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No, We Are Not On One Page Against Taliban!

As soon as the Peshawar tragedy took place, we heard strong condemnation almost from all the political and religious leadership of the country. These also included the ones who were assumed to be the Taliban`s apologists. That was the reason why Pakistani media claimed that the Peshawar massacre had brought all political and religious parties on one page against the terrorism.

Apparently, they were right as everybody had the same impression. However, one very important aspect that, now the media men too are pointing towards, is that almost all the national leaders avoided naming Taliban in their condemning statements. Let alone the religious parties, even the Prime Minister of Pakistan did not utter the word “Taliban” while condemning the Peshawar massacre. His televised address to the nation is true reflection of the same. Why did he not point towards Taliban, is still a question.

It is on record that during 1998 it was same Muhammad Nawaz Sharif who, as then Prime Minister, held a press conference along with officers from the LEA`s in which he accused MQM, an important coalition partner especially in Sindh, of being behind the murder of well-known intellectual Hakeem Saeed and asked its leadership to hand over the allegedly involved workers to the government. Although this charge, after several years, got proved baseless in the court, but he kept on claiming the credit of imposing governor rule in Sindh saying, “I did not hesitate even to sacrifice my own government for bringing the culprits to justice”. Now the question is, why could he not dare to express the same courage to specifically name Taliban who had openly confessed the killings of over 130 innocent kids?

Similarly, Shehbaz Sharif showed his boldness for vowing to hang his political rival Asif Zardari at a public Chowk (square) and drag him on roads. We also witnessed PTI`s Imran Khan threatening and using derogatory language for the elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during his Islamabad sit-in. Like others, it was PPP`s Asif Zardari too who called the former Army chief Pervez Musharaf a cat more than once. Now, the question is when our leaders can so easily name and threaten their political rivals for their political gains, why did they not express similar courage against Taliban over one of the worst tragedies of the country?

But, instead of naming or pointing to Taliban, our national leaders are condemning the Peshawar bloodbath using phrases like “WHOEVER did that”, and “WHOEVER is behind the incident”. Such a policy, in turn, is diverting the attention of the nation from inhuman Taliban.

It is an open secret that TTP terrorists killed people including Hazaras, Shias, Brelvis, Sikhs, Hindus, activists of MQM, ANP and PPP. Taliban targeted them on the basis of their religion, sect and political affiliation as the victims` religious, sectarian and political views were different from those of Taliban. Considering this, does it look logical when our political leadership and analysts say, “Terrorists have no religion, sect, ethnicity or political affiliation; terrorists are just terrorists”? Ironically, when the globally ill-known terrorists (Taliban) are deliberately unidentified this way, then against whom will the action be taken?? Do these things not raise serious questions to the credibility of all steps being taken in the name of rooting out extremist groups from Pakistan?

Further, whatever ambiguity was remaining in this context, got removed when we saw the social activist Jibran Nasir being not only threatened by TTP, but also criticized by Taliban apologists over leading the protest against Lal Mosque`s Moulana Abdul Aziz as he had justified the killings of innocent children in Peshawar. The similar case was with MQM`s Altaf Hussain who was also bashed by our religious parties as well as some “senior journalist-cum-analysts” just for criticizing Moulana Abdul Aziz and his occupied mosque. Even MQM`s chief was asked to re-enter Islam reciting the Kalma just because of speaking against Lal Mosque which has become the symbol of Islamic extremism in Pakistan.

How strange is that the Taliban terrorists who killed innocent children, exploded mosques, played football with the heads of Muslim army men and did not hesitate to hang the bodies of the deceased by taking out from their graves, were termed as “Our Pakistani Muslim brothers”, “Our Strategic Assets” and even martyrs “Shaheed”, but the people who raised their voice against this brutality are being maligned?

To tell the truth, this is not the matter between Jibran Nasir and Oriya Maqbool Jan or Altaf Hussain and Lal Masjid`s priest Abdul Aziz. Rather, this is the conflict between the Taliban opponents and their apologists. This is the real issue in the country which is going to decide if Pakistan can ever get free of religious extremism, or in the other case, would turn into Banana State.

Taking into account the prevailing reality, we will be fooling ourselves if we so easily believe that our political and religious parties have come on one page. The facts on ground clearly show that still we have people and parties who are once again trying to defend and save Taliban. Therefore, if the state of Pakistan and all its institutions do not honestly take bold steps to discourage and counter this mindset, Pakistani nation would seem to be facing more dead bodies in the days to come ….May God save all of us from that day…Aaameen

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