Thursday, November 1, 2007

Why Pakistan will defeat terrorism again ? (Reply to the Newsweek Article)

Why Pakistan will defeat Terrorism again !

I saw this weeks Newsweek with Pakistan on the cover story and my knee jerk reaction was to cancel my 5 year subscription of Newsweek which I did. (October 29, Newsweek published a cover story that was titled, "The Most Dangerous Nation in the World Isn't Iraq - Its Pakistan). I am not paying for such Nazi style propaganda against Pakistan. I am surprised at the ignorance of these journalists who are trying to blow these terrorism stories way out of proportion. Not only this cover story will encourage the suicide bombers and terrorists it will demoralize some moderate Pakistanis.

We know everything is not right in Pakistan. There are problems and a militant movement is terrorizing and trying to create anarchy in the country. We know what their motives are and this nothing new for us. Similar militant movements exist in other countries. To name a few there are terror groups in Spain (Basque), Israel, UK (IRA) , India, Russia, Sri Lanka , Turkey, etc. What has happened to those countries ? Even though all countries are not the same but terrorism causes similar effects on the economies and its people.

But how have these countries responded to terrorism ? Have they disintegrated ? Have their economies collapsed ? Has terrorism thrived in these countries ? NO. Totally the opposite has happened. Their economies have become resilient and immune with time to sustain terror attacks. Even their stock markets have withstood terror shocks better with little or no change. All these countries have grown stronger while militancy grew in these countries. And now to Pakistan. This new wave of terrorism will not weaken Pakistan either. It will not swallow the social fabric either. It has withstood these terror attacks and most people are living normal lives. Even with a biased media, propaganda and bad predictions Pakistan has grown at 7% per year throughout this new spate of terrorism. In Asia Pakistan is only behind China and India in growth and FDI has been around $7 billion per year. Pakistani stock market (KSE) has grown at an astounding 26% per annum in the past few years.

I DO NOT think that this militant movement or terrorism will take over Pakistan. It will not succeed because Pakistan has had its share of militancy since the 70's and none have collapsed the country . Almost all the major minority groups have tried to break away from Pakistan with notable militancy movements from fringe elements from the Baloch's, Pakhtoon's, Mohajir's and the Sindhi's. What happened to those militant movements ? With no or little public support for the militant movements have died down .Some of these fringe elements and organizations have joined the political system in one way or another.

All these militant movements had to fight out the Pakistan Army which went ahead to brutally crush them at first and then had negotiations with them. And yes Pakistan Army has had casualties in suppressing these militants. The system has always worked in Pakistan and they have not only quelled the militancy completely but has destroyed their network. So none of this new to Pakistan but what is new to Pakistan is this unprecedented Western focus on from everything from Benazir Bhutto’s return to every suicide bombing to every Al Qaeda (AQ) arrest.

Now to the question why does it seem more ferocious and unending this time. There are a few obvious reasons for that. This time these are suicide bombings and not car bombings or sniper fire. Whatever happens here can effect the West and now terrorism from AQ is a global phenomenon. Also this time the press in Pakistan is free to report each and every bombing. There is little or no censorship thanks to President Musharraf. With an open media policy Pakistan has 38 television channels who report whatever they want to report. Its difficult to censor bombings, causalities and terror tactics with hundreds of local journalist trying to get the scoop.

Newsweek once pointed out that religious Army personal in the Pakistan Army will join the militancy against the Pakistan Army. Religious army officers sympathetic to the religious fundamentalists who will turn against the army to help the AQ's militancy. This has not happened. Even in previous ethnic conflicts all ethnic groups in the Pakistani Army helped destroy the militant movements together. There were people within the army who were sympathetic to the ethnic militancy but it was never an issue and there have been no mass court martials either.

There have been predictions of a dooms day scenario for Pakistan since the 1940's. There is always something and this or that will finish Pakistan - Bankruptcy, India, Soviet Union, US, too poor, too many people, too many divisions, too many ethnic groups, secretarian strife, corruption, army, Martial Law and now its the religious fanatics. Almost every time these gurus and some journalists give Pakistan 6 months. Someone even once emailed me saying "this March will be the end" .That was 2004. March came and went and I emailed him back saying "its April now".

This article is an eye opener for me and other Pakistanis. It shows how naive these journalists really are and have no idea what Pakistan is really about. They are eager to trump up a negative story about Pakistan for whatever motive they have?

Pakistan is the 6th largest country in the world and we are not going anywhere. We are united and we forget our differences when it really comes to it. Pakistanis demonstrated it during the earthquake what Pakistanis can do to help themselves. We will prevail and will destroy this fanatic militancy again ! Thanks Newsweek for the article but no thanks.

Moid Ansari

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