Musharraf’s confirmation of Army support for Taliban is particularly important in the context of facts revealed by Wikileaks documents a few years ago. One leaked document discusses the involvement of another former General, Hamid Gul, in supporting Taliban. According to one document, “It was not known whether Hamid Gul was acting with the knowledge or consent of ISI, or whether any portions of ISI were aware of his activities.” While the knowledge or consent of secret agencies will always be difficult to prove beyond any doubt, it would be fairly naive to believe that Hamid Gul’s pro-Jihad activities were done without at least tacit approval of the Army leadership. Hamid Gul has described himself as “an ideologue of jihad“. It is increasingly apparent that he is not the only General who subscribes to this ideology.
This is four terrorist attacks in one day, and two more that were only narrowly avoided. Six in total. And yet they received almost no attention in the media. Why? Terrorist violence has become so routine that unless it is extraordinarily brutal, such as mass targeting of children.
It has been six months since COAS Gen Raheel Sharif announced that terrorists were ‘on the run‘ after Operation Zarb-e-Azb. Today, terrorism is not only ongoing in our country, it seems to have become accepted as a routine part of life.
At a press conference held by Wafaqul Madaris Al-Arabia opposing madari reforms, Chairman All Pakistan Ulema Council Maulana Tahir Ashrafi asked a very excellent question about Jihad and the state:
He said as promoting Afghan jihad was the policy of the government, why the jihadis were now being called terrorists.
This is a question that should be taken up by every talk show host and addressed in every newspaper in the country. Is promoting Afghan jihad official state policy? If so, why are we also supporting NATO? Whose side are we on? Is Jihad official policy of the state? Does the state still consider Afghan Taliban as ‘good Taliban’? Or are they terrorists?
Tahir Ashrafi is confused about whose side we are on. Are we supporting Taliban? Or are we against Taliban? It is not clear to Tahir Ashrafi, and it is not clear to anyone else. It’s time the state answer the question.
The attack against APS Boys Peshawar that killed over 140 innocents was termed as a ‘turning point‘ in the war on terrorism. The sheer brutality of such an attack meant we could no longer ignore difficult realities and the nation was united against all militants without favour. This was made apparent by the unprecedented move of issuing a non-bailable arrest warrant for Lal Masjid Abdul Aziz. After two months have passed, though, it appears that we have finally turned full circle and today we find ourselves back in the same place we were the on 15th December.
Page A3 of Daily Times of 21st February features the story, ‘NA committee for programmes on war on terror‘ about legislators calling for new initiatives “for changing the people’s mindset on war on terror”. The problem is larger than just creating new programmes to change people’s mindset, however.