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Arif Alvi

Arif Alvi: Imran Khan’s stand on Taliban – War is not ...

Arif Alvi 41%

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Mr Cyril Almeida in his article in Dawn on 19th March, states that Imran Khan has cried hoarse opposing this war against the Taliban. We need to respond to the link being created by such assertions implying that being against this ‘War’ Khan and his party must be supporters of the Taliban. ‘You are either with us or against us’.


Imran KhanPTI is not a supporter of Taliban. Far from it. We condemn the violence perpetrated by Tehrik-e-Taliban or any other group against innocent people and those who murder and slaughter people. However, we also believe that the Taliban label encompasses a lot of others including those who are reacting to US presence in Afghanistan and their sympathizers in Pakistan; those who react also against the Pakistan army and on civilian population because of US presence in Pakistan; the fundamentalists who believe that Sharia should be imposed even against the wishes of the people; those who disillusioned with justice in Pakistan believe imposition of Sharia law will provide Insaf, little realizing that any law in the hands of the present unaccountable bureaucracy will not deliver; those who are affectees of collateral damage and want to take revenge (à la Iraq); those who are sponsored by ‘local’ and ‘outside’ agencies (including India) and finally the fundamentalist who has hijacked all this chaos and suffering. We can go on and on, different groups, even criminals, land and drug mafias which are taking ample advantage of this strife.


PTI and Imran Khan have talked about understanding the problem not supporting the Taliban. We are also opposed to this ‘War on Terror’ as not a primary solution. When the army calls the major shots prompted by foreign interests in a terrorist politico-religious-civil situation which is very grave indeed, it will always lead to heavy handed treatment of civilians and killing of innocents which increases hatred, ethnic polarization and frequently a worsening of the situation. The army has lost countless brave soldiers too and innocent civilians throughout Pakistan, so called Taliban areas included, have borne the brunt. We are going through a bout of senseless killings.


The civil government is not calling the shots because they are under US-Pentagon pressure, from people who live in remote lands and are running a ‘joy-stick’ war, the consequences of which are like earthquakes to us. Temporary gaps in this battle lulls us into thinking that things are getting better. By all indicators the situation is worse and it is still being justified as the terrorists’ last stand. We are afraid that this argument would burn out in a few years but by that time we would have caused enormous self inflicted damage to the Pakistan polity.


As human minds are different so are the reasons behind this ‘disease’ different. The semantic label of ‘War’ on terror allows for tremendous collateral damage and like war everything can be done circumventing every law which man has ever laid down in history almost debasing modern society. PTI and Imran Khan are not providing any excuse or justification for terror, they are just trying to communicate the multi-factorial origin of this terror. Looking for solutions, our US masters have started to identify these differences among the Taliban but we continue in a time warp of our own. Our policies and our elite opinion are just delayed echoes of Washington. PTI believes that as we understand the reasons, so shall we come up with different treatments for this malady, before it becomes terminal.


Somebody has to talk to somebody and find out their grievances. There are thousands of Taliban arrested in Pakistan. The media should access them and find for us their frustration. We have seamlessly adopted the ‘Bushism’ of yester years into our discourses that they are against our ‘freedoms and liberties’. The elite in Pakistan believe that Taliban have one extreme Sharia which they want to impose. This may be true of some groups but I am also sure that if the media is allowed to hear and then inform us of even the arrested criminal’s point of view, we will be closer to understanding the phenomenon. The whole country is confused as we see one extreme face w. ich is very painful indeed, prompting one extreme solution.


By Arif Alvi


Read more: Ari f Alvi´s Blog (April 5, 2010)

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