A rejoinder to Saroop Ijaz's Piece "From Apologist to Ally" published in Express Tribune on the 23rd of September 2013
Pakistan, Perhaps the only society where whether you are a liberal or conservative is not decided based on the values you stand for but on the basis of 'how determined you are for a bloodshed of those who don’t agree with you'. There may be others but I am yet to come across any, particularly in the first world.
The recipe is simple. Just praise non sense political banter of NFPs and Saroop Ijazs of the society, hate the Ansar Abbasis but love the Nusrat Javeds, hate Zia but love Musharraf. Hate your army, call them names, make sure you use the term NA-Pak Army instead of Pak Army when referring to them, but at the same time back the army to kill those who you don’t agree with. Occasionally you can shift your stance on mode of government, keep on flipping between Dictatorship and democracy at your convenience. Be choosy in protesting against bloodshed ensuring you spend more time on your laptop spitting carved political banter against those you don’t like instead of ACTUALLY protesting or coming out with a logical argument that is acceptable 'beyond your circle' as well.
It is "Haram" for you to think any one from tribal region is a Human being, any one with a turban, without a proper roof on his head and slippers in his feet has no right to be alive, HE IS A TALIBAN and their blood has no significance. Act as naive as possible about tribal and northern region of the country. Ensure you comment on these issues with as much conviction as possible, even if your apparent comprehension of dynamics end at Shaikhupura or Hyderabad from the comfort of your couches in Lahore or Karachi, Well Pindi or Jehlum would do if you are stationed in the capital. You can love or Hate Hamid Mir at your convenience, it just depends on what he has served in the platter in this evening's show. 'Manto was not a Porn Fantasist'. India never was and never will be our enemy and besides you have to move on, on issues like proven acts of terrorism, atrocities and insurgency support by India against Pakistan for the sake of "AMAN" , but that does not apply to the ‘Turbanised’ bearded lot. BLA is good and Talibans are Bad. Zaid Hamid is Insane but Marvi Sirmid is Sane (I can’t see any difference, just flip sides of the same coin).
When talking about WOT with someone that fits stereotypical image in your mind, make sure you ask stupid questions like "Do you condemn Terrorism", "Do you condemn Taliban" that have bleeding obvious answers. Imran khan is responsible for all the ills and mess in the country. Make sure every tragic incident in the country is followed by a charge sheet against khan, whether it makes sense or not. Make sure you act as stupid as possible to any plan presented by khan for peace and eradication of terrorism, refuse to understand even if a 360 degree and holistic approach is presented, however you are free to pick and chose lines to give them a spin of your choice. Last but not the least who ever criticise you, don’t agree with you or has given a statement contrary to your gospel is a TALIBAN apologist or you can even call him a Taliban Ally (God I know which category I fit in [A Tongue in cheek smiley follows]).
This and a few more things, Congratulations you are a Baptised Pakistani Liberal, doesn’t matter if these traits actually mean you are a right wing conservative or fall under the conventional definition of a fascist.
Just realised, wanted to talk about the Dialogue or Military operation debate going on for as long as the military operation is under way without changing things for any better for 9 years.
See it’s so easy to lose the plot and get carried away with your thoughts when you are criticising someone you have to pick a bone with, easiest job in the world eh? Well I just did it.
And Finally Some Substance:
There seems no intention or will to actually do something about the mess that our people are in and bring an end to this terrorism. The war that started from Waziristan, Spread in surrounding areas and spilled out of FATA to the cities across Pakistan Taken 40000+ lives, cost in excess of 70 Billion Dollars and counting. All these people seem to be concerned about is what steps are taken to eradicate the ‘Turbanised’ ‘Bearded’ ‘Bare footed’ lot from the face of earth. Pity on those who have devided the blood of a Pakistani into Muslim, Non-Muslim, Sindhi, Baloch, Pathan and Mahajir blood with A further Lethal and shameful division of secular and non secular blood.
What an Unfortunate nation whose leaders cannot even decide whether they should have a dialogue or continue with a military offensive that is on already for the last 9 years. Thousands of families from Waziristan, Bara, Teerah, Mohmand and Bajour are still living in camps despite Military having an operation for almost a decade.
Sawat operation; have we been able to restore peace in Sawat? Well if we did then why can’t the Army leave Sawat? Why is it that the same army, that without wasting time conducted operation in Sawat, is now reluctant to expand it, well perhaps there is a reason, may be they have realised that we cant win it like this.
The War Mongers, The Operation Hysterics, are they ready to house the IDPs? Sorry to say the same extremist war mongers and some political parties could not 'bear' the sight of IDPs from SAWAT in their areas why are they hell bent to further expose their bigoted behaviour? Are they aware of the consequences of an all out offensive across Pakistan? Are they ready to face an escalated counter backlash from the terrorists? or do they think that the operation will be confined to just the mountains?
Million dollar question is, Where to do the operation, Against whom? For how long? what are the parameters of success? And to find answers to these questions you will HAVE TO sit around the dialogues table (it’s a war, isn’t it?) and talks / dialogues doesn’t mean you are akin to be an ally, it is part of warfare. Ever heard of KNOWING your enemy? We don’t even know who we are fighting against, where they are. Do we know how many factions are there? do we know how many of them are ready to lay arms? This and all the confusion around the situation will never be resolved without getting on the table, and talks cannot be done through press releases and news reporters.
There has to be a defined place and nominated people if we are SERIOUS about this war. Otherwise we have fought it for 9 years, lost 40000+ plus lives; we can carry on like this for another decade and lose another thousands. All we want is an end to this mess and improve the lives of our people at any cost and for this you will have to get them on Table, end the Narrative of Jihad, Segregate those hell bent on violence from those who are willing to lay arms and if need be, follow it by a military operation against a KNOWN enemy. I cannot advocate a shot in the dark just because I disagree with the religious extremists. If any of above is still beyond your comprehension, then yeah I am an Ally.
The Writer is an Information Analyst by profession and does not fit under any definition of Liberal or Conservative given by the perceived representatives of the factions in Pakistan