POSTED BY Omar Ali ON Jan 22, 2014 AT 04:40 IST ,  Edited At: Jan 22, 2014 04:40 IST

Everyone and his dog is predicting an operation against the Pakistani Taliban by the Pakistan army. The word is that the TTP (or factions of the TTP, confusion about that being a standard part of Pakistani discourse and probably of the situation on the ground) has crossed all limits, attacking even in Punjab and killing soldiers, not just bloody civilians. 

The army has responded with shelling and air attacks and if this pattern continues, then the unstable equilibrium of the last 12 years may not be easily restored. If that does happen, then Pakistan could be in for a rather brutal fight. The fighters are not equally matched; on one side is a nuclear armed semi-modern state, on the other a few thousand deranged fanatics and their distant backers (whether in Saudi Arabia, India or Langley hardly matters, though I do think there are more in Saudia than in the latter). It would seem an easy bet that the state will eventually triumph. But even insurgencies that do not succeed can go on for a long time. Besides, given the ideological support the Taliban enjoy in Pakistan, they are unlikely to be easily swatted away. They are also experts at blowing stuff up and seem to have a lot of explosives. On the other side, the state and its fighting arms are not exactly famous for their world-beating efficiency or the surgical precision of their actions.

So irrespective of the outcome, the interim period is likely to be blood-soaked, violent, painfully long and frequently shocking. While Pakistani liberals are much more robust in the face of violence than their Western counterparts (having seen a good deal of it in the last 12 years), they may not be fully ready for the mayhem or the moral dilemmas to come. Therefore, I have penned a quick survival guide for you and us, the liberals and ruling-elite leftists of Pakistan. I hope it helps (and while some remarks are frivolous and even facetious, the overall intent is serious).

  1. Recognize that very few liberals possess skill sets that are in any way practically useful in a civil war. As such, waste no time in trying to figure out “what is my role in this war”. You have no role. Relax. That’s actually a good thing. Own it.
  2. Having recognized #1, you will immediately see that there is little to be gained by hyperventilating about anything. Whether it is Taliban atrocities or state oppression, you can (if you are smart) put some distance between yourselves and the responsibility for either crime. Enemies (aka PTI, Jamat e Islami, Tariq Ali, Pankaj Mishra, Arundhati Roy, and so on) will no doubt try to make you feel guilty about the whole thing and loudly proclaim that you must take responsibility for the mess and you are liberal fascists and whatnot. Ignore them. I know its degrading to realize that you are irrelevant, but hey, take advantage of that. Own it.
  3. Avoid aggressive and premature cheer-leading of army offensives. Even the US, with its extremely accurate drone technology and its efforts to reduce civilian casualties, cannot do so entirely. Third world army offensives being what they are, a LOT of innocent people are going to “pay the ultimate price”. That is very sad. It REALLY REALLY is. I am not kidding about this one. It really is sad. Very sad. Try not to appear to be delighting in it. Pakhtoons are human beings too. FATA Pakhtoons are human beings too. They have suffered tremendously for the various grand strategic delusions of our geniuses. Don’t be heartless and start cheering when they are bombed and shelled. Military action is probably unavoidable if Pakistan (aka Punjab and Sindh) is unwilling to just leave the area to Afghanistan and reverse the great Sikh conquests of the 19th century. But you have to walk a fine line here. Support military action but ask at every forum that it be as precise as possible; be ready to condemn the most flagrant abuses and avoid cheering any action too early lest the next day’s news reveal the reality to be uglier than initially presented. But when the army seems to carry out a truly well-targeted operation against terrorists, be ready to express support. Following these simple rules will save you from much embarrassment.
  4. At the same time, avoid the temptation to join PTI or start campaigns against the army. First of all, your campaigns (like all previous campaigns of yours/ours) are going to have no discernible impact on affairs, so don’t go overboard. Secondly, the army is fighting (however crudely) for the existing (highly imperfect) state versus the anarchic Syria level crap that the Taliban will bring to E-7 if they break through. Swallow hard. Take a deep breath. Go easy.
  5. If you must (and if everyone you know is a Tariq Ali or Arundhati Roy fan, you may have little choice) stand up and create a huge storm in the phase V living room teacup about the corrupt Pakistani elite, slaves of America, oppressors of the Taliban, upper class nitwits, etc. then do so strategically. Be very visible within your own group and on social media, but completely invisible on the ground. Otherwise, people are known to vanish off the face of the earth and then turn up in Manghopir with a few extra holes in their body. Stick to you safe zone.
  6. At the same time, don’t panic and sell everything to your Memon friend at half price. The state is likely to win. Every wise Jamatia in Pakistan has one foot in Malaysia if not in the US, so there is no reason why liberals should not take precautions and make sure their green card is current and cousin Jimmy in New York is not terminally upset at you for some silly thing or the other. But premature evacuation may leave you with egg on your face (or worse). Stay calm. Take reasonable precautions. Avoid panic. If the shit hits the fan, run for your life, but don’t up and run every time Uncle Rashid says the sky is falling. Uncle Rashid has been saying that for 65 years and his commercial plots continue to go up in value. Hold tight and pray to Allah. All will be well. 
POSTED BY Omar Ali ON Jan 22, 2014 AT 04:40 IST ,  Edited At: Jan 22, 2014 04:40 IST
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Daily Mail
Digression
8/D-65
Jan 26, 2014
10:21 AM

You could have thanked Uncle Sam for whacking off some of those whackos Imran Khan is always bellyaching about.

milos
newport beach, United States
7/D-19
Jan 25, 2014
02:42 AM

D.L.Narayan,

>> Pakistan is split between the 'with US' and the 'against the US' camps.

The projected civil war would be between the Taliban and the government.

Anwaar
Dallas, United States
6/D-93
Jan 24, 2014
07:05 PM

''Now, Taliban issues fatwa to Pak media


This is the first time since the outfit’s inception in 2007 that such a fatwa (edict) has been issued against media and a hit-list of media personalities drawn up

The 29-page fatwa accuses media of siding with “disbelievers” against Muslims in the “war on Islam”. It alleges the media is inciting people against mujahideen through propaganda and propagating promiscuity and secularism.
The hit-list has nearly two dozen journalists and publishers. It includes several owners of media groups, news heads of television channels, prominent anchors, the editor of a leading English newspaper and some field staff, the report said.
The fatwa separates journalists into three categories – ‘murjif’, ‘muqatil’ and ‘Sa’ee bil fasad’.
“Murjif is someone who engages in propaganda against Muslims during a war between Islam and disbelief,” Sheikh Khalid Haqqani, deputy chief of the banned TTP and one of the authors of the fatwa, was quoted as saying in the report.
‘Muqatil’ is someone who incites disbelievers and their allies to act against Muslims while the third category includes those who allegedly corrupt Muslim society through steps like replacing Islamic ideology with secular beliefs.
“The media has continuously been lying about us and about our objectives,” Haqqani claimed. “It has attributed to us some attacks which we did not carry out and it continues to lie about our objectives.”
The fatwa was issued in response to a question from the TTP’s religious committee led by former spokesman Ihsanullah

The fatwa separates journalists into three categories – ‘murjif’, ‘muqatil’ and ‘Sa’ee bil fasad’.
“Murjif is someone who engages in propaganda against Muslims during a war between Islam and disbelief,” Sheikh Khalid Haqqani, deputy chief of the banned TTP and one of the authors of the fatwa, was quoted as saying in the report.
‘Muqatil’ is someone who incites disbelievers and their allies to act against Muslims while the third category includes those who allegedly corrupt Muslim society through steps like replacing Islamic ideology with secular beliefs.
“The media has continuously been lying about us and about our objectives,” Haqqani claimed. “It has attributed to us some attacks which we did not carry out and it continues to lie about our objectives.”
The fatwa was issued in response to a question from the TTP’s religious committee led by former spokesman Ihsanullah
Ihsan.
“For a long time, we have been asking the media to be impartial.
We are not forcing it to change beliefs. We are simply asking the media to be fair in coverage,” Ihsan told the Dawn.
“Despite the tall claims of truth and nothing but the truth, the media has been acting as propagandists… The job of a journalist is to be fair and tell all sides of a story.”
Ihsan claimed the media “could mend its ways and become a neutral entity”. He added: “Otherwise, the media should not feel secure. A few barriers and security escorts will not help. If we can get inside military installations, media offices should not be too much of a challenge.”

freepressjournal.in/now-taliban-issues-fatwa-to-pak-media/

ashok kumar ghai
Mumbai, India
5/D-86
Jan 24, 2014
05:14 PM

Excellent guide for the morally corrupt Pakistani "liberals"

this is a war of colonial aggression against the Pashtun tribes, who should not be in the Pakistani state. As the writer observes, it is really Punjab and Sindh against the rest. Religion in this case is disguising many problems of nationality. The wrongs of the 19th and 20th century must be undone. It will remain a bleeding wound for Pakistan.

Just as the US military was never able to subjugate the Pashtun, neither will the Pakistanis.  the Pakistani army is supported financially and technically by the US military. which is known for creating mayhem in the third world. Good luck to them

MK Saini
Delhi, India
4/D-68
Jan 24, 2014
02:05 PM

Nice one! Good to see a journalist who doesnt take himself too seriously!

Rajesh Chary
Mumbai, India
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