By Musa Khan.
It was, of course, a fascinating news that the TTP-JuA spokesperson – Asad Mansoor laid down arms and surrendered. I read this good news on social media, posted on a leading newspaper Facebook page. For me, it was nothing less than an achievement by our security forces; and so, I wanted to express my satisfaction with Pakistan Army through a comment. I was expecting the same reaction from other Pakistanis in the comments; but to my surprise – I was wrong!
I found comments such as: Esy b sarkari mehman bana k rakh lo (He should also be served as a government guest); hum omeed karty hn k es bar es qatil ko latka dia jaye ga (We expect, this time, this killer will be hanged); acha tariqa hy qatal karo aur pir hathyar daal k es mulk k chaheetay ban jao (What a trick to kill the people and then by surrendering become the blue eyed boy of the country), and so on. These comments referred to the government’s treatment of Ihsan-ullah-Ihsan – the TTP commander who surrendered back in April 2017. I was crestfallen when I read those comments.
“with decline in suicide bombings and other attacks in the country; the success is evident from operation Zarb-e-Azab in North Waziristan and Operation Radd-ul-Fasad countrywide”
The Civilian leadership and Pak-Army resolved to uproot terrorism from the country after the TTP attacked innocent children of APS school Peshawar in December 2014. This resolution was to wipe out terrorists from the country altogether; without any discrimination between terrorists of good or bad category. Operation named Zarb-e-Azab was launched in North Waziristan Agency and Operation Radd-ul-Fasad countrywide. Both of these operations are still underway and not over yet. From the decline in suicide bombings and other attacks in the country; the success of these operations is evident.
Coming back to the subject. Whether how should we treat those who lay down arms? Should they be given protection or be hanged? What should be the public response and attitude towards the army these days? While answering these questions, it should be kept in mind that, army is protecting the borders as well as searching and fighting the terrorists inside the country. The hostile attitude of India and the pressure from the US are well known. Afghanistan, a war torn country, is blaming Pakistan as well – though we all know their blames are baseless. Moreover, everyone is aware of Balochistan insurgency. Army has to cope with it too. Our country is, these days, security wise prone to dangers.
It has been a tradition in civilised nations since ancient times, that if someone during fight surrenders; he is not killed, but kept as Prisoner-of-War (PoW). The modern International Law, as well, puts some obligations on countries to treat PoW humanely. In the law they (PoW) have right to treatment (health), food and shelter. If Pak-Army provide the same to Ihsan-ullah-Ihasan or Asad Mansoor, it is in conformity to the law. Rather than criticising the army, we should be proud of having a civilised army, and one that has respect for the law.
Moreover, not to hang them, but to keep them alive is of more benefit to the country than loss. Hanging them will only give us happiness for a short period of time; but from keeping them alive, we can get our many ends served. Naming a few will be enough: we can get information from them about the hideouts of other terrorists; it will encourage those terrorists, who became terrorists either because of their foolishness or greed of money, and are now willing to do away with their beastly life. It is a good strategy to fight a two-fold war against the terrorists. Fighting the stubborn ones and killing them, and mainstreaming into the society those in whom the animal has died. The amount of terrorists will erode both ways.
History is replete with examples when a small army because of its high morale and support of its people defeated an opponent army too strong in number and weaponry. Spartans defeated the Sassanids in spite of their small number. The 300 movie is based on their true story. To add to the information of the readers; the Marathon Race is named after the person who ran miles to give the good-news of victory of his (Spartan) army against the Sassanid to his people. This victory of the Spartan was due to the unity among them and their high morale. Germany under Hitler was a power to reckon with. The Nazi army with its full might attacked Britain. London would have fallen in WW2, if the British troops were not supported by the Britishers, and their morale was not maintained high by the dynamic leadership of Sir. Winston Churchill. All an army needs during war is a high morale – weapons and numbers are secondary needs, which could be boosted only through the support of its people. Our army needs our strong support for keeping its morale high.
Everyone in our country has been, one way or the other, affected by terrorism. We all hate terrorists and wish to see menace of terrorism finished from our homeland. We all have been praying for the return of peace to our country for long. The surrendering of Ihsan-ullah-Ihsan and that of Asad Mansoor is but a silver lining in the cloud. It seems, God has listened to our prayers and the terrorists are vanishing. Either due the bullets of our army, or due to yielding to the barrels of the guns of our soldiers. In both cases it is we who win and the terrorists who lose. Our hopes are tied to our army, and much thanks to the army for coming true to our expectations.
Words matter. They should be uttered and written carefully; and for good. Misuse of them can bring considerable harm. This is a request to all to be careful with words. We have to face all the internal and external challenges with unity of thought, expression and action. With unity and care, we can defeat all enemies . No matter how big and strong they be.
This article does not reflect the views and opinions of the Weekly Pakistan and is the sole intellectual property of the writer.
Musa Khan hails from Nowshera, Pakistan. By profession he is B.Sc Electrical Engineer and has interest in social sciences.