Surrender to the forces of obscurantism | By Tariq Aqil 

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Surrender to the forces of obscurantism

BACK in 2009 the state of Pakistan or rather the Government of the day surrendered to the militant Islamic group of Sufi Mohammed and the entire valley of Swat was handed over to the extremist group by the National Assembly when they approved the Nizam-i-Adal resolution.

In November 2021 the Government of Imran Khan bowed down in complete capitulation to the dark and sinister forces of another Islamic extremist group called the TLP. History has repeated itself.

Ironically the PTI Government which had banned the TLP very recently was forced to negotiate with this banned outfit for securing the release of policemen and rangers held hostage by the TLP.

Just a day before PTI Ministers were spitting fire and brimstone against the TLP even going to the extent of calling them India-funded and anti-Pakistan.

Some PTI supporters now claim that the Government wanted force to be used against them but the army did not approve and wanted them to negotiate a peace agreement.

That may or may not be true but we do know that immense damage was caused to public property and eight policemen lost their lives.

Thousands of TLP militants were arrested for rioting, arson, looting and murder but the agreement with the Government resulted in the release of all TLP workers and the Punjab Police is now severely demoralized and disheartened.

This abject surrender by the PTI government is seen by political pundits as a very clever move by Imran Khan to allow the TLP to join mainstream national politics and to help the PTI in the next general election eventually becoming a coalition partner.

In April this year Mr. Khan had said “The TLP and the government have the same objectives but our methods are different” On the other side the Afghan Taliban have just facilitated a government TTP ceasefire agreement.

This could also lead to the TTP also becoming an officially recognized political party and an election ally of the PTI. This may not sound very possible but we know for a fact that Imran Khan has never condemned any Taliban atrocity in Pakistan.

In 2013 at the height of the TTP atrocities in Pakistan, Imran Khan, as the leader of the PTI had demanded that the Nawaz government declare a ceasefire and allow the Taliban to open offices in Pakistan.

The TTP had responded by nominating Imran Khan as their official spokesman to negotiate with the government on their behalf.

Just a few weeks later the people of Pakistan were horrified to witness the macabre scenes of the Taliban militants playing football with the severed heads of 23 captured frontier corps soldiers. The gruesome APS attack in Peshawar happened in December 2014.

Imran Khan and his new bride Reham Khan were met with “Go Imran Go” slogans by the parents of the murdered children when they visited the school.

The very secretive agreement with the TLP was brokered by the army when General Bajwa called Mufti Munib-ur-rehaman, Aqil Karim Dhedhi and Maulana Faruqi from Karachi to persuade the TLP.

As of today all the talk about banning the terrorists organizations has evaporated into thin air and Imran Khan and his coterie have called all the critics of this clandestine deal “Disgruntled bloody liberals” Both the TLP and the TTP are two obscurantist violent and extremist Islamic militants.

One belongs to the Barelvi and the other to the Deobandi school of thought and both have a massive popular appeal in the country.

The power and influence of the TTP will now increase manifold because the Taliban are in in full control of Afghanistan. Both these organizations are fighting for the rule of Sharia in Pakistan but both espouse a different version of Sharia.

Who will eventually prevail is a question that will be settled by the use of force and civil war. Imran Khan will have his dream fulfilled by the creation of Naya Pakistan or the country based on the principles of Riasat-i-Madina.

Imran Khan has embarked on a very dangerous route. Surrender to the TLP and the appeasement policy for the TTP has caused doubts in the state’s ability to deal with destructive forces bent upon destroying the country from the inside.

This policy of the PTI government is all the more controversial because no other societal stake-holders have been taken into confidence.

Even Parliament has not been granted the courtesy of a debate even an “in camera” briefing has not been conducted for the elected representatives. This solo flight of Imran Khan does not for the country.

—The writer is Professor of History, based in Islamabad.

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