Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Negotiations with Taliban would be Fruitless

February 5, 2014
By Saeed Qureshi

There seems to be a slim chance for the negotiating team put up by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, to strike a deal with the shrew and battle hardened Taliban and to convince them to lay down arms and join the society as peaceful and law abiding citizens. The sticking point is obviously their focus on a bloody struggle for enforcement of rigid and radical Islamic shariah in Pakistan.

If their brand of Sharia is even partially enforced and interpolated in the constitution, then Pakistan would recede to the times of Assassins in the Middle East and Vandals in Europe. Any reconciliation between an elected constitutional government and renegade Taliban is inherently contradictory, i.e., savage inhuman system vs a representative rule.

The assassins were eliminated by the Mongols to rid the Islamic regimes from that curse. Same unforgiving blitz is needed to wipe off this scourge from the soil of Pakistan. Bu perhaps there seems to be a kind of catch and trickery behind this overture of the incumbent regime not to be blamed later that it did not offer an olive branch to the brute Taliban. The refusal from Taliban for a deal could morally justify the military action against the TTP network of hordes.

According to a news report TTP’s monthly earnings from extortion, kidnapping, drug trade and bounty killings in Karachi alone have exceeded 115 million dollars. Therefore, they would go down fighting but would not submit. 

As a ferocious, religious conglomeration, their affiliates and members prefer dying for a swift placement in paradise. Such is the level of powerful indoctrination by the zealots of that outfit created by Pakistan herself in yester-years.

Taliban would not relinquish their militancy no matter Pakistan goes extra mile, to accommodate their conditions. Such a hope is prematurely doomed for the obvious reasons laid out in the foregoing narrative. The taming of hardcore religious bigots and tenacious fighters is a far cry and cannot be attained by solicitation or sweet overtures. 

The underlying purpose of Taliban and their supporters from the mainstream politico- religious parties is to revive the pristine Islamic caliphate and towards the attainment of this objective they would never compromise or budge.

Even if by a miracle they join hands with the government, they would not abandon their option of falling out with the civilian or democratic government. They would not abandon their fanatic creed anyway.  The induction of Taliban factions into the democratic political culture of Pakistan would remain like strange and incompatible bedfellow and would backfire.
The ongoing, unrelenting mayhem of terrorism is primarily being spawned and tenaciously carried out by Taliban and sectarian rivals. It would be spine-chilling to imagine what would happen to Pakistan if such rigid, extremist and ruthless militants as Taliban, in tandem with the homegrown religio-political groups, become shareholders in power. 

In that horrid situation would Pakistan be any different from Syria and Iraq or certain African countries where religious insurgents are braced against the states and also fighting one another on the sectarian basis?
The Al-Qaida and Al-shabab and various shades of Taliban are a newborn face of the erstwhile religious fundamentalist forces. The present day religious outfits with stubborn agenda and unflinching will to fight the heathens are a spillover from the past. 

It is mind boggling to watch that in these times of enlightenment, liberalism, free societies, the human rights, the planet Earth is still infested with such rogue bands that want the obscure dogmatic orders to be revived and implemented in entirety.

So the only effective and absolute mechanism for dealing with the radical militants is to exterminate them physically and destroy and debilitate their militancy with full might of the state. If in Pakistan the skirmishes with the Taliban and Al-Qaida continue unabated, there would never be an end or any tangible result coming out of these. 

The compelling reason is that those who are killed among the insurgents are filled by new cadres and volunteers indoctrinated and motivated by religious zealots and fiery demagogues with a dainty and alluring promise of straight away going to paradise as martyrs.
In the hindsight let us recollect that Pakistan along with other Islamic regimes created a force of universal Islamic crusaders to fight ungodly Russians in rugged Afghanistan as allies of a free and religious Christian world led by the United States. 

What a hoax it was that while the Islamic countries were arraigned against the Russian with a resounding spirit of Islamic resurgence, the underlying catch was to bring victory of capitalism over communism.

While the second purpose has been ideally served, the first one (creation of militants) has became a lasting millstone around the neck of Pakistan. It is like a Frankenstein ever ready to swallow its own creator which in this case is Pakistan. Pakistan allowed its land and manpower for the fulfillment of a goal that was extraneous to its national interests. Hence we see the proliferation of terrorism all over Pakistan by Taliban and hardcore religious fanatics.

The pitiless Taliban and their cohorts had virtually occupied Swat valley in 2007. They were driven out with full-fledged military operations in 2007 and 2009. One could gauge the resilience and the devious way the Taliban broadened their tentacles based on primitive orthodoxy in that marvelous enchanting valley. 

From Swat valley they were planning to march towards the federal capital of Pakistan Islamabad and terrorize the local population through coercive regimentation. They and their agents forced the people to abide by religious injunctions such as for the ladies to cover their head in the market places.

The Taliban and their ilk would resist, thwart and block, by every conceivable means, all such endeavors that overhaul Pakistan into a modern frame. The fundamental question is whether Pakistan survives as a modern state or succumbs to the dictates of Taliban and fanatic orthodox religious entities. 

The choice is certainly a modern state with a secular and pluralistic edifice erected on the foundation of an enlightened Islam. It would not be advisable or thinkable to live with a monster like Taliban and then expect to remain unscathed.

The dream of crafting a modern egalitarian, Liberal, pluralistic and democratic society in Pakistan is entirely out of sync with the crude model of statehood envisioned by the obscurantist and the conservative Islamic forces. Islam fundamentally is a progressive religion and can tailor itself with the changing times. 

The creed and ideologies of fundamentalists and reactionary religious assortments are retrogressive and negate the fruits of modern times such as advancement in technology, universal culture of humanism, pluralism, inclusiveness, emancipation of women folks and a fusion of religion with modernity and so on.

The sectarian and ideological conflicts now rife in the Islamic countries are the formidable hurdles in their progress and getting into the strides of modern nation states. With the advent of a fossilized version of Islam imposed on Pakistan, the country can transform into a medieval state but not the one that is indispensable in the present times of enlightenment and awakening. 

The conservative Islamic societies are in a state of flux and groping how to explore an identity that simultaneously serves both their religious obligations and the imperative of the present times.

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