Collective wisdom of a nuclear state

Published: March 4, 2013
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The writer is a retired brigadier who has served in senior intelligence postings in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Fata

The writer is a retired brigadier who has served in senior intelligence postings in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Fata

The collective wisdom of a nuclear power was aptly displayed in the recently held all-parties conference (APC) of the JUI-F, in which all mainstream political and religious parties, as well as civil society groups agreed to negotiate peace with militant elements through a broadened tribal jirga. Since the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) gets offended with the word ’terrorist’ — they like to be known as jihadis — the APC omitted the word from their five-point declaration, ignoring the fact that these ‘pious’ people have killed more than 40,000 innocent Pakistani Muslims in their jihad against ‘infidels’. The declaration also did not include the condition that the TTP lay down arms before the initiation of a meaningful dialogue. The father of our nuclear programme reportedly stated, “What weapon of bargain will they have in talks if they surrender their arms?” No one has asked them to deposit their arms in the state armoury. They have just been requested not to use these against the state and innocent Muslims. A journalist reportedly stated that “the tribal people had come to the political leadership for the last time and if they returned disappointed, the national leaders would have no control over them”. Why ‘last time’, he did not elaborate, but he was probably hinting at the possibility that if we do not talk to the Taliban, Fata may no longer remain under the control of the state.

The people who would really be enjoying this collective wisdom must be Hakeemullah Mehsud and his partners in crime. They will be delighted that after killing thousands of Pakistanis, attacking military installations, beheading soldiers, kidnapping people for ransom, looting banks, terming Muhammad Ali Jinnah a ‘kafir’, they have still forced all elected leaders, including the prime minister, to talk to them, on their terms. The TTP knows that political parties want to run a peaceful election campaign and are apprehensive of violence, which their suicide bombers could unleash, and, therefore, chose this time to make their dialogue offer.

The governor has offered the Governor House to the tribal jirga to use as office. Some questions from the members of this nominated grand jirga: where has this jirga been for the past 11 years when Pakistanis were being killed ruthlessly? If the Maliks of this jirga were not the accomplices of the terrorists, did they protest when Fata was taken over by the Taliban? What are their credentials? Did they ever fight against the atrocities committed by the TTP and al Qaeda against the tribal peoples and the army? Did they condemn the killings of tribal Maliks who probably enjoyed a high stature and wanted to resist the presence of foreign militants in their areas? Did they ever protest against those tribal people who provided shelter to foreign militants?

The APC, in its lengthy session, probably did not discuss the modalities of talks and the various groups likely to be engaged, leaving it to the discretion of the jirga. However, in all probability, the jirga is likely to be confronted with some serious issues. Hakeemullah Mehsud may not be in control of other terrorist outfits, such as those operating in Swat, Bajaur, Mohmand, Orakzai, FRs and Khyber Agency? What about al Qaeda and thousands of other foreign militants residing in Fata? Will they be deported to their own countries to fight against their regimes for the implementation of shariah? What about the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and other Punjabi Taliban, against whom the federal government has announced a crackdown? It will be a big achievement if the jirga can effect a ceasefire the day negotiations are initiated.

The TTP is waiting for a ‘positive response’ from the army, which they did not want to name as guarantor. If a majority of Pakistanis are convinced that negotiations are the only option to get rid of terrorism, talks should be held but within the ambit of the Constitution, and respecting the country’s law and sovereignty. However, if negotiations fail, then the nation should support the use of force against them, without any ifs and buts.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 5th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • Ejaaz
    Mar 4, 2013 - 11:52PM

    Munir Sahib:

    You ignore the extensive support the jihadis have in our country among the ordinary citizens. The talks are being held to see how much are we willing to surrender to the jihadis at the moment. If they will be willing to wait another few years for our complete surrender, the talks will be successful. We cannot defeat the jihadis without a very major disruption to Pakistan, and there will be a great deal of bloodshed, and the economy will be devestated. The jihadis know we do not have the resolve to go through the punishment they can inflict upon us, and they also know that we cannot inflict any significant pain on them at the moment, army or no army. You say “the nation should support”. What nation? The Balochi are unhappy. The Sindhi’s are unhappy. The Minorities are trying to hide the best they can. The Shia are being killed. So which nation do you think will come together without ifs and buts?

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  • Abrar
    Mar 5, 2013 - 12:14AM

    Very well written

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  • AmirB
    Mar 5, 2013 - 12:39AM

    The talks will definitely fail, keeping in mind the track record of Jihadis vis-a-vis negotiations. However, it is a good idea to talk and present the real face of TTP to may among us who think this genie can be put back into the bottle by talking sense to them. I totally agree if and when the talks fail, the army operation has to be comprehensive and the everyone, including the leadership and the masses, have to back it with no IFs and BUTs.

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  • Nadir
    Mar 5, 2013 - 2:01AM

    TTP are US-RAW-Mossad tools, we must therefore negotiate with them because they are our brothers.

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  • MSS
    Mar 5, 2013 - 2:28AM

    “They will be delighted that after killing thousands of Pakistanis, attacking military installations, beheading soldiers, kidnapping people for ransom, looting banks, terming Muhammad Ali Jinnah a ‘kafir’, they have still forced all elected leaders, including the prime minister, to talk to them, on their terms. The TTP knows that political parties want to run a peaceful election campaign and are apprehensive of violence, which their suicide bombers could unleash, and, therefore, chose this time to make their dialogue offer”

    Indeed.

    That sums it up. If there is still some genuine support for these thugs and murderers then there is no cure for this ill society. The caretaker dispensation has their work cut out for them. And if the future power holders are going to hold views similar to the APC, then it is better to avoid the bloodshed and hand over the awain-esadr to TTP(Pakistan will not need Parliament) . Why hold elections?
    Murphy’s law: If you are out of gas why worry about the tyre pressure?
    Save the trouble and expense.

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  • sabi
    Mar 5, 2013 - 2:36AM

    The suppoters of talks with talibans are hypocrites and therefore have no wisdom and logic.There will be no talks and there will be no fight with talibans by the present setup (both civil military leadership and their ilks).Because all leads go to the doorstep of ruling elites which can survive only with present status-quo-Pakistan as a neutral state (secular) is the only gurantee for permanent peace.But neutral state would mean rule of people on so called saviours of Pakistan under pseudo idelogies.Pakistan needs a powerfull man (most probabaly General) to take everybody to task including generls.

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  • Jat
    Mar 5, 2013 - 3:09AM

    What makes for a great Islamic Nuclear country with a unique and powerful geopolitical location ?

    Since the Terrorists get offended with the word ’terrorist’ — the APC omitted the word from their five-point declaration, ignoring the fact that these people have killed more than 40,000 Pakistani Muslims
    The declaration did not include the condition that the terrorists lay down arms before the initiation of talks. The father of Islamic nuclear bomb sympathized with the terrorists saying, “What weapon of bargain will they have in talks if they surrender their arms?”
    The governor has kindly offered the Governor House to the terrorist jirga to use as office.
    The APC, in its lengthy session did not discuss the modalities of talks leaving it to the discretion of the terrorists.
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  • Roni
    Mar 5, 2013 - 8:40AM

    TTP has beaten the nuclear armed Pakistan with huge army into submission. The more they would kill the more people and army would surrender to them. They know it full well, we know it the whole world knows it that is why their atrocities are increasing not decreasing. They want to talk to us from the position of strength not surrender. It is not if the talks fail but when the talks fail and we fail to impose their Sharia on Pakistan.

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  • Feroz
    Mar 5, 2013 - 11:15AM

    I cannot see the relevance of the heading and title “collective wisdom of a nuclear state” to the contents of the article written. These talks and their patrons have always embraced Dictators and have never been lovers of Democracy. The self serving Parliamentarians should have been wiser to these sudden shenanigans — now they are equal partners in cutting the earth from under their own feet.
    Pakistan has too many free loaders with conflicting self interest to be really deciding what is good for the country. These talks are sponsored by those who want to hand over the country to the Taliban, who really are not interested in an electoral battle to prove their popularity. Once the Taliban get a share of Power they will ride rough shod over all those who oppose them, making Taliban rule of Afghanistan seem like Paradise in comparison. The world is watching these suicidal moves and impulses in Pakistan with trepidation and horror. From hereon the only thing to speculate about is what will be next weeks count of fatalities.

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  • Indian Wisdom
    Mar 5, 2013 - 11:50AM

    “terming Muhammad Ali Jinnah a ‘kafir’….”

    Simply horrible!!! Never expected the things will go to such an extent.
    Indians have no doubt opposed the “two nation theory” and Jinnah played a vital role in the separation (though we are thankful to Jinnah that we got separated), but even then no Indian will try to insult him by referring him as Kafir.
    A very sorry state for the Father of any Nation!!!!

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  • Solomon2
    Mar 5, 2013 - 9:15PM

    “The declaration also did not include the condition that the TTP lay down arms before the initiation of a meaningful dialogue. “

    Why would negotiations fail? Won’t Pakistan’s civilian leaders, sincere or not, agree to anything and everything at the point of a gun?

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