By Crystal Kazmi
While Pakistani politicians bicker and whine over corruption, busy making heroes of criminals in pompous motorcades then tears of shame, the very day a young Major with a lovely family lost his life protecting our freedom, in a murky war on terror that no one, least of all us Pakistanis are far from winning.
We are told, time and again of our advances in the war on terror, the sacrifices of our men in uniform besides we often firsthand witness the effects of terror as bomb blasts and killing even in schools besides cities and towns and villages, and this has been going on since 9/11 on our soil too.
This war which we are optimistically told we are winning; the US administration right from Bush’s time has weighed in pragmatically and considered it a long haul. Our official version is always fluid. We are made to believe we are somehow winning this war. And then all of a sudden there’s an event which confirms it ain’t over at all.
So why this disconnect? Given the fact that our army has men and women of honor who unlike their civil brethren display a lot of integrity, ethics and forthright communication? Where is the gap?
Pretty simple if you ask me. This war on terror was a myth in the 60s 70s 80s 90s, in fact some of the people we fight and kill today were our army reservists in some form or manner. So why and how we reached a state of internal bleeding?
In the 70s when USSR eyed Afghanistan; in apprehension we jumped into the conflict with Americans by enabling, arming, training their youthful commanders and force using Islam as the excuse.
Yes you heard me right. Islam was the excuse to fight a Godless communist army and this idea was propagated by the Americans and easily bought by our army brass. After all dollars were flowing in. Zia had newly taken charge of the nation and Afghan refugees flowed in equal or larger proportion to the aid, most of which was embezzled as documented by many journalists and reports, as is the custom anyway in third world countries where corruption is the primary killer and all else pale in comparison.
The Taliban, then heroes to our army and the Americans, Gen Hamid Gul and others patrons and guides, were the hallmark of an Islamic Afghanistan and Pakistan fully endorsed and supported by the Americans, because it suited them. Ronald Reagan called the Taliban Commanders to the White House in the 80s and likened them to the founding fathers of America!
The Russians ran away, and the American swiftly changed heart. Islam was no longer required nor the Taliban. Zia was duly eliminated with the US ambassador to allay any conspiracy theorists, in my opinion and I may be wrong, but seems rather likely. The new government and liberal Gen Aslam Baig towed the line and the beginning of government and state liberalization or rather undoing of Talibanization process was initiated which continues to this day. But the Taliban were left orphans in this process. Like a Hollywood flick their founders declared them absconders and terrorists!
The situation was compounded with our enemies on both sides of the border taking colossal advantage of this policy shift by creating their own factions in the disowned Taliban and even lookalikes serving their purpose. 9/11 on US soil embroiled us deeper as now the Taliban were official US enemies! Hired Indian or Afghani or even other mercenaries posing as Taliban.
But back then in the aftermath of 9/11 Musharaf was clearly told to choose sides, or suffer consequences otherwise. Now an older, wiser less womanizing less drinking, more mature, less publicity seeking General (like Raheel Sharif) might have reacted with wisdom then a knee jerk of absolute submission that Musharaf did, even then to never fully win US trust! To what avail I ask in hindsight Musharaf acts benefited anyone including himself? The web is full of US Gov doubting and ridiculing Musharaf. A man who was more loyal than the King and yet never accepted or recognized in spirit by their Lordships!
It is true that Americans make excellent girlfriends, but the Chinese make excellent wives. Something later generations of Generals quickly learned aka CPEC and Chinese civil and military cooperation that is unprecedented in any other country.
However the ongoing war on terror seems to grow then diffuse as one would logically expect and it is very worrying for signals strategic perceptions and planning lapses. I miss SunTzu in times like these, for I see a war minus the art thereof 🙂
Today, Major Shahid Rehman conveyed the martyrdom of Maj Ali among others. A young officer with a young and beautiful family am sure looking forward to a bright future together. Now drowned in tears and an irreparable human loss. I’m sure the other side also suffers loses and pain. It is human to feel and our enemies are no less or more human then we are. What differs are our values and perceptions.
Hence as a trainer, public speaker and motivational guru for decades I thought to myself why must this story have the same twists of pain and suffering on both sides essentially brothers in arms killing each other and sadly rejoicing at the same? Today Major Ali tomorrow someone else, why and for how long? And to what avail?
If only our government and army understand that the war we fight against our own was never our own. Not then. Not now and certainly not in the future.
Every country has rogue elements that are a shame for them inside or out. Like perhaps these people are for us I mean today for they were heroes in 80s 🙂 the infamous KKK in America has brutally murdered innocent civilians for decades but never has the US army attacked them. They’re probably a lot worse than the Taliban if not on an equal footing.
In India the extremists kill Muslims and others like vegetables and yet the Indian army takes no action against them though ever ready to kill some Wani in Kashmir fighting for his freedom from decades of oppression and state terrorism! Yet our government policy is of love toward India as Jindal and even Modi are given honor and respect on a red carpet whereas they flow red blood of Kashmiri and other Muslims in India at will!
My point is simple. Hate begets hate. And hating your siblings isn’t in your best interest.
In my humble but considered opinion, this war on terror will not end in 2018 or 19 or 25 maybe beyond our lifetime i.e. Assuming our enemies on both sides constantly scheming to lynch us like cow vigilantes and Rohingyas on their side or Kashmir aren’t successful in disintegrating or breaking us up.
The threat is real, unlike the rhetoric of confidence we are made to hear.
High time our army and military strategists come up with a Plan B to fight terror. More by bringing those who have hope of reformation to the negotiating table. Tell them that the foundation of Islam is not hate as taught to them by our and CIA trainers like Dr Thomas Gouttierre, which was essentially unIslamic and focused on building hatred to fight and win against the Russians.
An alternate and plausible view may also be the systematic degenerative approach to Islam by the West using the scum of the land Taliban likes as role models (Isis, Al Qaeda, a long list) and ultimately attack the faith and its followers full force by discrediting what they believe in with ample media proof. A quick review of online literature and comments on Islam and Muslims by Western public certainly isn’t a flattering experience if you catch my drift.
And much as I propose peace, I also advise merciless killing of those who don’t wish to understand a clear and simple message of peace that Islam or even common sense dictates be understood and complied with amongst our ill informed Taliban or other internal enemies. To that extent we need Major Ali and others to fight and protect our freedom but no more, no less.
A rethink on the war on terror is essential even imperative need of the hour as we speak or countless more Major Ali’s not to mention damage to the other side who despite being enemies are also humans shall continue. To no avail and more likely disadvantage to both sides and the Muslim populace in the balance.
Think before you reminisce the days leading to 1857. A word to the wise…….