By Momo Khan
I belong to an era in Pakistan where we fight against terrorism every single day. The stories to world of getting killed, blown up or abducted are realities to us. The thing which world fears has its home in Pakistan— the Taliban.
So, what is it Taliban… to me, Taliban is a fear, a fear which is haunting our abilities to erase them, to take back the charge from them and to stop them from further invasion into our religious and social freedom.
To no surprise Taliban encapsulate nefarious agendas and that too in the name of religion. Islam means peace which has its teaching poles apart from the practices of Taliban. Religion must be understood from its scripture not the followers. People here in Pakistan, are miffed with the conceptualization of Islam by Taliban, for them it’s a wrong message being conveyed. We dislike Taliban for many reasons and first and foremost are the portraying of Islam according to their wills. How can a religion allow killing a young activist (Malala Yousafzai) for her educational advocacy? Getting blown up with several innocents never takes anyone to heaven but certainly makes lives behind much miserable.
Taliban sneaked into Pakistan when the war on terror heated up in Afghanistan; there were no Taliban before 2002 in Pakistan. Pakistan coalition with United States against the terrorism made it victim of merciless killing, abduction, bomb blasts and ban on girl’s education. To majority in Pakistan, Taliban dwells on anarchy and is an out-lawed group of people.
People think that Pakistan has been divided into parts, one that is free from the worries (Rich or poor), living by religious beliefs and the other living in fear of Taliban. We believe that Taliban mindset is dictated by their cultural norms, too conservative to see their societies grooming and allowing their women to do household activities only. Taliban are promoting their culture, a culture which is a plague, away from the realities of this world.
So what does Taliban fears… education? The reason why Taliban fears education is the awareness being brought forth by education, a light into the darkness which gives strength to the roots and the branches of the minds began to grow widely. Education widens the vision and teaches us the difference between right and wrong. We as a society have the rights to stand up against the lawlessness but do not have the abilities. We fear Taliban, we fear to get tracked by them, for us our own lives are important than the rights of this society.
Many believes in Pakistan that Taliban force is not to be fought in their way, we have enough bloodshed of around 40,000 Pakistani in this holy war. There is no need to go below the belt and get further innocents blown up. There should be a dialogue— yes a cease fire with Taliban, what do they want out of this piece of land and what book of rules they follow.
It’s not alone the Taliban who are attacking normalcy in Pakistan all by itself but their sudden burst out is surely the reaction of military operations being carried on in Tribal areas. Dictator government took this measure on its own showcasing the flash of power and began to kill down terrorists along with many innocents. This move ignited Taliban who later invaded into crowded areas in Pakistan and blew themselves up.
Today, here in Pakistan we fear Taliban, if we keenly understand their mindset it becomes easier to resolve this matter. Not more than 3-5% of Taliban are upholding nefarious agendas, the rest are either followers of this rule or away from the understandings of their regime. For us, the Pakistani, tribal area residents are our own blood, we cannot see them getting hurt by drones unleashed. As far the inhumane Taliban goes, we are afraid to look into their eyes and hear the sound of their breath. We have made Taliban a monster which in reality is not. This fear has helped out-lawed organization to widen and spread its tentacle across the country. While going into shopping areas or eating places we fear Taliban presence. Every bearded man attracts several eye balls. We go out praying for a safe return and come back thinking how are we safe despite so many incidents being shown on international TV about Pakistan.
The reality of these thoughts is nothing…there is no Taliban rooming on streets but it’s the fear haunting us since many years. It was our choice to push them down hard with the use of power and erase them without listening to their demands. Of course Taliban has wounded our hearts and minds but somewhere the fault also lies in us for ignoring their areas for 50 years, no educational measures and health facilities ever provided to them. They grew and learnt on their own. Today, we have given enough space to the fear of Taliban then to the courage to face them and change them.