What NAP missed
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
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.