Was Mul­lah Man­soor a sha­heed?

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION - Ali Ashraf Khan Email:balti1551@gmail.com

PAK­ISTAN Tehreek-i-In­saf (PTI) spokesman Naeemul Haque on Thurs­day de­fended his stance over call­ing Afghan mil­i­tant Mul­lah Man­sour a ‘mar­tyr’, who was killed in a US drone at­tack in Balochis­tan few weeks ago. Nadeem Paracha when ques­tioned on the sub­ject ask­ing Naeemul Haque about the rea­son for call­ing the amir of the Afghan Tal­iban a mar­tyr and he got the an­swer that Mansur was fight­ing against for­eign oc­cu­pa­tion and that was why his death was Sha­ha­dat.

This is an im­por­tant dis­cus­sion which we should give some time and se­ri­ous at­ten­tion. Paracha seems to ar­gue that if Afghan Tal­iban and their atroc­i­ties are con­doned then Pak­istani Tal­iban are right as well. But I think that is not true. Afghanistan was at­tacked and force­fully oc­cu­pied by for­eign troops af­ter 9/11 when the US was de­mand­ing that Osama should be handed over to them for his al­leged in­volve­ment in the New York at­tacks while for­get­ting that US had not only been back­ing him with so­phis­ti­cated arms but also fi­nanc­ing him and his ji­hadi ide­ol­ogy. The Afghans could not hand a guest over to his en­e­mies – that is what their eth­i­cal code Pash­tun­wali de­mands. In­stead of just snatch­ing Osama, US and NATO top­pled the Afghan gov­ern­ment waged war on the coun­try for over 13 years, and in­stalled a stooge gov­ern­ment and a con­sti­tu­tion based on prin­ci­ples that are alien to the ma­jor­ity of the Afghan peo­ple.

The Tal­iban un­der Mul­lah Omar and Mul­lah Mansur fought against the for­eign oc­cu­pa­tion and against those Afghans who were and are sup­port­ing the oc­cu­pa­tion forces. They fight not only against the for­eign­ers but also against the im­ported po­lit­i­cal sys­tem that they have in­stalled in Afghanistan and in­stead aim to re­place it with an Is­lamic sys­tem. Now it is true that in the course of that fight atroc­i­ties have been com­mit­ted. On all sides, by the way. Those atroc­i­ties have hit civil­ians as well. In Afghanistan af­ter thirty years of war and civil war the bor­der­line be­tween civil­ians and war­riors have been blurred. Hu­man­ity has suf­fered and crim­i­nal el­e­ments have taken ad­van­tage of the sit­u­a­tion. But the cold and tech­no­log­i­cal war­fare of the West with car­pet bomb­ings, drone at­tacks and mighty daisy cut­ters was not less cruel and un­fair. So should now fight­ing for­eign oc­cu­pa­tion be called ter­ror­ism? What about Kash­mir, what about Pales­tine? Should Kash­miris give up fight­ing oc­cu­pa­tion? Should we con­demn their strug­gle be­cause some at­tacks have killed civil­ians?

I also think that call­ing Mul­lah Mansur a Sha­heed does not mean that Pak­istani Tal­iban are au­to­mat­i­cally con­doned by that. Though we all re­mem­ber that there was a sim­i­lar con­fu­sion when the Pak­istan army fought and killed Tal­iban and our re­li­gious par­ties called the killed Tal­ibs ‘sha­heed’. But there is no for­eign oc­cu­pa­tion in Pak­istan against which fight­ing would be law­ful. But Pak­istan has as­sisted US ear­lier, and sup­ported ji­hadi ide­ol­ogy and war­fare in Afghanistan that has crossed since then back into Pak­istan. There is no jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for at­tacks on schools or on re­li­gious mi­nori­ties or civil­ians of any kind. Pak­istan is not Afghanistan and -the Pak­istan army is in the process of deal­ing with the prob­lem.

But af­ter that is done there re­mains more that can­not be done mil­i­tar­ily. Pak­istani Tal­iban – those who are not crim­i­nals- fight against the Pak­istani state by tak­ing the law into their own hands, which ac­cord­ing to their un­der­stand­ing may not be func­tion­ing prop­erly and, there­fore, should be re­placed by an Is­lamic state. This is not a civ­i­lized way of do­ing things and in­stead of sui­cide at­tacks there should be an open di­a­logue in public about the mat­ter. The Ob­jec­tive’s Res­o­lu­tion of March 1949 tried a com­bi­na­tion of a west­ern-in­spired a Pak­istan is dis­mal, cor­rup­tion is ram­pant and Is­lam has taken a strange form rather has be­come hostage of the West­ern agenda - it rec­om­mends ‘light beat­ings’ for women by men in case they don’t com­ply!

There is cer­tainly a need to put our house in or­der first oth­er­wise I fear his­tory of Ot­tomans re­peat­ing again, which be­came vic­tim of west­ern con­spir­a­cies, but for avoid­ing rep­e­ti­tion of that we don’t have to fight and kill each other. We have to talk and lis­ten to each other build con­sen­sus and change things, who will do that? We need an hon­est leader which for the time be­ing is not vis­i­ble on Pak­istani hori­zon. So there is no com­par­i­son be­tween Afghanistan and Pak­istan. And I think that Mul­lah Mansur who is said to have died in drone at­tack in which his travel doc­u­ments re­mained in­tact, was a mar­tyr be­cause he died for a just cause of his peo­ple and I think those Kash­miris and Pales­tini­ans who die for their just causes are sha­heeds as well. Whether one agrees or dis­agrees on the sta­tus of sha­ha­dat, what West needs to un­der­stand is that ma­jor­ity of Afghans who sup­port Tal­iban’s stand will never sur­ren­der their le­git­i­mate de­mand that they leave the oc­cu­pied Afghan ter­ri­tory. God bless Hu­man­ity, God bless Pak­istan. —The writer is a se­nior colum­nist based in Karachi.

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