Fragility Of The Pakistani Mind
Malala has caused bifurcation of the Pak mind: now there is a possibility of fighting two enemies instead of just one
Just when Pakistain was completing its conversion of the process of redesignation of enemies, it has been challenged by the need to interpret the attempted liquidation of teenaged Malala Yousafzai by the Taliban. America and its allies had been established as the real enemy after the surrogate violence in the wake of America's act of blasphemy - surrogate because it was actually meant to be used against the terror of Taliban.
The virtual uprising against blasphemy completed the process of reinterpretation of terror. Everyone participated in it: the Army, the government in power, and political as well as religious opposition. This was a consensus in favour of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain (TTP) and other affiliates of Al Qaeda found in the madrassa network and the non state actors enraged by the abandonment of jihad against India. The media presented this picture in hopes of appeasing hard boyz through a coincidence of 'explication' of terror coming from the trio of Pakistain's real enemies: America, India and Israel.
Malala has caused bifurcation of the Pak mind: now there is a possibility of fighting two enemies instead of just America, both beyond the capacity of Pakistain Army to defeat. There is therefore resistance to moving to a binary of national challenge from the comfort of the consensus of hating America with the not so hidden process of appeasement of TTP-Al Qaeda. The spontaneous anti-TTP demonstration of opinion has benefited the Army chief most of all after his 'unusual' 14th August declaration that the war against extremism-terrorism was Pakistain's war. That however does not mean that he will now attack North Wazoo.
The 'strategy of fear' was threatened with overthrow by the direct condemnation of TTP even though past experience tells us that the TTP is too powerful inside an internationally isolated Pakistain to rest in retreat for too long. In 2009, another girl, a housewife, was publicly flogged by the Taliban after which a similar trauma had been caused, ending in the ouster of TTP from Swat. According to ANP leader Afzal Khan Lala, 'A boy who had joined the Taliban had a liking for the girl, but the marriage proposal was refused by the family. One day an electrician was called in to repair an electric glitch in the girl's house, and the boy rushed to the Taliban with an accusation that a 'na-mehram' (outsider) had entered the house, which was followed by the flogging of the girl'.
| Another dose of targeted acts of terror may soon teach the TV channels to tone down the so-called 'consensual outrage' against the Taliban in favour of the still persisting 'consensual outrage' against America |
The TTP sorted out Lala Afzal by attacking and wounding him. The rest of Pakistain too was gradually tamed, although the flogging had resulted in Pakistain Army - heretofore a spectator kibitzing daily beheadings in Swat
...a valley and an administrative district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistain, located 99 mi from Islamabad. It is inhabited mostly by Pashto speakers. The place has gone steadily downhill since the days when Babe Ruth was the Sultan of Swat...
- attacking Swat and ending their rule there. The emotional trauma caused by an unknown girl - through an only video tape in which her face was not shown - resulted in the displacement of 3 million people from Malakand. When the IDPs returned they were so relieved at the removal of Taliban from the scene that they accepted the suffering involved in getting rid of the 'just' system they had earlier welcomed while a religious alliance MMA was ruling in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa
... formerly NWFP, still Terrorism Central...
Is the new national trauma more intense than the one caused in 2009? One analysis says it is many times more intense because of the heavy volume of media coverage. Malala was an international icon and in terms of sheer proliferation of media imagery she was an extraordinary persuader. Does this mean that Pakistain Army will now fight the TTP and Al Qaeda? There are rumours that it is thinking of invading North Waziristan after reversing its policy of sheltering global hard boyz there as an instrument of its Afghan policy. But more sober reflection says Pakistain Army is not ready for it: it is overstretched in other Tribal Agencies, the conditions in Swat today reflecting the reality of these less than successful operations.
The other factor that goes against the possibility of a turnaround in Pakistain's diagnostics of terrorism is Pakistain's foreign policy. The Pakistain Army, which runs the foreign policy, is hardly ready to end the country's isolation in the region and at the global level. The development of the anti-American agitprop is more thorough-going than most people imagine. At a primitive level it has brought the identity of the victim close to the identity of the tormentor. The persuasion of this chemical process is too deep for a civilised man to fathom. It is almost certain that Pakistain will fail even more than in 2009 to confront the hard boyz and end their hold on the country.
The post-Malala debate reflects the crisis of the Pak mind. The Pak protesting against the Taliban in the streets is able to carry the binary threat (America plus Taliban) but not the religious parties, barring the unweaponised and non-jihadi Barelvi clergy that hates America for blasphemy and equally hates the Taliban for striking at their mazar-related centres of power. The Deobandi-Jamaat-e-Islami
The Islamic Society, founded in 1941 in Lahore by Maulana Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi, aka
The Great Apostosizer. The Jamaat opposed the independence of Bangladesh but has operated an
independent branch there since 1975. It maintains close ties with international Mohammedan groups such as the Moslem Brotherhood. the Taliban, and al-Qaeda. The Jamaat's objectives are the establishment of a pure Islamic state, governed by Sharia law. It is distinguished by its xenophobia, and its opposition to Westernization, capitalism, socialism, secularism, and liberalist social mores...
holy mans are less amenable to post-Malala change of mind and they are the empowered element in Pakistain's gradually dying state. They tend to connect the Malala incident to the transgressions of America through arguments that are difficult to accept. But in Pakistain it is not argument that persuades but the power to hurt people through kidnapping and murder that moulds the mind.
The liberals and 'the NGO types' may see the Malala incident as a precursor of another traumatic return to mental normality in Pakistain. But another dose of targeted acts of terror may soon teach the TV channels to tone down the so-called 'consensual outrage' against the Taliban in favour of the still persisting 'consensual outrage' against America. Since we can't fight the Taliban alone, and we have already isolated ourselves from the world, our ability to carry out the hidden post-Malala pledge is questionable. We can't even repeat what we did after the flogging incident of 2009. We will find it more comfortable to go on siding with the Taliban at the cost of losing the 'idea of Pakistain' to the pre-modern prescriptions on offer from Al Qaeda, the madrassa network and the non state actors.
Posted by: trailing wife