Was Mullah Mansoor a shaheed?
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.