There is no doubt in anyone’s mind, including our allies, that the two biggest threats to Pakistan today are not from the enemy outside, but from the enemy within, which are in the form of terrorism and targeted killings.
These two ‘non-state’ activities have made the cities of this land of the Pak and the pure, one of the most dangerous countries in the world a hot bed and epicenter for terrorism. The electronic media regularly show videos of training schools, where young boys from poor and deprived families are brain washed and taught how to become suicide bombers, in the name of Islam, giving a bad image of the country.
A glimpse of the misguided Islamic teachings of the Taliban can be viewed at below link.
As one angry citizen has expressed: ‘The recent incidents of terrorism and the massacre in the Peshawar church last Sunday, have caused large-scale grief, anger and shame, but will this outrage awaken the Pakistani people to the urgency of dealing with this problem?
And, due to the activities of these non-state actors, foreigners refuse to visit or invest in Pakistan and even local businessmen and industrialists are moving their offices and industries to neighboring countries. According to State Bank reports, billions of rupees are being sent out of the country, resulting in the high price of US dollars in the open market.
Due to unabated target killings, kidnappings for ransom and terrorist attacks, many residents are also migrating to safer countries and there is even talk in the business circles, about setting up a vigilant group to fight the criminals, with an ‘eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth’ policy.
Such groups do exist in other crime-infested cities, but in those cities, the legal system, the LEAs and the Rule of Law are functional, whereas in Pakistan, we have a poor judicial system, corrupt and ineffective LEAs and non-functioning Rule of Law. At the same time, the Nation stands divided on how to counter terrorism, target killings and end the slaughter of innocent citizens. For the last several months, heated debates have been raging in our National Assembly and TV talk shows on Operation Clean Up in Karachi on how to tackle terrorism.
Some opposition parties strongly object to the way the operation being conducted in Karachi and accuse the government of using it to target their party workers. While there are strong, divergent views on how to stop suicide bombings. The Doves are of the opinion that peace must be given a chance, as we have no other alternative.
They want to sit and break bread with the enemy, in order to find an amicable solution that is viable and acceptable to all. Even our Knight in Shining Armor, strongly feels that dialogue with the enemy is the only answer to stop the carnage.
However, the Hawks have an opposite view and feel that by sleeping with the enemy and extending them an olive branch, would be a sign of weakness and send a wrong message. They argue, how can one have dialogue with someone who refuses to accept your writ and to recognize or accept your government, your Constitution and even your laws and who do you discuss peace with, as there are so many different Taliban leaders? They want to give the Taliban an ultimatum, to accept the writ of the government and the laws of the country or face the consequences.
No doubt, Pakistan desperately needs peace, so that there is an end to the daily carnage and the slaughter of innocent men, women and children, but at what price? As they say, it takes two to Tango, so if peace is to be given a chance, both parties have to be sincere and committed to the cause of peace. Unfortunately, the recent carnage in a Church, followed by three deadly attacks in Peshawar in just one week. indicate that the Taliban are not interested in peace and have a totally different agenda.
At the same time, there are visible signs in Karachi, that Taliban have established ‘armed settlements’ around the city, capable of cutting off the city from the rest of the country. While according to experts, the demographic structure of the city will change in due time and Pathans will be the major stakeholders and Pashto, the main language.
And as the Taliban have connections and influence among the Pathans, if shove comes to a push, there are fears that Karachi, our City of Lights and economic backbone of the country, will be under the control of the Taliban and their laws.
The prophets of doom and gloom warn, that there should be no mistake about their objectives. They are not fighting for their rights, but are fighting the State of Pakistan to usurp the rights of the people of Pakistan and to replace the state’s democratic structure and its judicial and education system. They want to install their own values and system of governance, justice and education. These are serious issues, but unfortunately, the all-party conference has not touch these core issues.
Some political parties have been tolling the alarm bells of such a scenario for the last several years, but not many have taken their warnings seriously and have been asking, ‘For whom the bells toll?’ Well dear friends, it is time to wake up, for if such a situation does arise, then the tolling of the bells will be for our future generation and us.
And to add to the already existing threat of the Enemy Within, we have the inconsistent policies of a confused and incompetent government, which seems to be out of its depth, on how to tackle the enormous problems facing the country, including the increasing gap between the haves and the have not’s. So, once again, Pakistan is at a crucial crossroad, but this time, its identity, system of governance and its laws are at stake and if we do not act now, then the March of the Taliban will enter our cities and be at our doorstep. However, the good news is that the Punjab government, like KPK has promulgated the Freedom to Information Ordinance 2013. And as usual, Sindh is the only province in Pakistan without a FIO and a Consumer protection law.
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