Back in 2002, I was returning from Friday prayers when I saw an unusual gathering of singing and quasi-dancing Mullahs. Unusual because I had always assumed Mullahs to be against all types of art. The amused crowd were listening to chants of â€œTaliban aa gayay, Taliban aa gayay.â€
I smirked. As if!
PakistanÂ is a nuclear country with the seventh largest army. Weâ€™re safe.
The Mullahsâ€™ songs have been answered â€“ the Taliban indeed are coming. And with them the cowards are bringing a lifestyle that destroys everythingÂ Pakistan and Islam.
Oh no. Wait! “This guy is on the paycheck of those who are trying to breakÂ Pakistan. Taliban are heroes, itsÂ AmericaÂ which is wrong.” Yes, this is the typical self defense mechanism coming to full force. Having nothing to lose, and having been already declared aÂ CIAÂ agent earlier in life I suppose Iâ€™ll continue. Continuing with a genuine fear, that these words are falling on either deaf or hostile ears. Mohammad Ali Jinnahâ€™sÂ PakistanÂ is over if all this chaos continues.
Jinnahâ€™sÂ PakistanÂ is a dream gone wrong. Perhaps if he knew that the dreamland for living in peace, harmony, religious tolerance and freedom was going to become arena for public flogging where laughs of sadist barbarians and the screams of minors will echo, he would not have decided on creating it. Had he known that there would be more suicide bombs in his country than any other place in the world, where fundamentalists would go around the cities threatening women, where school children would have to undergo security protocols as if they were in a war zone, would he have even bothered to work for the green and white?
Still,Â PakistanÂ is not what we worry about. All our esteemed talk shows chatter on is whether there should be 17thÂ Amendment or not and on the statements byÂ AmericaÂ andÂ India. Yes, American drones and Indian statements are a threat to our sovereignty. Yes, the balance of power is important. But even when the Taliban have killed more people than India, American Drones or our tyrant rulers, taken over more of our land and have made us feel more unsafe than anyone else in the past thirty years? What other definition of sovereignty is there than protection of lives and property of people, maintaining writ of the state across the territory and having people feel secured? Why can’t we have some programs discussing the atrocities of the Taliban, the acts of terror that they do and how they have destroyedÂ Pakistan?
No, itâ€™s the â€œHindu Zionistsâ€ (notice the contradiction?) working on aÂ CIAÂ sponsored conspiracy to breakÂ Pakistan. There are the good Taliban who fought the Kuffar off and the real issue is theÂ CIA. Apparently, everyone has all the time in the world to devise every action we do, plan it to perfection and then make the evidence of their involvement disappear. Are we really that important for the rest of the world to worry about when they have their own countries and problems to tend to? Even if the Taliban are foreign funded should does that not mean we should double our efforts? Remember whenÂ IndiaÂ briefly occupied few territories nearÂ LahoreÂ in 1965 how the whole country ran to defend it? My grandfather had stories of people going with sticks to support the army. I am afraid I will not have any such stories of patriotic resistance to tell anyone when another enemy has taken control of a fourth of NWFP and roughly one twentieth ofÂ Pakistan. Perhaps we should ban â€œYeh watan tumhara hai, tum ho pasban is kayâ€ for it seems no one really care aboutÂ Pakistan, except the Zionist Hindus of course.
But no, remember the glorious days of the Caliphs? Remember the great Pakistani Fauj, who under the Ameer-ul-Momineen, Ziaâ€“ulâ€“Haq, crushed the Russians? This is only a plan to makeÂ AmericaÂ taste the same fate! For a nation which already lives in denial, these conspiracy theories are all we need to turn us completely schizophrenic. Army is great and it will deal with any task assigned to it. More of the same comes from everyone turning patriotic everywhere. This automatic knee-jerk mechanism has seeped in our blood and shut off our brains.
For the love of God can anyone explain me why the great Army of Allah, whose laurels we sing from the day we are born, has still not been able to jam radio stations pouring terror in Swat? Have the core commanders not even tried asking the army engineers how radios work and how easy it is jam them without even having to be in the line of fire? Can they not even figure out if they only played â€œWho let the Dogs outâ€ at the frequencies the Taliban use it would stop this vitriol? Why is it that these Taliban leaders can appear before journalists in broad daylight and roam freely without any trouble even when they claim responsibility of attacking Pakistanis across the country?
Perhaps the real question I should ask is why do I even care?
When I took time off from Harvard to be part of the lawyersâ€™ movement I had seen a ray of hope. There were concerned citizens and lawyers who stood for what was right no matter what the consequences. We fought for a principle and won with the hope that things will slowly improve. Today the very judges we had faith in released the cleric of Lal Mosque whose crimes everyone knows about. If the judiciary was going to release people whose crimes were recorded on TV perhaps it does explain why Taliban are spreading like an incurable cancer. Imagine who would be hanging in â€œkhooni chowkâ€ had Mullana Abdul Aziz kidnapped a few Taliban officials or fought against them and killed their men?
Yet when you think allâ€™s over, somehow someone comes up. Someone whose name keeps your head from drowning. Perhaps this sick torture has to be long and painful where we chase mirages of oasis, never to really reach them. Perhaps for all the atrocities we have committed to our own people require us to be made an example of so no other nation follows our path. Why do ray of hopes like Afzal Khan, who has socked it up to Taliban and refused to be removed from Swat alive, appear every now and then? However he stands to die in the rain. Alone.
Can anyone please name one Pakistani leader who has said the same? Forget that has anyone Pakistani leader said that he will go and get the Taliban to give up their arms? Will the real leader who can get rid of these monsters stand up? Imran Khan? Qazi? Nawaz Sharif? This silence is criminal!
Whatâ€™s worse that these leaders of ours have unanimously approved a state within a state run, which is not accountable to anyone, absolves all crimes of the Taliban and gives a safe haven to those who are there to kill us? What sort of a Nizam-e-Nonsense is this when no one even tried to debate the issue properly and even consider for a second that giving blanket amnesty to the Taliban might not, even if it be infinitesimal, the right thing to do? No for the politicians this does not matter. All they are interesting in mudslinging at each other and more ministries. Our media and sheeple are busy devouring the latest gossip whileÂ PakistanÂ burns.
But unlike what people think it will not be because of Zardariâ€™s corruption or Gilaniâ€™s incompetence or Salman Taseerâ€™s antics. Â We have survived them in the past, and so we’ll do again. But any country that falls to the Taliban will never recovered.
The Taliban are here to stay and unless we stand up against them in every possible wayÂ PakistanÂ will be lost â€“ for good!Â It will be the silence of the lambs which destroys us. You will be responsible ifÂ PakistanÂ fails.
Sammad Khurram is a student at Harvard University and turned down an award from the US ambassador as a mark of protest against killings of Pakistani soldiers by US drone attacks.