Farhat Taj does it again!Bravo - 12-03-2011, 03:58 PM
Mr Sethi clearly takes two contradictory positions. But the positions are familiar. The former is the strategic depth policy of the military establishment vis-à-vis Afghanistan to install a pro-Islamabad government in Kabul at any cost and the latter is the opposite
Najam Sethi, a well-known political analyst in Pakistan, recommended, in a television programme called Aapas Ki Baat (between you and me), on November 30, 2011, the following way forward for Pakistan in the context of the growing mistrust with the US in the war on terror: Pakistan must tell the US that, in Afghanistan, the Pashtun — who are the majority — are represented by the Taliban and the non-Pashtun are represented by the Northern Alliance. Pakistan cannot crack down on the Afghan Taliban on its soil because they have been given shelter by Pakistan. The Afghan Taliban based in Pakistan must be accommodated in the future government of Afghanistan according to their numerical strength as representative of the numerically dominant Pashtun ethnic group in Afghanistan. This is our responsibility (to accommodate the Taliban in the Afghan power structure). This is in our ‘national interest’.
But a little ahead, in the same programme, in response to a question by a caller from Waziristan, Mr Sethi said that there were two types of Taliban: Pakistani and Afghan. The Afghan Taliban should be left to the people of Afghanistan to deal with. Pakistan could have an opinion on them but must not intervene between the people of Afghanistan and the Afghan Taliban. Pakistan must deal with only the Pakistani Taliban.
Mr Sethi clearly takes two contradictory positions. But the positions are familiar. The former is the strategic depth policy of the military establishment vis-à-vis Afghanistan to install a pro-Islamabad government in Kabul at any cost and the latter is the opposite of strategic depth. This leaves one wondering which of the two positions has been really seen by Mr Sethi as the way forward for Pakistan.
The first position is not tenable for several reasons. Will the Northern Alliance agree to participate in a dialogue in which a foreign country (Pakistan), backing its opponent (the Taliban), participates without the former’s foreign supporters, such as Iran, being present at the table? Will Iran, China, the Central Asian states, Russia and India accept such a negotiation that excludes them?
A more workable idea for a durable peace in Afghanistan has been proposed by Afrasiab Khattak, the ANP leader, in his recent article in a daily on November 15, 2011. He suggests the creation of an international mechanism for drawing three circles of negotiations and ensuring simultaneous development in all circles. The first circle includes intra-Afghan dialogue without foreign intervention, the second circle includes dialogue among Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries, and the third is negotiations for international consensus among international players in Afghanistan. This idea, although not easy to work with due to conflicting interests of the key players in Afghanistan, seems to be the only way forward for a sustainable peace in Afghanistan. No durable peace will come to Afghanistan without participation of all concerned Afghans and regional and international stakeholders in the peace process.
Mr Khattak’s idea has no space for strategic depth, the policy that the military establishment of Pakistan does not seem to be giving up. This is the reason that the Pakistani media, which is generally pro-establishment, is constantly distorting facts to justify strategic depth in the eyes of the people of Pakistan. It is unfortunate to see even Mr Sethi drawing upon distorted information in this regard. This leads to the most misleading notion in Mr Sethi’s remarks: Taliban representing the Afghan Pashtun.
It seems, from Mr Sethi’s narrative, as if there had been free and fair elections in Afghanistan in which the Afghan Pashtun had overwhelmingly voted for the Taliban. The Taliban have never been known for tolerating, let alone respecting, people — Pashtun or others — who do not agree with them. Recently, there was an Afghan loya jirga that included many Pashtuns, which allowed President Karazai to make a security agreement with the US for the presence of US forces in Afghanistan beyond 2014. Where will the non-Taliban Afghan Pashtun, such as the loya jirga members, go if the Taliban have been given a dominant share in the Afghan power structure as representative of the Pashtun? Surely, unlike the Afghan Taliban who have been hosted, trained, armed and strengthened by the military establishment of Pakistan, the non-Taliban Pashtun will not have such facilities in Pakistan to launch even a non-violent political movement against the Taliban from strategically advantageous positions in Pakistan. Also, the Taliban make claims on bases of ideology, not ethnicity or culture. The Afghan as well as the Pakistani Taliban have never claimed to be representative of the Pashtun but Pakistani liberals insist they represent the Pashtun.
Secondly, the difference between the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban is not as black and white as often portrayed by many. In one of his previous programmes, Mr Sethi rejected out of hand the view of the Pashtun nationalist leader, Mahmood Achakzai, that “there will be peace in Afghanistan within a month, provided the ISI stops interference”. Is it not a fact that many commanders and foot soldiers in the Haqqani network as well as the Quetta Shura are Pakistani Pashtuns and Punjabis? There are famous militant families in FATA that are engaged in militancy in Afghanistan since the so-called Afghan jihad, to this date, due to their deep, long standing ties with the ISI. The entire tribal socio-political order led by the tribal leaders in FATA has been torn apart through the targeted killings of tribal leaders. The families of the target killed tribal leaders hold the ISI responsible for the killings, to entrench the Afghan Taliban and their Pakistani supporters, including the Punjabi Taliban, in FATA for cross-border attacks in Afghanistan. The people of the tribal area, especially Waziristan, constantly say that the local tribal terrorists are a minority in their own land and most of the terrorists in FATA are the Punjabi Taliban who focus on fighting in Afghanistan in the garb of the Afghan Taliban.
‘Heavyweight’ liberal journalists in the Pakistani media never seem to have tried to independently investigate the terror sanctuaries of the Afghan Taliban in Pakistan on these lines. If they do so, they will meet the same fate as Saleem Shahzad and Hayatullah Wazir. So they prefer to play it safe by projecting misleading information that concurs with strategic depth. Good for them but certainly not good for the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The writer is the author of Taliban and Anti-Taliban
Daily Times - Leading News Resource of Pakistan
12-03-2011, 04:03 PM
Are you racist against indians now also ?
If Pakistan is wiped out of the map , millions of innocents will wiped out of the world
It's dangerous to think like that masseed wrora.
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