Taliban Times – 2: Who Opposes the Taliban

Posted on May 3, 2009
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Law & Justice, Politics, Society
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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. About ATP being a liberal site. You and I are both long time readers and commenters at ATP. You will agree that there is nothing

  2. PMA says:

    Dear Mr. SIddiqi: Thanks for the reply. My point was that you tend to see the Pakistani society in ‘liberal vs. conservative’ and ‘secular vs. religious’ terms. My life long experience tells me that our society is primarily a conservative and religious society. There are no “liberals” and “seculars” in Pakistan. What you see as ‘liberals’ (both in and out of government) are perhaps religiously ‘less conservative’ as compared to the others. What is so ‘liberal’ about Mr. Zardari, a crook and a mildly educated feudal lord. What is ‘liberal’ about Mr. Gilani again a feudal lord and owner of a religious shrine. After all these two men are respectively the President and Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. From my vintage point these and all other leaders of our unfortunate nation are conservatives, both politically and religiously. If maintaining the status quo, whether religious or political, is not conservative then what is? I suggest you look at the so called ‘liberals’ and ‘secular’ issue in Pakistani frame of reference.

    About my second point. As I have pointed out earlier. Pakistani ex-pats living in the West tend to be more conservative and religious when compared with their kin living in Pakistan. Living in the West does not make a Pakistani ‘liberal’ automatically. This issue has been extensively surveyed and reported in the West.

    About ATP being a liberal site. You and I are both long time readers and commenters at ATP. You will agree that there is nothing ‘liberal’ about ATP. The site hardly ever posts anything with contents offencive to the religious and conservative community; and that is including all social, cultural, political and religious topics.

    About the Taleban. These people are enemy of the state. It saddens me that intellectuals like yourself come to the defence of people like that. We must work towards a just and fair society but a state can not have multiple and parallel authorities. Taliban like other gangs in Pakistan have picked up arms against the authority of the state and that must not be allowed.

    About ‘facebook’. Well I don’t visit one and thus can not say much on that.

    About Islamic laws and Pakistan. A state run by the religious laws is a theocracy. In the last sixty years Pakistan has been slowly but surely moving towards theocracy. Personally I am not in favor of theocracy. But that is neither here not there. The fact is that while we are debating theocracy vs. democracy the world has left us behind in the dust. Pakistanis will get what they deserve. Once again. Thanks for the participation in this civil dialog.

  3. Adnan Siddiqi says:

    @Rukhsana: Mohtarma konsi dunya me rah rahi ho aap? In fact anti Islam and Anti Mullah guys are more active in cyber world then anyone else. Muslims just laugh and get entertained when see this cyber jihad by our tin soldiers. If you don’t believe then visit Facebook or other forums. Being a Muslim, people like me believe in what Allah(SWT) has said in Quran and I am not even least bothered from this anti-Islamic forces who consider Washington more sacred than Makkah. At they end they have to lose anyway. It happened in past and it’s happening now and it will happen in future. This is not a dream or challenge. The past events and this ayah clearly witnesses my point. So keep entertaining me :-)

    And the disbelievers planned, but Allah planned. And Allah is the best of planners(3:54)

  4. Adnan Siddiqi says:

    @PMA: I don’t accuse, I witness when I visit this site and see many wananbe liberals continue to kiss up what they are fed in the countries where they live. I actually laugh when I see bunch of liberal “kids” busy in facebook like sites and on forums to “condemn” Talibans or Islam by setting display pics like “say no to Shariah” or “say NO to Talibans”. Such kids remind me little girls who used to play “Kho Kho” in childhood. If such condemnation by “patriotic” Pakistanis(who have been enjoying life in Western countries) can be helpful for the people who are not even able to earn a dollar a day,think that they can change the mind set of Pakistanis then they are really living in fools paradise. Thanks to sites like ATP that keep liberals in their imaginary worlds. Trust me such cyber whining and “offensive operations” is not going to remove “Talibans”. We did witness similar operation at Lal Masjid and the nation witnessed more suicide bombing. Extremism can’t be removed by extremism. What Pakistan’s liberal govt is doing today is going to make things further difficult for Pakistan.

    I was ready that a million+ people have moved from Swat like areas to interior Sind and Punjab. these are the people who have lost their loved ones in recent bombing. Revenge can make human a beast.. Thanks to our liberal government that it’s going to give us more Talibans who will be now penetrating in main cities. In short, liberals’ are going to be at loser end again. Yeah if you guys want to burry your heads in sand then who stops you? If you people ain;t able to use brains that when USA could not defeat people like Talibans then how could tin soldiers like liberals and Pakistani Army could defeat them?

    We consider USA more than a God. Liberals continue to embrace every crap of West so that they could survive in those countries who feed them all the time. PMA, you guys need a lot of time to learn about Pakistani society before you people try to “impose” your version on Pakistani society. So far I see liberals at loser end. Pakistanis clearly want Islam and Shariah and I did mention in some other post as well. while liberal extremist are willing to impose secularism. How I wish we getrid of both liberal fascists adn religious fascists in a go. The best option would be to cage both extremist cult in a big cage. They will kill each other hence society will be pure with all form of residue.

    Enjoy this “cyber crusade” against Talibans. It surely entertain me and many other people

  5. PMA says:

    Adnan Siddiqi: You often speak of ‘Liberals’ and ‘Secularism’ in Pakistan. What I see Pakistani is a primarily conservative and religious society. If any the difference is in the degree of it. You also accuse Pakistanis living in the West as being influenced by the Western thoughts, a negative influence in your opinion. My observations find Pakistanis in the West more conservative and religious than their kin in Pakistan. Any thoughts on the two points raised above?

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