Rationality and logic are the tools that assist the analysis of human behaviour to comprehend why people act in certain ways and what their motives and intentions are. When logic and rationality are applied to a problematic situation under inquiry, the purpose is to arrive at the understanding of the issue in an unbiased manner. The application of logical and rational methods is a process through which conclusions are drawn based on the analysis of the problem, its historical background, and its prevailing ground realities - leading to making sound, philosophically acceptable and verifiable judgments. It is a non-partisan approach to problem-solving.
In this article, an attempt is being made to apply a logical or rational approach to comprehend exactly why a murderous attack on the young girl Malala was carried out, particularly immediately after Imran Khan’s “peace march” to Waziristan when the issue of drone attacks resulting in civilian causalities has come to the centre stage of global media attention. Has this cruel episode been manufactured to shift public attention away from “drone attacks” to the Taliban insurgency, as the more sinister and dangerous threat to Pakistan’s political problematics and so crucial to US-Nato’s so-called war on terror?
But, first, some vitally important questions: why would the Taliban want to kill this young girl? How would this kind of violent act help the Taliban in the pursuit of their ideological objectives? If the purpose of the Taliban movement is to have a large public following in support of their political doctrine, then how would this brutal assault against a young peace activist help them in their political-ideological objectives?
So, the rational question is: what has the Taliban movement gained by trying to gun down a young girl? The simple answer is nothing - nothing whatsoever. Obviously, another rational question follows: if the Taliban movement is not going to gain any positive results for their ideological goals, then would they commit such a horrifying act of political suicide? A logical-rational view of the situation on the ground seems to suggest that our understanding of the entire episode is flawed.
The fact of the matter is that the Taliban, after the Malala incident, have not gained any public sympathy or support for this ideological platform. In fact, the effects have been quite the opposite: the Taliban have become the focal target of public scorn, hatred and contempt. Public vigils have been held all over the country. Newspapers have written anti-Taliban editorials. Columnists have condemned them. Electronic media and TV have opened a barrage of assaults against them. Even the Zardari regime has observed a “Youm-e-Dua” for Malala (however, no such “Day of Prayers” was ever observed when members of countless families were blown to pieces by drone attacks in Waziristan). Pakistan’s Interior Minister has forewarned stern action against the Taliban, and the military high command has vowed zero-tolerance against “terrorism” suggesting a most definite military operation in North Waziristan.
Rationally, come to think about it, the Malala episode, its wide media coverage and the engineered emotional public response has put Pakistan’s military high command and Zardari’s civilian regime conveniently on the same page for a course of action that the Obama Administration has been demanding of the Pakistani military for a long time: The “do more” mantra - the killing of Pakistani citizens at the hands of its own establishment.
Have we thought, rationally and logically, how opportune it is for the Zardari regime and the Americans to say it was the Taliban, unquestionably, who attempted to murder Malala? The apologists of the Zardari-US alliance would say: did the Taliban not claim responsibility? Don’t they look at their victims not as people, but as expendable commodities (look at what they did to Malala)? Is it not the Taliban, who want to make people so agonised and stressed where they would end up frightened of their own shadows (see how brutal their tactics are)? But this rhetoric and propaganda is so predictable: it is rather convenient to blame the Taliban - maybe the Taliban are just a smokescreen - factual ground realities might be very different.
Pakistan has the rightwing US-centric Zardari regime, which will not negotiate peace with the Taliban because of American pressure. The US presidential election is just around the corner. If the Pakistani military now starts a military campaign in North Waziristan, as demanded by the Obama Administration, it would add to Obama’s popularity as a strong, determined and efficient Commander-in-Chief, who is capable of forcing American interests with absolute resolve: an Obama victory over evil forces (Taliban and Islamic extremists) to make America safe. Hail the Chief! For Zardari’s regime, it turns out to be payback time for American support all these years. My point here is that we, as a nation, need to rethink logically and rationally and without overpowering emotional reactions, if Malala is truly a victim of Taliban brutality? Or is she the sacrificial lamb of an external power and its Pakistani collaborators in an engineered episode to gain political mileage?
Indeed, CIA footprints are all over the script and narrative of this entire incident. From start to finish, this episode is reminiscent of the CIA’s theatrics of this kind all over the world. It is an inexplicable part of American foreign policy to use covert strategies to manipulate public perceptions and mould public opinion in foreign countries on a massive scale. The Malala incident is the CIA’s latest attempt to divide public opinion and incite conflict in Pakistani society.
As for Taliban-related terrorism in the country, it will end as soon as Pakistan disassociates itself from the US-Nato so-called war on terror. Let us not forget that violence breeds violence. As long as “drones” keep raining missiles from the sky on innocent civilians, and as long as US intervention in Pakistan’s internal affairs persists, the Pakistani Taliban will continue to multiply. If we wish to give peace a chance, we will have to rethink our foreign policy and make major changes in our US-centric decades-old approach intertwined with our internal-external political dynamics.
Let us hope that Pakistan’s top military commanders will remain steadfast in their resolve not to start a fresh military offensive in Waziristan on US urgings. Hopefully, the electronic media will take a rational-logical, non-emotional view of the recent Malala episode and not blow it out of proportion. Not any less important is the public’s reaction to this latest manipulative provocation of our enemies within and from outside.
A mature dignified logical-rational public response to the Malala tragedy holds the key to our salvation and in our fight (and victory) against external enemies and internal collaborators.
Know thy enemy! That will lead us to know the truth of the matter!
The writer is UAE-based academic policy analyst, conflict resolution expert and the author of several books on Pakistan and foreign policy issues. He holds a doctorate and a masters degree from Columbia University in New York.