By Mujahid Hussain, New Age Islam
06 May, 2014
The representatives of Tahreek-e-Taliban Pakistan want to convey a message that ending the duration of the ceasefire is an outcome of the disinterest shown by the government towards the demands of the Taliban. In reply, the interior minister is also engaged with expressing his views in which he could be justified to a great extent. But the political and religious parties are almost silent over the issue, because the situation is getting worse from bad. Given the possibility of attacks from the armed militants, it will be too early to determine whether what kind of action the government and security agencies will take. However, both the government and the security agencies are aware of the success and consequences of the air strikes. To put it in brief, the situations are in retreat after the three long months of mischief-making and we are again going to start from where we had seen a sign of change.
Having taken a careful look at the results of the fruitless talks, we have come to know that not only technical problems but also the immediate achievement of particular objectives turned out an impediment in the way. For instance, the government concerned itself with the immediate declaration of the ceasefire. And, perhaps, the motive behind it was the ruling party’s focus on its election campaigns in which it has been promising the people to restore peace and order. Therefore, the Taliban’s immediate announcement of the ceasefire was seen as the surest success of the talks. Obviously, the Taliban’s announcement was not unconditional. It was made on the condition of the release of particular members of the Taliban from jails, but this condition was not made public. Not to speak of common people of Pakistan, even the security agencies were not made aware of the price the government was going to pay to the Taliban for the temporary ceasefire. This ignorance led to a serious controversy, particularly when the FC personnel kidnapped by Taliban were brutally killed and the government, on the other hand, remained a silent onlooker showing a sign of helplessness. While this incident enraged the security agencies, it also emboldened the Taliban militants who were wrongly thinking that the government will again order the security agencies to take stern actions.
The second factor which has not yet been given considerable attention is that during the talks with the government, the Taliban and their allies were engaged in strengthening its embankment in many urban areas of the country. Various authentic sources have confirmed that when the negotiations were continuing in full swing, the governments of Punjab, Sindh and Khaybar Pakhtunkhwa received the reports explaining how Taliban and their allies were organising their outfits in urban areas of the three provinces. The reports were issued by the security agencies in which it was made clear that if an immediate halt was not put to the Taliban’s expansion in the three provinces, it would bring colossal effects on the entire state of Pakistan. Surprisingly enough, none of the provinces, except the provincial government of Sindh, acted upon the reports, while the Sindh government could take only the steps which were totally inadequate to deal with the situation. The reasons were the constrained Sindhi government’s political compulsions as well as its incompetence to a large extent.
The Punjab government’s response was that it kept itself very alert about the situation and that it did not take the risk of any big expedition fearing that it might cause casualties on the large scale as well as damage to the peace negotiations. Besides, the reports told that the security agencies in the vulnerable areas (districts of Southern Punjab such as Multan, Khanewal, Lodhran, Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar and Rahim Yar Khan) had been alerted and asked to recommend appropriate measures that the provincial government may take to deal with the situation. The more vague response was received from the Khaiber Pakhtunkhwa, which had just told that the provincial government is fully aware of their duties and shall act according to the circumstances.
The most distressing thing is that the civil government of Pakistan has yet not taken notice of the alarming reports issued by the security agencies, at a time when it should feel more impelled to restore peace in the region and end all strains of religious and sectarian extremism. Did the civil government not feel the need for preventive measures to stop the extremists from increasing their numbers in the urban areas? It is, indeed, a matter of serious concern but none of the government bodies wants to redress it. One of the clear reasons behind it is that many members of Pakistan National Assembly are linked with local religious and sectarian extremists. In fact, they seek to strengthen their political existence by providing assistance to the terrorists.
This is precisely why tackling the growth of terrorism and extremism in the urban areas is becoming a more difficult task day by day. The political parties in Pakistan are suffering from a disease which no one is trying to cure. They have adopted a policy of giving concessions to the culprits for political gains. This raises questions over the existence of the entire Pakistani state. It seems as if the dangerous terror elements of our own cities, which are financially supported and sheltered by ourselves, will turn out to be more fatal than even the extremist militants fighting against the government from their hideouts in caves and mountains. These elements are preparing to launch an attack on us, while we have already tested their insanity but have not yet recovered.
The author of nine books including the recent "Punjabi Taliban", Mujahid Hussain writes a regular weekly column for New Age Islam. He is also chief of New Age Islam Brussels Bureau. He has been contributing to leading papers as an investigative journalist for about two decades. His writings cover a vast panorama of topics concerning political and societal existence of Pakistan, a nation passing through difficult straits since a short time after its birth. With terrorism and security issues at local, regional, and global levels as his special area of study in recent years, Mujahid Hussain has earned a sizable readership in serious circles in Pakistan and abroad. Follower of an independent, non-partisan, and objective way of thinking, the author offers honest analysis of the challenges threatening communities, nations, and humanity at large.