Taliban Times – 2: Who Opposes the Taliban

Posted on May 3, 2009
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Law & Justice, Politics, Society
78 Comments
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Adil Najam

To view such a video and assume that all of Pakistan is against the Taliban would be as delusional as the proposition that all of Pakistan is for them is deceptive.

The point of this video is not that all Pakistanis are opposed to Talibanization. It is that not all Pakistanis are for them.

The distinction between the two is subtle, but vital. The video puts to a lie the notion that anti-Taliban sentiment are to be found only in the so-called “liberal” and “elite” classes. Indeed, the empirical fact is that the people who the Taliban and other religious extremist forces have been killing in Pakistan are (a) nearly all Pakistanis, (b) nearly all Muslims, and (c) none of them are either very “liberal” or very “elite.”

It should not be a surprise, then, that at least some, probably many, and possibly most, “non-liberal,” “non-elite,” Pakistani Muslims would be against the Taliban and the war they are waging on Pakistan, Pakistanis and on Pakistani Muslims. The tragedy is that too many Pakistanis remain agnostic on the Talibanization threat and even more who are afraid of or reluctant to raise their voices against them.

There is clearly a need to counter the propaganda of those who would have us believe that the Taliban are opposed only by a few “liberal elites.” But equally important – even more important – is the need to acknowledge and somehow deal with the deep fissures and divisions within Pakistani society. Indeed, if there is any one unambiguous truth about Pakistan today it is that we are a deeply divided society. Deeply divided on many of the most existential questions about the country’s past, present and future: Including on questions of what the Taliban represent and how they should be dealt with. It is this division that the Taliban are exploiting. Until these societal fissures are somehow addressed neither military action, nor political strategy, nor international intervention will make any difference whatsoever.

78 responses to “Taliban Times – 2: Who Opposes the Taliban”

  1. banjara286 says:

    adnan, the religious and the liberal/secular can keep on arguing and blaming each other till the cows come home, but it is not going to make an iota of contribution towards a constructive resolution of the problems facing us all as Pakistanis. if anything, common sense demands that we find some minimum common ground so we can cooperate with, rather than undercut, each other all the time.

    while taliban alone may not deserve the blame for all ills, it is also true that there is nothing positive that can be said of their movement. in time, it will certainly destroy Pakistan. i think that being religious, or being liberal/secular, does not alter this reality in the least.

    what we need is to find a constructive accomodation that we can all live with in good conscience; and i say this as an orthodox believer. the resolution we need to find must give sufficient space to all – liberal, religious, minorities – for them to be able to support it.

    if we can truly understand what shari’ah really is, there is nothing in it that will stop us from finding such a solution. think about it.

  2. PMA: let’s agree to disagree to argue about conservative vs religious as it would be quite childish and futile to debate about unnecessary thing. I try to answer you statement by statement.


    My difficulty with religious community is that it often takes upon itself to police those who do not conform to their ideology or version of

  3. PMA says:

    Dear Mr. Siddiqi: Our ideological disagreements are not signs of disrespect for each other. You are saying that Pakistani society is ” either religious or semi-religious” and “conservative is a Western term”. Well if ‘conservative’ is a Western term then so are the terms like ‘liberal’, ‘religious’ and ‘secular’. I would say being religious is being conservative, without relegating any negativity to it. I believe that in a free and open society each and every member of the society has full right to carry what ever belief they wish as long as their believes do not infringe upon the rights and believes of others. This principle applies to all schools of thoughts. My difficulty with religious community is that it often takes upon itself to police those who do not conform to their ideology or version of ‘true religion’. I present his discussion on the use of word ‘ya’ (oh) by Brother Ibrahim on this post as an exhibit in support of my point. Taliban as a movement must be heard and allowed political space but not as an armed gang and enforcers about to destroy our country and society. They have no right to force their ideology on innocent people at gun point. And please do not say that this commenter has taken his position under Western media influence. Please grant me the same intellectual respect that I grant you. I speak as a person who loves Pakistan and her people no matter what their personal believes are. West is against Taleban because Taleban abate and support Al-Qaeda, a sworn enemy of the West. Pakistanis detest Taleban because they are about to destroy Pakistan. Pakistan has enough external security threats and need not to be burdened by the internal threats like Taleban.

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