Much has been made of this NYT article on the class inequalities in NWFP that are fuelling the Taliban movement. However, I would like to ask where in Pakistan class inequalities do NOT exist. They are everywhere. By using this argument then the Taliban takeover becomes a natural conclusion as a social revolution is required everywhere to correct the exploitative structures and provide ‘speedy justice’. Therefore, our political class has to rise to the occasion and provide the kind of leadership, delivery against their manifestos and restore the fading writ of the state.
On another forum this deal was being termed as a popular demand of Swatis and here is what I wrote for those who are interested:
With due respect to the views expressed here, please do not call this deal a ‘popular demand’ of the people. The people of Swat have nothing to do with this. If you read accounts from the field and what people like Lala Afzal are saying, non-Swatis have made this deal.This has been done at gunpoint. Let us face the ugly reality. Our state has capitulated in front of an armed mafia/militia who are only using the term ‘Islam’ as a means to impose a Wahabi-Salafi ideology on the area. They have locked up Pir Baba’s shrine and destroyed Rehman Baba’s shrine. They cannot tolerate Shias, Ismailis and other sects within Islam. And, of course we know what they think of women and their place.
We just saw a 17 year old girl getting lashes in the public. I know there are many people who think that the video is fake and that an American drone dressed as a 17 year old was being beaten by Hindu Taliban and video-recorded by Mossad agents to destory Pakistan.
As regards the public view only a year ago elections were held despite the insurgency and the results were clear: The people of Swat did not vote for political Islam let alone militant Islamism. From the Malakand Division ten PPP, eleven ANP and only two JI candidates were voted in as members of the provincial assembly! And the two JI members of assembly are from Lower Dir, not Swat. The election mandate of the PPP and ANP was not talibanisation.
In a year a provincial government has taken a short term step to engineer so-called ‘peace’ and a National Assembly almost all the parties except MQM and Ayaz Amir, shamelessly voted for it without a debate, without a discussion.
If such a grim reality is not being acknowledged by people of Pakistan then I am afraid we are on a fast track towards either anarchy or a complete Taliban capture. I am quite sure that this luxury of using computers will also be unIslamic if that happens – so much for our debates and discussions here!!
The will to resist barbarity – public beheadings, bombing of schools and hospitals, floggings and destruction of civilisation – seems to be lacking in Pakistan as the country is polarised, confused and lacks leadership.
Where have we reached in 61 years. Indeed, all the world is to be blamed except ourselves.