Pakistan: Taliban Peace Talks
How to Make Sense, Out of Nonsense?.
By Mahboob A. Khawaja
Secretive peace talks between PM Nawaz Sharif Government and Taharak Taliban Pakistan (TTP) groups overflowing conspicuous media headlines hardly tell the truth full of hatred and fear of the unknown. Both represent willing suspicion of disbelief that talks could render peace which none have to offer? After political fanfare, Sharif appeared vulnerable to credibility gimmick lingering to his past corruption and missing leadership. Talibans are ruthless convergent groups of unknown changing loyalties to all directions of political and economic maneuverability for their interests and survival. Who will stand on a solid ground for the reality check? There is no formal agenda for talks, no publicly engaged representatives directly at the table and no peace talks as such except rudimentary symbolic gestures carved out of the nowhere to ensure mutual distrust and time killing exercises to protect individualistic interests of the few warlords on both sides of aisle. Pakistani Taliban as media calls them owe their superfluous existence to the emergence of Taliban movement in Afghanistan that previously fought against the occupation of the former Soviet Union and now fighting against the US led NATO occupation of Afghanistan. The goal is to free Afghanistan and set-up an Islamic State of Afghanistan. Its diversion strategic aims have impacted the whole of Pakistan. The key rests with the US and its military priorities and futuristic presence in the region. The present Government under Nawaz Sharif and the Taharake Taliban (TTP) have lot in common to interact at a theatre of absurdities, intrigues and backdoor conspiracies as if they hold credibility in public perceptions. There is no timeframe and no visible indicators who will surrender the guns and bullets in return for peacemaking and a presence at the ballot box. They were a failure before and they are irrelevant in the contemporary global affairs to produce any recognizable legitimacy. Pakistani Taliban are not a political entity formed or shaped under known credible leadership but outcome of transitory political climate linked to the belligerent affairs overwhelming deaths and destructions in Afghanistan and onward to Pakistani towns. Nobody can speculate how and where the peace if at all it is “peace” the ultimate aim will grow out of the nowhere.
Nawaz Sharif has formidable problems of political integrity and intellectual leadership capacity and he was never a credible factor to contribute anything positive to the collective goodness of Pakistan. More precisely, a discredit businessman who twice previously stole and time and opportunities from the life of the nation to groom himself in national politics. Sharif being an outgrowth of the neo-colonial military regime, wanted an outlet to portray peace talks as a strategic change for his last time job as PM. He was twice dismissed as Prime Minister on corruption charges. General Musharaf tried him on “terrorism” conspiracy hijacking the PIA plane and wanting to kill all the passengers and sent him to ten years of exile to Saudi Arabia. For almost half of a century all Pakistani politicians have entered the reign of power through backdoor conspiracies and military coups and killings of the fellow countrymen. The tragic history tells its own narrative.
Pakistan lives in self-inflicted turmoil of political and military intrigues- all deceiving all – all trying to gain their footing in the powerhouse either by attracting foreign interventions or creating catastrophic political up hazards to dismantle the fabric of the originality of the Muslim nation. The stage actors want power and use it as a divine right of absolutism against the interests of the forgotten masses. Public interest was never a core thrust of the political governance in Pakistan except a shadowy window to patronize few sadistic monsters to play with the life and values of the people.
Taliban are not a legitimate political entity in Pakistani politics as their aims and guidance originates from the Afghanistan engagement. They are known to have enriched schemes of extortion, drug trades and killings the innocents in major cities across Pakistan. How could such lukewarm groups ever negotiate peace making deals? Is Sharif trying to imagine a new framework of political governance to suit his beleaguered powerbase? No matter how the talks progress, TTP are a continuing threat to civic, moral and intellectual consciousness of informed Pakistanis. They lack sense of moral and political accountability and to be a rationally organized construct of systematic politics. Their impulse of Islamic “Shariaha” hardly corresponds to the genesis of Islam and its real world functional apparatus. They would claim, take our “Shariaha” or leave it to guns and homemade bullets.
Alarming rates of domestic and foreign generated bloody conflicts –the “war on terrorism” have sucked up the resources of the poverty stricken nation for change and development goals. The 21st century emerging nations pitch in new ideas and ideals to encourage and support the educated, intelligent and talented people to compete for elections and to hold offices of national leadership responsibility. Pakistanis are not so lucky to have such opportunities and leaders and to be living in the competing values of moral and intellectual responsibility. The contemporary world does not appear to have so many failed and treacherous leadership role models as do Pakistan with a set contour of treason to and wholesale sell out of the primary interests of the nation to foreign masters. The Western media headlines and propaganda campaigns skillfully argue that Pakistan is a camouflage state of liars and being run by those who are conveniently available at the global market for cash payments. Pakistani rulers and their behavioral sinking typifies what can go wrong when leadership is indoctrinated and barricaded by the deliberate evolution of corruption, dishonesty and treason to national interests embracing a culture of convenient nepotism, looting, gangsterism and killing as a political engine to manage the military run politics of Pakistan. Consequently, the world is adding insult to pains and injuries of the morally and intellectually conscientious Pakistanis.
Disillusioned and disconnected with its roots, Pakistan continues to move forward – not towards change, normalcy and progress but to tragic events fermenting planned deaths of the citizenry, destruction of the social, economic and political infrastructures, incapacitated and broken lifelines and ultimately to become a battle ground for mindless ethnic and regional divides and national collapse. TTP is one of the factors in these imposed cruelties on the masses. If these trends resulting from the inhuman and barbaric policies and practices of the ruling elite remain in the pipeline, the nation could end-up losing its freedom and integrity. You wonder, what is the problem that is insolvable? Ignorance, lust of power and cruelty to the interests of the people just to specify few.
Taharak-e-Taliban of Pakistan (TTP) claim adherence to one-way code insisting on the promulgation of “Sahariaha” as system of politics, of which they have no knowledge-based understanding or commitment except emotional outbursts and delusional perceptions of Islamic precepts. Islamic faith does not perpetuate systematic brutality against innocent people and it cannot sanction individualistic absolutism against the collective interests of the Ummah. The Taliban groups failed miserably to caption Islam as a force of moral and intellectual persuasion to spearhead change and reformation (“islaha”) in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Taliban appear to be a rogue and lose groups of many belongings and liabilities. Some could well be doing the proxy wars on behalf of the foreign master chipping-in cash dollars and obsolete weapons left-over across the Afghan old graveyards. Their physical presence could signal the changing outlook for more disasters to create ripple effects in Pakistani politics. Mr. Sharif and the Pakistani intelligence networks are not competent and have no clue how to manage the hidden conspiracies of the few against many impinging on the public nerve for a decade. The peace drama continues behind secluded doors and the nation is targeted daily and the innocent continued to be massacred unabated as if Taliban and some fake forces of vindictiveness are determined to undermine the freedom and integrity of the nation.
Pakistan’s major problem rests with domestic power politics. Those who grab the power through intrigues, political conspiracies, military coups, sectarian killings and large social-economic disruptions as is the on-going Pakistani elite supported and American-British led bogus War on Terror, would never cease to act or see an end to their hegemonic power control. For almost half of a century, Pakistani politics in groomed with military dictators and their few created and installed feudal lord families of the British colonial time- Bhuttos, Sharfis, Zardaris, and of course, some of the military Generals themselves – the chief instigators of individualistic governance and national decline. These are household names of hatred and disgrace to the thinking Pakistanis. The Nation that allows criminally indicted and most corrupt people to hold offices of national governance and responsibility cannot be viewed as Nation of moral values and honor.
The nation appears at moral and intellectuals crossroads. Prevalent corruption has darkened the insights of the thinking people. Even some of the most educated and intelligent ones cannot THINK out of the box. Whereas, able and educated Pakistanis look for escape from reality and are rushing to migrate to foreign lands. Consequently, Pakistan is run by ignorant, corrupt and cruel people who have nothing common in thoughts and values with the aspiring masses.
Pakistan is being destabilized and dehumanized by its own wicked so called politicians who lacked understanding of the ideology of the Muslim nation. The culture, intellect and values these military and political elite follow are foreign to the genius of the people of Pakistan. Pakistan appears to have its ennobling enemies within itself and daily death tolls and societal destruction provide ample data to think of the growing despotism and politically geared domestic madness to undo the foundation of its existence.
Pakistan’s future is not linked to Nawaz Sharif or peace talks with the TTP. The Government and the Taliban are buying time and opportunities to readjust the changing geo-political climate of the region. America is set to withdraw its NAT led forces in few months. Pakistani official and the TTP would hurry to fill the gap and to acquire upper hand in futuristic warfare. Pakistan security forces are relentlessly waiting which way to turn the table and to counteract the tide of bloody insurgency dipping into the political psyche of Pakistani culture. Unless the Thinking Hub of the Pakistani Freedom Movement and Foundational Values reactivate their thoughts and energies for a Navigational Change, the Nation is at critical crossroads for its own fragmentation and by its own so called monstrous political leaders. How to change the political cruelty and tyranny of the FEW unto ANEW value-based political system of institutions, responsible leadership and governance? Pakistan desperately needs people of New Vision, New Ideas and political imagination to safeguard the freedom of the nation from ultimate chaos and ruins. Those part of the problems cannot be part of the solutions. Taliban have no sense of harmony and political persuasion in talks and behaviors. Sharif has extended an undeserving label of political recognition to the TTP for which it had no political capacity to operate in conventional wisdom. It is hard to imagine that such divergent and people of divided consciousness of their own role and values could be mindful of the impetus of peace process and negotiation to bridge the widening gaps in thinking and practices for stability and the security of the people of Pakistan. Nawaz Sharif has no vision of the future or leadership role to help Pakistan as daily bloodbath continues under one or another media headlines; nobody can predict how these unknown and half hearted talks will change the political landscape for peace when the Nation’s own future is at stake.