کور / بېلابيلي لیکني - پخوانۍ / STOPPING THE BLOODBATH OF PUKHTOONS


By:  Dr Adalat Khan

It is sad. Many people have been killed by the Army and the Mullahs have also beheaded few soldiers. I hope someone stops these senseless killings”. This is what my mother told me when I enquired about my family’s safety in a village called Bedara in Swat where the current Military operation against Maulana Fazhullah and his supporters is taking place. “ We can not leave our homes and no one can run from the death” She replied when I suggested to her to move out to Karachi or somewhere else. I was also informed that many villagers have left the village for safety as Military helicopters are hovering and bombarding the area. There is no immediate solution and both the government and the Pro-Fazhullah supporters seem to have dug in for a long fight. If wisdom do not prevail both the parties will end up losing, as bloodshed, buildings and human carnage of our people can not being victory to anyone.

But people are asking questions? Who are these Mullahs, who created them, and how they emerged in control of the area. These are difficult and complex questions which needs honest answers.

The origin of most of the extremists can be traced back to the war in Afghanistan against Russia. The American CIA in collaboration with Pakistani intelligence agencies started recruiting civilians mainly from Pukhtoon areas of NWFP and tribal areas and brain washed them to fight against Russians. The same strategy was also used to fight a proxy war in Kashmir. Civilians Pukhtoons brainwashed into believing that the war in Afghanistan was a Jihad (Holy war) against infidel occupying forces enthusiastically fought. As a freedom and Islam loving people this was not the first time Pukhtoons had fought against occupiers but during the last 300 years they had/fought against British colonial powers. It was also in 1948 that the Pukhtoon freedom fighters took a major chunk of Kashmir from Indian occupation which is now known as Azad (Free) Kashmir in Pakistan.

However September 11, 2001 saw a complete reversal in Pakistan policy as USA directed the Pakistani administration to about turn and reign in the Jihadis (Freedom Fighters). The U.S. attacked Afghanistan and later Iraq) which according to an average Muslim is a war against Islam and not on terrorism as claimed. This sudden turn of events and the lack of a coherent strategy on the part of both American and Pakistani Administration on how to deal with these fighters created a negative vacuum. The problems were further execrated with the subsequent attacks by U.S. forces inside Pakistan as well as Military operations by Pakistani Army in Tribal Areas as well as the Lal Masjid Episode in Islamabad.

So far we have only discussed some of the issues but the real causes of the problem can be further elaborated. The real problems are not apparent specially to the Pakistan and US government and without their solutions the problems can not be solve.

Extreme corruption, un-employment, the lack of justice and high inflation is one of the key reasons which have led to the present Mayhem. Mistrust of the government agencies and lack of economic specially job opportunities have created cadres of unemployed youth who will catch at every straw offering hope of improvement. Fed up with these problems to the people especially to the disgruntled youth the Mullah such as Fazlullah offered a ray of hope even if it is false. Many youths and disillusioned people joined these groups for possible solace. To tackle this issue the government instead of bombing the people must solve these underpinning problems and only then the problem can be solved.


Another reason which is one of the factors leading to the current turmoil specially in Swat is the promise of the government to impose Shariah laws. It may be remembered that Fazlullah is the relative of Sufi Muhammad who was the chief of Tehrike Nifaze Shariat Muhammadi or T N S M as probabarly known. It may be noted that this movement had struggled to impose Shariah law specially in the Malakand Division where Swat is located. An agreement was reached between the T N S M and the government where the government had agreed to the promulgation of Shariah in the Malakand division. However up-to now that promise have not been fulfilled. People tell us that the Mullahs feel cheated and have thus resorted to the current extreme tactics. The majority of the people in the area also want Sharia laws in the are. In fact before 1969 when Swat was a semi-independent state Shariah was the law of the land. As such the application of the shariah laws to the territories will do no harm but solve this insurgency. However, the government must ensure that true Shariah and not a distorted version of Islamic laws are introduced as some of the Mullahs are confusing pre-Islamic pagan (Jahilia) laws with the enlightened law of Shariah.

One of the other key reasons for overall turmoil in the country is the illegal rule of the Military. With the latest imposition of emergency rule the country is being led to an uncertain future if not self destruction. This will further fuel anti-government sentiments and in the times to come more bloodshed will take place. The usurp of the judiciary led by the chief Justice Ifhikhar Ahmad Choudhry and forceful replacement of judges have yet again dashed the hopes of a disillusioned nation. People are not going to sit idle rather it is feared that the whole nation will revolt against the illegal and unconstitutional military rule. This process will further fuel insurgencies.

Pakistan is going through the worst of times as illegal rule, terrorism, intra-conflicts and hopelessness have engulfed the whole nation. As if the problems of poverty, unemployment, inflation and lack of a access to justice were not enough terrorism, emergency rule and internal bloodsheds have further exacerbated the problems of the nation. The carnage of Pukhtoons is in full swing and if wisdom and strategies are not adopted the country many disintegrate. The key players which oversaw and played a role in the destruction of the country are the military and its allies, religious extremists as well as our external enemies which are abundant. There is an urgent need to steer away the country from disaster and disintegration. If these challenges are not met, however, the military will have only itself to blame for the troubles, and the disasters that could be lying ahead.

Dr Adalat Khan is an international columnist who is based in Malaysia and can be reached at dradalat@gmail.com