Social inequities of FATA addressed
It takes lot of time and resources to produce a trained soldier and continuous efforts to keep him motivated to die for the defence of his country. The military system however regulates this spirit and doesn’t let it go uncontrolled when not required. Throughout peacetime, soldiers are imparted rigorous training, their fighting skills are polished, and tactics taught how to outwit the enemy in the battlefield. They are told to keep honing their weapons, and to keep their equipment and vehicles in battle worthy condition.
Sine Jihad is integral to Islam and cannot be detached and religion plays an important role in inculcating spirit of Jihad in a soldier, regular religious sermons are given to keep soldiers motivated and to prepare them mentally and physically to sacrifice their lives for the defence of motherland. Once the war breakout, Jihad is declared against the enemy. Control mechanisms are removed once the attacking force gets lined up for attack, or the aggressor tries to push its way through. With the cry of Allah 0 Akbar, battle of kill or get killed gets into motion. While those who perform well are decorated and respected, the Shaheeds are glorified and their next of kin hugely compensated. Their sacrifices are remembered each year on Yaum-e-Shuhada Day. Those who turn yellow are looked down upon and are weeded out.
A Jihadi on the other hand has no proper training facilities, administrative support and social security. He gets trained at his own by living off the land. Being illiterate and devoid of parental care and childhood grooming, he gets easily inspired by his leader and the cause ingrained in his mind and he gets fully charged to sacrifice his life to enter the paradise. His level of motivation is a notch better than a soldier since he is all the time prepared to die. In the ongoing war on terror, no amount of force or material inducement has diluted his spirit of Jihad and urge to die as a martyr.
Once the US-NATO forces exit from Afghanistan by December 2014, the Taliban on both sides of Durand Line will be left with no justifiable cause to continue fighting and spilling blood of the Muslim brethren of their own respective countries. If the US leaves behind a force in Afghanistan, it will give reason to the Taliban to continue fighting.
In Pakistan, Kashmir will keep Jihadism alive. If India wants terrorism to end, it will have to make urgent and sincere efforts to resolve this chronic problem which can lead to nuclear war between India and Pakistan. Game of trickery and delaying tactics and seeking one-sided concessions would not work any longer. Kashmir and other contentious issues like Siachin, Sir Creek and water must be resolved to remove points of friction which stir up religious extremism. India must not forget that religious extremist groups imbued with religious fervor for over three decades cannot be convinced to do away with Jihad and join the mainstream of secular culture in which Westminster democracy has failed to ameliorate the sufferings of the poor and justice system has failed to deliver justice to have-nots.
Pakistan has remained deficient of a genuine leader for 64 years. Leaders with feat of clay and living in regal style are out of sync with the people and have no moral authority to censure Islamists that their way of life is wrong and their demand for Shariah is illegal. The leaders will first have to become role models in their personal conduct, ensure good governance, ensure equitable social justice and provide job opportunities to all and only then will they be able reach out to the downtrodden and say that they have something better to offer. Education which is confined to the privileged must be opened to all classes and uniformity achieved. Primary education and possibly up to matriculation for those who cannot afford to send their children to schools and buy textbooks should be made free.
All this which has been ignored require Herculean efforts based on sincerity of purpose and devotion. Despite best efforts by our security forces and rendering huge sacrifices, TTP network aligned with several local Jihadist groups as well as al-Qaeda and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan could not be tamed. They have been striking soft and hard targets at will and the might of the military equipped with heavy guns, tanks, gunship helicopters and jets doesn’t overawe them. Even drones could do little to scare them. Their suicides bombing producing nurseries are functional and they are never short of new recruits. The TTP may become stronger if Taliban government get re-installed in Kabul after 2014 and may then disagree to ceasefire unless all their demands are accepted unconditionally.
The unparalleled enthusiasm shown by the people in casting their votes despite the terrorist attacks must have brought a sobering effect on the hardliners within TTP’s rank and file. They must be mindful of the hard reality that after 2014, their cause to fight the security forces will become weak and recruitment may slow down and eventually dry up. This is very much possible in the wake of Nawaz and Imran’s determination to address the socio-economic-justice inequities. However, termination of war is a pre-requisite to tackling the challenges and clearing the big mess left behind by Zardari regime.
Under the changed political environment in which anti-Taliban political parties are out of power and pro-Taliban parties are in the forefront, the overall atmosphere is getting conducive for a constructive dialogue with TTP. Nawaz Sharif, Imran Khan, Maulana Fazlur Rahman and Prof Munawar Hasan nominated as guarantors by TTP are better placed to take forward TTP’s offer of talks made on February 3, 2013. No headway could be made because of non-serious attitude of PPP government. Although the talks offer has been withdrawn by TTP following drone strike which killed Waliur Rahman and his six companions, it can now be renewed and a way found out to stop this insane war which has caused colossal harm to both sides and to the country. Army will have to be co-opted because without its active participation, no worthwhile deal can be brokered. Instead of getting involved in futile debate whether it is our or someone else war, one thing is clear; this war was coercively imposed upon Pakistan and then terrorism was exported into Pakistan.
TTP must be reminded of its history of backtracking and breaking peace deals and told not to repeat its past practice. It cannot have the pudding and eat it too. It is by design not halting terror attacks so as to sit on the negotiating table from position of strength. TTP must understand that the Army’s resolve to fight terrorism as demonstrated by its recent gains made in Tirah is as strong as ever. It can launch another successful operation in NW if required.
Besides addressing FATA’s socio-economic grievances, their longstanding demand of introducing Nizam-e-Adal in FATA could be given serious consideration just the way TNSM’s demand was accepted while signing peace deal in Swat in February 2009. The US should be asked to fulfill its decade old promise of establishing ROZs in FATA. Like Aghaz-e-Haqooq Balochistan, a similar or even better package can be offered for development of FATA on a crash program. In line with the trend of creating more provinces, FATA could be considered to be made a separate province and named Qabailistan with its own chief minister and governor. Rather than having so many scouts in tribal belt, a centralized paramilitary force named as Qabailistan Scouts under Qabailistan Training Centre should be considered and the wild TTP after taming and disciplining it to be inducted in it.