Tuesday, November 21, 2017
As invaluable as the meeting of PTI Chairman Imran Khan with the JUI-S Chief Sami-ul-Haq would be with regards to those with radical, antagonistic and intolerant opinions vis-à-vis the Taliban, it has also summoned the perfect time to share the Taliban family tree for our younger generation.
Someone from the Generation Y2T shared the news on Facebook with the caption, ‘The Father of the Taliban’ – which as the older lot would tell you is Sami-ul-Haq. But another in the comments section asked a crucial question, ‘Isn’t that Hamid Gul?.
Now, any self-respecting writer who wants to make a living in Taliban’s Pakistan post-2018 – rather the Taliban’s Af-Pak, should everything go according to plan and prayers – would have jumped the gun and answered that question immediately.
For brownie points sake, let’s go a step further and spread the joy through print media, and sketch out the Taliban family tree for anyone not cognisant of the actual ruling family in Pakistan.
Sami-ul-Haq is the Father of the Taliban. The late Hamid Gul was the Godfather of the Taliban. He is to the mujahid what Sirius Black was to Harry Potter. Another thing common between Black and Gul was that the slower among the audience initially don’t quite know whose side he is on.
Now, since the Taliban believe in Shariah, the women are completely irrelevant. So there aren’t any mothers, grandmothers, sisters, daughters in this family tree.
Before we get into the brothers, sons and uncles – of which there are millions – it’s important to introduce you to the Father of the Nuclear Bomb. No, we are not talking about the Aviation Thermobaric Bomb of Increased Power (ATBIP) – that is the Father of All Bombs.
Dr A Q Khan is the Father of the Nuclear Bomb. Now as the family name suggests, he is not directly related to the Taliban. But since the two families have been neighbours, for at least the previous five decades – or so think-tanks, and armed tanks, in Washington are certain of – A Q Khan is a crucial member of the Taliban family tree.
The Bomb family are family friends of the Taliban, which also proves that Dr A Q Khan is not only related to, but from the same generation as, the most powerful conventional (non-nuclear) weapon in the world, ATBIP – which was suspiciously born in 2007.
In many ways the future of Pakistan in hinged to the reunion between the two families.
Now to the brothers and uncles and as mentioned above, the millions of them cannot fit into a tree.
Even though the exact lineage would become clear following the elections next year, for those who want to find out beforehand here’s a cheat code: anyone who believes that Islam should be imposed in the society and/or state and/or the world should take a high definition selfie and add it to the family tree, that hopefully you have been drawing as you’ve been reading this piece.
Now, from the outlaws, to the family’s in-laws, of whom there are so many that we have to shortlist the most high-profile – you can figure out the rest on your own.
Here it is critical to note that some of these in-laws are from previous decades, but illegitimacy – which here means something completely different to what it might on other family trees – of the relation, and more importantly their power connections do not allow us to name and fame them.
The head of this family, as the meeting suggests, is of course Imran Khan who is the Grand Taliban-in-Law. He has been the trailblazer over the past six years, that has made drawing this family tree both inevitable and a matter of survival.
Even, so the in-laws are spread not through any lineage, but demographic and territorial divisions. For instance, in Punjab the Sharif family has been a major in-law, and now that it has become an outlaw of a different kind, it is regularly expressing the brotherhood.
The tree would also have members from the PPP and ANP families, but the links are limited and only when the interests of all concerned families coincide.
Tailpiece: The one who draws the most accurate tree from the details provided, will get to feature their post-existentialist sketch in this space.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam — Sami (JUI-S) have agreed to form a ‘joint strategy’ for the upcoming elections. The leaderships of the two parties has decided that mutual consultations will continue so the alliance can be materialised before the next general elections. That the development come at a time when efforts to revive Mutahhida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA)are in progress makes it even more significant.
It is unsurprising that Imran Khan thought it was okay to join hands with the self-proclaimed ‘father of the Taliban’. The PTI chairman has issued several pro-Taliban statements in the past. However, progressive supporters of the party that ironically claims to be the torchbearer of change must have felt disappointed after the recent announcement. At a time when the country is engaged in war against terrorist outfits, the last thing we need is political leaders forming alliances with extremist figures who share the hateful mindset that is responsible for the monster of terror Pakistan is fighting today.
Last year, the PTI-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government had given a grant of Rs300m to Sami-ul-Haq’s seminary Dar-ul-Uloom Haqqania. Khan had responded to criticism by saying that the amount would help bring the seminary students into the mainstream. Jamia Haqqania officially supports the Afghan Taliban and several high-profile terrorists studied at the seminary. The argument that a terror-producing factory can be ‘reformed’ by awarding such a huge amount of money is flawed and it sums up pretty much everything that’s wrong with Pakistan’s approach towards the extremism threat. To reform the ceremony, KP government — in consultation with the other provincial and central governments — needs to undertake curricula reform and to vet teachers affiliated with the seminary. And if the government is sincere about mainstreaming seminary students, it should improve public education infrastructure and ensure that all school-age children are enrolled at these schools.
Some analysts have explained the PTI-JUI-S alliance as yet another engineered attempt by the powers-that-be. Imran Khan needs to realise that at a time when his party is going strong in terms of its popularity among urban youth and educated middle class professionals, such decisions will end up affecting his support base ahead of the next general election. The likes of Sami-ul-Haq are the ideological brothers of those who have mercilessly killed thousands of Pakistani citizens. An alliance with his party would mean the PTI endorses this hateful ideology, in which case, the country will be much better off without the ‘Naya Pakistan’ the party has to offer.