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Are you for or Against Taliban?

Negotiation is a two-way traffic. Have Taliban ever made any sincere desire for negotiations and peaceful coexistence?

Most barbaric and dastardly attack on the bold and brave young innocent student of Swat Malala Yousufzai’ infused with the irresistible desire to acquire knowledge’ cannot be ignored or regarded as an ordinary incident of violence. Mere condemnation even in forceful terms of the incident or rich tributes to this brave girl of Pakistan who has become pride of the nation are also not enough. This ought to be taken as a national symbol of a turning point of our history. Such continuing barbaric incidents have given more severe jolt to the nation than any earthquake. It is high time we must wake up and decide as to how long we are prepared to allow the prevailing spate of terrorism, bigotry, unchecked and innumerable murders of the Muslims by Taliban in the name of their peculiar brand of religion. We must call a spade a spade. Who can deny that it is the various groups of Taliban who have been consistently killing thousands of our armed forces, members of law enforcement agencies, innocent unarmed citizens, including children, women and young girls, destroying our schools and colleges, destroying our economy institutions, religious, political and cultural norms, values, believes, rites and places of worship, defaming the very name of Islam, harming security and the image of Pakistan, they cannot be termed anything other than ‘the worst number one enemy of Pakistan, Islam and Muslims.’

There is no grey area. Those who refuse to condemn Taliban, their attacks on our armed forces, innocent citizens and territories, I am afraid they should realise that they are supporters of the enemies of Pakistan.

Those who try to justify terrorism of Taliban on the pretext of drone attacks by the Nato forces conveniently forget that Taliban were openly indulging in all sorts of terrorist oppressive and militant activities within Pakistan even before 9/11. We condemn with all the force at our command the drone attacks, which are most inhuman, imprudent and counter-productive as well as commit breach of sovereignty of Pakistan. This does not and cannot lend any justification, by stretch of any logic or reason, to the unending spate of barbarism unleashed by the Taliban in Pakistan. May I also ask from such persons that if by any chance drone attacks by the US forces are stopped, will Taliban stop their vicious barbaric terrorism in Pakistan? Will there be surrender of arms and ceasefire by Taliban?

Some analysts urge negotiations with Taliban. Negotiation is a two-way traffic. Have Taliban ever made any sincere desire for negotiations and peaceful coexistence? Have Taliban ever realised that the largest number of the Muslims have been killed by them in Pakistan due to their terrorism? What should be the agenda of negotiations? Have Taliban spelt out their agenda? In my sincere opinion, the real agenda and object of Taliban is not the drone attacks but to Talibanise Pakistan, takeover our territory, technology, resources, institutions and above all the nuclear weapons and technology.

 Strangely our civil and military establishments as well as the United States and local intelligence agencies had initially provided space to Taliban covertly and overtly both in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
 Strangely our civil and military establishments as well as the United States and local intelligence agencies had initially provided space to Taliban covertly and overtly both in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The United States and our civil and military establishments provided help, cooperation and assistance to Taliban in all forms to ensure establishment of their rule in Afghanistan. Pakistani Establishment had fallen for this bait by supporting Taliban under a most preposterous, misconceived and counter-productive dilution of using Afghanistan as the strategic depth of Pakistan, which is and was wrong. It is still not too late to come out of these dilutions of Islamic crescent. Instead of protecting interest and objects of Taliban, we must for a change give top most priority to our own national interest, which is in conflict with the interests of Taliban.

It is not relevant as to who is a good Taliban or bad Taliban, who is Punjabi or Afghani Taliban or any other brand of Taliban. The only logical litmus test to distinguish between a Taliban and non-Taliban is ‘are they followers of the religious belief, style of governance, political, economic, cultural, religious or moral values promoted by the regime of Mullah Omer in Afghanistan?’ He had denied education to girls, destroyed schools, colleges, instruments of music, killed singers, shut barbers’ shops, denied wearing of shorts even by men while playing football or hockey etc. Mullah Omer had denied technology, TV, camera, destroyed our national heritage, who had ruthlessly discriminated against non-Muslims and who wanted to push Afghanistan and Pakistan into the Stone Age.

One of the gravest points of concern is for the entire nation is that there are many supporters of Taliban who are rapidly emerging with show of force. The rally which was apparently taken out at the cost of hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars in the name of peace and few weeks before the US presidential election (covered by about 150 western media), in Dera Ghazi Khan only, proved to be counter-productive, as Taliban were encouraged by this rally to launch the most barbaric premeditated attack on an unarmed innocent student Malala Yousufzai in Swat within hours of the end of the ‘peace rally’.

It is shocking and incomprehensible that not only the leaders and participants of this ‘peace rally’, but also a political entity in Rawalpindi close to the GHQ, who had conferred the title of ‘Ameerul Momineen’ to a person like Mullah Omer, are keeping mum against the atrocities, barbarism and terrorist attacks of Taliban on our soil and our citizens. It is an unpardonable act not to condemn such innumerable barbaric attacks of Taliban against our people and territory of Pakistan.

The civil and military establishment, political parties, religious groups and all sections of the society have to once and for all time to come announce in loud and clear terms that Pakistan was not created for Taliban or their supporters. They must announce convincingly with conviction that they regard Taliban as enemy number one of Pakistan and they are determined to repulse and eliminate them from every nook and corner of Pakistan, so that Pakistan as envisaged by our Founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah, survives under the principles of democracy with autonomy to the federating units, freedom, equality, tolerance, social justice, equal rights, status and opportunities in a society free from exploitation and discrimination, wherein freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship, or association shall be freely and fearlessly professed and exercised by Muslims and non-Muslims and above all protection of the life and property of the citizens shall be ensured as guaranteed by the 1973 Constitution framed by the representatives of the people for the people by the people of Pakistan and not by Taliban.

By: Iqbal Haider Senator (retd)

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