This is how my sorrows became visible:
its dust, piling up for years in my heart,
finally reached my eyes,
the bitterness now so clear that
I had to listen when my friends
told me to wash my eyes with blood
Everything at once was tangled in blood –
each face, each idol, red everywhere.
Blood swept over the sun, washing away its gold.
The moon erupted with blood, its silver extinguished.
The sky promised a morning of blood,
and the night wept only blood …
Let it flow. Should it be dammed up,
there will be only hatred cloaked in colours of death.
Don’t let this happen, my friends’
bring all my tears back instead,
a flood to purify my dust filled eyes,
to wash this blood forever from my eyes.
(Faiz Ahmed Faiz 1971)
Alas! The moment to wash this blood from our eyes is still not in sight. Am I being a pessimist forecasting more blood in the country? I wish I am proved wrong. But the rational being in me torments me with realistic outlook. Believe me I hate this.
Why the country may see more deaths of innocents and terrorist activities this year is quite obvious. Unfortunately Pakistan is in the conflict zone and its rulers have sown a harvest of cactus for the last many years. It’s now time to reap the harvest. For years General Ziaul Haq and his successors trained a large number of people in the name of Islamic Jihad in Afghanistan and India. Together with CIA they took pride that they have created techno-guerillas. Hundreds of people were trained in making and planting bombs, today these master trainers are imparting the know-how to young Islamic militants. There is no dearth of militants who are being brainwashed by a number of Jihadi organisations active in the country. Some liberals may underestimate their commitment by believing that they are just stooges of the intelligence agencies. While the leadership of such organisations can be opportunistic, their rank and file is committed to the extent that they are willing join the suicide squads.
Now that the present establishment has realized that it is dangerous for the country to continue with the old policy of aiding the militant Jihadi organisations to destablise Afghanistan and India, the militants have turned their guns to Pakistan. This was inevitable. Those who blame the government for calling off the clandestine operations in the neighbouring countries are the religious parties who have been beneficiaries of the earlier adventurism.
The more the government will move away from supporting the Jihadis and try to clip their wings, the more terrorist onslaughts are expected in the country. Violence is the only language they know. And so shall they speak.
Pakistan is right now surrounded by not very friendly states. True, much of this juxtaposition is of our rulers own doing. Our desire to have a client government in Afghanistan on the pretext of guarding our western flank; our distance from Iran to please the Saudi and American governments; and our strategy to keep Indian forces engaged in Kashmir are some of the short-sighted policies which need to be changed. The winds of change are blowing strong and it seems that President Musharraf has caught the drift.
But interestingly he is being opposed by both the right and the left. One common factor on which he is criticized by diagonally opposite sections of society is his close association with the US government. The US is pushing Pakistan to fight its war in Afghanistan and is passing the buck for its failures to curb the Taliban menace. Toeing this US line has led us to a war like situation in the tribal area. But the question is that even for the internal peace and development Pakistan should not allow Talibanisation of the tribal belt. Otherwise this will spill over to the rest of the country. So come what may the country will have to pay the price of nurturing Taliban and other Afghan militants for over two decades. These are the pains of withdrawal; we can try to find some pain killers till they subside eventually.
Similarly, all the Jihadi outfits which were brought up and promoted to support the Kashmiri struggle will not wind up their business easily. The closer Pakistan and India will come to a negotiated solution, the more desperate these militants would be. To them walking away from militancy is betrayal of the cause, at least the rank and file of these organisations believe this. The leadership has made billions from the terrorism business, they will not let it go easily. They are likely to destablise any government which may move towards an amicable solution of Kashmir imbroglio and what could be a better time for all these adventurists, than the election year 2007. So let us brace for the worst and hope for the best in this tumultuous time. (firstname.lastname@example.org)