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Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Comparing Swat and the Hur uprising: "The real game is that Taliban are implementing a global Wahabi extremist agenda in Swat".

Comparing Swat and the Hur uprising

Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Farhat Taj

This is in response to Ayesha Ibrahim's article of Jan 26 titled 'Swat and the Hur uprising'. The people of Swat disagree with her comparison between the Taliban in Swat and the Hurs in Sindh. They asked me to clarify through an article. I, therefore, write according to their wishes and in the light of their comments.

Pir Sibghatullah Shah, no doubt, was a great spiritual person in Sindh. His followers are known by the name of Hurs. Sindhis have always respected their saints and mystics. He could inspire, what the writer calls, fanatical devotion in his followers through his spirituality. Like Sindhis, Pukhtuns have also expressed their love and respect for their holy men across the Pukhtun belt. But Fazlullah of Swat is neither a saint nor a pir but a narrow-minded, orthodox and unscrupulous mullah, and has love for humanity, but believes in all ugliness of barbarism. Till recently, he used to be a boat handler and of course had no followers like the Pir had among the Hurs. He is holding the people hostage through violence and terror. There may have been some ostensible justifications for the Hur uprising in Sindh, but the people of Swat argue that there are no ostensible or otherwise justifications for the Taliban brutalitities in Swat.

Many people in Swat, while expressing their views through emails and telephone calls, say that the real game is that Taliban are implementing a global Wahabi extremist agenda in Swat. Khurshid Khan has mentioned this point in his article of Jan 19. They argue that the Swat Taliban will sooner rather than later try and extend their agenda to those areas in Pakistan where the environment is conducive for Talibanisation. Religious extremists are busy preparing the ground for this in parts of NWFP and southern Punjab. The Taliban, they say, want to make Swat their capital, under the control of Fazlullah who will send lieutenants to rule Pakistan, like Kandahar was for Mullah Omar. The British Indian army might not have been able to control the Hurs, but the situation here is different. The people of Swat believe that the Pakistani army is perfectly capable of controlling the Taliban but is not doing so. They say that initially the threat from Fazlullah was like that of a mosquito – a pest at best. But over time he was allowed to consolidate his power and that at best this amounts to looking the other way as he did this. It is this perception – whether right or wrong – that makes Swat a different case from the Hurs.

It is, however, pertinent to mention that the recent visit of the army chief to Mingora has raised hope in the people of Swat and they say they will wait and see how the army deals with the Taliban from now on.

The residents of Swat also do not agree with Ayesha Ibrahim's point that the state has no presence in Swat. They argue that the state has to do a lot to improve upon its presence in Swat, but still the region is failry integrated in the state system. Many residents are in the state instituions and various walks of life in Pakistan. They have one of the best networks of educational institutions in Pakistan (now greatly damaged by the Taliban). Swat is known as the Switzerland of Pakistan and of the East. National and international tourists used to visit Swat round the year to enjoy its natural beauty. Fellow citizens of Pakistan know that the inhabitants are accomodative,moderate and hospitable people.

There are strong voices for negotiation with the Taliban in Pakistan. But the victimised people of Swat, a significant proportion of whom have lost their near and dear ones, want the Taliban to be eliminated from the face of the valley through force. "How can people even think of a dilaogue with them," is what dozens of residents of the valley have said to me adding that the Taliban are sick in mind and the only language they understand is the language of force.

Analysis of what is happening in Swat should be encouraged but not at the cost of compromsing the reality there. (The News)

The writer is a research fellow at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Research, University of Oslo, and a member of Aryana Institute for Regional Research and Advocacy. Email: bergen34@yahoo.com

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Five regional cities should be upgraded with in the provinces in Pakistan. Regional cities of Dera Ismail Khan in NWFP, Gawadar/ Qalat in Balouchistan, Sukkar/ Larkana in Upper Sind, Jehlam/ Rawalpindi and Multan in Punjab province. These regional cities have been ignored by the federal and provincial governments although these cities have their own history, culture and languages. The people of these regions have to travel to provincial capitals for every small issue and requirement of the daily life which should be provided in nearby cities. A good number of population travel to big cities for their survival to earn livelihood as the local feudal own majority land and keep the common man as their slaves. Creation of regional government and upgrading of the regional cities will save a lot of money and time of the poor people of these regions. Circuit courts of the High Courts are already working in these areas and only requirement is the additional staff of different departments involved in additional work at the provincial capitals. The concern authorities should immediately consider to upgrade the regional cities. And immediate attention should be given upgrade the airports,TV station, civic center, libraries,hospitals, educational institutes and investment opportunities for Pakistanis living abroad and foreign firms to create jobs in the area as majority population in rural Pakistan do not have enough resources to survive.It's remind me the condition of pre Islamic revolution of Iran in Shah time when the rural Iran was ignored and the capital Tehran was developed in way to call the Paris of Middle East with modren life style. Couple of other big cities like Isfahan and Caspian sea are was taken care of because of foreign tourists but rural area was ruled by cruel police and intelligence. Then what happen after revolution rural population moved to Tehran and other big cities. But the new government developed, built and upgraded the riral areas of the country.KHWAJA AFTAB ALI,( former secretary, Iranian embassy, Saudi Arabia) Advocate High Court & I.P. Attorney,presently residing in Florida, USA

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