Silence of the Lambs
By Samad Khurram
Back in 2002, I was returning from Friday prayers when I saw an unusual gathering of singing and quasi-dancing Mullahs. Unusual because I had always assumed Mullahs to be against all types of Kuffar (Art). The amused crowd were listening to chants of “Taliban aa gayay, Taliban aa gayay”. I smirked. As if! Pakistan is a nuclear country with the seventh largest army. We’re safe.
The Mullahs’ songs have been answered – the Taliban indeed are coming. And with them the cowards are bringing a lifestyle that destroys everything Pakistan and Islam.
Oh no. Wait! This guy is on the paycheck of those who are trying to break Pakistan. Taliban are heroes, its America which is wrong. Yes, this is the typical self defense mechanism coming to full force. Having nothing to lose, and having been already declared a CIA agent earlier in life I suppose I’ll continue. Continuing with a genuine fear, that these words are falling on either deaf or hostile ears. Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s Pakistan is over if all this chaos continues.
Jinnah’s Pakistan is a dream gone wrong. Perhaps if he knew that the dreamland for living in peace, harmony, religious tolerance and freedom was going to become arena for public flogging where laughs of sadist barbarians and the screams of minors will echo, he would not have decided on creating it. Had he known that there would be more suicide bombs in his country than any other place in the world, where fundos would go around the cities threatening women to become religious, where school children would have to undergo security protocols as if they were in a war zone, would he have even bothered to work for the green and white?
Still, Pakistan is not what we worry about. All our esteemed talk shows chatter on is whether there should be 17th Amendment or not and on the statements by America and India. Yes, American drones and Indian statements are a threat to our sovereignty. Yes, the balance of power is important. But even when the Taliban have killed more people than India, American Drones or our tyrant rulers, taken over more of our land and have made us feel more unsafe than anyone else in the past thirty years? What other definition of sovereignty is there than protection of lives and property of people, maintaining writ of the state across the territory and having people feel secured? Why can we have some programs discussing the atrocities of the Taliban, the acts of terror that they do and how they have destroyed Pakistan?
No, it’s the “Hindu Zionists” (notice the contradiction?) working on a CIA sponsored conspiracy to break Pakistan. There are the good Taliban who fought the Kuffar off and the real issue is the CIA. Arguably everyone has all the time in the world to devise every action we do, plan it to perfection and then make the evidence of their involvement disappear. Are we really that important for the rest of the world to worry about when they have their own countries and problems to tend to? Even if the Taliban are foreign funded should does that not mean we should double our efforts? Remember when India briefly occupied few territories near Lahore in 1965 how the whole country ran to defend it? My grandfather had stories of people going with sticks to support the army. I am afraid I will not have any such stories of patriotic resistance to tell anyone when another enemy has taken control of a fourth of NWFP and roughly one twentieth of Pakistan. Perhaps we should ban “Yeh watan tumhara hai, tum ho pasban is kay” for it seems no one really care about Pakistan, except the Zionist Hindus of course.
But no, remember the glorious days of the Caliphs? Remember the great Pakistani Fauj, who under the Ameer-ul-Momineen, Zia –ul – Haq, which crushed the Russians? This is only a plan to make America taste the same fate! Yes thank you Zaid Hamid. For a nation which already lives in denial, your conspiracy theories are all we need to turn us completely schizophrenic. Army is great and it will deal with any task assigned to it. More of the same comes from everyone turning patriotic everywhere. This automatic knee-jerk mechanism has seeped in our blood and shut off our brains.
For the love of God can anyone explain me why the great Army of Allah, whose laurels we sing from the day we are born, has still not been able to jam radio stations pouring terror in Swat? Have the core commanders not even tried asking the army engineers how radios work and how easy it is jam them without even having to be in the line of fire? Can they not even figure out if they only played “Who let the Dogs out” at the frequencies the Taliban use it would stop this vitriol? Why is it that these Taliban leaders can appear before journalists in broad daylight and roam freely without any trouble even when they claim responsibility of attacking Pakistanis across the country?
Perhaps the real question I should ask is why do I even care? When I took time off from Harvard to be part of the lawyers’ movement I had seen a ray of hope. There were concerned citizens and lawyers who stood for what was right no matter what the consequences. We fought for a principle and won with the hope that things will slowly improve. Today the very judges we had faith in released the cleric of Lal Mosque whose crimes everyone knows about. If the judiciary was going to release people whose crimes were recorded on TV perhaps it does explain why Taliban are spreading like an incurable cancer. Imagine who would be hanging in “khooni chowk” had Mullana Abdul Aziz kidnapped a few Taliban officials or fought against them and killed their men?
Yet when you think all’s over, somehow someone comes up. Someone whose name keeps your head from drowning. Perhaps this sick torture has to be long and painful where we chase mirages of oasis, never to really reach their. Perhaps for all the atrocities we have committed to our own people require us to be made an example of so no other nation follows our path. Why do ray of hopes like Afzal Khan, who has socked it up to Taliban and refused to be removed from Swat alive, appear every now and then? However he stands to die in the rain. Alone. Can anyone please name one Pakistani leader who has said the same? Forget that has anyone Pakistani leader said that he will go and get the Taliban to give up their arms? Will the real leader who can get rid of these monsters stand up? Imran Khan? Qazi? Nawaz Sharif? This silence is criminal!
What’s worse that these leaders of ours have unanimously approved a state within a state run, which is not accountable to anyone, absolves all crimes of the Taliban and gives a safe haven to those who are there to kill us? What sort of a Nizam-e-Nonsense is this when no one even tried to debate the issue properly and even consider for a second that giving blanket amnesty to the Taliban might not, even if it be infinitesimal, the right thing to do? No for the politicians this does not matter. All they are interesting in mudslinging at each other and more ministries. Our media and sheeple are busy devouring the latest gossip while Pakistan burns.
But unlike what people think it will not be because of Zardari’s corruption or Gilani’s incompetence or Salman Taseer’s whiskies. We have survived them in the past, and so we’ll do again. However any country that has fallen to the Taliban has never recovered. The Taliban are here to stay and unless we stand up against them in every possible way Pakistan will be lost – for good! It will be the silence of the lambs which destroys us. You will be responsible if Pakistan fails.
The writer is a student at Harvard University and turned down an award from the US ambassador as a mark of protest against killings of Pakistani soldiers by US drone attacks.
Shorter Version of this appeared in The News on Monday, April 20