Articles of the year 2009

The Swat Debacle
Published on February 07th, 2009

The situation in Swat is deteriorating by the day, and the suffering of the poor people is being witnessed by all of Pakistan courtesy our many TV stations, with commentators highlighting the miseries of the poor Swatis. The perplexed look on the faces of the displaced persons is sad, for these once peaceful people do not understand the cause of their plight.

This is not the democracy they had bargained for, but it seems a twisted macabre duel between the forces of anarchy under the garb of an Islam which is a mockery of the true Islam, a religion of 'peace'. This wave of monsters complete with beheadings, and the hanging of corpses from lampposts is more in keeping with the medieval ages and not the enlightened Islam as we are now accustomed to.

The plight of the people is now even more desperate and the pressure is mounting on the prime minister to 'do more' only this time it is from the beleaguered Swatis, and not the US. The prime minister is hamstrung by the presidency in bypassing the rules of business. In this tussle the aspirations of the people have already been forgotten, and now even their daily routine has been scuttled.

The prime minister has started asserting himself, but must now bring his authority to bear upon the Army high command to crack down on the mutineers with no quarter given. The leadership of the militants should be identified and eliminated. And any sympathisers should also be targeted. Pakistan has done nothing to invite this wrath. In essence it was a calculated move by the members of the rightist parties, using religious slogans who have declared war on the state of Pakistan. No less and no more.

The wanton bloodshed, the torching of schools, the beheadings are all a part of sinister plan to plunge the nation into chaos. As I have said repeatedly, Pakistan is to be destabilized. We the citizens are to be caught between the West and the extremists. The west with its devastating firepower could eventually resort to a scorched earth policy and reduce our northern areas to one similar to the stone ages. While the extremists continue in their gobbling up more and more lands.

The Frontier, and Balochistan cursing the West will continue in their primitively blaming the West, in their chase after democracy, wrangling over power sharing. The land taken by the extremists, is already all of the Frontier, with parts of the Punjab spoken for. Balochistan has disappeared from the radar with Islamabad not really concerned about the hapless Baloch. The writ does not really apply there, and even the army is not concerned. The efforts in the Frontier are primarily to bolster the spillover from Afghanistan, as an ally of the US. Without the Pakistani commitment the US would become bogged down, and they would have to leave Afghanistan - defeated as yet another would be conqueror meeting his fate as many before them.

The prime minister's efforts should be aimed at neutralizing the Islamic parties, as they have made clear their intention of carving out their own areas. The religious parties have lost miserably in the elections and are not any kind of political threat to the government, so the PM can now take strong action for the treatment of the militants has already been handed over to the army.

The PM has strong nerves, and can take on the challenge. Fortunately for us the US will not tolerate an area that is without governance. This is clear. So it is for the PM to act. He is the elected Prime Minister of Pakistan, and to this end the US will support the PM to bring militancy to heel, and restore order. The US will ensure that the PM and the army for its part will work in tandem to ensure that the writ of the state is established - again. Only this time the laws of the land will have to be enforced, strongly. That is one reason why Chaudhry Iftikhar must be restored, for otherwise this gradual deterioration of the laws will once again bring us to these anarchic days in which our land is being eaten away, precious land that was obtained after huge sacrifices. Land whose people are being denied the right to live in their own homes.

Civil war is already upon us, it is a dangerous situation, worsening daily, with perhaps the people also rising up against these same Islamists, to drive them from our midst. With American support there is a slim chance that we may stabilise, only now the prime minister has to be ruthless to curtail, and punish terrorists, with the utmost power at his command. In this instance he has the avowed support of the army, and of the people, to combat this rebellion in all but name.