The Swat offensive continues to generate humanitarian crisis. A crisis which the Army or the state are failing to deal with. In Karachi, MQM – the major political party and social group – has adopted the language of TALIBOTHRA to deny safety and comfort to the IDPs. Tensions between the Pashtun and the Muhajir (basically, two large immigrant groups in the Karachi megapolis) date back to the 1980s. Since 2007, there have been numerous bloody incidents in Karachi of MQM groups killing and destroying Pashtun neighborhoods and businesses.
Some are rejecting the demonization of IDPs but I fear it is not enough. The Pakistan Army is doing its customary best to tell us that only the Taliban are dying in the region, even as others call for even more violence towards the region.
Again, the calculus of displacing a million to catch or kill a few thousand makes little sense to me. I do confess that I am no military strategist but it seems that the impulse here is that we “cannot differentiate” between the good and the bad. So we bomb from afar and on-high. And we have no strategy for the civilians.
In 1971, as the Pakistan army went into East Pakistan, the great poet Habib Jalib said:
You are sowing love with bullets
You are washing the nation’s face with blood
You are sure that a path is being forged
I am convinced that you are losing your destiny.
Also, worth reading is Tom Engelhardt’s Going for Broke: Six Ways the Af-Pak War Is Expanding.