No time to surrender

Published: February 18, 2013
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The writer is a partner at Bhandari, Naqvi & Riaz and an advocate of the Supreme Court. He can be reached on Twitter @laalshah

The writer is a partner at Bhandari, Naqvi & Riaz and an advocate of the Supreme Court. He can be reached on Twitter @laalshah

A few days ago, 27 different political parties reached the common conclusion that the best way to deal with the Taliban was to negotiate with them. I have no words to describe my contempt for the worthies who attended that conclave. But I am reminded of the words a law school friend of mine once used to address opposing counsel: “If you were on fire, I wouldn’t waste the piss to put you out.”

Let me concede that I appear increasingly to be in a minority. Apparently, the burden is now on warmongers like myself to justify our continued opposition to talks. This is my attempt to do so.

Let’s begin with the obvious questions: who are the Taliban? And what do they want?

The word ‘Taliban’ is the plural of the word ‘talib’ which, in turn, is an Arabic word that refers to a student. The term ‘Taliban’ in its current form was originally used to describe the seminary-educated followers of Mullah Omar when he swept to power in Afghanistan in 1994 and has subsequently been used ever since to describe both his followers, as well as people who believe in his particular vision of Islam.

In the particular context of Pakistan, the term ‘Taliban’ is a misnomer. This is because the Taliban proper (i.e., the militants who follow Mullah Omar and who oppose the US presence in Afghanistan) are an Afghan-oriented group interested in seeking power in Afghanistan. At the same time, there are multiple religiously motivated groups in Pakistan who seek to replicate the Taliban’s efforts in Pakistan, one of which is called the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (the ‘TTP’). If we are talking about negotiating with the Taliban in respect of areas within Pakistan, then it needs to be understood that we are talking about negotiating with the TTP and other similar organisations.

Second question: what do the TTP want? The short answer is that the TTP want power; that they want to do in Pakistan what the Taliban did in Afghanistan. The slightly longer answer is that they seek a Pakistan in which the only law is their interpretation of the Sharia, in which music, dancing and all forms of joy are banned, in which women are effectively enslaved, in which Shias are wajib ul qatal and in which the penalty for dissent is death.

On what basis then do we negotiate with the TTP? Unless negotiation means persuading the TTP to surrender, there are only two options. The first is that we compromise geographically and allow the TTP to take over power in certain areas. The second is that we revise the Constitution and the laws of this country. In each case, the quid pro quo would be for the TTP to demand no more.

The problem is that any such agreement with the TTP would be treasonous. And I use the word ‘treason’ with deliberation.

Article 5 of the Constitution provides first that “Loyalty to the State is the basic duty of every citizen” and second that “Obedience to the Constitution and law is the obligation of every citizen wherever he may be and of every other person for the time being within Pakistan”. If I have accurately described the agenda of the TTP, there is no possible negotiated result acceptable to them that will not result in disloyalty to the State and disobedience to the Constitution.

The TTP have made it abundantly clear that they do not accept the Constitution of Pakistan as legitimate. To give power to the TTP is to, therefore, concede that the state of Pakistan is fundamentally illegitimate. And any citizen of Pakistan who makes such a concession is committing treason: handing over Pakistani territory to the TTP is no different from handing over Pakistani territory to India.

In his column from a few days ago, Nadir Hassan referred to negotiations with the IRA, the Afghan Taliban and Palestine in order to contend that we should talk to the Pakistani Taliban. So far as I am concerned, this argument proves my point. If you believe that Pakistan’s claim to dominion over Fata is as bogus as Israel’s claim to Palestine, then please do talk to the TTP. But then recognise that you are also conceding the illegitimacy of the Pakistani state.

What then about the alternative? Why not jettison the Constitution in favour of the Holy Quran and Sunnah?

The short answer is that unless one is a moron (or an apologist for the TTP) one has to accept that there are multiple interpretations possible of what is permissible under Islam; which in turn begs the question of how one is to decide the correct interpretation; which is why we have a democracy; and, more importantly, which is why we have a Constitution. The media stars who hail the TTP would not last 24 hours under TTP rule. The fact that they know it and yet continue to peddle their rubbish is despicable.

Ah, you may say, but we are not talking about changing the Constitution for the whole country, just for Fata and other tribal areas. My question is why does that make a difference? Leaving aside the stupidity of believing that the TTP will be content with ruling just a small part of Pakistan, what part of throwing the population of Fata to the wolves is morally defensible? Please understand that the TTP do not represent the indigenous culture of Fata any more than Hitler represented the indigenous culture of Germany.

The only argument we are left with then is the necessity argument; that we are too dumb, too corrupt, too stupid and too confused to fight back and so we might as well surrender gracefully. My response to that is unprintable. If that is true of us then yes, we deserve to be ruled by the barbarian hordes. But it is not true. The only reason we do not respond is because the gentlemen running our country can’t be bothered to take time out from vandalising the exchequer.

Pakistan is in crisis today not because we lack capability but because our leaders lack faith. We may or may not find the will to defend ourselves. But I promise you that surrender is not the option.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (70)

  • sabi
    Feb 18, 2013 - 11:18PM

    Constitution also requires every citizen of this country to believe and practise in idealogy behind Pakistan and furthermore definetion of which given by extreme rightwing mindset which means state must decide definetion of religion and that people of other faith have limited freedoms of expressions.Anyone exceeding these limits will be punished by law of land.Talibans elimination will not resolve the situation unless state ceases to interfere in religion and nation on whole accept the policy of live and let live.This seems to be an uphil task and continues sword of fears on minorities Mainstream Pakistan is diped in sectarian voilance and there are millions of mullahs to fuel that hatred.Establishment uses these hatemongers for multiple purposes in return for extreme freedom to abuse religion.This is happening for decades and will continue to rise in future whther taliban live or not.Pakistan is on fire.
    Excellant article

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  • sabi
    Feb 18, 2013 - 11:27PM

    And let me add further that real threat to integrity of this nation is from barbaricammendment in constitution in the name of religions which prohibits minorities or targeted groups to defend the highly provocatives allegations leveled against them.Mullah is set free to insult abuse or attack minorities and their celebrities.Mullah is set free to threat presurise and blackmail judiciary to get decisions in his favour.The state machinery bows to mulla’s pressure in the name of law and order at the cost of civil liberties.Pakistan has to decidebetween mullah and civil liberties.Mullah is not ready to give up at any cost.

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  • Maula Jat
    Feb 18, 2013 - 11:32PM

    To fight or to talk, that is the question. Fight and talk, that is the answer! Do the politicians ever mean what they say? No more so than the wretched taliban.

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  • observer
    Feb 18, 2013 - 11:35PM

    The problem is that any such agreement with the TTP would be treasonous.

    WRONG.

    The Supreme Court has already established (Mansoor Ijaz Letter Affair) that any honest examination of the nexus between Al Qaeda/Taliban/TTP and the powers that be is ‘Treasonous’.

    The SC has not said a word about the NWA peace accords or Swat Settlement or Abbottabad Hospitality being ‘Treasonous’ in the least.

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  • Raj - USA
    Feb 18, 2013 - 11:58PM

    Excellent article. Agree with every word the author says, especially when he says negotiating with talibans is nothing but treason.

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  • Ali
    Feb 19, 2013 - 12:07AM

    Mr. Naqvi your perspective about Taliban’s is wrong and mixed up Omar’s Taliban movement with TTP, read the following http://blogs.thenewstribe.com/blog/68590/malala-media-and-the-taliban-phenomenon/#.USJ7iGdkh4s

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  • gp65
    Feb 19, 2013 - 12:19AM

    @observer:
    Though i think this OpEd is absolutely on target, you do provide a completely different perspective even as you diss tree with the author. Thank you.

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  • Arifq
    Feb 19, 2013 - 12:21AM

    Feisal, let me assure you that you are not alone! I am with you, we share the same pain and wish a Pakistan free of religious extremism. Keep writing!

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  • Kanwal
    Feb 19, 2013 - 12:35AM

    its an excellent article and shows us pakistanis in exactly the light we are: which nation will bear that tens of thousands of their fellow citizens keep dying? which nation will allow their politicians to form pacts with animals like these? and which nation will let their army request these scum not to attack its soldiers? of course we are dead. and every one can smell this rot. if every street of pakistan sends just one person, man or woman, to fight these animals and destroy their hideouts, there will be not one who would survive. but we are hiding this hate in so many hearts now, along with being drunk on religiosity, that its the whole body that harbors these cancers here n there. no hope in sight.

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  • MSS
    Feb 19, 2013 - 1:13AM

    Mr Naqvi is spot on.
    Agreeing to talk with TTP is to confer legitimacy on them and accepting them as a party to a dispute where none exists. Acceding to any of their demand is the first installment of their blackmail payment with many more to follow on an escalatory ladder.
    Ceding territory to them is to mutilate the national geography of Pakistan plus throwing a large population to the hungry hyenas and creating a precedence for more such demands from other groups.
    The way forward: Send them a clear message that the state means no leniency for them, no matter what it takes. Deal with them with the proverbial iron rod giving no quarters. But Pakistan will also have to start dealing with Lej, LeT, JUD, JM and other groups. Forget the big ticket weapon systems, clean up the backyard first.
    Pakistan also has to start educating the masses who are vouching for talks. If the numbers sympathising with TTP reaches a critical mass then that will be a point of no return.

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  • Dilip
    Feb 19, 2013 - 1:33AM

    Forget any LEADERS will solve the problems of PAKISTAN. It is time for the people to rise up to the occasion. The people has become to INDIA centric, they should realise that internal problems far outweigh the problems on the LOC.

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  • jerseybb
    Feb 19, 2013 - 1:35AM

    Totally agreed with the article, it’s like you gave words to my thoughts.

    No dialogues with these animals, I hope animals don’t take an offense

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  • numbersnumbers
    Feb 19, 2013 - 2:58AM

    @Ali:
    Please tell us who the Taliban are that are now offering to negotiate with the government of Pakistan but in the meantime they will continue to send suicide bombers and assasinate those ploiticians/civilians who disagree with them???

    PLEASE provide your “perspective” about the Taliban so we can all read about your viewpoint!

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  • Go Zardari Go!!
    Feb 19, 2013 - 4:11AM

    Yes the war mongerers want war but have no idea how to fight it. What do you want send soldiers to every corner of pakistan, air strikes everywhere. The Taliban and its supporters need to be taken out of the wood work and actually get to know them. As the old adage know thy enemy, without it we are fighting ghosts. Just what have the Americans accomplished in Afghanistan who are extremely desperate to find a POLITICAL solution. There isn’t a better fighting force in the world than the US and even they cannot find victory in Afghanistan. So what do you expect from a stretched out military of Pakistan.

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  • Anticorruption
    Feb 19, 2013 - 4:14AM

    @Ali:

    The article you post is misleading. Just because Mullah Omer rescued a couple of girls from warlords does not mean his treatment of women in Afghanistan was not barbaric. The Afghan Taliban did ban education for girls. They also openly provided training camps to groups like Lashkar-e-Jhangwi.

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  • Pawan madhok
    Feb 19, 2013 - 5:20AM

    It is gratifying to see such sterling qualities of clarity and courage emerge amongst the tripe and moral cowardice mostly on display in Pakistan. The absence of revulsion and outrage at the continual parade of atrocities committed regularly by the Taliban has so emboldened the Taliban that they have the gall to suggest negotiations while continuing their despicable campaign. Hats off to Mr. Naqvi for upholding righteousness in an otherwise barren political culture.

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  • Arijit Sharma
    Feb 19, 2013 - 5:39AM

    @Dilip: ” … The people has become to INDIA centric, they should realise that internal problems far outweigh the problems on the LOC. … “

    If a race of people are “Indian” by genetics, they will be Indo-centric, no ? Ideology or Religion can not triumph over biology. But, religious philosophy over thousands of years does impact genetics. And the “steady state” philosophy for sub-continental genetics is Sanatan Dharma. It has been so for thousands of years.

    Resistance is futile. Everybody in the sub-continent will be assimilated.

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  • Feroz
    Feb 19, 2013 - 7:54AM

    The ones who created these monsters are ideologically aligned with them and are least interested in eliminating them. If these Taliban are emasculated who will do the dirty work of these evil forces. TTP killed BB, sure they did but who masterminded it, Taliban were not in a position to order washing of crime scene were they? Who will make people disappear and who will knock off secular Politicians if TTP is neutralized ? Citizens must be dispassionate in seeing that this is a back door grab for Power by the Establishment, once again fooling the people and feeding them the emotional garbage using instrumentality of Religion.
    Pakistan is doomed whichever way one looks at the problems and the will or lack of it to resolve them.

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  • Feb 19, 2013 - 8:45AM

    Excellent article with all the logic and analysis.but when Pakistan currently has no writ( ground realities) on some tribal territory . Then is state saving/ or in a position to save the tribal populace from the wolves ( with their ideology) ? NO. Why there is no writ of the state? Is it tough terrains and demography, is it incapability of the army( force of the state) or the unwillingness on the part of the government with priorities of task with a mentality,Tribals have different traditions inclined towards conservatism and not in the mainstream, let them suffer/ what can be done with limited resources,, sympathy factor that after all Taliban too our brethren. Is it all these factors collectively responsible for the current scenario?
    Assessment of own strength and weakness will help to decide the path to be adopted either to go on war/ fight with TTP/ similar groups or bring them on table to talk ( without any commitment) using persuasion, pressure, and power of state ( if needed to use air power).
    though use of air power is not desirable. If the talk can be used /seen as a strategy (rather be treated as surrender) there is reason to wait . Answer/ outcome of talk lies in the future.
    ( in addition to TTP it is the religious mentality which also has the support in constitution which will continue to produce another TTP in the future. . The source of the offspring of TTP needs to be plugged)

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  • DoTheTwist
    Feb 19, 2013 - 9:22AM

    PLEASE translate this into urdu, these views should go beyond the like-minded English-speaking minority. Great article.

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  • osman
    Feb 19, 2013 - 9:55AM

    I agree with Naqvi’s contention that ‘talks with TTP should never be the option’… but sir what option does the political rep’s have in view of the fact that there is a deep rooted interest of Pakistan’s very own protective & preventive agencies in harboring the TTP and use them when they want to do so… Sometimes, it feels like that you are fighting enemy’s shadow rather than the enemy itself…

    And those who make hate speeches against shia’s should know that they have always contributed towards the making of pakistan and contributed in every sphere of life… some of them are Mohammad Ali JInnah, Sir Agha Khan, Raja of Mahmoodabad, Ispahani, V.Jaffery, Sir Shahnawaz Bhutto, Seth Mitha Habib, Syed Babar Ali Shah, Syed Maratib Ali, Abidi of BCCI…

    these people have never differentiated that who is sunni and who is shia…

    Pakistan does have majority of people who do not differentiate between sunni and shia… but the only thing that lacks is the “Will” to come out and speak…

    Let’s come out to support our shia brethern who are mourning their dear ones in quetta…

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  • Murad
    Feb 19, 2013 - 9:55AM

    seriously i agree with eevry word that the writer has said. I mean what is wrong with us? how can we even think about talks with TTP.
    1. they dont recognize our laws.
    2. they dont respect our wy oflife.
    3. hate our freedom
    4. they hate our approach towards life.
    5. they dont recognize our constitution
    6. they dont agree with our approach towards islam.
    7. they want to impsoe their fire brand sharia.
    8. they want to suffocate us.
    9. they dont agree to anything regarding our social system
    10. they dont agree with our understanding of islam
    11. they dont value life as we do
    12. they will kill us, for even the most smallest of disagreement.
    13. they will behead us to instill fear in our hearts
    14. they will have lala masjids in every corner of pakistan if we bend to their will
    15. they will not allow us any freedom
    16. they will not let us breathe
    17. they are NOT ready to concede to any point.
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  • HUM
    Feb 19, 2013 - 10:01AM

    Amazing article. You have broken down the problem to such small and basic peices that even a child can understand the issue. But we pakistanis will never learn.

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  • Saeed
    Feb 19, 2013 - 10:31AM

    First of all the author being a lawyer should have some modicum of control over his use of words. E T should be editing more carefully. Secondly if one has to resort to such language one has already lost the battle. Third he is wrong in all his assumptions and would do well to read and learn before letting his emotions get the better of him. We all are against extremism and terrorism, and all, barring a very small minority, wants an end to it all. War against your own people is always used as a last desperate resort, and history tells us that it is seldom successful in the long term. Since he mentions democracy, that in itself implies inclusion not seclusion of ideas however unpalatable they may be. Let us not get carried away by rhetoric and try and use our good sense for once, for the betterment of our country and our people.

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  • Adil
    Feb 19, 2013 - 10:37AM

    Stunning analysis of the situation in Pakistan. I don’t think anyone could have put forward the case for not negotiating and surrendering to these ancient, barbaric beasts any better. My admiration, agreement and respect Feisal Naqvi Sahib!

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  • Morons
    Feb 19, 2013 - 12:12PM

    Perfect arguments. I totally agree with you. No talks with the rogues, just attack them and hit them hard.

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  • Rationalist
    Feb 19, 2013 - 12:40PM

    @Saeed:
    Third he is wrong in all his assumptions and would do well to read and learn before letting his emotions get the better of him.
    Would you please enlighten us the wrong assumptions made by the author. No generalization and be specific.

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  • Feb 19, 2013 - 12:52PM

    It all boils down to, in most Muslim majority countries, to Sharia.

    Sharia practiced in Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan, etc are very similar. Be-headings, caning and forcible amputations happen in most of these countries(I said most, not all). Even in a modern country like Malaysia canings happen.

    The problem with Mr.Naqvi is he is a liberal. He has this Utopian idea of Sharia and considers the widely accepted interpretation wrong. This might be for several reasons. He might not have studied the Sharia or have gained some selectively knowledge of it and thinks of other interpretations wrong. In this aspect he is not that different from the Taliban. They too think other versions are wrong.

    Now for the Constitutional argument. I believe the Constitution of Pakistan says all Laws MUST conform to Sharia. In this case the majority wins and Sharia becomes supreme, more important than the Constitution itself. This is where the Taliban come in..

    They want the popular Sharia, the one practiced by many countries, not the one Mr.Naqvi wants which is not practiced in ANY country.

    Either accept Sharia or stop using the word in your arguments. You will lose the way you are fighting for your cause, Sir.

    FYI, I am Indian, a Hindu and I support the imposition of Sharia over ALL Pakistanis. :) Nothing would give me more joy. Haha!

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  • Sultan
    Feb 19, 2013 - 1:50PM

    Shame on you Faisal Naqvi for reserving words like Shame On You for Imran Khan. He has once again proved he is tall enough to look over the looming hill and all your so called democrats from family limited companies are just pathetic, opportunistic copy cats. Get ready to live without US aid and have your accountant get your income documents together– time to pay taxes is coming soon!

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  • Sultan
    Feb 19, 2013 - 1:55PM

    @BruteForce:

    Your hatred for Pakistan is as obvious as a boil on a leper’s face. Why do you have to waste time stating it over and over again?

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  • Feb 19, 2013 - 2:36PM

    @Sultan:

    Hey! I want Pakistan to follow Islam. Is that so bad? Wasn’t that the reason Jinnah created Pakistan? He wanted Sharia too in Pakistan.

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  • Anticorruption
    Feb 19, 2013 - 2:46PM

    @Saeed:

    If the author’s assumptions are incorrect, then can you tell us what kind of peace deal is possible?

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  • Aviator
    Feb 19, 2013 - 3:49PM

    I’m shocked and alarmed that columnists such as Nadir Shah who suggest that Pakistan should give up territory to the TTP. If we were to follow that logic to its conclusion then really there is no basis for the existence of Pakistan, as Balochistan, sindh, Kashmir could all claim their own independence.

    If Pakistan decides to give in to the demands of the TTP then I think it will be beginning of the end of Pakistan

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  • Rex Minor
    Feb 19, 2013 - 4:32PM

    Et should stop censoring bloggers comments and let Mr Morsi in his visit to Pakistan tell the peers that sharia is the law which the muslims legislate for their country in the 21st century not copying the 7th century laws. We have reformed and civilised ourselves, we worship the living God and no longer past deads, we want to have a dialogue with fellow citizens, speak Pashto language as well as the arabic language and understand what Pakhtunwali and Ummah is!! We are not the enemies of Islam nor the slaves of the yanks. Ours is the country, visionised by the muslims and founded by the great muslim Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

    Surrender is not an option but peace is on the table and let us see that we achieve it without further boodshed.

    Rex Minor

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  • Feb 19, 2013 - 4:32PM

    @kaalchakra:

    I believe you. I believe people like you will define Sharia and make sure its implemented correctly. Trust me, I honestly want Sharia to be implemented over all of Pakistan.

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  • Uza Syed
    Feb 19, 2013 - 4:51PM

    Often in disagreement with Feisal Shah here, but on this one I must agree with him in toto. Patriotism demands it, common sense dictates and, if nothing else, our self-interest says that we must resist these so called ‘Talibs’ (Talibs of our disintegration, our annihilation?!) and reject them and any offers of whatever they offer. They must be treated with our absolute and total abhorance and resolution to face the challenge they are and overcome them as a threat to our existence as a people. No negotiation with these sob because sitting with them would tantamount to raising their level and converting their illegitimacy to a legitimate party vis a vis the State of Pakistan.

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  • Rex Minor
    Feb 19, 2013 - 5:09PM

    Experience without theory is blind, but theory without experience is merely an intellectual play..

    Rex Minor

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  • Noise
    Feb 19, 2013 - 5:41PM

    @kaalchakra
    And the only true sources of our beauitful sharia is the Quran and the Sunnah of the Nabi (saws) and his heirs, the imams from the Ahle-bayt (as). If you disagree and your sources of sharia are people other than the Nabi (saws) and his heirs (as)…if your take your sharia from irrelevant people like Abu Hanifa or Ibn Taymiyya then you are at best ignorant and misguided, and at wost, in open rebellion agaisnt Allah who has made the ahl-e-bayt of Muhammad (as) the sources of guidence for people of true faith.

    بَقِيَّتُ اللَّهِ خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُؤْمِنِينَ ۚ وَمَا أَنَا عَلَيْكُمْ بِحَفِيظٍ :11:86}
    [11:86] “That which is left you by Allah (Baqiyatullah) is best for you, if ye (but) believed! but I am not set over you to keep watch!”

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  • Atif Salahuddin
    Feb 19, 2013 - 6:01PM

    The author’s whole premise of his argument is that the TTP alone want Shariah in Pakistan. This is completely incorrect, as many people in Pakistan want to see the Quran and Sunnah i.e Shariah implemented today. Even hardcore sceptics can’t deny Polls by the US based Pew organisation and the University of Maryland acknowledging this. Many people see that Democracy has failed to improve the situation in Pakistan as the people’s lives become an absolute misery under this corrupt system.

    The author’s claim of which Shariah interpretation would be applied and hence being unworkable is another deliberate example of twisting the reality or an example of his historical ignorance. Is he not aware that the Caliphate ruled the Muslim world for hundreds of years with the Caliph adopting on public matters regarding the Shariah whilst leaving personal matters to each citizen? The Caliphate far outlasted the current Democratic disaster in Pakistan purely in terms of longevity alone.

    The truth is that the TTP are not the only party in this matter. The elephant in the room of course is America which dragged Pakistan into it’s war of occupation of Afghanistan which are our rulers readily agreed to since Musharraf’s time. Whilst America attempts to talk and cut a deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan as it staggers from it losses on the battlefield in anticipation of downscaling its Afghan presence, it continues to perpetuate the conflict in Pakistan with its drone strikes. Moreover its covert presence as exposed by the capture of Raymond Davis has helped create havoc and chaos throughout the country. The only sensible course of action left is to withdraw from this American war of occupation and let the people of Pakistan decide how they wish to live by.

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  • Something Clever
    Feb 19, 2013 - 7:00PM

    Any form of conceding means TTP has won. It’s the whole point of using terrorism tactics. They don’t fight you head on and take over. They wear you down until they’re handed whatever it is they desire. Fear, paranoia, loss and so on are their primary weapons. Bombs and guns are secondary. It’s a war on your emotions and mental state. There is no better example of it being successful than ANP’s current view. They’ve been worn down psychologically by things like Bilour’s death. That probably escalated their “I might be next” paranoia to the near tipping point, just as TTP wanted it to do. All it took was teasing them with a way out to finish the job.
    Also if you want to really see things escalate, giving them that win so easily will do it. I promise they’ll want more. Not only want it, but also become pretty certain they can get it.

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  • Feb 19, 2013 - 7:36PM

    there’s no space for taliban,, i dont even call them muslims,, who has given them the right to interpretate the faith. they are morons, the beats.. how could we go in negotiations without any basis??
    this is our war, this is not only a war on terror but this is a war between right and wrong… god bless Pakistan..

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  • Feb 19, 2013 - 7:45PM

    @khayambeg:

    “who has given them the right to interpretate the faith”

    Who has given you the right to deny that right? Or, the right to give the “right” interpretation? They have taken up arms to fight for what they believe in, what are you doing?

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  • Musthaq Ahmed
    Feb 19, 2013 - 7:45PM

    @Noise:
    You first learn Newtonian mechanics. Then some thing about electromagnetism.Then some thing about heat. Take up biology and finish with theories of natural selection. Read history by western authors. Acquaint yourself with 1792 French revolution. Half your ignorance is cured.

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  • Zalmai
    Feb 19, 2013 - 7:48PM

    “If you believe that Pakistan’s claim to dominion over Fata is as bogus as Israel’s claim to Palestine, then please do talk to the TTP. But then recognise that you are also conceding the illegitimacy of the Pakistani state.”

    FATA is the land of Pashtuns and they have their own code of conduct and way of life, which is in stark contrast to the ways of Punjabis, Sindhis and Urdu speaking people of Pakistan. Fundamentally Pashtuns have nothing in common with the rest of Pakistani ethnic groups and they should go the way of the Bengalis. The Bengalis proved the legitimacy or illegitimacy of the Pakistani state in 1971.

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  • Saeed
    Feb 19, 2013 - 7:49PM

    @Anticorruption:
    Mr. Atif’s response is adequate. However to answer your question, the only difference between them and us is the methodology employed. We fight injustice, inequity, oppression with dialogue and our pen, using elections as a tool, they use weapons and other harmful devices. Otherwise take away their weapons and what is the difference between their demands and that of other right wing religious parties. Nothing, maybe a little variance here and there but essentially the same. Yet we sit down and talk with JI, JUI and others. If we don’t sit down and talk with TTP, as you and I are doing, how will we know what their real demands are?Remember their fight is the same as ours, against exploitation, degradation, injustice, inequity and years of oppression and deprivation. It is a lie, what our foreign benefactors and their local acolytes have been telling us” that they are against our way of life”. First define our way of life, is it western, liberal, secular and does it apply to all Pakistanis, or a few elites. Or is our way of life defined by our local culture, religion, social and cultural norm. I agree they want power and want to rule over their territory but then so do we. We do it through parliament, and why do we assume that they will not be willing to sit with us in the house or the senate. I also agree that if some of them are not amenable to a civilized peace deal, then the force of the state must be used, but only as a last resort. Years of deprivation will make you susceptible to brainwashing, and we need to tackle that intelligently, not with brute force, it won’t work. In Karachi, where target killing is a daily occurrence, force is used by political parties for grabbing power, intimidation and corruption, yet no voice is as forcefully raised against it by our liberal elites. I wonder if they will accept drone strikes in Lyari?

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  • Noise
    Feb 19, 2013 - 8:27PM

    @Musthaq Ahmed
    What makes you think I do not know all that? That a big assumption you make. I’m a student of science myself. I accept all of those things, including evolution. Science is the study of nature and nature is true. But science does not transcend, it is limited to this material reality. I believe there is something greater than this existence and that there is a greater purpose to our lives than mere survival. I believe in a transcendent creator. And if there is a just creator then I believe he would not leave his creations without guidance and purpose.

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  • Enlightened
    Feb 19, 2013 - 8:43PM

    An excellent write up. The writer has discussed all pros and cons methodically with logical conclusion. As rightly brought out that Taliban’s sole objective is to rule the whole country and even handing a few areas to them would tantamount to great injustice to the people of that region. Taliban’s following its twisted ideology has on their hands the blood of innocent people who were killed by them for no fault of theirs. They are not at all ready to shun violence and kill anyone who opposes them, have no idea of governance or health care, are against education of girls and want to ban music, cinema etc. They have proved to be a curse on whole of Pakistan by destroying peace in the entire country and any thought of talks with them shall be an act of abject surrender. Time is running out for Pakistan and military must launch decisive operations against them without further loss of time in order to save the country from an anarchy.

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  • Zalmai
    Feb 19, 2013 - 8:46PM

    @Dilip: ” … “The people has become to INDIA centric, they should realise that internal problems far outweigh the problems on the LOC. … “

    If a race of people are “Indian” by genetics, they will be Indo-centric, no ? Ideology or Religion can not triumph over biology. But, religious philosophy over thousands of years does impact genetics. And the “steady state” philosophy for sub-continental genetics is Sanatan Dharma. It has been so for thousands of years.

    Resistance is futile. Everybody in the sub-continent will be assimilated.”

    Very clairvoyant of you. Everybody in the sub-continent will be assimilated. Jinnah and Bhutto had at least one Hindu parent or grandparent and as such all Punjabis, Sindhis and Muhajirs belong to Sanatan Dharma. The cycle of life eventually comes full circle.

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  • Ali
    Feb 19, 2013 - 8:47PM

    @Anticorruption:
    Please provide sources of your viewpoint/assumptions about Afghan Taliban.

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  • tariq khan
    Feb 19, 2013 - 9:36PM

    master pieceRecommend

  • Anticorruption
    Feb 19, 2013 - 9:43PM

    @Ali:

    You’re the one making assumptions, not me. Read any book on Taliban, do a google or talk to some Afghans yourself if you don’t trust the media, and they will all corroborate it. I have done all of these btw. As for their connections with sectarian groups like LJ, the first time I heard about it was actually straight from someone affiliated with LJ itself. This was when the Taliban were in power in Afghanistan and very few people in the media were talking about their connections with groups like LJ and Sipa-e-sahaba.

    In contrast, people who deny all this never provide any sources or even statements from the Taliban to the contrary.

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  • Indian
    Feb 19, 2013 - 10:26PM

    Zalmai, as an admirer of yours, I hope you didn’t read any supremacist claims in the so-called sanatana dharma. :)

    The dharma is essentially the idea of unity in diversity – from many to one, and the truth of many parts. It is in that sense that we Indians love and honor a great Pashtoon like Bacchha Khan. Had we been lucky enough to have a great man like him born in India, he would be part of sanatana dharma too becasuse he shared that vision. Religion itself has little to do with it. It is no surprise that this ‘religiosity’ came in direct conflict with what Pakistan chose to speicalize in.

    What has happened to a place like Peshawar – the ancient land of mighty kushans – is most tragic. The name still evokes images of flower and fruit laden trees, wealth, travel, peace, enlightened co-existence and education. It has taken centuries of determined effort to drag it down so.

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  • khan
    Feb 19, 2013 - 11:04PM

    People of Pakistan know the fact about TTP and Afghanis Taliban. These taliban were the true friends of pakistan before 9/11 incident. they had been controling all the border that attaches with Afganistan. The group TTP is not a foriegn made militant group but its consists of tribal people whose relatives either were killed in Afghanistan by American or in Pakistan by drones attack. The govt should negotiate with taliban. I am totly disagree with the writer’s viewpoint about taliban.

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  • Milestogo
    Feb 19, 2013 - 11:13PM

    Sharia is a divine law hence superior than all man made laws…

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  • Roni
    Feb 19, 2013 - 11:22PM

    A pragmatic and truthful Op Ed. My previous comments were not included. Just want to say thank you for being honest and upfront.

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  • Rex Minor
    Feb 19, 2013 - 11:49PM

    @Atif Salahuddin:

    Very well said. The author is not familiar with sharia, the talibans, their resistance and the lands they live in. His suspicions are influenced more or less by the events in the area of WAR zone which the USA and Pakistan Gvt. have jointly declared. If this does not stop the resistance is poised to talibanise major cities of Pakistan.

    Rex Minor

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  • kaalchakra
    Feb 20, 2013 - 12:26AM

    Noise, please keep those riders to yourselves. If everyone began attaching such riders and provisos, there would be nothing left. Shariah is beautiful – Let us first all agree, and then we can implement it in its true form.

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  • Rex Minor
    Feb 20, 2013 - 12:34AM

    Mushtaq Ahmad,

    I had therefore to remove knowledge, in order to make room for belief. a quote of Immanuel Kant.

    Rex Minor

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  • MK
    Feb 20, 2013 - 1:00AM

    @Auhor.

    Can you also please convince US and Afghans to do the same. They are also committing treason by talking to their own Taliban.

    Oh sorry, I almost forgot that world’s only super power tried fighting for a decade, and is now committing treason (AKA talks) themselves.

    Mexico is another country in similar shoes. They have Drug cartels instead of Taliban. Do some research on government actions there and results.

    This is more of a a social problem. Why do Taliban exist? Was FATA a model place before Taliban emerged? Was government providing quality secular and religious education there before they emerged? Why do one has to find a foreign funded madrassa to get religious education in ISLAMIC republic. Is this not governments job? Why complain when government outsourced a basic need (Education) to religious fanatics and private institutions who make lots of profit in Education Business.

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  • Sultan
    Feb 20, 2013 - 1:09AM

    Naqvi, you love to publish Jinnah bashers and also protect them from harsh rebuttals. What is your problem with Jinnah?

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  • numbersnumbers
    Feb 20, 2013 - 1:56AM

    @khan:
    By chance, please tell us just WHO has killed more than 30,000 Pakistanis (and maimed and crippled probably twice that number ) inside Pakistan over the last decade?????
    Could it be your “True friends of Pakistan”, THE TTP, who take credit for so many suicide bombings, beheadings of military personnel, and assassinations of those who do not agree with their warped view of Islam??
    Is this the “FACT” the people of Pakistan know about??

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  • Atif
    Feb 20, 2013 - 5:12AM

    Eloquently written. However my problem with this article is how you fail to give a strategy to dealing with the TTP. Its all good to say that per principle and constitution negotiation cannot be done. But what is the alternative ? Lets say you declare open war. Suicide bombings increase 5 fold , country goes into civil war and becomes bankrupt.What then ? Please tell me my enlightened friend. Do you have an answer to suicide bombings?

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  • Musthaq Ahmed
    Feb 20, 2013 - 8:42AM

    @Noise:
    This is no surprise. You scored good marks in science. Science did not sink into thought. Science is philosophy. Matter thinks. Then why transcendental , just transcendental, guiding just transcendental etc leaving living matter on earth free to commit all crimes? Then we have our own transcendental , threatening us with fire fire and fire ! Is this not the same fire we face everyday in Pakistan ? Is the man in dark turban transcendental itself ?

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  • Noise
    Feb 20, 2013 - 9:26AM

    @Rex Minor
    If you agree with that quote then you underestimate the human mind. It has room enough for both knowledge and beleifs.

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  • Noise
    Feb 20, 2013 - 9:50AM

    @Asif
    If our country cannot win the war agaisnt terrorists then its over, finshed, done. If this were ancient Japan the top army generals would have commited painful suicide to atone for their failure. If Pakistan cannot win agaisnt these terorsists it has no business calling itself a state, it should hand itself over to India or Iran who have successfully stopped terrorism within their borders. And FYI this country is bankrupt and has been for over a decade.

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  • Sultan
    Feb 20, 2013 - 5:31PM

    @Sultan:
    Naqvi, you love to publish Jinnah bashers and also protect them from harsh rebuttals. What is your problem with Jinnah?

    Thanks Naqvi. Now publishh the rebuttals to declared Pakistan hater Brute Force you censored as well.

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  • Rex Minor
    Feb 20, 2013 - 8:11PM

    Noise,

    I do agree with Kant, but am also aware that a human is born with a preset geist( soul and brain) and its current performance is very restricted since it has not yet been able on average to utilise the potential of the brain beyond the 18% mark.

    You see there is much to learn and to discover in the Universe and the 18% brain is not good enough.

    Rex Minor

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  • Rex Minor
    Feb 21, 2013 - 3:15AM

    What the author and many others have not fully understood the psyche of the Pashtuns or the Talibans is that in their history they have never asked of their enemies to surrender. I have a very old clip of an english news paper which describes the massacre in cold kabul by Tom Pocock about an anglo-Indian force of some 16,000 fighting men with 38,000 camp followers set out . Many of the 30,000 pack followers were laden with luxries for officers. ” who would as soon have thought of leaving behind their swords and double barralled pistols as march without their dressing cases, their perfumes, windsor soap and eau-de-cologne.” But there was no lack of courage and after a few brisk actions, kabul was entered and th puppet (King) installed.
    Afghanistan rose against the British and in 1841 calamity closed in with the winter. Only one individual from the massive force at the time which entered kabul, only one reached India.
    There is no room for surrender in confrontation; they do not seek anything which is not theirs nor have demands of others; all they want is be left in peace so that they can safely live with their families and return to their orchards, said once the incumbent President of Afghanistan.

    Rex Minor

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  • Noise
    Feb 21, 2013 - 9:25AM

    Then why the muzakarart and the jirgas which they participate in? They better abandon their arrogance and hypocrisy or they will eventually be exterminated, this mindset has no place in a civilized world. The Pashtuns have always been a blight on this region. Im not taking about Pathans as a race but the mindset that most of them have. They talk as if they are the toughest thing on earth (yet always act the victim) but when war comes no other race is so quick to abandon their home and take refuge in another as the Pashtun.

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  • Rex Minor
    Feb 21, 2013 - 3:59PM

    Noise,

    Now you are making too much noise whch is not healthy! Theirs is the land which offers hospitaity to those who are friends and seek asylum or provide a permanent rest to those who are enemies and seek confrontation. They do not pretend to be victims nor aggressors and those who are wise take them seriously. Ony fools and cavaliers confront them to parish or return to their homes to tell their experience to their children about the great warriors of the North.

    Arthur Swinson writes with fascination the captured memories of the nostalgic and evocative people and events of the North -West in his memoires during the period 1830-1947events

    Rex Minor

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