Monday, November 12

Another opinion on Mullah Radio!

I am afraid Mullah Radio isnt going to be on too many people's Eid Card lists, at least in the english speaking media of Pakistan. To top it all, Mushy went and released all the taliban terrorists that they had captured at huge cost of lives in the first place. How spectacularly stupid of him, but then, never let it be said that power hungry and greedy people are smart, all they want is to cling on to power. If you have caught a bloody terrorist, stick him into jail!, do not release him because that creates a moral hazard as we have seen so many times.

Here's an example.

What next after Swat? By Adil Zareef

AS the western capitals sheepishly wake up to the dynamics of the emergency the people of Swat — like their compatriots in Waziristan — have been subjected to the worst kind of state terror and brutalities of the (state-sponsored) Taliban who have now been ‘rewarded’ with a truce dictated by the militants and ‘approved’ by the caretaker NWFP government, headed by a former Wapda chairman, whose only distinction to win this position was to toe the federal government’s line on the Kalabagh dam.

While civil society members, the legal fraternity and legitimate political forces feel the ire of the state apparatus, the leaders of radical parties (foremost amongst them Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s JUI) have been mandated to broker the dubious deal.

As the Musharraf regime clumsily grappled with the legal challenge to his presidential nomination, he trained his guns on the idyllic valley of Swat to justify his edict. By now the antics of Mullah Fazlullah have been well-documented like his predecessor’s — Mullah Sufi Mohammad. A creation of the state, from 1994 onwards he surfaced every summer at the height of the tourist season, with his ragtag army of militants to demand ‘nifaz-i-sharia’ in the Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (Pata).

The symbiotic relationship between the powerful timber mafia, the Taliban militants and some agencies involved in timber and narco-trafficking is an open secret. Tourism, the mainstay of the once lovely valley, poses a threat to the unfettered control of the virgin forests and mineral resources by this unholy nexus that has successfully served to undercut all conservation and development efforts of the neglected region for tourism as it checks their criminal supremacy.

It is ironical that like their predecessors in Afghanistan, the Taliban first destroyed vestiges of the rich cultural heritage of Gandhara and are now brazenly denuding the mostly protected forests of Matta, Malam Jabba, Nek Pekhel, Kabal and Marghazar in connivance with the powerful timber mafia and local officials. In the atmosphere of militancy, the forest departments have abandoned their duties, ceding to the ruthless militants and the timber mafia who carry on this nefarious duty unchecked.

As in the case of Waziristan, where the state had a free hand in creating unrest in the name of the Sharia, the same game was repeated in Swat. For months, a buildup of heavy and sophisticated ammunition for the state-sponsored insurgency in the area was witnessed. Reports of indiscriminate massacres started pouring in. Thousands of girls were taken out of school with Taliban-style threats being made against education in the entire district. Women’s mobility was restricted and men forced to grow beards. Barber shops, video and audio businesses were blown up to create unrest and fear.

With the increase in suicide attacks on security personnel and check posts, Maulana Fazlullah’s forces began taking control of several tehsils in the district so effortlessly that it was too good to be true for the militants. The total surrender of the security apparatus to this unruly mob appeared as being scripted to the minutest detail.

The grisly slaughter of the security personnel by the mercenaries, reportedly the Uzbeks and Tajiks, (allegedly transported for these missions) in both Waziristan and Swat needs to be investigated by international human rights organisations and experts. Atrocities on the country’s citizens were choreographed to attract international scorn for Pashtuns (Taliban) and their eventual massacre has become an intolerable practice that simply should not carry on.

The Pashtuns find themselves in a bind. It is being impressed upon western allies in this ‘war against terror’ that Pukhtunkhwa is a breeding ground for terrorists, the Pashtuns are all religious extremists and that the situation could be best handled by none other than the ‘indispensable ally’ Musharraf.

The Mullah-Military Alliance (MMA) has played a key role in furthering this agenda in the province. Access to these areas by the independent media was restricted by the state to prevent the truth from coming out. An uninterrupted supply of ammunition to these areas was ensured and the militants were trained to carry out operations accordingly — playing with the lives of scores of innocent people and risking the lives and credibility of the Pakistani security forces.

It is saddening that the ‘democratic West’ seems to have bought Pakistan’s military-led government’s excuse of fighting the ‘war against terror’. The ground reality is the opposite: the militants have been given a ‘free turf’ in the NWFP as they consolidate their hold. Also, despite all the security at its disposal, the government is abandoning one region after another.

It also raises questions regarding the whole exercise of ‘emergency’ as the axe has fallen on the most ‘liberal, secular, democratic and educated’ sections of Pakistan. On the western front the most ‘radical, violent, diabolical and sinister’ forces have been given a free hand to assemble and broker a so-called truce. The most shameful part of this is the release and rewarding of Maulana Sufi Mohammad by the provincial government. This man is responsible for transporting thousands of innocent Pashtuns across Afghanistan for jihad to their inevitable death — while he himself fled the war zone.

He needs to be tried as a war criminal and his gang of wicked Taliban radicals should be treated with a strong hand. The appeasement and reward of radical criminals reflects negatively on the so-called ‘enlightened moderation’ of the military junta and also its western sponsors. Both have lost the moral high ground, and all double speak about the ‘merits of emergency’ amounts to hoodwinking world public opinion. The end result of this mayhem would be the total, irreversible loss of a once idyllic state and it precious environment which will take ages to find its way out of the abyss that it has plunged into.

All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!

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