pt 3 nov 2012-732673

If Hafiz Saeed and Imran Khan-types are to be taken seriously, they’d have you believe that Jihad anywhere except Pakistan is totally acceptable.

Since becoming a Member of Parliament, cricket-star-turned-politician Imran Khan has become even more vocal on the drone issue and gave a sizzling speech in his first address in the National Assembly, where he demanded that the issue be taken up at the UN. Before that, Imran Khan was seen urging premier Nawaz Sharif to shoot down drones if the US does not cease its drone strikes. It should be noted that UN has already condemned drone strikes and has voiced its concerns on more than one occasion. On the other hand, US President Obama in a very important speech made it clear to the world that drone attacks would continue. Obama argued that drone attacks were not only legal, but that they were the most efficient and least bloody means of going after terrorists who posed an imminent danger, in remote and lawless places beyond the reach of the US government. He did admit that drones had caused “heartbreaking” civilian casualties but they were safer than the alternatives, when an armed intervention by US troops on the ground could cause both more deaths among innocent civilians and also trigger an international crisis. That leaves no doubt about the fact that US drone strikes will continue.

So the question is: why are Pakistani politicians, who are always killed in suicide bombings and terror attacks and never in a drone strike, so concerned about drone strikes? Votes? Of course. Secret complicity with terrorists? Maybe. Sympathy for terrorists? Definitely.

In the past, Imran Khan has said that the holy war in Afghanistan is justified by Islamic law which angered the Afghan government. If Imran Khan thinks that holy war in Afghanistan is justified then Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi may say the same about their Jihad in Pakistan. But as “patriotic Pakistanis” such as Hafiz Saeed would tell you, waging Jihad in Pakistan is just not cool and completely unacceptable. I wonder why Pakistan is doomed if it has such patriotic citizens. If Hafiz Saeed and Imran Khan types are to be taken seriously, they’d have you believe that Jihad anywhere except Pakistan is totally acceptable. Maybe that’s why Pakistan is famous not for its mighty good-for-nothing nuclear arsenal but for producing a dedicated breed of terrorists over the past decades that carried out terror activities around the globe and made air travel more exciting for us. Today, Pakistan funds some of these terror outfits and tries to give them the image of a “political-humanist charity”. We already know all about the charitable tendencies of Islamic militant organizations posing as Islamic welfare organizations.

Drone strikes have absolutely nothing to do with Pakistan’s Jihad culture. US carries out drone strikes to protect its citizens from terrorists who are hiding in Pakistan and planning to attack American targets. What has the Pakistan army, its security agencies and its courts done to protect Pakistani citizens from terror attacks, save sheltering the world’s number one terrorist, Osama Bin Laden? While Pakistani politicians like Imran Khan are gaining popularity because of their anti-drone stance, they are the misleading hapless Pakistani flock from the real problem: terrorism.

Pakistanis prefer to put the blame of all their troubles on some foreign power whether it’s the Illuminati or the Jewish lobby. To be fair, this phenomenon is abundantly visible in the rest of the Muslim world as well, and most people blame the West and Zionists for all their woes. This time, Pakistanis have a rather good excuse: Drones. What better issue to rant on when you have Western liberals on your side too, who are sick of Christian fundamentalists but at the same time very concerned about Islamic militants in Waziristan who stand against every single liberal value. By grabbing the wheel of the anti-drone bandwagon, Imran Khan will accomplish nothing except misleading the nation. That is exactly the goal, if he doesn’t want ISI boots kicking him out any time soon. Imran Khan might have Western liberals like Medea Benjamin on his side – a woman who heckled Obama during his speech on drone issue and wanted him to apologize to the Muslims he has killed. But Khan will never be able to convince the saner part of the world that drone strikes are causing Jihadist tendencies. Mostly because it isn’t true. What Medea Benjamin probably didn’t bother to look up before deciding to heckleObama or marching with Imran Khan against drone strikes is the fact that the vast number of Muslim deaths are caused by terror attacks and not drone strikes. Medea Benjamin also didn’t bother to look up the sectarian war in Muslim world which takes many lives every day.

The Truth is that in the last ten years, Pakistan has done very little to tackle terrorism except sheepishly condemning it from time to time. Pakistani security agencies have been engaged in proxy wars and the threat of terrorism was never been taken seriously. With over fifty thousand Pakistanis dead and many more missing in the War on Terror, it makes no sense when Pakistani politicians speak so passionately against US drone strikes and rarely against terrorism perpetrated by thugs spouting pseudo-religious babble. With Imran Khan driving the anti-drone bus, the steering wheel is in the hands of a person whose party won because he had been given the green signal by Taliban to hold political campaign; whose CM Pervez Khattak said that Pakistan has no enmity with Taliban and who recently referred to the Taliban # 2 Commander Wali-ur-Rehman “pro-peace”. This bandwagon of doom is more likely to crash into a dead-end wall and result in casualties than reach its destination.

To root out the cancer, you must first acknowledge that a problem exists; after acknowledging comes spotting and then comes taking action. Good thing we are done with the first step. That leaves us with spotting and taking action. We have miserably failed in both. We are still confused between good Taliban and bad Taliban, our nationalism and religious fanaticism has made us one of the most self-righteous communities in the world, lacking empathy. Our major TV channels use derogatory rhetoric such as “Yahoodi”, “Kafir”, “Goray”, “Kaali Aandhi” on daily basis but we want the West to “understand” us and stop with those racist slurs in the name of multiculturalism.

If the argument is that drones violate the sovereignty of Pakistan, then so do all the terror groups that operate with or without the support of Pakistani agencies. If the argument is drones kill more civilians than terrorists, then why was Imran Khan so upset when a drone strike targeted TTP’s Number 2? If the argument is that drones cause destruction and damage, then suicide bombings cause even more destruction and damage and so would any invading foreign army. If Imran Khan and his fellow anti-drone crusaders can take the issue of drone strikes on an international platform, then I’d like to know why didn’t they at least take the issue of “what the hell was Osama Bin Laden doing in Abbottabad” to GHQ? I’d like to know what Imran Khan has to say on the use of drones by Pakistan military, because the Pakistan Army is already using drone technology for surveillance and according to experts it won’t be long before Pakistan develops its own armed drones. The point is, pretty soon Pakistan will have its own armed drones. Will Imran Khan march down to GHQ and protest against a Pakistani drone strike? I’d love to see that happen.

image courtesy Sabir Nazar/Pakistan Today.