Rahimia Magazine (March, 2014)
Government of Pakistanis busy these days in peace talks with militant groups in order to establish sustainable peace in the country. People of Pakistan are extremely upset with the recurrentacts of terrorism for the past several years and are also carrying high hopes with these talks. But on the other hand, sensible circles of society are not very hopeful about the success of this peace process due to various reasons.
Major reason of this pessimism is the mindset of strategic depth created by our state institutions during the cold war era. We neglected the ground realities and propagated concepts which were exclusively created to defeat the enemy at that time. We increased our military strength by establishing militant groups comprising of non-state actors. These militant groups were regarded as “strategic assets” by our policy makers.Moreover, political and religious parties collaborated with the state institutions and converted the state policy into public sentiment with the help of propaganda machinery. Today, our government and national defense institutions are trying to get rid of this environment of terrorism and conflict. But on the other hand, various political and religious forces of our society are unwilling to abstain from their previous point of view. In order to safeguard their vested interests, they are in a state of confusion about the elimination of these private militant groups.
Second reason is the debate which is being carried out in our media about the dialogue process. This debate is embedding doubts and confusions in the minds of the nation. A particular group comprising of media persons, intellectuals and political and religious leaders is advocating for private militant groups in the name of their self-acclaimed “Islam”. These so called intellectuals and leaders are providing justifications and logical interpretations to the point of view of these militant outfits thereby creating sympathy in the heart of common man. Steps taken by the state to curb these extremists are considered as oppressive and unjust. Whether or not peace will be established through dialogue process is highly uncertain. But, as a result of this advocacy extremist elements will earn a soft corner in the hearts and minds of common people.
Third reason is the non-serious attitude of both parties in the dialogue process which is evident from the selection of their representatives. Both parties (government and Taliban)have not selected their representatives from their organizational structure. Government should have selected its representatives from parliament whereas Taliban should have selected their representatives from their own structure. What is more interesting is the background of government representatives. These representatives have always advocated the view point of private militant outfits in their speeches and writings. They have opposed the stance of national defense institutions on various occasions. Hence, it seems as if a single party is sitting on both sides of dialogue table and Taliban are in talks with Taliban.
Despite apparent success of this dialogue process, hope of any sustainable solution is highly improbable. The team of “intellectuals” representing these militant groups highlights only few legal and conflicting issues of Islam. These intellectuals do not discuss the comprehensive political and economic system of Islam that strictly prohibits economic and political system based on Capitalism. If the Government bows down to some of the demands of militants, it will only result in the continuation of capitalist policies. Thus, a particular class will get few more years of exploitation of masses in the name of Islam and the ongoing economic and social crisis will get worse.
We are not saying that dialogue process should not be continued. Peace is certainly the need of our nation. But our government, political and religious parties must withdraw from their self-created ideological mindset and should not serve the agenda of any anti-state element. There is a dire need to separate the supporters of terrorism from national mainstream and should be made prominent for their anti-human traits.The nation thus could clearly support collective struggle for attainment of peace.
This dialogue process has highlighted pockets of extremist mindset in our society. At present, there is a clear ideological division among different schools of thought across the country. Every sensible Pakistani is closely watching this scenario and knows exactly the viewpoints of different political, religious and intellectual circles. If the purpose of this ongoing debate was to reveal the hidden enemy within our ranks, then this purpose is successfully achieved. This process has exposed many personalities which have wrapped themselves in the coverings of religion and peace. Hence, it is impossible for anyone to continue with the attitude of hypocrisy and double standards.
Our ruling class must also realize that terrorism is not a matter of few militant groups alone. Rather, it is connected to the interests of international powers. There is a dire need to closely observe the role of imperialist powers in the peace process. Our establishment should come out of their self-created theory of strategic depth and adopt a new vision of national security which is essential for sustainable and peaceful relations with the regional countries. We should refuse to participate in any international great game and focus on our national problems. It is time to discover the solution of challenges faced by our society. In the post-cold war scenario, former international allies of our state are now more inclined towards anti-state elements. These international powers are trying to achieve multiple objectives by following this policy of proxy wars.
In every country, the government is responsible for developing a foreign policy that is meant to safeguard national interests instead of promoting global imperialist objectives. This foreign policy should not be influenced by the supporters of extremist and reactionary elements. Moreover, our leadership should also mend its ways so that national problems like economic collapse, poverty, inflation, insecurity and energy crisis can be eradicated from society. Only then the dream of a prosperous and flourishing nation can be realized.
Translation: Muhammad Usman, Faisalabad