It is often said that the best way to conquer a place and YET look like a savior is to “First create Chaos and then bring Order – YOURS”. British used this wonderfully and then solidified their position by furthering a new concept of “Divide and Conquer”.
Taliban (and its allies – Al Qaeda etc) has quickly learnt all both the techniques. It has turned its gaze to Islamabad lately. In reply to the Pak Army’s operations against the Taliban in the Swat area, they have started painting messages on the walls with threats and also sending personal messages to religious scholars to choose between Pakistani administration and Taliban.
The Choice that Taliban offers is clear – Islamic Rule vs Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
If that sound ironic and confusing then let me help you a bit.
Religious and ideological rules are often a steep slide. Very quickly you start to go backwards – for all religions were started in the past.. duh! Then it is no longer a case of making the most logical and useful decision, but of interpretation. Because, you weren’t there when so-and-so proclaimed a certain idea or a nuance. And everyone has his/her own baggage.. which means that baggage comes to bear upon that what one finds now written. History of religiious rules has been pretty scary. USofA had that experience in the last 8 years when the Christian right virtually ruled the country. Despite the arguments for love in religion, a rule based on religion will ALWAYS be coupled with utter hatred!
To underscore that this is NOW a fight to the finish for the Taliban – it has grown really bold and is in a way “burning its bridges” to launch the final attack. It has now, threatened some Jehadi and religious figters (including those from Lashkar-e-Taiba and Harkat-ul-Mujahideen), who would not fight against the Pakistan Army or basically against their own country!
Like I said, the choice is between:
Islamic Rule vs Islamic Republic of Pakistan
Taliban meanwhile have also been at their kidnapping best – kidnapped Polish engineer and killed him and also two Chinese engineers, one of whom escaped and the other is in serious condition but in Taliban custody. They want 2 dozen Taliban arrested fighters for this still in custody Chinese engineer.
A top army officer linked with the operation in Swat said the “situation in Swat is much more complicated than East Bengal in 1971 where we were fighting against Indian-sponsored secular insurgents. The local population in East Bengal was fully supporting the insurgents, but the ground reality of Swat is very different. We are fighting the Taliban and they are demanding the enforcement of Islamic law in Swat and all the local political leaders are supporting this demand under public pressure.”
Why is the local support so strong for the Taliban? A bit of Swat’s history will help clarify that:
Swat was a princely state till July 28, 1969. The Islamic state of Swat was established in 1849 by Sayyed Akbar Shah. The state of Swat was kept in abeyance from 1863 to 1926, but Sharia law prevailed through Qazi courts during this period. The courts were restored by the British in 1926. Qazi courts operated till 1969 when Swat finally became part of Pakistan.
Residents of Swat think it was easy to get justice before 1969 through the Qazi courts, but after the imposition of Pakistani law, the poor do not get justice. The Taliban have exploited the delay in justice and instigated the poor to rise against big landlords.
Needless to say that situation has become real tough. Now, I know the Pakistani Government does not want India breathing down its neck, but then from India’s standpoint, we have our own anxieties and issues that need to be resolved. Now, it is pretty naive of a Government to tell another that guys… can you please stop dealing with YOUR issues, because we are dealing with OURS! Specially when “your” issues and “our” issues are so connected and YOU created those in the first place over the last so many decades!
Honestly, for India it is not the time to see how comfortable Pakistan is in dealing with its situation and whether it has the basic and most fundamental quality of running a Government – MULTI-TASKING. We know that this Taliban issue is going to rock India in the near future. SO India better act fast.
The time when Pakistan government could be “strengthened” against these fanatic forces has LONG BEEN OVER. These are the forces that it had itself unleashed.. and I find it totally amusing when the Pakistanis go into blaming the Americans with unleashing the Jehadis. For every honest Pakistani analyst knows that IF it hadn’t been for Zia ul Haq and Aslam Beg’s “great” brain-wave of “Strategic Depth”, Jehadis would have never come about or at least would have been trampled after the Afghan War itself! You found a USE of these guys. They helped you to hit India.. in Kashmir and in Delhi and helped you with the Indian Airlines hijacking. All this while YOU were telling them that you stand for Islamic Rule! That’s what you told the innocent and young kids from Kashmir! Now, that same Islamic Rule is staring YOU in the FACE. Right Upfront! Now what? What is an Islamic Rule being so feared in every street and house in Pakistan – that set out to become an Islamic Republic???
Isn’t it ironic that those who WANTED an Islamic Rule are now having to choose between – Islamic Rule vs Islamic Republic of Pakistan??
You cannot expect Apple from an Oak tree. The fruit is NOT decided by the fertilizer or the climate but by the seed. The Fruit of today was decided in late 1920s by a few self serving people sitting in London, who thought religion was a great way to win power.
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