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Taliban a threat to freedom

Taliban a threat to freedom

Author: Mohammed Yahya Ansari
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: April 28, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/172528/Taliban-a-threat-to-freedom.html

The Taliban were born out of the mujahideen nurtured by Pakistan and the United States to fight the erstwhile Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan in the late 1970s and '80s. They had filled up the vacuum that had been created in the years following the war, and in doing so had been able to provide strategic depth to Pakistan in the region. Later, during the prime ministership of Benazir Bhutto, the Taliban was further patronised by Islamabad. In fact, the US too had no objections to the Taliban's rule in Kabul until 9/11 happened. Thus, that Washington, DC, today considers the Taliban to be enemy No 1 is quite ironic.

Recently a 17th century mosque built after the reign of Mughal emperor Babar was blown up in Peshawar on the morning of March 5. The mosque was blown up by radical Muslim fanatics who abhorred the idea of women visiting the shrine, which was named after the Sufi-Pushto poet Rahman Baba. The provincial Government had prior warning of a possible strike but no security was provided at the mosque. Although Islamabad denounced the attack, stern steps are yet to be seen to be taken to punish the culprits. This incident was a stark reminder of how Pakistani society was fast becoming Talibanised.

The entire world remembers how the Taliban vandalised the magnificent Bamiyan Buddhas that were blown up with artillery fire. Now we have to see the destruction of the shrine of Baba Rahman. The two incidents highlight the barbaric attitude of the Taliban. This vandalism comes in the wake of imposition of sharia'h in the Swat Valley - the so-called Switzerland of Pakistan. The attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in the heart of Lahore also points towards the growing Talibanisation of Pakistan.

There is no doubt that the very existence of Pakistan today is at risk given that the Taliban is fast growing in strength. The latter's interpretation of sharia'h is that the sovereignty of state lies with allah and not in any representative Government. These jihadis are against any trace of modernity. They represent a barbaric, medieval brand of thinking that is determined to set the clock back on most of the things that modern society holds dear.

Islamabad has put forward the specious argument that one can make peace with the 'good' Taliban and go after the 'bad' Taliban. This is all bunkum. Unless the international community goes after the jihadis with determination, the freedom of the world will soon be at stake.

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