What NAP missed

The Pak Banker - - 4EDITORIAL - Rauf k. Khat­tak

LOOK closely at the Na­tional Ac­tion Plan. The minds work­ing to ad­dress one of the most se­ri­ous chal­lenges in our his­tory - per­haps se­cond only to the East Pak­istan cri­sis - came up with a laun­dry list to con­front the dan­ger.

The best that the best minds could think of in­cluded mea­sures rang­ing from set­ting up spe­cial courts, ban­ning armed mili­tias, re­vi­tal­is­ing Nacta, crack­ing down on hate speech, etc. Does this lead us to con­clude how this fitna emerged? Was it be­cause of money; for­eign med­dling; zealots trav­el­ling from the Middle East via the Afghan ji­had; our own poli­cies to out­source our wars? Yes, it is all of this, but that is not all.

There is one griev­ous omis­sion from the mea­sures which NAP out­lined. It is so­cial and eco­nomic jus­tice and equal­ity be­tween classes and re­gions. Why is it that there are so many men who blindly fol­low the mer­chants of death, to do the dirty work for them in ex­change for money? The an­swer is sim­ple: they have no stake in this life and in this coun­try.

They are not the en­e­mies of this coun­try. The sys­tem is their en­emy. They have no de­cent clothes on their backs and no nour­ish­ing food in their bel­lies. Fire burns in their bel­lies. That is why no act is grue­some enough for them. A hun­gry man is an an­gry man. Ac­cord­ing to a Chi­nese proverb, he who has no shoes on his feet is never afraid of one who has boots on.

Make an eco­nomic and re­gional pro- file of all those that we have ar­rested, hanged, killed and are fight­ing against and only one dark pic­ture will emerge - a pa­thetic, mis­er­able fig­ure. He talks about great 'ji­had', Is­lam in dan­ger and says that any­one who does not take up arms in or­der to es­tab­lish 'God's law' in this coun­try and drive away all 'in­fi­dels' from Mus­lim lands, is a kafir.

He will kill all such men in bazaars, mosques, their chil­dren in schools and col­leges, any­where in fact. You look more closely at this mis­er­able fig­ure and you will be con­vinced that he is to­tally ig­no­rant and may not even be say­ing his five daily prayers cor­rectly. Yet he lec­tures us on what real Is­lam is. He only par­rots his men­tors who are con­nected to re­mote ide­o­logues. He does not know the mes­sage of peace in Is­lam.

And that there

are more

sen­si­ble views than what Sayyid Qutb of Egypt preached and Osama bin Laden of Saudi Ara­bia prac­tised. Our hun­gry man has got a plat­form and poi­sonous words placed in his mouth to froth out and take his re­venge on the rest of the so­ci­ety.

NAP is in­dulging in ad­min­is­tra­tive and mil­i­tary whip-crack­ing. This is fine but we have been us­ing th­ese meth­ods for the last decade. Our wound is large and can­not be cov­ered by band-aids. Where is the states­man­ship? States­men do not cre­ate his­tory. They seize the op­por­tu­nity pre­sented by his­tory. Pres­i­dent Obama in his last State of the Union ad­dress al­luded to decades of in­sta­bil­ity in Pak­istan and Afghanistan. Some of our na­tion­al­ists were not amused. Obama was dead right.

Our re­sponse is to wish away the prob­lem by an­nounc­ing each day that the back of the mil­i­tants has been bro­ken. They, in turn, present us with a new hor­ror the next day.

There can­not be com­plete equal­ity on earth. Men and re­gions have been cre­ated with dif­fer­ent po­ten­tials. Will Du­rant in The Lessons of His­tory said: "We con­clude that the con­cen­tra­tion of wealth is nat­u­ral and in­evitable and is par­tially al­le­vi­ated by vi­o­lent or peace­able par­tial re­dis­tri­bu­tion." The lower classes will rebel if in­equal­ity is ex­treme.

The mil­i­tants may have been pushed back. But the prob­lem is not go­ing away. The rul­ing classes of Pak­istan were lucky this time. Re­mem­ber how young, un­known men around 2002 started ap­pear­ing in one place af­ter the other in KP to 'spread virtue and elim­i­nate vice' from the so­ci­ety? Ter­ror was un­leashed by the dis­en­fran­chised of yes­ter­day whose ranks were swelling by the an­gry un­em­ployed - both ed­u­cated and un­e­d­u­cated - crim­i­nals and the 'pi­ous' alike.

The de­noue­ment was reached by 2009 when the lo­cal Tal­iban were at a strik­ing dis­tance from Is­lam­abad. The state was alarmed and in May 2009, op­er­a­tion Rah-i-Rast was launched with full fury and the mil­i­tants were rolled back.

The Tal­iban failed this time not be­cause of the op­er­a­tions against them but be­cause they es­poused non-is­sues like beards, ban­ning mu­sic and religious or­tho­doxy. Had they stressed the right is­sues such as so­cial and eco­nomic in­jus­tice, the flood would have swelled from ev­ery city, vil­lage and val­ley in Pak­istan drown­ing the ex­ploita­tive class. Is­lam­abad would have been theirs. Pre­vent the next storm by adding so­cial and eco­nomic jus­tice to NAP.

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