We are on a suicide mission. At a time when our sovereignty is seriously threatened and is being violated and our foreign policy being entirely run on alien diktat, Pakistanis are being made the scapegoats on a daily basis as their lives serve as fodder for the US war on terror, imposed on us on Washington’s terms.
Initially it was General Musharraf, who after 9/11 served as Washington’s poodle and badly divided the nation. And now it is the democratically elected but NRO-laundered regime that has owned the US war as its own war.
When last year, the only time the issue was ever referred to parliament in nine years, the people’s representatives unanimously disowned this war and without even a single dissenting voice passed a resolution demanding a homegrown solution to extremism and terrorism through a dialogue. But who cares what the people say.
The US dictation comes at a time when national cohesion is fast eroding, state institutions are indifferent and unresponsive, people’s voice is not being heard and national leadership is highly irresponsible and corrupt. Consequently with every passing day there are growing incidents of terrorism, more bloodshed and increased human misery and cry.
And after every terrorist act, the hollowed rhetoric of our shallow leaders that the people of Pakistan would win this war is repeated. However, there is no strategy, no political initiative and no urge to find and address the root cause of this menace. Everything has been left to the army to achieve. All the bets are on the military option and there is no room for any political solution. There is a call for an “all out war”.
Instead of adopting a rational approach to stop further killing of the innocents, we are responding in the rush of blood, which could cause more bloodshed and more killings. We are not trying to figure out where the problem lies and more importantly the real problem. We are not diagnosing the disease but trying to treat the symptoms.
Initially it was Nek Muhammad, later Abdullah Mahsud, then Baitullah Mahsud and Fazullah and now Hakeemullah Mahsud. Musharraf thought, and the present rulers also believe, that killing such symbols would solve the problem but it has not worked. We are made to believe that once the Pakistan Army conquers South Waziristan and cleanses it from extremists and terrorists, the problem would be over. The same was said about Swat and Malakand.
Where would be the next battleground? Apprehensions are already rising in south Punjab. Past record proves that the extremists and terrorists killed or nabbed do not belong to the tribal areas alone but come from all over and could not be identified. In such a situation, can we afford to launch military solution everywhere. Is it possible either? Can the army afford to leave Swat and Malakand, South Waziristan and other parts of the tribal areas? Aren’t we marching on an extremely dangerous track that may lead us to a complete civil war?
Practically this is a game of death where only the blood of Pakistanis, predominantly innocent citizens is being shed. We may not feel for them as if they are not our own family (i.e. Pakistan) but those including children and women who are mercilessly killed by US drone attacks in our tribal areas are our own people even if everyone of them is condemned unheard and dubbed a terrorist or a militant.
This is also true that those so dubbed and attacked, whether in Swat and Malakand or Waziristan are too our own people. These innocents who become victims of suicide bombings and terrorist attacks all over are also from amongst us. So are the young brainwashed teenager suicide bombers who lose their lives.
For our enemy this is a win-win situation and possibly a source of pleasure but for every Pakistani it is the most serious cause of concern. We don’t want this game of death to go on and on but others do. We don’t want our people to be killed but others do. We don’t want our army to be dragged in a situation where it is compelled to use its muscle against its own people and get unpopular but others do. We don’t desire to see brothers killing brothers here but others do.
But what we want and desire cannot be achieved if we follow the foreign dictat. It can’t be achieved through military options either. It can be effectively achieved only through a process of dialogue, rethinking of our strategy, pondering into the whole situation to address the root causes, the US war on terror, drone attacks, enslavement of Islamabad to the whims and wishes of Washington and US and Nato forces presence in Afghanistan. A political initiative in line with the unanimous resolution adopted by the parliament last year is thus a vital and urgent need. Terrorism is condemnable but it cannot be defeated only through the use of force, which is counterproductive.
This is precisely what is happening in Pakistan. Washington would not like this but we need to focus on political means instead of entirely depending on the military option, which should remain restricted and quick. The US war on terror is neither in the interest of Muslims nor in favour of Pakistan. Therefore, the US war, now owned by our rulers and fought in the fashion the US expects us to fight, is not our war and it will never be.