Monday, September 7, 2009

Whither Pakistan Politics And War?

The Swat people return to their homes. The operation continues against terrorists, armed militants, criminals, mafias and other anti state elements. Many areas are now back under civilian control with the help of the army. People are generally trying to put their lives together. Govt., is trying to repair infrastructure and bring back the daily lives' necessities in place. The questions keep on arising in our minds as to "why" and "how" such a large scale problem, under the "sharp" eyes of the chief of the army staff and president , who ruled the ordinary civilians single handedly was allowed to occur? It seems that due to disenfranchisement of the real polity and a kind of pseudo representation, the real people were coerced and because as in case of Swat they were urban and peaceloving ,were allowed to be forcibly acquiesed into accepting obedience to this psuedo religious, quasi -terror groups. All this seems to occur because apparently, the army has no clear cut anti terrorist and anti-insurgency policy. There has never been a clear debate on these issues and a final consensual policy formulated by the armed forces after all civilian groups representation.A clear disconnect was seen also as the army operation was reluctantly favored by pro taliban religious political parties like Jamaat E Islami and JUI- F of maulana FazluRahman. Inspite of an apparent excercise in parliament . These parties claimed after the operation Rahe Rast started in Malakand and Swat that this was not agreed to. The current debate about invoking article 6 against Musharraf is sidelining the much needed clear policy debate on what really happened in Swat and what future institutional and policy matters we need to decide in an open and transparent manner which will prevent such future quagmire.
so far the army is doing fine, trying to take this operation to it's logical conclusion but this is an expensive, long and arduous task.Meanwhile the misguided terrorists keep on targetting our security forces and ordinary Pakistanis cannot believe that they would murder their fellow religionists at Iftar time in the holy month of Ramzan.The foreign element theories abound. The Frontier govt., has also not given any clear perspective on this aspect.
After Ramzan the army may increase it's operations in Waziristan and lend facilityb to "pincer" action as envisaged by General Stanley Mc Crystal .this will further cause displacement and extreme difficulty to civilians. It maybe much needed to drive the foreign influences out but the real benefit to Pakistan will be if we can bring the arrangement of civilian participation in governence as in all other regions of Pakistan. It is high time that we extended adult franchise and govt., as in other provinces and totally abolish the political agent system. Local bodies elections in these areas will give adequate representation to all the tribes.People like Imran Khan can work much in this area to facilitate and create an environment of facilitation in bringing about these reforms in governance in NWFP.
After these military operations are over, we will be in a better position to reintegrate this region in the larger map of Pakistan both politically and morally.We must also find ways to let the mlitants surrender with dignity and reintegrate into our system as most of the young people are also poor and uneducated.The economic life and infrastructure of NWFP must be developed on a priority basis and also education and health be looked into. The religious political parties should find these educational and health facilities development and their contribution to reintegration as a cause.They need to rephrase their "Jehad" concept as the real need of the hour for these people, away from violence and towards social and economic progress.
We must emphasise on, educate and give hope to our people towards progress, institutional reforms,grass root level empowerment, good enfranchised governance, and finally everlasting peace . This is necessary to defeat the defeatest "Foreign" ideologies that have recked havoc with our centuries old peaceful and beautiful regions and it's beautiful people.We should learn to see, say and work towards a no to "War" whether in any language!

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