Wednesday, April 22, 2009

On Pakistan: Guest Writer Javed Ellahie

While the American media focus on Iran and sometimes on North Korea, Pakistan is looking more and more like the next danger zone. The Pakistani government recently appeased the Taliban by allowing them to enforce "Islamic" law in various parts of the country. Realizing the danger of allowing the Taliban to take over an entire state, various countries pledged billions of dollars to Pakistan to bolster faith in the state's existing government. Will it work? My guest writer, Javed Ellahie, a local Pakistani-American attorney, does not believe so.

I asked Mr. Ellahie for his input on the situation after watching a chilling Frontline episode, "Children of the Taliban," which can be found here. Mr. Ellahie's response to me was not something I've seen in the mainstream media, so I asked his permission to share it. He agreed. His response is below.

U.S. Aid to Pakistan - Billions of Dollars in Paper Cannot Undo Billions of Dollars in Bombs

Pakistan is going through a very trying time. It is a country that lives in a part of the world where China, Russia and India were the neighborhood bullies. With the rise of Al Qaeda and the tit-for-tat response of “take no prisoners” by the U.S., the whole neighborhood has gone bully-whack.

Pakistan’s frontier province has always been a no-man’s land. Pakistan’s control consisted on having the tribal chiefs on her side. This could continue as long as Pakistan was the toughest kid on the block. Now, the tribal chiefs have taken on the Americans and no longer need to bow to Pakistan or anyone else. They believe that they control their own destiny and Pakistan is nothing but a pet of the U.S.

While the U.S. has announced billions in aid, it will go to waste. U.S. Aid is channeled through consultants and corrupt politicians. By the time it gets to the target, it is worth no more than a piece of shrapnel that started as a million dollar cruise missile and now lies in between the blown out limbs of the unsuspecting as they slept in their two dollar mud house.

Pakistan's civil movement holds promise, but it must not be directed at fighting a battle which, by its continuation, will destroy the country. Its energy must be channeled into efforts towards building a civil and just society in Pakistan.
The best the U.S. can do is not to send billions into Pakistan but to leave and let Pakistanis and the frontier men run their own lives.

The U.S. and Pakistan's bombing of the tribal areas destroys the village where these fearless frontier men have dwelled for hundreds of years. Having lost their homes, these proud, angry mountain men, whose pride demands that every death be avenged, are descending to the valleys and cities of Pakistan and exacting revenge. How can you convince them that it is wrong to brazenly kill innocent civilians when they themselves have witnessed the wholesale deaths of their innocent family members by unseen (cowardly) drones?

The people of Afghanistan did not consider the U.S. its enemy--Al Qaeda did. By attacking an entire swath of Afghanistan, the U.S. now has made an entire population its enemy and turned ordinary Afghans (and now frontier Pakistanis) into Taliban.

by Javed Ellahie, Esq.

One may call my colleague a cynic. Yet, his plea for the world to let Pakistan alone must appeal to anyone who believes in a nation's right to control its own destiny. In addition, outside interference may encourage more support for the Taliban. It is hard to see how anyone can join such a backwards, violent group. I only understood it after watching the Frontline episode I mentioned above, "Children of the Taliban." I strongly encourage my readers to watch the episode, which can be found on PBS's website.

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