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On Arundhati Roy: The Burden of Proof – by Nimer Ahmad

Arundhati Roy, a name that needs no introduction even in Pakistani government’s “or” religious intellectual circles and she is often quoted in mainstream media because she is not just a fierce critic of US foreign policy but she had denounced rise of Hindu nationalism and extremism.

After tailoring such views they are propagated by security establishment with jingles in Pakistan, “COME listen, O Love, to the voice of the dove.” The tailored dove has a long history of intellectual struggle against globalization and free market economy but such “irrelevant” views are edited.

I was really amazed when a “mullah” quoted her “Fault Lines” interview in which she said “If you look at that part of Asia, from Afghanistan, to Waziristan, to North western provinces, to North eastern states of India, to this entire so called “red corridor”, it is tribal area and tribal uprising, and of course in Afghanistan it takes a form of ugly radical Islam and here it is an extreme left uprising, but the attack is a corporate attack on tribal homelands, and so they are fighting a kind of occupation”.

“The tribal uprising from Afghanistan to India against corporate takeover,” excludes the Baloch tribal uprising which is led by the leftist’s and the most influential leader of this movement “Khair Buksh Muree” after years of silence break out by saying that “We don’t need Punjabi middleman to sale us to imperialism, we can better do it ourselves.” Or the young leader Barhamdakh Bhugti besides his rhetoric always left a corner for corporate takeover directly by imperialist forces and indirectly by Punjabi middleman.

As for Waziristan and FATA, it is really hard for anyone to accurately discuss the ground position due to lack of access because they are not humble enough to let you move around but there are some facts that cannot be denied about Islamic extremist movement in Pakistan.  One will not find even any multimillion corporate deal which wants to raise them from “museum culture”, and one definitely won’t find Narmada, Saroja, Roopi or Maase, on the contrary one will find hundred of stories like Zainab and Aisha, school teachers brutally killed by extremist and hundreds of girls schools turned into rubble by the same force. Maase was able choose second partner but here girls are stoned to death for just expressing their likeness.

In internally displaced people camps, due to military operation in FATA, one will find majority tribal people denouncing both Taliban and Army, and stating all these military efforts as fake and many are appealing to get rid “museum culture” by building infrastructure, promoting free trade business activity from Afghanistan, more comfortable with drone attacks than Pakistani forces operation due to the accuracy because military operation has a higher and severe rate of collateral damage, and more or less willing to accept “corporate takeover”.

These strategic assets ere built in 1980s all around Pakistan to control Afghanistan and Kashmir, the same period when Pakistan adopted its first structural adjustment program that “Opened the locks of free market and Islamic Corporate Jihad.” The same period BJP starts to shine India, while its Pakistani counterpart, Muslim league started it venture to make Pakistan “Asian Tiger” by turning it to a consumer society that witnessed rise of the phoenix, the trading class, ready to smuggle anything for its profit but was committed with the Islamic Corporate Jihad and are still the biggest donors of Pakistani Islamic Extremist Organizations.

Pakistan is not a vast market which has created a hugely consuming middle class but the other side, in some cases is more horrific than India. The majority of the population lives in extreme malnutrition, the food intake is some places is lower than sub Saharan Africa, thousands of farmers caught in debt committed suicide, thousands of workers and their families are forced to commit suicide due to unemployment, and most horrific part of these mass suicides is that most families have a large number of Girls which shows the draconian aspect of Pakistani society, and recent flood is the best possible example of ecological devastation.

It is even harder to claim that Waziristan in particular and FATA in general is a tribal uprising as many local intellectuals claims that tribal people are fighting against Taliban and security establishment is helping them to overcome tribal people. A recent incident of Kurram agency is highlighted by many local commentators who are insisting that “Pakistani establishment is trying its level best to relocate its Haqqani network assets to the Kurram Agency in anticipation of an operation that it would have to start — under pressure from the US — in the North Waziristan Agency (NWA) sooner rather than later. This is precisely what the establishment had intended to do when it said that the NWA operation would be conducted in its own timeframe…. The use of diversions and decoys has also become a de facto state policy when it comes to Kurram. The crisis in the region has been described as a sectarian issue since April 2007. However, the fact of the matter is that the extremists, sponsored by the state’s intelligence apparatus, were used to prepare the ground for a larger Taliban-al Qaeda presence in the area.”

“Gandhian Ethos and performance requires an audience”, therefore local tribal people of Kurram resisting against Taliban and Islamic Corporate Jihad are either demonized or became completely faceless.

TATA’s and the Ambani’s had publicly endorsed Modi as the prime ministerial candidate more than once because “Hindu totalitarianism bordering on Fascism” is ready to serve the corporate India. In Pakistan these so called “small people” are fighting to protect the geopolitical and economic interest of Pakistani security establishment so what will we call them?

As Prof. Noam Chomsky stated, “Skeptical attitude toward authority of domination, for recognition of any sort of domination, hierarchy or control, [ideology] has a burden of proof, it is not just self justifying it has to demonstrate that it is legitimate, just as the any use of for cohesion does and it’s therefore deserved to be challenged, and if it is challenged and it does not justify itself than it should be dismantle”.

About the author

Ali Arqam

4 Comments

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  • Thank you, Nimer, for writing this thought provoking post.

    Islamic corporate jihad (a brainchild of the ISI and CIA, implemented through mostly Deobandi and some Salafi footsoldiers) is the single major challenge facing the people of Pakistan and the wider region.

    Also, thanks for highlighting the Taliban-ISI alliance in the blockade of the Kurram agency, a fact which has been completely ignored by the mainstream media and Pakistani bloggers.

    You hit the nail at the head when you write “local tribal people of Kurram resisting against Taliban and Islamic Corporate Jihad are either demonized or became completely faceless.”

  • I nominate Arundhati Roy for spending the rest of her life in Waziristan among the Mullahs. It will be a dream come true for her!!

  • Very good analysis Nimar – top job. Though it should be emphasised that Chomsky is an anarchist and so he argues against any type of authority.

    I see this as early 1990s anachronist mindset. When the Taliban were seen as saviours from the evil imperialists.
    Consequent disillusionment is not recorded. The fighters, they have now aren’t locals but either hired guns from desperately poor or bourgeois extremists, mostly from Punjab and Urban Sindh.