I cry out loud!
Let me review your ‘broad minded, objective, literate and well versed’ opinion cum defense of the Khan who is not a terrorist http://www.saach.tv/2013/09/29/my-name-is-khan-and-im-not-a-terrorist-the-sequel/
It is without denying that Khan mustered a huge mandate from across the country. In fact within my own very limited sphere of acquaintances, I don’t know anyone who did not vote for him or at least wish him well! It is also true that his stance on TTP was well known and no secret at all. However, without a statistical data to back my statement, I think most people voted for him not because of his TTP stance but despite it! The idea of someone other than Nawaz Sharif or Asif Zardari was just too tempting! Most of those enthusiastic IK supporters have already started to regret. Of course proof of the pudding is in the eating and if by-elections were not the pudding in its entirety, it may have been just a slice but it did not taste that good.
Interesting choice of statement by Dr Richardson of Harvard. It certainly put a lot of weight in your article. His view, however, is very close to ‘a Pakistani perspective’ and indeed also the Pakistani state policy on every international and domestic forum from OIC to UN! We have always advocated the idea that terrorism always results from a real or perceived sense of injustice and comes with political motives. We have ranted for the last ten years that addressing the root cause of terrorism is necessary. So understanding it is imperative! The opposing point of view is that of Bush and Co who say that “we don’t talk to terrorist” with a clear policy to reject the idea ‘to understand or to explain terrorism’. Perhaps Dr Richardson’s views have to be understood in that context with those audiences. Pakistan’s ‘illiterate and not-so broad minded’ society has always endorsed Dr Richardson’s point of view and has come to its conclusions after understanding the TTP, its brand, its goals and motives. If you didn’t know, talks have been held with them several times, most recent being in Swat. Who they are and what they want is known pretty well to most people, barring the Khan I guess.
One can talk and negotiate with knowledge of opposition’s agenda. You know how much you can give in and where are your red lines. Mostly negotiations are held where territories are also involved. To cite some of your examples; Tamil Tigers did not want whole of Sri Lanka. They claimed certain northern areas of Sri Lanka, where they wanted a separate state. Negotiations were held for years backed by fire power and in the end it needed a full fledged military assault. IRA on the other hand wanted to get rid of the English from their homeland. Their guerilla warfare was against an occupying force. In both the cases they rejected the constitution of the occupiers! That was the whole purpose of fight to start with. Both Sri Lankan and British Government could not insist on constitution as a pre requisite to negotiations because that was what fight was about! Is IK or anyone suggesting that TTP lays claim to Waziristan as a separate state? If that was the case then I would agree to negotiate without acceptance of Pakistani constitution by TTP. But No! They want the whole of Pakistan. They don’t accept our laws! They don’t accept our constitution! They want to make the entire 200 million of us into them! What is there to talk about?
Reason why every sane Pakistani and some in the media (to our utter relief) have hit the roof at IK’s latest suggestions is that he is completely out of sync with everyone else including some from his own party. I don’t expect him to give very intellectual far sighted statements. That is just not his forte. But for some well read people such as yourself to completely confuse the Taliban office in Qatar with IK’s super idea is mind boggling to say the least. Allow me please!
Taliban were the government in Afghanistan before the US invasion. Their official name was Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. They consider present Afghan government illegitimate and US an occupying country. They consider their struggle as a fight for liberation of their land. They still consider themselves as the legitimate government of Afghanistan, albeit in hiding/exile. It is not without precedence to have an office representing your ‘Govt’ in exile if your homeland is under occupation. Remember De Gaulle in Britain during WWII? Besides, Taliban Qatar office has already been disbanded, due to objections by present Afghan Govt. How does this equate with Khan’s brilliant idea?
TTP are heavily armed criminals, thugs and mass murders. They have no relation with Taliban of Afghanistan. They have a distorted and completely perverted view of my religion, to the extent that I would gladly call them “kafir” if God had so allowed me. But that prerogative to judge lies only with God. But within my privilege is the right to consider them as evil and dangerous and their actions entitle them to be called terrorists and not ‘stake holders’.
I do know whether to laugh or to cry. I cry out loud!