Monday, October 22, 2012

Reply: 10 questions for Imran Khan (by Dr Ahsan Malik)

This is a guest post by @ASilentKnight
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Reply: 10 questions for Imran Khan
By: Dr Ahsan Malik
(Twitter: @ASilentKnight)
The article “The News” would never entertain…
I tried to get this to run in “The News”, the paper that originally printed Mr FarrukhSaleem’s10 Questions to Imran Khan, but 1) They haven’t publicized any contact methods (unlike Tribune), and 2) Many people associated with The News, when contacted via Twitter never bothered to help (none even responded) in even getting a consideration/ editorial review. Instead of 10, one question I do have for all media outlets: Why do you complain of abuses and spamming (not condoning them!) when the alternate such as this is rarely ever entertained?
So here is the real face of PTI family, in the form of a reply to respected MrFarrukhSaleem’s 10 question to Imran Khan, one by one.
Q 1: Sir, you have always maintained that militants are taking innocent Pakistani lives because the militants are being attacked by American drones. But the militants insist that they would “kill everyone and anyone who stands against the imposition” of their version of Islam. In essence, the militants are convinced that they are fighting for ‘Islam’ while you continue to maintain that militant actions are actually reactions to American drones.
It is a reaction because they think that it is ‘Jihad’ or ‘Holy War’. Drones are just the starting point and a very prominent thorn – a fact actually recognized by Mr Khan. He has repeatedly said that militant reactions and bases for recruitment are the occupying forces in Afghanistan and their perceived collaborators (Pakistan Govt& Armed Forces), a fight similar to the one against the Soviet Union for which the current militants’ predecessors were indoctrinated on such a line that war was termed ‘jihad’ or ‘holy war’ by not just Muslims of the time but also termed ‘freedom fighting’ by supporting American officials as high as US President of the time: Ronald Reagan. A little bit of what he said:
“To watch the courageous Afghan freedom fighters battle modern arsenals with simple hand-held weapons is an inspiration to those who love freedom. To the Afghan people, I say on behalf of all Americans that we admire your heroism, your devotion to freedom, and your relentless struggle against your oppressors.”
“These gentlemen are the moral equivalents of America’s Founding Fathers.”
Q 2: Sir, if anyone wishes to negotiate with the PML-N, he would naturally have Mian Nawaz Sharif, MianShahbaz Sharif, ChaudhryNisar Ali Khan or Senator Pervez Rasheed in mind. You have always favoured negotiating peace with the militants. Please name just four names representing the militants that are in your mind with whom you will negotiate peace.
Imran Khan talks of a concept where all who renounce violent means are welcome at the negotiating table. He has also clearly talked of the locals of the area (who know very well who controls which group) to take an active part in the negotiating exercise. Therefore, to determine the names of those with whom to talk, local tribal people should play a major role as opposed to arbitrary inclusions & exclusions of figureheads in the peace process.
Q 3: Sir, you have promised that Prime Minister Imran Khan shall wipe off militancy from the face of the country. Can you please name just two militant organizations that you plan to wipe off?
Mr Khan recognises militancy as a disease of the mind rather than being merely a labelled physical entity. Therefore, the targets in wiping off militancy are not just one or two militant organizations, but the factors that are the cause of their birth. However, if it provides contentment, the mind-set of all those organizations that are banned & blacklisted by the government are to be eliminated.
Q 4: Sir, you have been rightly pointing out that more than 40,000 innocent Pakistani lives have been lost in what you say is ‘America’s war’. Can you please identify by name the forces and groups responsible for the loss?
Again, to some extent that identification has been made repeatedly. If you are looking for Khan to take the name of TTP, relish in the fact that he already has in his last few press-conferences. The 40,000 innocent Pakistani lives lost include victims of violence from all sides such as from targeted killings, militant beheadings, suicide bombings, IED attacks, drone strikes, military operations, aerial bombings & shelling – a vast majority of which can be termed as Summary Executions. As for the request to name all forces and groups responsible, I think it would not be unreasonable to say that that is the Government’s purview.
Q 5: Sir, a state cannot be called a state unless it has ‘monopoly of violence’ within its geographically defined physical terrain. The State of Pakistan must, therefore, have ‘monopoly of violence’ within our 796,095 square km. But Pakistani militants in a recent message sent to Reuters have stated: “We have a clear-cut stance. Anyone who takes the side of the government against us will have to die at our hands.” Sir, are you willing to surrender ‘monopoly of violence’ to the militants?
The paradigm of a state having a monopoly over violence is the very paradigm that PTI intends to shift, violence being the complete opposite of Justice, thus the name of Tehreek-e-Insaf. In case of conflict, the state’s responsibility is to limit the use of force to the bare minimumas a last resortonly against violators to hold them accountable to law and tofollow the course of justice. The concept of the state having the total right to violence is an unjust & primitive idea. The paradigm shift PTI intends for is to shift this concept of violence being legal for the state, to a concept of being Just, even in current times of domestic conflict, even with your declared enemies, as enshrined in Islamic principles as well as international conflict laws & conventions.
Q 6: Sir, if Prime Minister Imran Khan decides to end all disputes with the Islamic Republic of Iran and the militants oppose that decision. What would PM Imran Khan do? Would Pakistan’s foreign policy, under Imran Khan, be made by the State of Pakistan or the militants?
Foreign policy of the state of Pakistan should reflect the will of the people of Pakistan – something that can only be possibly expressed by a truly democratic government. If anyone does not like the course of foreign policy of the state then they should take part in peaceful, political, opinion-building activity rather than use brute force.
Q 7: Sir, you have rightly demanded from the Americans to stop their drone attacks. You have also asked the Pakistan Army to stop their operations. But, sir, you have never asked the militants to stop their murderous assaults.
‘With great power comes great responsibility’. The state & military forces being the larger entities hold more power than a reactionary militancy. To stop the pot from boiling over, it is useless to ask the contents not to boil over where the control lies not with the contents of the pot, rather, the stove that burns beneath it. Alas, if it is any consolation, Mr Imran Khan did not conduct merely an “anti-US-drone” march or “anti-Pakistan-Army-operations” march…it was a “Peace March” against all sorts of violence from all sides J
Q 8: Sir, in your worldview Pakistani militants are the victims and America is the victimiser. How would you apply your victim-victimiser theory to the Malala tragedy?
Simple: Malala, Shazia & Kainaat are victims of the actions of a despicable mind-set, a mind-set that includes (but is not limited to) amalgamations of militant franchises such as the oft-quoted TTP. No rocket science, is it?
Q 9: Sir, your official spokesperson, Mr ShafqatMahmood, has said that an ‘end to drones will end the war’. Sir, isn’t that being a demagogue par excellence? Isn’t that overly simplistic? As you know, sir, our war began in 1994 when Sufi Mohammad took over Swat exactly 10 years before the first American drone showed up.
The war you are referring to, Sir, is the overall fight against extremism and militancy, encompassing even the sectarian aspect. The statement you have quoted refers to the state of war that Pakistan was put into post 2004, a state where suicide attacks on Pakistan Armed Forces personnel & installations are commonplace – a state that largely did not exist “when Sufi Mohammad took over Swat” in the years preceding the US occupancy of Afghanistan. What Mr ShafqatMehmood was referring to and what you are referring to, these are like two different frequencies of the FM radio band.
Q 10: Sir, has the Malala tragedy had any impact on your train of thought?
I believe this tragedy, like all those before it, has only strengthened Khan’s resolve to project the core solution that deals with the actual cancer first, rather than reacting merely to symptoms of opportunistic infections that take hold as a result.
Albert Einstein: “The important thing is not to stop questioning.” Your questions for the sake of clarity are much welcomed Sir and it is hoped that if even one answer helps attain some clarity, then my exercise would have served its purpose. Good day to all.

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"Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf FATA Volunteers" Team.


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