By: Saher Baloch
The annual report of Human Rights Watch (2013) on Pakistan reads exactly the same as the ones published before it. Only the brutality of those involved in the killings and the apathy of those observing has increased tenfold. Apart from that, the report has nothing ‘positive’ to report from Pakistan.
The reason why there is nothing ‘positive’ in the report reflects the fact that our state continues to move backwards, learning nothing from past mistakes.
If learning was the case, the recent offer of talks by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), who have single-handedly ruined thousands of lives in Pakistan, would have been refused by the state immediately.
As it is, we are already in a state of war with the Taliban, who continue to attack children, students, teachers, journalists, minorities, and any one who does not accept or follow their brand of Islam.
To be precise, it is progression and a progressive mindset that the Taliban and likeminded groups are against. I felt it necessary to spell it out because it is important to understand, that militants are against each one of us, including every ideology or sect that they feel threatened from.
In 2012, militants killed around 325 people from the Shia sect, shot a student Malala Yousafzai, apart from torching over a hundred schools in different areas of Pakistan. This is not all, as there are countless other incidents where shrines have been attacked, apart from the ruthless targeting of the Pakistani police. Verve and confidence are not lacking in these people at all, as after every attack that destroys a home, a family or a school, the militants have openly taken responsibility for their actions.
And now they want to hold talks with the government and have chosen guarantors, whose selection does not come as a surprise either.
What is surprising, however, is the meek response of the state. For years our country has been dangling in the middle about how to properly negotiate with the Taliban. But the question that arises after what our society has gone through over the decade is: do we really need to negotiate with the Taliban? If yes, then on what basis?
It would be better for the state to acknowledge once and for all that we are at war with militants and work towards eliminating the menace, rather than appeasing them.
In this context, it would be better to look at how Sri Lanka dealt with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). From its formation in 1983 till 2009, LTTE was known for its massacres over ethnicity, suicide bombings and guerilla warfare.
Seven years before being defeated by the army in May 2009, LTTE was running a mini-state in the northern and eastern provinces of Sri Lanka. Though the war took over a hundred thousand lives in Sri Lanka, the country’s military defeated one of the most ruthless insurgents.
Counter insurgencies are always ugly in practice but is it uglier than what Pakistanis go through on a daily basis?