Wednesday, April 15, 2009

This pretty much sums it up.

This, and the FP Editorial:

Simplifying complexity

One wishes fervently for a durable and lasting peace in Swat, though. But by consenting in haste to the ANP-led Frontier government's expedient accord with Maulana Sufi Mohammad of TNSM for Nizam-e-Adl in Malakand division, the legislators of the National Assembly have only smitten a gigantic complexity into just a simplicity untenably.

Whether for the extremists' death threats or for their own disinterest, they have not even bothered to grasp the Swat complexity. Nizam-e-Adl was the Swatis' compulsion, not a demand. They had voted predominantly for the ANP for its promise of security and development. Nizam-e-Adl was not even a plank of this self-styled secular party's electoral platform. But since the party failed in delivering them security or progress and ditched them to live under blood-soaked thuggery of Fazlullah's brigands, it was in desperation that they had asked for this nizam in the hope this could perhaps rescue them from their woeful distress and travails. But that hope is still a big question mark.

Peace in the beleaguered valley may be holding now, but nothing can be said for sure for the future. For, the party has not just practically abandoned the Swatis. So much so, while it should have been endeavouring to build upon the fragile peace for its durability by plunging robustly into rebuilding the valley's shattered administrative apparatus and embarking upon a massive development work, almost the whole lot of its mob in the government and the assembly took to days-long rest and recreation trip to the Emirates. Worse, the party has ceded the state writ in Swat to Maulana Sufi Mohammad. He has anointed himself it suzerain and a law unto himself. He has rolled up into himself the roles of judge, administrator and spiritual guide.

Still worse, neither has Fazlullah disarmed nor has dismantled his militia. It is his gun that rules in the valley. Not the state authority. Indeed, he has laid down instructions even for the state minions' movement in the valley and insists on and exacts compliance with his diktat on the pain of penalty. One thought the lawmakers of the National Assembly would look deep into the complexity of the Swat situation and grasp the grave implications entailed by the ANP's expedient accord. If the ANP had been inept, they didn't have to be, too. For the accord to be worth it, it had to have necessarily an inbuilt guaranteed stipulation that Fazlullah would demobilise and disarm his militia. That is not there. His private army is all intact, brandishing all the lethal weaponry it had had. And it is fanning out, to the great worry and utter desperation of the residents of the areas it is grabbing to put under its sway.

Already, it is embedded critically at strategic points in Buner, from where it can expand and advance into crucial regions of the Frontier province and beyond. It is also making inroads into Dir to the local populace's deeply troubling concern. Reports also abound that Fazlullah's private army has arrogated to itself the veto power as to who from amongst the displaced Swatis can return to their homes and who cannot. And statedly they do not want to see the face of anyone whose kith and kin had they slain or maimed for fear of revenge. The lawmakers should have taken all these factors into account before affixing the stamp of their assent on this ANP-effected deal, euphemistically eulogised as a peace accord, which is just a deceitful misnomer.

It is no peace accord. It, at best, is a deal to strip the state of its legal power and invest it in an obscurant, who indeed is mincing no words in declaring that he has become the ultimate law authority not just in Swat but the whole of Malakand region. With their consent, the lawmakers have in fact opened up the floodgates for spiritual charlatans and gun-wielding warlords to make similar forays to throw out the state writ and create their own fiefdoms. Make no mistake, sooner than later, the nation will witness not just in FATA or other tribal regions but also in settled areas trigger-happy gunmen with imposters posturing to be blessed spiritual lights as their cohorts, making bids for carving out their own sultanates and caliphates. Just forget about attracting foreign investments and enterprise. Who on earth would be the stupid to put his money in such a crumbling fanatical place? Keeping a mere semblance of statehood would then be just a feat. Couldn't the lawmakers be a bit incisive, farsighted - and brave?

Courtesy: The Frontier Post

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