It was the mid of 1999, I still remember the evening when I was introducing myself to a pretty German girl in Australia; I am from Pakistan and she asked me in a surprisingly strange way where Pakistan is.
I, again, wish to meet the same girl; I am sure now I won’t have to tell her where Pakistan is; because it is all changed now. Pakistan is no more in oblivion. We should be thankful to the unforgettable 9/11 for this whole sale introduction of us; the same 9/11 which compelled the whole world revolve around Pakistan. Life is a simple game of three moments; one which belonged to us; one which we own now and the one which is expected to be ours; the past, the present and the future. Successful are those who keep looking back at their yesterday and intelligent are those who are always conscious of their tomorrow but the luckiest ones are those who try to make their present everlasting provided that their present is something to be proud of. We the Pakistanis are surely among those luckiest ones. For the last many years this prediction is selling hot that Pakistan is going to be no more on the world map in the near future. But every year Pakistan is always there, giving a tough time to all those who are dreaming of Pakistan changing into a waste land. Pakistan has become the centre of all concentration in a very short period of time. This matchless importance is simply because of the fact that the world around us has accepted the reality that Pakistanis have an exemplary ability of sailing in troubled waters. They can achieve any target if they are determined. The situation in Swat and other neighbouring areas is certainly not very encouraging. The anti-state elements in these areas have compelled the government to order the Pakistan army for an operation clean up. As a result of this operation hundreds of miscreants has been killed and arrested but on the other hand this activity has ruined the lives of millions of innocent citizens. So many children and women and old people are forced to leave their homes and wander in the streets of Rawalpindi, Islamabad and other cities of Pakistan. They are searching helplessly for shelter and food in scorching heat and certainly most of them are unsuccessful. The government of Pakistan is doing its best to help them out of this distress but because of its limited resources and a huge expenditure on the military operation in Swat, it is very much helpless in fulfilling the requirements of these migrating people. It is something very strange that the international authorities, who have been exerting a very painful pressure on the government of Pakistan to take stern action in the tribal areas, are now watching silently this game of death and distress instead of supporting the afflicted people. The innocent immigrants are trying to find out who is responsible for their miserable plight, the government of Pakistan, the Taliban, the Islamist extremists or the international authorities because one day they are going to pay off the scores. When the military operation in Swat, Buner and other neighbouring areas was in the pipe line, I had a chance of talking to my friend Dilawar Khan who is a trader there. He said that the local people are never in favour of any military operation. They know that such operations can suppress the disturbance for the time being but they are not the permanent solution. He further said that in spite of all these realities his people are of the opinion that in the present scenario the military operation seems the only possible solution because the miscreants have made their lives a hell. No peace, no security. Schools are being burnt, the shops and the banks ransacked , innocent citizens kidnapped for ransom , young girls raped ;in short all type of human rights violations; what else could the government do. He said that as a result of a huge military operation thousands will be killed and millions displaced but there is no other way out. The increasing demands kept on pushing the writ of the government to a blind alley. In the beginning it was expected that Maulana Sufi Mohammed would successfully tackle with the worsening situation if a peace accord is signed because he is the person who has a mild approach towards religion and a soft corner for peace in Swat. His role was being appreciated and admired by all segments of society but unknowingly he at once took a u-turn and started giving wrong statements, challenging constitution, blaming the parliament and rejecting democracy. This changed behavior of Maulana Sufi Mohammed gave birth to new fears and apprehensions. If he had not acted in this way, the situation in Swat could be very much different. Still, there are so many ways and solutions. The military operation should be continued because at present it is the only option. It would help the government of Pakistan in clearing out the mess. At this critical juncture the most important responsibility lies on the shoulders of the intelligence agencies of Pakistan. Although they are doing their best yet they will have to ‘do more’ .These agencies should more concisely concentrate upon the foreign elements hiding among the ranks and files of the peace loving Swatis whose sin is a desire of the implementation of Islamic Shariah. The peace accord is still alive in papers. Neither the government nor the TNSM has announced the cancellation of this accord although practically it is almost non-existent. Better we try to revive it. Sometimes we crave for our old clothes we used to wear again and again in the past because they suited us a lot. We stop using them when we have got a collection of the new ones but we never throw them away because they never seem useless to us. So it is the time to go back to yesterday and search for the old clothes .They would be surely more comfortable for us than the new ones. The night is surely at hand but yet it is not too dark. We can reach home safe and sound if we succeed in keeping the torch burning.