A war we still vacillate to own
Dr Raja Muhammad Khan
UNTIL the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, Pakistan was a country where its citizens could leave their homes unlocked and go to sleep without any thought of sudden or violent incident. Terrorism, extremism, violence and suicide attacks were alien acts for Pakistani society. It was never the panorama of nonsensical violence and unpitying massacres even until 2004. Eversince the start of global war on terror in the post 9/11 scenario, this peaceful nation has lost innumerable innocent civilians and security forces personnel while acting as a frontline state. These losses have been caused by so called Islamic militants; the Taliban and their accomplices, during their attacks either on security forces, general masses or else due to collateral damages caused in the process of combating the militancy. Infact the number of causalities we have suffered during this so called war on terror is much more than what we afforded during combat operations in 1965 and 1971 wars with India.
Frankly speaking, beyond our geographical borders, the Global War on Terror has never been our war nor it is our until now, but within our physical boundaries we have to defend against any external antagonism or internal intimidation. There is no doubt that 9/11 was a milestone in our current history. This inopportune incident has caused inconceivable domestic turbulence in Pakistan. In reality, the incident was a fallout of Western sponsored Jihad against the invasion of former Soviet Union in Afghanistan (1979 -1989). After disintegration of Soviet Union, the former Jihadis (religiously motivated volunteers from all over the world) were left out of work, as US lead West left the region in haste. A large majority of them (jihadis) especially Arabs and Central Asians were not even acceptable to their native countries. They kept itinerant in Afghanistan until 9/11. Thereafter under strong US and NATO pressure some of them took refuge in tribal areas along Pak – Afghan border.
Their presence in tribal areas was mulled over as a budding risk, therefore security forces launched operations to flush them out. Astoundingly these militants put up strapping resistance to these operations by security forces. However their militancy remained restricted to North and South Waziristan only. After 2005, their activities were stretched over to the rest of tribal areas and settled areas of North West Frontier Province (NWFP). And by 2007, they successfully made inroads into our major cities and carried out suicidal attacks and bomb blasts against our national sensitivities and innocent masses throughout the length and breadth of the country. Over the years these militants were strengthened by acquisition of latest weaponry and equipments and an unending financial support by forces operating from outside the Pakistani borders, having historical rancor against us.
Now a stage has arrived where this war has reached to our courtyards. At this stage logically speaking we cannot disown this war. If still we say that this is not our war, I am afraid that which juncture we are waiting for? God forbid perhaps once they will overrun the entire country? Daily bombings and suicide attacks have reached to a stage where every one is uncertain about his / her life in the next moment even within protected places. In first nine months of 2008 alone, there have been over 4000 casualties due to terrorism. Towards beginning of operation in 2003, the figure of total casualties was around 189. There has been a gradual increase in this number till it reached to 3500 in year 2007. It is worth mentioning that during last seven years combined losses of US, NATO, ISAF and Afghan National Army in Afghanistan are less than what our security forces have suffered at the hands of these terrorists and extremists within the geographical limits of Pakistan.
The question arises who caused this all? Essentially these are those elements, fighting under the wrong pretext of promoting their version of Islamic ideology which is contrary to true sprit of Islam. It is worth mentioning here that Islam preaches peace and tranquility not violence and killings. In Islam, “killing of one person (irrespective of religion) is equivalent to the carnage of entire human beings”. Whereas these militants kill the innocent people indiscriminately, basing on which one can safely say that they are pursuing a philosophy contrary to Islamic one. Infact the militants fighting against the world in general and Pakistan in particular are sloppily damaging the Islamic ideology and impression of Islam, which can not be done by a Muslim. All tangible evidences and analysis are indeed leading to the coherent conclusions that; camouflaged like Muslims, these militants are operating against Islam. It will be impulsive to say that whose cause they are promoting? But indubitably none is well wisher to Muslims, Islam and Pakistan.
It is true that our masses are mentally convinced that we are facing this fiasco because of our friendship with US who invaded Afghanistan and Iraq to gift us this militancy. Moreover there is very clear variation in the line of action being conceived by government and the people of Pakistan. This perception needs to be synchronized in the light of prevailing facts and figures, before it is too late. Time has come where Pakistani nation has to understand these so called Islamic militants, damaging the very basis of existence of the only ideological Muslim country in the world by promoting terrorism and extremism. Their uninterrupted flow of finances and armory and secured hideouts have to be questioned and ceased consequently. Their moral values, violence and armed assaults on Mosques, religious, national and social congregations are seriously leading towards their long term out of sight intentions. Their activities have made every one and any one insecure in Pakistan. They have seriously hampered the economic progress of the country by encumbering the foreign investment through acts like; kidnapping and terrorizing the foreigners. They are openly torching the educational institutions specially girls schools and colleges, the very basis of our intellectual growth and quintessence of Islam. They are butchering the innocents and all those who question their motives and ideology. They are promoting sectarianism, ethnicity and factional divide among the nation. In short, these militants are at war with all the peace loving people of Pakistan for motives better known to them or their abettors.
With all these facts and figures, do we still need to say that it is not our war? It is now obligatory on the leadership to put the nation in correct perspective by revealing the harsh facts. The nation has to be mobilized on war footings to know the reality and hidden agenda of all those having historical acrimony against the only ideological and nuclear Muslim state. It is not for the security forces alone to fight the terrorists and extremists at every nook and corner but the nation as a whole has to fight them out. However before undertaking this fight, the leadership has to mentally convince the masses, that it might have been any one else’s war but now being within our four walls has inadvertently become ours – as every one’s safety and security in Pakistan is at stake.