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Media Militants In Pakistan

One of the problems with the recent fire burning among many Pakistanis seemingly enraged over US operations against the Taliban and al-Qaeda on their soil has been that these same individuals fail to acknowledge - to others and perhaps to themselves - that the enemy we target it their enemy. The Taliban and al-Qaeda are enemies of Pakistan that seek to consume the Muslim nation and use it as the cornerstone for the establishment of a regional - then global - caliphate, ruled by the brand of Islam that al-Qaeda's ideological terrorists demand all subscribe to.

Aniq Zafar, writing in Pakistan's The News, calls these Pakistanis more predisposed to loathe the United States than the terrorists among them "Media Militants." Read this excerpt, and perhaps the entire article, Marriott tragedy: No Illusions!

But the Marriott blast has shown a stark naked reality to the people of Pakistan that the challenge for the state and the society is much larger than what the Media Militants have tried to make us believe. Media Militants like Ms. Shireen Mazari and Ahmad Quraishi on these pages of the newspaper have been arguing since long that Pakistan needs to move away from this fight and tell the US that it’s “her war” not ours.

The apologists of extremists and terrorists have all along been arguing that the root cause of militancy and terrorism is US's policies in the region. One has consistently argued that those Media Militants fail to understand that the grand political objective of the al-Qaeda or Taliban is not getting the US out of Afghanistan. The grand objective is to create an Islamic state without borders across all Muslim nations. This objective is sometimes reflected in the slogans of Hizb ut Tehrir and at other times can be read as subtext in the literature of almost all the militant organizations. Getting US out of Afghanistan and creating a state of their own kind in Afghanistan and then in Pakistan are just two steps in that direction.

This group of so called "Islamic ultra-nationalist" is so out of touch with the real world that they refuse to recognize the limitations of their policy advice. A recent statement from a Hizb ut Tehrir spokesman read "Is the US ready to have its supplies shut down by taking on Pakistan? Can America stop Pakistani missile attacks on its bases at Bagram and Doha? The truth is that the US not Pakistan, is vulnerable and not in a position to risk war. The US is already taking a beating in Iraq and Afghanistan. But our rulers are hiding their treason by claiming that Pakistan cannot defend itself against America."

Each line of the above statement speaks for itself. The statement reflects a mindset where emotions and a self proclaimed invincibility drive the policy choice. Policy formulation is a task where all variables and all options with pros and cons of each tactical step have to be evaluated. It cannot be an over assessment of self. It cannot be a wish. It cannot be a slogan.

No one can justify the US incursions into Pakistan's territory and one must not condone such acts. But there is a serious need for an inward review too. One simple though provoking question asked by a very senior editor in his recent columns in a sister publication would help us understand the dynamics much better. He asks why is that all those elements (Al Qaeda, Taliban) find hospitable ground in Pakistan while Afghanistan has other neighbours too?

The situation is indeed complex.

Failure to acknowledge the true enemy which seeks to consume you is not.