People across the globe question our history, society, culture and country. Sadly, we do not answer them—may be out of our lack of understanding or just out of inefficiency and lethargy. Our inability to respond to the world in a sophisticated and logical way empowers the global and regional powers to misinform the world about our history and culture and to fulfil their vested interests. We witness some pseudo-scholars, on the basis of their self-assumed hypotheses and self-assumed facts, drawing some self-serving conclusions. In this way they shape, manipulate and control public thinking and mass psychology. This all is really very unfortunate. We must respond to these voices and tell the world that we are the “victims” not the “masters” of the multi-pronged tragedy.

In 2011, Farah Taj wrote a book “Taliban and anti-Taliban”. The book, basically, deals with the phenomenon of terrorism and its impact on the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the rest of Pakistan. She proclaims in the preface of her book that the existing literature regarding the presence and role of Al-Qaeda in FATA is misleading and confusing——she assures us to eliminate our confusions by offering us some significant insights in form of reliable research material.

Her book can be summarized in one paragraph.

She asserts Pakhtuns are very sincere, friendly and patriotic. They do firmly follow Pakhtunwali “a flexible unwritten code of behavior that a Pakhtun is supposed to abide by.” But unfortunately the state of Pakistan does not properly own Pakhtuns — and they are neglected and deprived of their due rights. In 1980s, the all-powerful Pakistan army, in her view, collaborated with the United States of America to create, train and use some jihadists to fight against the Soviet Russia—those jihadists were later on termed as Taliban. After the end of Cold War, Pakistan recognized and supported Taliban government in Afghanistan for its strategic interests. The USA after 9/11 attacked Afghanistan—–toppled the Taliban government and asked Pakistan to stand by them (the US).  Since then Taliban have been the “strategic tools of Pakistan’s foreign policy”, she argues.  Pakistan Army uses them for its strategic objectives; they are backed by Inter–Services Intelligence (ISI) and other state agencies. Pakhtuns just do not like Pakistan Army, its devilish role in war on terror and do not trust in any security agency anymore.  Therefore, they themselves are fighting against Taliban and Al-Qaeda. But the media and other paid researchers misinform and mislead the world by distorting simple facts and exaggerating ground realities.

This is almost the entirety of what the writer has said—-or may be what she just intended to convey.

Pakhuns are very nice people. They are brave patriots. This is the reality and must be accepted without any doubt. The claim that Taliban were created by Pakistan Army in collaboration with the US is also an undeniable historical fact. This was a strategic blunder. But we must not blame Pakistan alone for this blunder, if we talk in a global perspective.

Was the west not selling us false theories of “Next Domino” to push us in the fight against the Soviet Russia? And after 9/11 who forced Pakistan, a developing third world country, to fight the so-called global war on terror? Who has broken Afghanistan? Who humiliated and disrespected Afghan women and children? Who destroyed their culture and threw them into complete social and political chaos? Who has terrorized the whole Afghan society and polity? One needs to analyze these aforementioned questions in the global perspective of power politics to understand and answer the question: who created terrorists and why?

Further, it seems that the writer romanticizes about the west. She thinks drones strikes are just to kill Taliban—Pakistan Army’s ‘strategic tools’. She thinks Pakhuns do want more drone strikes by the US to eliminate terrorists from their area——–FATA is a part of Pakistan? Isn’t it? The US drones come, do fire and kill our innocent children and women—and we think they come to rescue us.

When she willfully supports and advances her arguments in favor of drone strikes, she conveniently overlooks some ground realities. North Waziristan has been the center of the US drone strikes. Out of 180 strikes in 2010, 104 hit North Waziristan. Is this not surprising?

The sadder part of the picture is that civilians are butchered in the cover of “militants”. For instance, The News has reported that between 2006 and 2009 there were 60 drone strikes that killed 701 civilians and only 14 “militants”. Dawn has reported that in the same period out of 708 casualties there were only 5 “militants”.

These factual realities compel us to conclude drone strikes are not to kill the “militants” but common Pakhtuns. So the question is: the writer is fulfilling whose interests and why?

These complex and multifaceted issues are not as simple as she tries to portray them.

In her limited, naïve and innocent worldview, Pakistan, for its strategic interests, wants and creates unrest in Afghanistan. This may appear to be a joke to serious students of political science and international relations. Will hostility and unrest in Afghanistan favor and benefit Pakistan? Will the politically paralyzed Afghanistan be useful for Pakistani establishment to reach their strategic interests?  Will unrest in Afghanistan not play an effective role in destabilizing Pakistan——do not miss historical and traditional enmity and hostility between Pakistan and India. All these questions need to be taken in the present context of globalization.

Then she innocently questions and challenges Pakistan’s ideology and tries to establish a nexus between the so-called concept of Global Jihad and Islam. She assumes Osama Bin Laden was fighting for the domination of Islam and therefore was being backed by Saudis. I suggest the writer to read “The Thistle and the Drone: How America’s War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam” by Prof. Akbar S. Ahmed, so that she may get a clear picture of the world of politics.

There are so many other ludicrous claims made by the writer that we can talk about. Like she thinks tribal people do not follow religion strictly and ISI is the apple of discord, by making some wishful deductions of facts and many more like that.

If we critically examine the book, we come to the conclusion that this book is intended to perform four functions: first, to defame Pakistan Army and undermine its role in war against terrorism; second, to spread hatred among Pakhuns against Pakistan and the Army; third, to legitimize US drone attacks; fourth, to ridicule Pakistan’s ideology; and fifth, to establish a nexus between the global jihad and Islam.

Note: We are living in 21st century and we must remember that politics of this era is not as simple as it used to be in the days of Napoleon. If one really wants to understand politics of this era he must read some authentic literature. Otherwise our lack of understanding and comprehension will someday put our existence in danger.