta is well taken. Let us make up for lost time.


  • Adnan
    Jan 14, 2013 - 10:49PM

    @gp65 .:
    Your approach is quite right and praise worthy. Thanks for showing another way to look and research.


  • Khan Gul
    Jan 21, 2013 - 6:44PM

    I have never seen a better choice of words. PH God bless you.


  • Abid P. Khan
    Jan 21, 2013 - 7:56PM

    “…Let us make up for lost time. “

    Why not cut corners to save time, instead of TTP negotiate with PTI?


More in Opinion