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Pakistan Taliban:Wither negotiations

By Shafqat Aziz
March 15 2013




Taliban (TTP) have made it crystal clear time and again that they are in no mood of laying their arms till Sharia is fully imposed. It is again a big question that under such equation, what would be offered to Taliban by the state of Pakistan 

Denial and delusion are the two hallmarks of the state of Pakistan. The state is rigid and unbending on the issues i.e. sustainable peace in the region, improving bilateral relations and enhancing economic and cultural ties with other nations, where she ought to be rationale, reasonable and diplomatic as well as forward looking.

On the contrary, the state seems extremely shy and reluctant in taking any practical measure to reform the deadly radicalized, ill-informed and retrogressive society. The state has also shown complete failure in throttling to forces that are promoting intolerant, hateful and violent tendencies and in this regard the state has shown a remarkable restraint and patience.

Thanks to tight control on media, subservient TV anchors, a brigade of columnists as well as other opinions makers and shakers, this attitude of the state has become a national character blended with all sorts of conspiracy theories, hateful and self righteous set of clichés. It is the same collective mindset that makes the people believes that the incident of targeting Malala Yousafzai was nothing but some deep conspiracy hatched by the enemies of Pakistan/Islam (or Taliban as true representatives of the both?) and ‘foreign hand’ is always behind in all the acts of terrorism as no Muslim could commit such atrocities against the humanity/fellow Muslims etc.

The constant process of concocting justifications and excuses for the deadly ideology and barbaric acts of terrorism against the civilians as well as the personals and installations of the law enforcing agencies by Taliban remained highly successful in keeping the masses in a deep state of confusion and denial. Besides right wing and religio–political parties, fully aided and abetted by ‘media gurus’ and ‘defense strategists’, some new-born religious zealot with apparent modern outlook did the trick which was actually required. The masses started believing that such westernized guy(s) must be speaking truth being unable to differentiate rhetoric from reality and popular clichés from hard facts of the complex issues around.

The public opinion has been manipulated successfully for the advantage of various non-state actors including the Taliban killers that might have been still deemed as an asset by some quarters known for their high fancies. Every rationale mind was and is aware of the catastrophic results of this dangerous idea. Relatively progressive political parties including PPP and ANP have been resisting this sloppy scheme besides rapidly shrinking progressive circles of the country. However, the recent developments are best depiction of classic irony where the forces those were symbols of resistance have been forced to cave-in before not only naïve but utterly mindless idea of engaging in the negotiations with Taliban.

Now, only for the sake of argument, if any such exercise is inevitable, the million dollars question, which has never been answered by Pro-Jihad people i.e. Imran Khan, Munawar Hassan, Hameed Gul and their media and public relations managers, is that under which framework, they would suggest the government or for that matter the Army, to initiate dialogue with Taliban. First, it’s hard to determine that which faction or leader of Taliban would be the representatives of all religious-terrorists and what legal, political and moral authority or mechanics it would be possessed with to make its decision/agreement a binding for all such groups.

Second, would any genius advocate of this dialogue-game like to ascertain for what Taliban are actually fighting for? Do they have some legitimate claims i.e. disputed land, territorial autonomy, claim of royalty on some local resources etc.? Is it appropriate for the state to engage itself in negotiations with any gang of criminals and killers that is responsible for the killing of thousands of its innocent citizens? Now, who is in delusion about the ultimate objectives of Taliban which is abolishing all the democratic institutions and enforcement of Sharia (as per they prescribe) in entire Pakistan?

Taliban (TTP) have made it crystal clear time and again that they are in no mood of laying their arms till Sharia is fully imposed. It is again a big question that under such equation, what would be offered to Taliban by the state of Pakistan as to placate them to lay the arms and start living as an ordinary law-abiding city of the country. Could it be one of the options to give a chunk of population of area to Taliban to test their Sharia on them freely or somehow a ‘moderate Sharia’ could be negotiated? It is quite evidentiary that the whole game of negotiations is completely a dumbass and non-starter idea. In fact, it could be termed ‘no-idea’ basically but of course it has some hidden objective and that is to keep the people confused, terrified and insecure so that the ‘assets’ could be strengthened further at a juncture where some important developments in the region are being expected post-2014.

And for the ardent advocates of negations that are busy propagating the idea that there could not be any military solution, yes, you are right when the dispute is of political nature. But as far as it is terrorism, Sri Lanka, a SAARC country has already proved you wrong. If the might of LTTE could be defeated, TTP could not be an exception.

Originally published by ViewPoint 

Shafqat Aziz a socio-political analyst based in Islamabad. He is founding member of the online community “Liberal Pakistan”.
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