Monday, October 20, 2008

Land Of Pure Talibanistan

Dr Syed Mansoor Hussain has a hysterical bit up at the Land of the Pure's Daily Times:

"I have decided to support the Talibanisation of Pakistan, purely from an economic point of view. After all, for a country that has no money, what could be better than not having the need for money? Let us look at some of the advantages that would accrue to Pakistan if it went back to those times.

First and most importantly, no load shedding, since there wouldn’t be any electricity to begin with. No worry about energy, since petroleum, natural gas, diesel, LPG, LNG etc would still be much too far in the future. No factories, shopping plazas, high rise buildings, cars, trains, planes or other energy consuming monsters.

No reason then to spend money on building multi-lane highways, airports, rail tracks and other such expensive projects and facilities. And, of course, no expensive jet setting visits by our leaders to foreign countries. Also, no hospitals and advanced medical care.

Our maternal and infant mortality rates will increase and at the same time our expected life expectancies that are approaching civilised norms will collapse. This will rapidly solve our over-population problem.

For me however, the greatest advantage of Talibanisation will be that there will be no TV and therefore no talking heads, followed closely by the fact that there will be no motorcycles on the roads. The major downside will, of course, be no air conditioning.

So I imagined myself walking down the streets of Cordoba (Qurtaba) listening to Averroes (Ibn Rushd), expound on the intricacies of Aristotelian philosophy. But then I suddenly realised that Cordoba is now a part of modern Spain and as far as Pakistan is concerned, a thousand years ago, there was no flowering of Islamic civilisation in this part of the world. The major problem with the Talibanisation of Pakistan then is that we might go back in time but the rest of the world is going to stay in the twenty first century!

All this might seem a trifle facetious but strangely enough, people I know are actually talking about such stuff. Whether this is in response to the worsening situation in Pakistan seems to be the question. It is true that many Pakistanis today might not be overtly Talibanised but they are definitely sympathetic towards them and would not mind having that sort of system in Pakistan.

What we are seeing in Pakistan is really the political divide between the liberal secular political parties and the conservative Islamist parties. Over the last few decades something similar happened in the US when the Republican Party swung to the right and became dependent politically on the conservative Christians for electoral support.

However much liberals might dislike the idea of Talibanisation, the fact is that what Pakistan needs most at this point is the kind of austerity usually but inaccurately associated with the Islamist parties.

If an austerity campaign starts, it must really start with our middle and upper classes that are generally more supportive of the PML and Islamist parties. The primary focus will have to be on less conspicuous consumption, payment of taxes and a decrease in the utilisation of precious natural resources.

The deteriorating law and order situation and the insurgencies in our western and the northern areas will continue to bleed our resources. Unless we can de-link Islam and the Taliban it is unlikely that Pakistan can make much progress in this respect. And that, in my opinion, is the greatest challenge that faces us a nation at this time.

Is some degree of Talibanisation of Pakistan inevitable? The answer to that question is a partial yes. Traditionally conservative areas will become more religious in time - But not all of Pakistan.

And yes, if the US and NATO intervention in Afghanistan ends, things will get better for Pakistan, but that will not solve the problem of religious extremism.

Whether we like it or not, Islamist thinking will still be around. "

Pic - "Taliban Cola" by ZoFkA


Findalis said...

Pakistan could easily become an Islamic nation and not a Democracy. Then the world would be in very big trouble. Islamists having control of nuclear weapons. And it looks like it just might go that way.