Recently, I have written a lot of the threat from Talibanization of Pakistan. In most of the posts, I have stressed that it is the mindset which is the biggest issue. I do not believe killing people will necessarily achieve anything much. That is one reason I have argued, whenever on that topic, that war is not an option.
I was very encouraged by the thinking and ultimately an admission from the Obama administration about the ground realities of terrorism in Pakistan. That, was a very important first step. The mess that mindless giving of Aid to Pakistan – which most certainly lands in the hands of the Generals as opposed to the common man – has made matters worse in Pakistan. Of course, no one expects someone like US to give Aid and also keep on the lookout for social complexities and the Pakistan common man at that.
The truth is that Pakistani Army and ISI have hurt the common man, because they have made Pakistan live on two revenue streams – Aid and Nuclear proliferation. NOTHING MORE. The Exports are of basic agriculture or raw materials. Technology, which could have been a major source of revenue after the 1990s just as it was in India, was an opportunity lost.
The need, therefore, at this time was of two things: engage and challenge the mindsets; and second, open up new and viable revenue streams which go DIRECTLY to common man and CANNOT be directed to feed the terrorism monster that Aid and Nuke Proliferation have obviously done.
The action on the ground however, from the Obama Administration in concert with the Zardari Government has been the opposite. They have started pounding the region in order to throw Taliban out. Taliban in themselves are not enough of a threat. As we have said time and again, it is foolish to talk of “an” organization when we talk of terrorism from Pakistan. It is a SYNDICATE comprising Al Qaeda/Taliban/Jehadi orgs like LeT etc/ jehadi minds in ISI and Pak Army. Bombing one area thinking we are eliminating that organization is utter nonsense!
The bombings in Swat has created a humanitarian crises now. Over 1 million people will be displaced by the time this finishes. And many would have died. And, worse, at the end of that only a few from Taliban would have been eliminated. The misery that it will unfold, will however, create many more!
The aim is to battle mindsets. Make progress ingrained into the mindsets of everyone. Of course, that change will involve a lot of challenging in Islamic tenets as well. THAT, is the tough thing! One can try and be politically correct, but that would not be correct. The way the Islamic tenets have been interpreted or written over the centuries, it does run contrary to progressive mindsets at this time. So, the battle is very tough and it won’t involved bombs or ammunition. But clear, honest, and thorough introspection.
I think as it stands now, US (in concert with Zardari) is doing to Pakistan what Bush did in Iraq. Pakistan will be destroyed in the end and nothing would have been achieved. Because, worse, the world would have been made even more dangerous with swelling of the ranks of terrorists. I doubt that this strategy will succeed.
I just hope US and others can approach this issue with a little more wisdom!