MB Naqvi very correctly identifies the real causes of Pakistan's woes and suggests the methods for combating the Taliban. His statement that Taliban are moved by an ideology and it cannot be defeated by guns because ideas cannot be killed by shooting in the head is very pertinent. But I am afraid that such ideological battle against Taliban cannot be won in Pakistan by the methods he proposed. Pakistan's very raisons d'tre is intolerance of all ideas outside religion. The national curricula from primary to tertiary level of education in Pakistan conveys the ideology of Islam only. Pakistan's official history in its textbooks describe the birth of Bangladesh as a vile conspiracy of Hindu India to exact revenge on Islamic Pakistan for the creation of the country in 1947 and Bangladesh in Pakistani public perception is still East Pakistan!! The madrassah education system in Pakistan is highly organized and developed and teaches Taliban ideology and produces its armed Jihadi battalions. The army is the self-proclaimed defender of Islam, Islamic culture and ideology in South Asia. The army actually owns the Pakistan state. The elected government in Pakistan has only outward trappings of power for exhibiting in media. Pakistan army's power lays in its guns, money and men. There are no secular social groups, civil society associations and political parties who represent the exploited illiterate people. The people are so thoroughly brainwashed that they are unable to develop a balanced view. The grip of the triumvirate mullahs, military and the punjabi-muhajir elites on society, culture, politics, economy and minds is so complete that any liberal-humanist education system based on secular worldview is unthinkable there. There are no intellectuals in Pakistan who can present a countervailing humanist ideology against the dogma proclaimed by the state. The most terrible aspect of this structure is the supremacy of ISI over every institution, organization of Pakistan and its tentacles have reached every corner of South Asia. All Jihadi organisations across the subcontinent were spawned by the ISI. And it has the support of Pentagon which nourishes it.
Only the people of Pakistan can defeat this monster but who will lead them? And where is the humanist ideology that will fight against the Talibani ideology of annihilation?
Re "Mumbai fall-out," by Zaglul Ahmed Chowdhury (Dec. 4).
In this context, Zaglul Ahmed Chowdhury may take a look at what a prominent Pakistani-Canadian says about Pakistan's role in the Mumbai terrorist attack. In a column: "All signs point to Pakistan," Tarek Fatah, a Pakistani-Canadian scholar and author of Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State, wrote in Toronto's National Post: "If at all there was an intelligence agency whose fingerprints can be spotted at the crime scene (in Mumbai), it appears to be the rogue elements from Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), which is hell-bent on disrupting India's (recently improving) relations with neighbouring Pakistan."
Dr. Fatah touched the crux of the crisis when he said: "Just a month ago, the founder of one of Pakistan's most feared armed Islamist groups had accused Zardari of being dovish toward India, and criticized him for referring to militants in Indian-held Kashmir as 'terrorists.' Then this week, the so-called Deccan Mujahedeen struck against India with the clear aim of triggering a Hindu backlash against the country's minority Muslims -- with the obvious attendant danger to Pakistan-India relations."
The obvious conclusion of all this is that unless Pakistan's elected government takes control of the ISI, it will always subvert any attempts to improve relations with India. India should also realise how helpless Pakistan's elected government is vis-à-vis its powerful military and any military response will only help those who are hostile to improved Indo-Pakistan relations.
Mahmood Elahi, Ottawa, Canada