Pakistan must aim for Taliban ideology, not just heads

The December 16 Taliban attack is the worst terrorist attack in the history of Pakistan.

Shahzad Iqbal, a journalist who reached Peshawar some hours after the attack, said to me there is extreme depression in the city. “You need a lot of strength and guts to visit the injured and I feel very weak to do that,” said Iqbal. When even professional journalists find it hard to report this horror, it shows that the scale of the tragedy is immeasurable.

The Taliban have a mission and they are hell-bent on achieving it. They have not just terrorised an entire nation but the entire world.

And they will not stop. There will be more attacks, some may be even more horrifying than the recent one. There is only one way to stop this cruelty: crush the Taliban. The state of Pakistan cannot eliminate them just by carrying out military operations. As yesterday’s Dawn editorial (‘New blood-soaked benchmark’, December 17) stated: “Military operations in Fata and counter-terrorism operations in the cities will amount to little more than fire-fighting unless there’s an attempt to attack the ideological roots of militancy and societal reach of militants.”

Pakistan’s military establishment has backed militant outfits for decades. Some of those terrorist organisations have now turned into Frankenstein’s monster by turning on their creators. Selective action against selective militant outfits is not the solution. Action must be taken against all terrorists operating on our soil, even if they are the state’s so-called ‘assets’ in its covert affairs.

Our political leadership also needs to get its act together and stop appeasing the Right. The ruling party in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), led by Imran Khan. The PTI, particularly Khan, has been the chief apologist of the TTP and literally rationalised TTP’s many attacks in the past.

Khan’s dogmatic views about the Taliban and his insistence on talking to them instead of dealing with them have led to further confusion. Marvi Sirmed, a newspaper columnist and human rights activist, says: “Imran Khan will have to now seriously think about what he has been doing…Khan, if he claims to be the ultimate messiah, has to grow a spine.”

If the most horrific attack cannot wake up Khan and his ilk from their Taliban-appeasing stupor, nothing ever will. If our leadership – be it the military establishment, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and/or Imran Khan – continue to mislead the nation by appeasing terrorists one way or another, we will die a slow, painful death.

(Originally published in Economic Times)


Kartik said…
Very Nice Mehmal
Dadoji said…
Pakistan needs to aim for any communal ideology and not just the Taliban version. Otherwise, things will keep going in a circle for Pakistan as well as India (to some extent).

BTW, saw you on NDTV couple of days ago. Trust your visit was good.

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