Pakistan in ‘do or die’ situation

Pakistan remains in the grip of terrorist attacks, bomb blasts and target killings on a daily basis, leaving a growing trail of dead amidst continuing threats from the Taliban. From Karachi to Peshawar, the terrorists have shown their capabilities and fearlessness in attacking the security forces, policemen, religious leaders and journalists alike. Even children do not escape the hit list. Yet in the face of this mayhem, the ineffectual reactions from government and state functionaries are mere expressions of regret and condolences to the families of the dead.

These attackers are the same Taliban from the same tribes who were armed and trained by the Americans and Pakistan to fight against Russian forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Their mission then was to save Afghanistan from the Russians in the name of jihad; now they are working to destabilise Pakistan at the behest of anti-Pakistan powers.

Yesterday’s jihadists are today’s terrorists, a tribal people without principle who have taken on the role of professional killers with totally misguided concepts of Islam. These Taliban terrorists are not true followers of their religion; rather, they are abusing it as paid killers who will take others’ lives without care or conscience, in exchange for money and land from powers hostile to Pakistan.

The anti-Pakistan forces want to first destabilise Pakistan, then declare the country a failed state so that they can effect its nuclear disarmament and dismantle it into smaller states to suit their vested interests. They are using these Taliban as paid professionals to do the job.

In the last 13 years, the people of Pakistan have seen all forms of terrorism, brutality and anti-state activities. These continuous terrorist attacks and killings are part of the jihadists’ strategy. They want to create so much anarchy, fear, hatred and division that people will believe their own forces are incapable of providing safety for them, and welcome the foreign forces when they land. They have done this in Iraq and Afghanistan and now they want to land in Pakistan. That is why they have attacked mosques — both Shia and Sunni — temples, and churches, as well as residential buildings, hotels, schools, police stations and army bases. Many people, including religious scholars and other intellectuals, journalists, doctors, social workers and schoolchildren, have been targeted and killed. Jails have been attacked and the most dangerous members of the Taliban and al-Qaeda freed. These jihadists have constantly and openly claimed responsibility for their acts of terrorism so that the people surrender to them.

These anti-Pakistan international powers have forged a well-designed plan to destroy Pakistan. First, the powerful and stable government of General Pervez Musharraf was removed and Musharraf was forced to hand over power to corrupt and incompetent political powers within Pakistan through a fraudulent ‘democratic’ process. Musharraf was forced to leave the country and Benazir Bhutto was welcomed back from her self-imposed exile, and then she was assassinated. The governance of Pakistan was then handed over to a most corrupt political system, headed by the equally corrupt Asif Ali Zardari, who became president of Pakistan with the support of various shady political elements.

Zardari installed the crook political culture, and under him it has flourished. All the power-mongers came back into the game with the support of their foreign masters, who were directing them. In five years of so-called democratic rule, they have not only dragged the country towards economic disaster and corrupted all Pakistan’s major institutions, they have also blackmailed and weakened Pakistan’s defence forces and intelligence services. They have purposely ignored the growing activities of Tehreek-e-Taliban in the country on the instructions of those foreign masters who brought them to power. No terrorist has been punished yet. They could not even punish the killers of Benazir Bhutto.

One political group enjoyed five years in power and then, through the same fraudulent democratic process, handed over power to those waiting in line, to re-enact the ‘give and take’ (mukmuka) drama. The new government of Nawaz Sharif is working to the same agenda. It is a shame that Sharif has hardly attended any sessions of Parliament. He has made more foreign trips than local visits with his brother, cousins and party friends.

The drama of dialogue with the Taliban has been ongoing for the last few months. Time-wasting techniques are being used in the name of an all-parties conference and forming a negotiation team, giving tribal leaders one more chance. None of Pakistan’s political leaders has clearly and firmly declared war against the Taliban. On the other hand, the Taliban has shown that they are determined and committed to kill as many Pakistanis as they can, from Karachi to Peshawar and Quetta.

How come the government has failed to undertake firm and unequivocal action against the Taliban, who have killed more than 40,000 Pakistanis and turned the state into one of the world’s most dangerous places to live? What are they waiting for? The reality is that these corrupt politicians do not have the strength to launch a war against the Taliban because they themselves have been brought into power by international powers who have a very clear agenda for Pakistan’s future. These incapable politicians are simply their tool.

Unfortunately, Pakistan is lacking true leadership at this time. The country needs a leader who is clear, firm, fearless, honest and committed to save Pakistan from these terrorists, without any ifs or buts. And the reality is that the only organisation that can save Pakistan from these terrorists is the army. Yet these crooked politicians do not want the army to take over the country and punish the terrorists. This is the reason they are determined to punish retired General Pervez Musharraf, as a pre-emptive measure against any future military rule.

Nevertheless, the army must not waste any more time. They have to take over the country, but not as they did in the past. They should not focus on revenge, or on punishing particular political leaders or parties. Their vital role should be to protect the people of Pakistan and save the nation.

– Syed Atiq ul Hassan
The views expressed in this article are not necessarily those of The Democracy Forum