Maulana speaks for the Taliban?
Maulana Fazlur Rehman of JUI has spoken out in the in-camera session of the parliament in Islamabad, posing as a kind of mediator between the state of Pakistan and the forces loosely described as the Taliban. While opposing military action in the Tribal Areas, he offered the middleman’s role to the army. He added for good measure the accusation that what was being done so far was in blind obedience to the American policy inside Afghanistan and Pakistan. He wanted “dialogue and development” but no “deterrence”, the last being a part of the military strategy being followed.
Who can deny the value of mediation if it is impartial and effective? Therefore, it would help a great deal if the Maulana, sitting inside the ruling coalition, can make the Taliban, or whoever it is making our life miserable, give concrete earnest of good conduct? But how do we know that a man not long ago threatened with death in DI Khan by the same elements can represent them impartially? We know that his party has political representation in Bajaur but Bajaur is also the nesting place of Al Qaeda, the Hekmatyar militia, the Ahle Hadith and the “takfiri” Arabs. We also know that at times he has overestimated his capacity to mediate, as happened in the case of Al Faran terrorist group in Indian administered Kashmir in the 1990s. Also, as things stand today, his party’s representatives in the Tribal Areas stand politically very close to the Taliban without having effective leverage over their decision-making. So the Maulana’ s offer is full of holes and has probably been made more to protect himself from the terrorists than to provide any relief to the Pakistan state. (Daily Times)