How we lost Swat?

OPINION: How we lost Swat — Nasir Abbas Mirza
Daily Times, March 9, 2009

The loss of Swat is not the end of it. It is just another battle lost by us. This battle, and the many more to come, can only be won with more liberties, more freedom and more rights. And a state with a will to protect these at all costs. That’s the real battlefront of this war against terror and extremism

We have worked long and hard at losing Swat. We lost it in hundreds of little battles fought over the last 35 years.

Since the mid-seventies, religious extremists have been chipping away at our liberties, our rights and our freedom. Bit by bit they have demolished, and continue to, all attempts to create a modern civil society.

We lost Swat the day we made discriminatory laws based on sectarian and religious divisions. I am reminded of a Jewish parable. An old Jewish man was on his deathbed and his entire family stood around him. The old man kept saying, “Take care of the Armenians; take care of the Armenians.” His son asked, “But we are Jewish; why do you keep saying take care of the Armenians?” The old man replied, “Because if they get to the Armenians, you will be next.”

We let them get one sect and now they are in the process of getting the Shias (non-protesting spectators include Mr Nawaz Sharif and Qazi Hussain Ahmad); next would be other sects and religions — Ismailis, Parsis, Barelvis and so on until, as Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy calls it, the Saudi-isation of Pakistan is complete.

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