Monday, July 14, 2008
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Monday, July 7, 2008
One would expect a furious debate in the country about this issue: How should one deal with the militants? Where does Pakistan stand?
Well, a debate there is, but it is taking place mostly in the Pakistani community abroad or on the fringes of the political spectre. A very instructive debate can be found on the website pkpolitics.com, which has become a major source of information for Pakistanis abroad.
A couple of days ago, pkpolitics published an article called "Views of a Pakhtoon" which defends the Taliban and drew lots of reactions, both positive and negative. Certainly nothing in between.
Pervez Hoodbhoy, one of the most outspoken liberal intellectuals, is one of the very few voices these days who openly calls on Pakistan to fight the militants with military force, if necessary. In the DAWN daily newspaper, he writes at the end of a brilliantly argued and certainly not pro-American editorial:
Pakistan must find the will to fight the Taliban. The state, at both the national and provincial level, must assert its responsibility to protect life and law rather than simply make deals.
DAWN columnist Irfan Husain, who lives in London, supports him:
From the very beginning, this creeping insurgency has been treated as an ideological and strategic issue, rather than the law and order problem it basically is. By negotiating endlessly with violent law-breakers, we have given them a legitimacy they did not deserve.
Why is it that not more people join them? The majority of Pakistanis at home probably don't want the Taliban in power (they certainly haven't voted for extremist parties in the last election), but they do not want military operations against them either. They don't want foreign troops in Afghanistan, and they want to get rid of a president who, most think, has "sold" them to the Americans. Let him go first, then everything is possible, even pacifying the militants. The most popular politicians such as Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan argue in this way, and most opinion leaders in the media, too... But even should Musharraf go one day - how is the problem of militancy simply going to disappear? Is it really enough to make Musharraf, the army and the Americans the scapegoat for everything?
By the way, this is just another outsider speaking...