By Amaar Ahmed:
If Pakistan’s founder Jinnah were alive today, he would be the number one target of Taliban. He satisfies all their criteria: a liberal with Shia background who considered Ahmadis as Muslims. But in today’s Pakistan, Taliban would not even spare a 14-year old girl Malala Yousefzai. Yet conservative religious-political persons would not call out these mindless barbarians. Would making an excuse for violence by Taliban or putting blame elsewhere not be treason against Pakistan then?
There is only up to a point that naive belief in their mythical ‘goodness’ and utter falsehoods spun for them could have been tolerated. After a point, that blind faith becomes duplicity. If the Taliban themselves do not deny their acts of barbarism and also publicly relish their brutality there is simply no room for sympathy for them or their apologists. Those who continue to defend or shift blame away from them are only abusing the memory of the thousands of their fellow citizens who were killed. Those who continue to rationalize Taliban terrorism are insulting each orphan and widow of their violence. Are such apologists even loyal to Pakistan?
It may be true that 500 innocent civilians have died from the illegal drone attacks in the last decade. But it is definitely also true that some 40000 innocent civilians and 5000 Pakistani soldiers have died at the hands of the Taliban in the same interval. Before 9/11, sectarian outfits with ideological ties to Taliban were already waging a war on innocent Pakistanis.
Somehow the cart is put before the horse by people with a soft corner for Taliban – and deliberately so. That somehow these are ‘misguided’ but well-intentioned Muslims. And as Pakistan’s security chief Rehman Malik eloquently put it, if ‘only’ the Taliban give up arms and ‘serve’ Islam, he will himself embrace them. The Taliban apologists defense is that this savagery is only fueled by US drone attacks. That the moment America vacates Afghanistan all problems will immediately vanish and peace will be established. As if it was all hunky dory before 9/11. Every time a ‘peace’ deal was signed with these marauders (13 in all) they tore it into pieces. The repeated Pakistan army operations in Swat and South Waziristan against them bear witness to this.
Let us also not deny that seeing the drone program as utterly counter-productive and illegal under international law is not wrong. There is definite irony in that the drone program has accelerated under a US President who is a lawyer himself and a Nobel Peace prize winner. But let us also not forget that drone attacks simply came about because the Pakistani state refused to take responsibility for law and order for a long time – enough to give opportunity to others to now meddle in our territory.
It is high time to hold our own people responsible for what happens inside the country and seize control of our own territory. Being loyal to Pakistan instead of trying to deflect outrage against these extremists would be a good start. If Jinnah were alive today, would an attack on him by Taliban also be rationalized as a response to a drone attack?