The onward march of Pakistan’s Taliban
The Taliban want Pakistan and they might succeed in their intentions unless the Pakistani Army manages to push them back. The latest news is that the Pakistani army is trying to stop the Taliban. Some feel that the Army could use this opportunity to stage a coup. People will not protest much because the Army is preferable to the Taliban. And then there are those who feel that the Taliban is too small to pose a threat to Pakistan, like the Director-General Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Athar Abbas. Whatever the truth, and whatever happens, few of us believe that the present democratic government of Pakistan is going to survive for long. After all, large tracts of Pakistani land have already been given away to an enemy which Pakistan at one time did not consider an enemy.
Here is an indication of the capitulation of the Zardari government.
In eight short months since coming to office, President Asif Ali Zardari has managed to cede large parcels of Pakistan’s land to the Taliban; to release Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, the most dangerous nuclear proliferators in history; and to allow publicly funded gatherings of Pakistan’s equivalent of the Ku Klux Klan in Punjab government buildings.
That’s not all. Giving away the Swat valley to the Taliban wasn’t enough. Now the Pakistani government seems to be helpless as the Taliban advance into Buner which is near Islamabad. When the world protested at this entry into Buner, there was a pretense of retreat. As it says here:
In Washington officials dubbed the exercise [of the Taliban retreating from Buner] as meaningless…the Taliban have left behind recruiters to train a homegrown corps of Islamic fighters.
So who is surprised? Not the United States. Not India. And is Pakistan’s civilian government surprised at the turn of events? Is Pakistan really taken aback that the Taliban now wants to own Pakistan?
The latest news is that the Pakistani government is trying to drive away the Taliban, even from Swat. Can we believe that this for real?
The Pakistani government’s imaginary enemy is India
If elements in the Pakistani government/Army supported and encouraged the Taliban (to create violence in other countries) does this mean that they actually believed that the Taliban would never want to take over Pakistan? Surely they knew that the Taliban would want a country.
It looks like the Pakistani government clung (still clings?) to the naive belief that India was their main enemy. What else can one call it but naive when history has shown that all the three times that there was a war between India and Pakistan, it was Pakistan which initiated it? The 1965 war, the 1971 war and the third war, in Kargil. The Kargil war was fought in the most cowardly manner because Pakistani soldiers pretended to be mujaheddin when they infiltrated into India. Why just wars, the whole world knows that elements in successive Pakistani governments have allowed terrorists to be trained in Pakistan and allowed them to launch attacks in other countries, particularly India. So although it is in Pakistan’s face, that India is not the aggressor, that they are, the Pakistani government still sees India as a threat?
The United States has started telling Pakistan that to see India as a major threat is stupid:
Secretary Clinton also re-iterated what has become a virtual mantra in Washington in recent weeks: Repeated advice to Pakistan that it is not India, but Islamabad’s own home-grown terrorism that posed an existential threat to it.
Some people and countries might feel that Clinton is over-reacting, that Taliban is not as great a threat as is being perceived, but where is the evidence of that on the ground? Why has the Taliban managed to bring Pakistan to its knees…every week there are bombings in Pakistan. Bombings which have nothing to do with India. How can the Taliban not be a greater threat than India?
Pakistan instead desperately tries to blame India, had even denied its own role in the Mumbai terror attacks, and has gone as far as to concoct far-fetched theories about India being in cahoots with the Taliban. For example, Taliban rebels who were caught and found uncircumcised were promptly dubbed as Indian agents! Thankfully the Pakistani establishment has now put this absurdity behind them because it has now been revealed that not everybody from the Pashtun tribes in Waziristan (from where many of the Tehreek-e-Taliban or Pakistani Taliban come from) have been circumcised. What a joke.
Why should the Pakistan government rely on this type of evidence in the first place? Why should they keep denying that terrorists camps exist on its territory? It’s clear that they want to make a show of blaming India to divert their own people’s attention from the real threat – the Taliban. After all can they face the people of Pakistan if they admit that the Taliban are doing this, and that elements from their own establishment are involved?
And the denial and the lies are also used to try and confuse the rest of the world. But does the Pakistani government think that the U.S. has no intelligence? Do they imagine that the U.S. will stop bombing Pakistan if the Pakistani government says it’s not my fault? This stupid strategy hasn’t helped Pakistan, unless ofcourse this is the very intention of some elements in the Pakistani establishment (say the Army) – to let the Taliban grow into a real threat so that it paves the way for an Army take-over.
Is Pakistan jealous?
And there also seems to be some sort of an ego issue, as Pakistan is hell bent on having as many troops as India on the Indo-Pak border. India needs the troops there, not Pakistan. We need it because of the continuous infiltration by Pakistani terrorists. But despite knowing that India is not going to send terrorists into Pak, despite knowing that India isn’t going going to attack, has in fact never attacked Pakistan in its history, Pakistan wants to keep loads of its troops there on the Indo-Pak border instead of letting them fight the Taliban. It makes sense to divert the troops to fight the real enemy. But either it’s an ego issue, some sort of posturing for its public, or a grand plan. Who knows.
Take Pakistan’s attitude towards India’s help to Afghanistan:
To Islamabad’s chagrin, India, with Washington’s full support, has emerged as a key provider of economic aid and military training to the US-imposed Afghan government. In a statement that could only have enraged the Pakistani elite Clinton asserted Wednesday that India has a pivotal role to play in assisting the US in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Here’s more of what the Americans have to say:
India has given Afghanistan about USD 1 billion in assistance. They’re rebuilding the parliament building, they’ve built a very useful road in the southwestern part of the country leading down towards Iran. They’re training agricultural experts, they’re giving scholarships. The Indians have published a pamphlet on what they’re doing. I don’t think that should be cause of concern for Pakistan.
If the Pakistani government wants to be nation builder in Afghanistan, they need to donate, not ask for donations and certainly they need to get out of their destruction mode. They are not a donor nation, and they also harbour terrorists. So instead of pulling India down they should focus on improving their economy and strengthening their civilian government. And kicking the Taliban out is the first step because the Taliban will never let Pakistan develop economically…the Taliban doesn’t need a thriving economy. They thrive on the blood money from drugs instead, and also find it fairly easy to beg for donations by playing the Islam card. Apparently all they have to do to dupe ordinary people into donating is talk about the “superpower which is like an uncontrolled elephant aiming to crush” Muslims under its feet. The Taliban paints itself as “the vanguard of Islam…”
The Taliban’s major cash source is is kidnapping and yes they also kidnap Muslims. And let’s not forget extortion. Earlier this month they took millions from the Sikhs in Pakistan as a “tax” for living in their own country.
Pakistan now probably knows that it made the biggest mistake of its existence by showing sympathy to the Taliban just because they promised to send killers into the world for various “causes”. The means never justifies the ends. Indira Gandhi and India paid for it by supporting Bhindranwale (against the erstwhile Punjab government), the United States is paying for it because they initially encouraged the Taliban to get the Russians out of Afghanistan and now it’s Pakistan which is paying a price, and a tragic one. The means never justifies the ends. Violent means make a cause dirty and unacceptable and evil. And there is always a price to pay. It’s the law of nature.
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