Dr. A Q Khan
Mohsin e Pakistan

Grassroots causes

Posted in English Articles  by draqkadmin
December 24th, 2008

Random thoughts
By A Q Khan

Times are changing fast and the world is full of sensational news – the presidential elections in the US; the unexpected win by the Labour candidate in by-elections in the UK; economic turmoil all over the world and the fragmentation of the US economy; display of power by Russia and its joint Naval exercises with Venezuela; Iran’s announcement of the commissioning of 5,000 centrifuge machines; speculation about the Marriott suicide bombers; what is currently happening in Karachi. But, most of all, the incident that became the focus of world news was the simultaneous attacks on important targets by 10 terrorists in Bombay that killed around 200 innocent people. Not so surprising was India’s immediate response of holding Pakistan responsible, totally ignoring the fact that we ourselves are victims of terrorism.

The suicide attack in Islamabad on the Marriott Hotel was terrible and still reverberates. Some foreign missions and agencies have repatriated the families of their employees – a very bad reflection on our law and order situation. The bravery of the security staff at the Marriott was exemplary and cost them their lives. An even bigger tragedy was averted as many hotel guests, including Mr Hashwani and his son, were saved. Very few people are aware of the philanthropic work done by the Hashwanis. I have, in the past, visited Mr Hashwani in his office. During those chats I became aware of many of the welfare projects they were supporting. I firmly believe their good deeds saved (or protected) them.

The recent vicious terrorist attacks in Bombay have sent a shiver down the spines of security agencies all over the world. It has clearly demonstrated that those who are determined, and have the initiative, can always strike, no matter how many precautionary measures are taken. But again the question arises: what pushes these people to give up their own lives in order to kill innocent people? One doesn’t go to extremes like that for nothing. As part of an attempt at prevention in the future, we must try to find the root cause. While the act itself was despicable, deplorable is the fact that the Indian government and the media immediately started accusing Pakistan of involvement. Note the difference. When terrorists strike in Pakistan, we blame our own people – Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud and other religious outfits. We don’t blame – and simply ignore the possibility of – the Afghan Khad, the Indian RAW or the CIA being involved. If we were to accept the illogical philosophy of holding Pakistan as a country responsible for the acts of individual terrorists, then why didn’t the Americans hold the UK, Saudi Arabia, Egypt or the UAE responsible for the terrorist activities of their nationals against the USA?

Getting back to grassroots causes, we are all more or less aware of the psyche, habits and traditions of the tribal people of never forgetting who their enemies are. A number of representatives of the tribal areas – including experts and journalists – have emphasised the importance of dialogue with them and an amicable solution to the problem. A few days ago, Rahimullah Yusufzai, an eminent analyst, emphasised that cessation of army action would immediately lead to peace. Is it not worth trying? We all know that if you are a Pathan’s friend, he would lay down his life for you. However, if you are his enemy, he or his family will get you one day. War is a way of life to them. A tribal warrior will never lay down his arms. Arms have been a tradition with them for centuries. He can agree to a ceasefire and peace, but he will never give up his arms. Army action in the area is still in full swing resulting in the deaths of many innocent people. Those innocent bystanders who lose their lives in suicide bombings are called “shaheed.” Are not those innocents who lose their lives by bombs and missiles “shaheed” too, or are they to be considered kafirs?

If we can’t learn from the history of other nations, let us at least learn from our own history. In East Pakistan we were dealing with a soft-natured, docile population but, helped by India, we faced the most ignominious episode of our history. Here we are faced by a martial race that may be willing to bend, but will never break. The enemies of our country – and there are many – are engaged in nefarious activities to destabilise us, perhaps even break us up.

In Islamic history there have always been people willing to collaborate with the enemy, thus inflicting mortal damage to their own nation. Western countries often lure the unwary through aid, sympathy and friendship and then strangulate the country in question. We all know how the British managed to decimate Sirajuddaula at Plassey with the aid of the traitor Mir Jafar. However, the Muslims did not learn from history and in the end Tipu Sultan was eliminated with the treacherous support of Mir Sadiq and the whole of India was occupied. We all know that the Americans, wherever they went, are still present in those countries, even after 50 years. They will do the same to us. If we allow them to enter our country/tribal areas, they will bribe/buy some traitors with green cards and greenbacks. We have now started calling America’s “War on Terror” “our war.” Under this guise the killing of innocent civilians continues. If we are calling it “war,” then the tribal people would be justified in saying:

Ger jang chahte ho to phir jang hi sahi
(If you want war, then you will have it)

One should never forget that we are dealing with people whose pastime is fighting and who manufacture their own weapons. They could quite easily shake the very fabric of our Federation.

“Crocodiles shed tears only when they are devouring their prey” is a well-known saying by the famous British philosopher, Francis Bacon. It is very apt in the present situation. We are crying for those killed in the cities and in the tribal areas, but the deed is done.

One could go on lamenting the sad situation within the country, but I think the point has been made.

Derta hun haal kehte ke hoga tumhen bhi gham
Aur tum se kuchh chhupane ko ji chahta naheen

A word of caution to the Indians is in place here. This is not 1971 and there is no dictator at the helm of the country’s affairs. It is a democratic government that carries the support of the whole nation on this issue. The leadership of the armed forces is in the hands of competent, brave and highly trained officers and jawans.

The tragic episode of 1971 and the detonation of a nuclear bomb by India on May 18, 1974, forced Pakistan to take appropriate measures to safeguard its existence and sovereignty. Late prime ministers Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto had the foresight and determination to initiate projects to protect Pakistan. Gen Zia, Mr Ghulam Ishaq Khan, Gen Mirza Aslam Beg, Mr Nawaz Sharif and Gen Abdul Waheed Kakar, all played key roles in Pakistan’s success in manufacturing deliverable nuclear weapons and sophisticated long-range ballistic and cruise missiles, thus creating a balance of power. Pakistan has no aggressive designs. Almost 25 years ago Gen Zia proposed to Mr Rajiv Gandhi that 1) South Asia be declared a nuclear weapons free zone; 2) simultaneous signing of the NPT and 3) a no-war pact. Unfortunately for the subcontinent, India did not agree to these sane proposals. Those proposals are still valid, but the onus is on India.

Suicide or terrorist attacks by miscreants should not mean that we are immediately at each other’s throats or start a war. The whole world is aware that we both possess deadly WMD and war would mean destruction of both countries. Nobody can win this kind of war. All that would be left at the end of it is rubble and charred bodies. I don’t believe that any sane person would like to see that happen. This scenario is the same as that between the USA and Russia during the cold war: i.e., MAD – Mutual Assured Destruction. Sanity, wisdom and common sense demand that the leaders of both countries pool their resources to fight the scourge of terrorism, a common enemy. Rather than spending so much on threatening each other, both countries would be better served if more was spent on the betterment of the living conditions of their impoverished populations.

Corrigendum: In my article of Dec 3, a micron was mistakenly mentioned as one millionth part of a millimetre. It is actually equal to one millionth of a metre. (Thanks to Mohammad Rasheed Khan from Saudi Arabia for pointing this out to me.)

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