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Pak Tea House » Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Army, Democracy, Education, FATA, Islam, Islamism, Pakistan, Religion, Society, Taliban, Terrorism, USA, violence, Women » A Battle of Ideas

A Battle of Ideas

by Abdul Majeed Abid

“When I knew that they were burning our schools, I thought they were burning education, they were burning books. I have to be educated. I’ll be educated no matter what the odds.”

Malala Yousafzai

Last Week’s attack on Malala Yousafzai, a 14 year old beacon of hope from Swat, garnered all sorts of reactions. Most people were shocked by the brutality of the perpetrators. The timing of that attack, in my opinion, was an extremely unfortunate one as it co-incided with the ending of PTI’s “Peace March” towards Waziristan. Attack on Malala has been construed as a stepping stone to military operation in Waziristan, a primer that turns public opinion towards a certain tilt. Conspiracy theories have been spun at an alarming pace about involvement of various Intelligence Agencies in the Attack(while the TTP has claimed resposnibility and no one from TTP ever denied that). Comparisons have been made between the coverage that Malala is getting and coverage accorded to victims of Drone Attacks. Recent photographs have emerged of Malala and her parents in meeting with U.S Officials. Even comparisons with Afia Siddiqi, the last woman to be throned as “Daughter of the Nation” have been made admist all the kerkuffle. Malala’s choice of Ideal personality(Barack Obama) has been construed as a sign of secularism. Different political factions have used the incident for advancing their own agendas. More than half the Twitter and Facebook population of Pakistan has put pictures of Malala as their Display Picture.  Proclamations(We are all Malala) and counter proclamations(We are not Malala) abound. Op-Eds about the incident and what it represents have been written by Major National and International Newspapers.

I don’t wish to repeat what has already been written and said. There are a lot of misconceptions flying around that need to be critically examined and discussed. I can go on about the fact that Afia Siddiqi is a U.S National and can thus not be “Daughter of the Nation” because our Supreme Court has strong reservations about “Dual Nationals”. Or I can point that pictures of all the important leaders of Pakistan, past and present, from Ayub Khan to Maulana Fazl ur Rehman and of all our military leaders, with the U.S Officials are present in official record, so what is the point in constructing conspiracy theories about pictures of a 14 year child with more heart than anyone of us? I can even say that liking Barack Obama, the first African American President of a country where African Americans could not go to the same school as White people 50 years ago, is not a particular crime. I would, however, like to clear misconceptions of the most improtant question about the incident. Can Taliban hurt innocent children and attack women? From what I have read over internet forums and heard in gatherings, the consenus seems to be that Taliban can not possibly do such thing as it is not according to Islam.

Taliban, contrary to the image of them as ‘Knights in shining Armor’, are adherents of a regressive ideology, one that strives to replicate events of 7th century. This regressive mindset does not allow any kind of individual liberties or education for women. Malala and girls like her openly defy this mindset and that was the biggest reason leading to the brutal attack on the girls. I would like to quote Eqbal Ahmed, one of the greatest minds from Pakistan, regarding the Taliban. He wrote in this very newspaper on 23th August, 1998:

The Taliban’s is the most retrograde political movement in the history of Islam. The warlords who proscribe music and sports in Afghanistan, inflict harsh punishments upon men for trimming their beards, flog taxi drivers for carrying women passengers, prevent sick women from being treated by male physicians, banish girls from schools and women from the work place, are not returning Afghanistan to its traditional Islamic way of life as the Western media reports sanctimoniously. They are devoid of the ethics, aesthetics, humanism, and Sufi sensibilities of traditional Muslims, including Afghans of yesteryears. To call them medieval, is to insult the age of Hafiz and Saadi, of Rabi’a Basri and Mansur Al-Hallaj, of Amir Khusrau and Hazrat Nizamuddin. The Taliban are the expression of a modern disease, symptoms of a social cancer which shall destroy Muslim societies if its growth is not arrested and the disease is not eliminated. It is prone to spreading, and the Taliban will be the most deadly communicators of this cancer if they remain so organically linked to Pakistan”.

This is not the first instance of Taliban attempting murder of innocent women and they have previously destroyed a number of schools in Swat, Waziristan and in Afghanistan. There are recorded instance of Taliban using women and children as Human Shields.Taliban have killed mercilessly anyone who dared oppose their rigid ideology over the years. The theory of Good Taliban/Bad Taliban is nothing but an Urban Legend. Pakistani Taliban(supposedly Bad Taliban), more inclined towards Takfiri ideology, have actively worked in tandem with Afghan Taliban(so-called Good Taliban). Mullah Fazlullah and his warriors retreated to Afghanistan during Pakistan Army’s operation in Swat. Similarly, Jalaluddin Haqqani and his warriors moved to Waziristan to escape NATO forces.

Our fight with the Taliban is not a war of weapons, it is a war of ideologies. There are too many people admist our ranks who are sympathetic towards the Taliban because they are under the misguided belief that Taliban are doing the right thing. A consensus has to be developed if we are to fight this war of ideas. The “justification” provided by the TTP about the Malala attack shows us to which limit they would go in their lust for blood. They have not given any direct reference to any scripture but have used examples out of context to prove that they are right. They have vowed to attack Malala again. Peace Deals with these bigots have failed innumerably, with great loss of lives. A comprehensive Counter Terrorism strategy needs to be implemented to counter the beasts. Since 2009, NACTA(National Counter Terrorism Authority) has been established but it has done little till daye due to conflict over its jurisdiction and ownership. It is currently overseen by the Ministry of Interior which according to Mr. Tariq Parvez(ex-DG FIA), is not the right move an NACTA should be under the direct supervision of the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Pakistan has no national counter terrorism strategy despite 20 years of experience in combating terrorism. Consequently, the current effort is ad hoc, lacks any national sense of direction, and has no long term plan to deal with such a crucial threat. There is no national counter terrorism action plan indicating what needs to be done, by whom, and according to what timeline. As a result, there is no unity of effort at the national level to combat what many consider an existential threat to Pakistan and a threat to global peace.

The war has to be fought on the military as well as the ideological front and we need to decide which side we support, once and for all.

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Filed under: Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Army, Democracy, Education, FATA, Islam, Islamism, Pakistan, Religion, Society, Taliban, Terrorism, USA, violence, Women · Tags: , , ,

62 Responses to "A Battle of Ideas"

  1. notabene Germany Internet Explorer Windows says:

    The more one reads muslim posts on the PTH the more one understand why islam always ends becoming a fascist, foolish, emotional, irrational ideology and why it is suited for producing and manipulating and misusing human beings of low intelligence and high cowardice.

    All this “allah, kuran, revelation, Mohammad, shariah” exaltation is leading to a worsening madness in muslim societies.

    As islam expands this fascism will become more ruthless and irational. In the conflict between the muslim liberals and the muslim fascists the muslim liberals have no chance of sucess. But muslim liberals keep self-dceiving that somehow they will be able to defeat islamic fascism with the help of the kuran.
    Fact is: kuran will always favour the islamic fascists.

  2. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:


    Please do not use me as a medium to those who are no longer with us. It is painful.

    Rex Minor

  3. AKB Pakistan Opera Windows says:

    Rex Minor says:
    October 21, 2012 at 3:02 am

    @ Rex


    I don’t find much to disagree with you here as well as your opinion about the cross. Muslims call is ”BARZAKH”!;)

    Rex Minor

  4. AKB Pakistan Opera Windows says:

    Rex Minor says:
    October 21, 2012 at 3:02 am

    @ REX

    How come this got deleted???????

    Throughout history the Americans have never won
    a war on their own!! I am ignoring their residence
    in the Panama canal zone which enabled them
    to intervene with the Panamian military!
    Karzai put a stop to their task force 373
    activities and the Talibans today control more
    provinces throughout the country limiting the
    international force activities to their camps .

    Rex Minor

  5. AKB Pakistan Opera Windows says:

    @ notabene

    You have a wrong assessment of Islam.
    You call it bad as if you are the only good one ans the whole world is bad.
    Not true nor logical.

    Most of the things which the Muslims seem to do are not prescribed by Islam. However. like all religions Islam or Muslims also profess to be the best of all. Nothing wrong with that given that some nations think themselves as superior to others. Simple logic!!

  6. notabene Germany Internet Explorer Windows says:

    AKB wrote

    “@ notabene
    You have a wrong assessment of Islam.
    You call it bad as if you are the only good one ans the whole world is bad. Not true nor logical.”

    I don’t call whole world bad nor do I think I am perfect. Nor do I claim to know the solution to all problems. Don’t make false accusations.

    As regards islam – it is an arrogant, fascist-totalitarian ideology by its own claims and terrors. It is not my subjective judgement. I analyse islam by its results and they show a clear trend towards sinking into fascism.

    Muslims should stop being angry, polemical, victim-hood-complexed and so on. The present generation of muslims are victims of islam and its fascism and lies not of any acts by non-muslims. The present day muslims did not create islam and hence they need not feel ashamed to admit that it is a totalitarian and fascist ideology in the name of arabic tribal god-concept of the 7th century. What misleads the whole discussion and development is this fanatical identification by the muslims with islam. No muslim is dishonored if islam’s fascism is exposed and criticized. Muslim leaders (and “scholars”) teaching their followers to become fanatic killers and liars for islam – that is a big tragedy of the world today.

    Why should human beings of today be ready to kill and lie and die for an ideology that has nothing good to offer today? Islam is like a clump of poison coated with (poisoned) honey. The results of islam prove this over 1400 years. I am neutral about it.

  7. RajTOO Germany Google Chrome Windows says:

    those who work, spend their money as they please!
    those who don’t are always on the lookout for bheekh! All those Muslim gangsters in India and elsewhere give some money to the people, and play Robin Hood, so that despite their corrupt and criminal ways, they may still get some respect from society.
    Those who work for their money, have got self-respect. They don’t need to give it to other people, to buy some respect.

  8. tajender United Arab Emirates Internet Explorer Windows says:

    RajTOO says:
    October 24, 2012 at 6:40 pm
    those who work, spend their money as they please

    this much money comes from theft not hard labour.10 lac crors nrhm scam money is overflowing somewhere.all are brhmns.a brhmns was caught with 250 crores in bhopal,he was welfare officer robbed the aid which cme to help the gas victims of have no heart.u are defending him.

  9. Gautama United Arab Emirates Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Flag-Waving ‘Uncle Pakistan’ Dead
    After 10 years of whipping up crowds at the elaborate daily ceremony to close Pakistan and India’s main land border crossing, the flag-waving star of the Pakistani side of the show has died.

    Huge crowds gather on both sides of Wagah border post each sunset to see the display of military preening and pageantry, and for a decade Mehr Din, known as Uncle Pakistan, led his compatriots in cheering on their men.

    Dressed in the vivid green and white of the Pakistani flag, Din, who died on Sunday aged 90, was as familiar a figure at Wagah, near the eastern city of Lahore.

    Din sold vegetables and did other menial jobs before making his regular trips to the flag-lowering ceremony, his nephew Mohammad Altaf told AFP.

    Eventually the Pakistani Rangers, the Border Security Force, started paying him 14,000 rupees (USD 150) a month for his services and transporting him to the ceremony when he was not well enough to go by himself.

    Reporting his death, the Express Tribune newspaper hailed Din as “chief patriot” and “custodian of national pride”, while a border official said he was the “motivating force” at the ceremonies.

    “We will miss him. His slogan raising and flag waving was very heartwarming and patriotic,” the official told AFP.

    “He had become part and parcel of the flag lowering ceremony.”

    Altaf said his uncle was motivated by a dislike of India borne of the bloodshed that followed partition in 1947 as well as a deep-seated love of his country — and its armed forces.

    “He never married and used to say ‘I am married to my country’,” Altaf said.

    “He used to carry the portraits of General Zia-ul-Haq and General Pervez Musharraf,” he said, referring to the military dictators who ruled Pakistan between 1977-1988 and 1999-2008.

    Din was buried on Sunday in his ancestral village, near the border, and the Rangers held an honours ceremony as a mark of respect, Altaf said.

    Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in

  10. ahem Germany Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    What is there to congratulate? All these festivals are just show of hypocrisy and obscenity and pseudo-piety with much production of noise, quarrels and filth.

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