Monday, May 18, 2009

Pakistan in a state of war! by Muhammad Jamil

Pakistan is in a state of war with militants and terrorists - some sponsored and aided and abetted by enemies of Pakistan.

And this is not the time for polemics over the genesis and the causes behind terrorism but to wholeheartedly support the armed forces, as all major political and religious parties barring a few proverbial exceptions have reached consensus that terrorists are enemies of Pakistan and the army should take the operation to its logical conclusion. Indeed, when the people of Swat and other areas see the army succeeding in its mission, they will be more than willing to bear the brunt of inconveniences because they would see light at the end of the tunnel. The government has started setting up camps for the displaced persons and care should be taken that these are safer places near their homes but away from the reach of the militants and terrorists. Anyhow, there is an enormous humanitarian crisis and rehabilitation of refugees is a great challenge, however it provides an opportunity to help the displaced persons estimated to be more than a million, who have all the time on their minds as to what will happen to their houses and belongings. They are physically suffering and under psychological stress and need care and attention. They should be assured that they will never be left alone and would be looked after in the camps, and will furthermore get all the help in rebuilding their houses after the militants are flushed out of the area. To manage such an influx of people who lost their homes and other belongings is not an easy task and requires extraordinary leadership having strength of character to face the situation. At official level, services of bureaucrat having repute in their commitment and devotion to duty should be inducted in the teams to manage the camps and providing the displaced people the necessities of life. To express solidarity with the displaced persons, the NGOs, civil society organizations and political parties should send their delegations to visit the refugee camps. Punjab government has expressed solidarity with the people of NWFP in this hour of need, whereas some religious parties are criticising the military operation and doing only lip service to the affectees. Ulema should be facilitated to visit those camps to tell the people about militants' motives and that they are acting against the teachings of Islam. The people thus be inspired to never bow down to the imposters who raise the banner of Islam to denigrate it through their barbaric methods like bullying, killing and maiming their Muslim brethren. Armed with the trust and confidence, these people in the camps would prove a great asset, and in future they will stand up and fight the enemies of Pakistan and Islam. The media should also play its role by giving all out support to the armed forces and discouraging the so-called intellectuals and religious zealots who try to prove that action should not have been taken against the militants. There can be no two opinions about Pakistan's need to eliminate terrorism; for one the writ of state has to be established, and secondly it cannot allow foreign elements to operate from its soil against Afghanistan to invite wrath of the international community. Without going into specifics, all Pakistanis must unite to frustrate the designs of terrorists and enemies of Pakistan and Islam. The should reinvent the spirit of 1965 war with India when people of Pakistan were united and stood behind the armed forces, and it was because of that unity that Pakistan not only could repel the attack but also made advances in Kashmir sector. Today, the people can play their part by giving all-out support to the armed forces, and also help the displaced persons that have been uprooted from their abodes due to the ongoing war between the armed forces and the terrorists. In February 2009, Awami National Party had entered into a peace accord with Sufi Muhammad with the objective to restore peace in Swat by demobilisation of Taliban militia and restoration of the state's writ to the beleaguered valley. But none was anywhere in sight. On the contrary, Fazlullah's brigands had publicly vowed neither to disarm nor to demobilise. Visibly, the militants had consolidated their position in Swat and began advancing to Buner, Lower Swat and Shangla to entrench, and link up with local Taliban and enlist new recruits to hold on to these regions too. Many people had raised eyebrows over the peace agreement on the pretext that it was the result of building up pressure on the NWFP government by arm-wielding Taliban. So far as residents of Swat are concerned, with enforcement of Nizam-i-Adl their old demand for restoring system of courts that was in vogue during Wali-i-Swat era had been met. Agreement to this effect was signed by Sufi Muhammad, who on his part had assured the government that he would use his influence over Maulana Fazlullah of Tehrik-i-Taliban and his followers would lay down arms after the announcement of Nizam-i-Adl. It however transpired that Fazlullah had some other motives, and he prevailed upon Sufi Muhammad who insisted that he would himself appoint Qazis and Darul Qaza, monitor the entire system, and the government would have no say in the matters in Malakand Division. It so happened that after the announcement of Nizam-i-Adl, they started moving from Swat to Dir and Buner, terrorizing people and forcing them to enlist as recruits to organise manpower to run a parallel government. Meanwhile, Maulana Sufi Muhammad in a public meeting used derogatory remarks against the Constitution, Supreme and High Courts, describing democracy and its institutions as nizam-i-kufr. By doing so, he lost the support of a large section of the people who had earlier supported or sympathized with his cause. On seeing the colossal human suffering, Ulema and Mashaikh of Sunni Ittehad Council has described the army operation as jihad. Unfortunately, Amir Jama'at-i-Islami Munawwar Hassan has opposed the military action and by doing so Jama'at-i-Islami would further lose support of the people. The army this time should not stop unless militants and Fazlullah's brigands are flushed out of the area. In the past, peace agreements were signed but to no avail because after military operation and quelling violence, the army went back to the barracks without finishing the job, because there were many voices criticising the security forces for killing their own people. But this time around, the government, parliamentarians, political parties and people at large are supportive of the military action and wish to see that armed forces complete the job and destroy the fortifications of the terrorists and militants.

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