by Obaidullah Khan
How painful is this fact for those who have not yet abandoned reason that our independent and sovereign state is negotiating with the terrorists. We are down to such a low that we are begging for mercy from those who are vicious barbarians and brazenly attack innocent citizens and the state institutions while our state seems to be helpless against them. Such barbarians must be dealt with an iron fist, is an established principle of politics in any country that claims to be independent and sovereign. Apart from disgracing the martyrs of our nation, whose blood is still of no value to our rulers, are we not disgracing our constitution by surrendering before those who are contemptuously mocking the writ of the state and its constitution and are fighting for a system of government of their own choice which is not only alien to the reason and rationality but is in contradiction to any civilized social and political system as well. On one side Nawaz Sharif regime is letting the state to bow down before these vicious barbarians by crediting them worth of negotiations but at the same time lecturing us on the rule of law, writ of the state and upholding the constitutional provisions when it comes to the issue of Pervez Musharraf. With that they want us to believe in all their hocus pocus as is in true spirit of the constitution. What else it could be called other than double standards and hypocrisy. All this is to masquerade their non performance, inability to take decisive actions and personal vendetta with an inherent political fear from Pervez Musharraf. But all this aforementioned discussion is applicable and is for a progressive, modern, democratic and civilized states not for our dear homeland Pakistan.
Pakistan is not a normal state in this respect. Here protagonists are in fact antagonists and vice e versa. Let’s take up this case of negotiations with Taliban for instance. The point I want to discuss specifically here is that any progressive and rational mind who would see things in the perspective of a normal sovereign state and its normal constitution would conclude what I have stated above, but not in our conditions. Here the terrorists are demanding and asking for the implementation of the so called Sharia. This demand is in fact in accordance with our own constitution. The apprehension that is troubling me intensely right now is that during negotiations their position will be stronger than the state for their demand of Sharia lies within the ambit of our constitution. Our state will certainly remain on back foot with their weak stance in contrast to the constitution, especially when our state is being represented by the same breed as the other side is i.e. good Taliban. What would be the response of our state against this demand? Their demand is legitimate under the constitution that recognizes theocracy and not secularism. What if they accept that their way of implementation is wrong and ask the state to implement it through constitutional means? The reality we are overlooking is that this is the very same constitution that has nurtured the mindset we are calling Talibans today.
It is our constitution that initiated the Takfeeri ideology by democratically declaring a faction of society as infidels “for the purpose of the constitution” and of course through constitutional means. So what if Taliban do the same? It is our holy constitution that legitimizes the inequality of the citizens on the basis of religion for certain high offices of the state which can only be assumed by those, whose faith is endorsed by the same constitution. Then why we resent against Taliban? It is this very same constitution that decides the faith of her subjects, who is muslim and who is not. Again it is the same scripture that bars freedom of speech and expression when the preaching of the faith of minorities comes into question or the issue of YouTube ban comes into view. A certain section of the citizens are forbidden to even practice their own religion and their practice of religion is a subject of penalty through the same constitution. Thus negation of this fundamental right is permitted under this constitution. We seem to absorb and tolerate it as our daily routine and pay no heed to such inadequacies but all our hue and cry remains limited to chant against Taliban.
Then our dear and cherished democracy is another subject of discrimination by the same system of law that keeps a certain faction out of the election system merely on the basis of faith. Yet these are all provisos in our constitution. Contradictions and inappropriateness is another issue of this legal scripture. On one hand it provides a fundamental right to all of the citizens and then snatches away the fundamental rights of the citizens through other provisions.
While we are recognizing all this through our constitution than why blaming the Taliban and their apologists? In the neutral perspective it is certainly the Taliban who are faithful to our constitution and the state is disrespecting the true spirit of her constitution. On what moral grounds our state will rebut the notions of Taliban? If Taliban derive their ideology from this constitution then what strength is left in our argument with respect to our constitution? So in nutshell either we have to alienate ourselves from this so called constitution or recognize the Taliban ideology as in true spirit of our constitution. Unfortunately the committee representing our state before Taliban is a hidden support to them having the same ideology. They will use the leverage of the same constitution to compromise on Taliban ideology and will force our state to abide by the constitution in its true spirit. The real problem will come at that moment for our government whose all rant and rave is to uphold the constitution to gain its political vested interests against Pervez Musharraf and to snub the Army at the same time. The policy of politicizing the state actions during the Musharraf regime for gaining petty political interests against Pervez Musharraf have already damaged this state beyond measure and has resulted in more inefficiency of the state. Until and unless we address the root cause of our ailment we can never become successful in this war of right and wrong. Our civil society and even left wing usually rant and chant slogans for espousing the constitution but neglect what our constitution really stands for? Nothing but contradictions, ambiguities, discrimination and inappropriateness in the real matters that directly affect the rule of law and justice in any society. As in the words of Martin Luther King Jr. “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”. Instead of addressing the real root cause of our degenerating society we are made to believe in falsity. The notions of independence of Judiciary, upholding of the constitution, independent media and democracy etc. etc. are certainly important, very important indeed, but that is not the real problem of our society and are of secondary importance. But our inapt and inefficient politicians always undermine the real root cause to gain vested political interests in one way or other and do nothing for the true benefit of our state and its citizens.
Majority of our left wing and liberals have started to fancy Bilawal Bhutto Zardari for his ‘bold’ stance and unapologetic approach towards Taliban. Many are calling him as an ultimate redeemer for this country. This is psychologically seen as wishful thinking in search of a true hero. But the true litmus test for him is to call his grandfather’s legacy of the constitutional discrimination as the real and true cause of destruction of this Pakistani society. Anything less than that is nothing but a mere rhetoric for political motives. True democracy cannot be established with this Talibani constitution. Until then Taliban are right and our state is wrong and we the citizens are wronged.