The News, April 19, 2009
Dr Farrukh Saleem
Here are four of our historical, landmark, monumental mistakes. First: in 1947, we accepted that 27,220 square kilometres of FATA -- Bajaur, Khyber, Kurram, Mohamand, North Waziristan, Orakzai, South Waziristan plus FR Peshawar, FR Kohat, FR Tank, FR Bannu, FR Lakki and FR Dera Ismail Khan -- shall continue to be governed under the Frontier Crimes Regulation of 1901. Second: in 1970, Federally Administered Northern Areas (FANA), a total of 72,496 square kilometres -- that includes Skardu, Ghanche, Gilgit, Ghizer Diamer, Astore and Hunza -- was created as a separate administrative unit. Third: in 1997, Ehtesab Act was passed by the Nawaz Sharif government that gave birth to Ehtesab Courts. Fourth: in 1997, the Anti-Terrorism Act gave birth to Anti-Terrorism Courts.
For the past 62 years we have failed to integrate FATA into the rest of Pakistan. For the past 39 years we have failed to integrate FANA into the rest of Pakistan. That's 99,716 square kilometres, nearly 13 per cent of our total landmass, outside the boundaries of the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The results of our follies are for the world to see. On April 13, President Asif Ali Zardari, the 11th president of Pakistan, signed Nizam-e-Adl Regulation 2009 donating an additional 5,337 square kilometres of Pakistan to Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM). The TNSM has already laid its claim to 14,850 square kilometres of Chitral and 5,280 square kilometres of Dir. That would mean 16 per cent of our landmass. Where would it all stop? FATA is beyond Pakistan de facto. Swat is now beyond Pakistan de jure. Pakistan has no writ in most of Balochistan. And, that's a total of 452,243 square kilometres, or 58 per cent of Pakistan, beyond Pakistan's writ. What would Swat now be like? Which one of the 192 member-states of the UN would Swat be like? Which one of the 57 OIC countries would Swat be like? Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan?
Would the 'Switzerland of Pakistan' now be like Saudi Arabia? Saudi Arabia's per capita book readership is one of the lowest on the face of the planet. Saudi Arabia is yet to produce a Nobel prize winner (Israel has produced eight). Saudi Arabia has no more than 5,000 scientists (200 per million) while the US has 1.5 million (4,000 per million). Saudi Arabia hasn't invented anything of consequence for the human civilisation in its 77 years of existence. Saudi Arabia officially practises a comprehensive gender-based apartheid system whereby 14 million Saudi women have different legal rights than Saudi men, an "unequal access to property and jobs, and restrictions on freedom of movement… (Saudi women were not allowed to vote in the municipal elections of 2005)." Would the 'Switzerland of Pakistan' now be like the 'Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan' (as Afghanistan was from 1996 to 2001)? No political parties, no politics, no elections -- and absolutely dictatorial. No TV, no chess, no kites. For women -- restricted employment, no education, no sports, no nail-polish. For everyone else -- no videos, no music, no dancing, no clapping during sports events -- and a beard "extending farther than a fist clamped at the base of the chin." No paintings, no photographs, no stuffed animals -- and no dolls.
Saidu Sharif has the Swat Museum and the Swat Museum has Buddha's footprints. Remember how the National Museum of Afghanistan was torn down with sledgehammers? Swat has Mingora and Mingora has Buddhist stupas. Remember Buddahas of Bamyan? Swat has Kabal and Kabal has a beautiful, beautiful golf course. Swat has Malam Jabba and Malam Jabba has a ski resort (last year, parts of the ski resort were burnt down). What would life be post-Nizam-e-Adl? According to Amnesty International, Nizam-e-Adl means "legitimising human rights abuses" in the Swat Valley. According to McClatchy Company, that publishes 43 different daily newspapers in the US, "A growing number of US intelligence, defence and diplomatic officials have concluded that there's little hope of preventing nuclear-armed Pakistan from disintegrating into fiefdoms controlled by Islamist warlords and terrorists, posing a greater threat to the US than Afghanistan's terrorist haven did before 9/11."
The writer is the executive director of the Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS). Email: farrukh1 firstname.lastname@example.org
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