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That is what Pakistan's "war" against the Taliban in the NWFP is, and not a death blow to mortal enemies, argues Praveen Swami, quoting military experts, in the Hindu:
...the Islamist jihad in Pakistan emerged not as an adversary of the government but as a product of the official Islam propagated by the state itself.Read the full piece at the Hindu
In a thoughtful 2002 essay, scholar Saeed Shafqat noted that groups like the Jamaat-ud-Dawa had profoundly influenced Pakistan’s “process of identity formation.” “Negating Islamic identity,” he argued, “is equated with opposing Pakistan.” “Over the years,” Shafqat argued, “the religio-political groups have become not only militant in responding towards imagined or real enemies — ‘the West’ or ‘India’— but have also become the champions of ‘Pakistan ideology’.”
Elite-led political organisations have failed to mount a coherent ideological challenge to this project — or to address the conditions in which Islamist groups have flourished. Lashkar recruitment in southern Punjab is known to prey on the increasingly angry children of landless peasants and the urban poor. In Pakistan’s north-west, too, disputes over land, resources and development have fed and informed the rise of the Taliban.
Tehreek-e-Talibaan spokesman Muslim Khan claimed responsibility for the flogging: "She came out of her house with another guy who was not her husband, so we must punish her. There are boundaries you cannot cross," he said.
Earlier, in case you missed it, here is the disturbing video of a teenage girl being flogged by Taliban in the Swat Valley in Pakistan:
The two-minute video, shot using a mobile phone, shows a burka-clad woman face down on the ground. Two men hold her arms and feet while a third, a black-turbaned fighter with a flowing beard, whips her repeatedly.
"Please stop it," she begs, alternately whimpering or screaming in pain with each blow to the backside. "Either kill me or stop it now."
A crowd of men stands by, watching silently. Off camera a voice issues instructions. "Hold her legs tightly," he says as she squirms and yelps.
After 34 lashes the punishment stops and the wailing woman is led into a stone building, trailed by a Kalashnikov-carrying militant.
Reached by phone, Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan claimed responsibility for the flogging. "She came out of her house with another guy who was not her husband, so we must punish her. There are boundaries you cannot cross," he said. He defended the Taliban's right to thrash women shoppers who were inappropriately dressed, saying it was permitted under Islamic law.
On March 5, 2009, suspected Taliban militants blew up a 17th century Sufi shrine, that of Rehman Baba. Concerned, the eminent historian Nayanjyot Lahiri, writing in the Hindustan Times, recalls the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas, eight years back, and wonders "if a Muslim place of worship in the valley of Peshawar can be destroyed ...will a similar erasure of the past be extended to the much older heritage of the hill-girdled Swat, to the north of Peshawar?" She explains the cultural heritage of Swat:
In the University of Delhi, Swat's heritage forms an integral part of the syllabus that is taught to all graduate students who opt to specialise in 'Ancient India'. ...It is Swat that forms part of a crossroads of culture and commerce, marked by cultural elements of lands whose communication axis passed through it - northeast Afghanistan and Central Asia, the Kashmir valley Punjab, and the Indo-Gangetic plains.
So, it is no surprise that in the second millennium BC itself, its inhabitants used objects of lapis lazuli and jade, under lining contacts with Badakshan and Central Asia, respectively or that their stone 'harvesters' were similar to those , used by early agriculturists in Kashmir. Later, Swat was on the line of Alexander's invasion route to India. The region's integration with an eastern subcontinental orbit is most strongly expressed through the ruins of stupas and monasteries that mark Swat out as a major centre of early Buddhism.
Buddhism, a religion that originated in the Gangetic plains of India, was the reason why the art of the Gandhara region - of which Swat was a part - came into existence.
How this heritage can be safeguarded must concern many in Pakistan.
Full article: Reigning over Ruins
Christopher Hitchens in Slate
By all means, let field commanders make tactical agreements with discrepant groups, play them off against one another, employ the methods of divide and rule, and pit the bad against the worst. C'est la guerre. But under no circumstances should a monopoly of violence be ceded to totalitarian or theocratic forces. For this and for other reasons, we shall long have cause to regret the shameful decision to deliver the good people of the Swat Valley bound and gagged into the hands of the Taliban, and—worst of all—without even a struggle.