Hawking Women’s Rights

The invocation of women’s rights by the apologists for war helps obscurantist criminals like the TTP elevate misogyny to anti-imperial expression. 

For advocacy to be successful, it has to come from a place of empathy rather than superiority. Many of the most vocal advocates of women’s rights in Pakistan today are also known for their sanguine views on the “war on terror.” It is, therefore, doubtful that their new self-image as the deliverers of women from patriarchal tyranny will gain much purchase among the sufferers.

Women have doubtless borne the brunt of the dislocation and insecurity occasioned by the “war on terror.” But, to treat women’s rights in isolation from the general malaise merely serves to put the concern under a pall of suspicion. This is because women’s rights have been long used as a pretext for imperial aggression. Far from bringing relief, their invocation—especially by the apologists for war—merely helps obscurantist criminals, like the TTP, elevate misogyny to anti-imperial expression.

The situation in Pakistan’s troubled northwest is no doubt ugly. From the indiscriminate violence of the Taliban, the gratuitous butchery of sectarian criminals, the bombing of girls’ schools, the targeting of children, to the threats against the media, it is a predicament that is begging for a visionary political solution.

The Pakistani government, it seems however, will not provide that. Under pressure from foreign allies and cheered on by home-grown pugilists, the government has repeatedly opted for half-hearted military solutions which, given its limited resources and ill-defined goals, inevitably descend into collective punishment and extra-judicial killing. The confused and often indiscriminate nature of these operations has swelled the ranks of the very enemy the state is out to destroy. If war for Clausewitz was politics by other means; in Pakistan, it has become a substitute for politics.

Things were not always thus, and, unless Pakistan stays on its current ruinous path, they will not always remain this way. Militancy is not an ontological condition. Like anger, it is a disposition that can impose itself or dissipate in response to circumstances. If a certain condition is known to engender militancy, then trying to kill militants while keeping the aggravating conditions unchanged guarantees a perpetual bloodbath. It would be far more fruitful to contain and defang militants by isolating the criminals and robbing them of the reservoirs of sympathy that sustain them. Only political success can return violence to proportions manageable enough for law and order.

Admittedly, many of the circumstances are beyond Pakistan’s capacity to change. Much of it depends on the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the rest on Pakistan’s ability to steer its own course.

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5 Responses to Hawking Women’s Rights

  1. […] been put, both by the so-called western media as well as by all sides of the drone argument. Ahmad points out that the ways in which the TTP’s violence is parasitic on the violence about which […]

  2. faraz on Nov 2012 at 9:48 PM

    Wow, I never knew that the problem is the one dozen liberal columnists and not the mullah military alliance and its vast jihadi enterprise that has been recruiting civilians to wage proxy wars for past 30 years

    • pashtun-girl on Nov 2012 at 8:39 AM

      you never knew it because you don’t have the will to face the complexity of realities instead sweeping it with a black and white paint brush. you hnoestly think that pakistanis are that dumb to be convinced by a bunch of jihadi mulla’s to fight war, if you have an iota of sense, try to make sense of the post 2002/war against terror, flux of jihadis, created by your masters

  3. […] News Sources on November 4, 2012 Muhammad Idrees Ahmad writes: For advocacy to be successful, it has to come from a place of empathy rather than superiority. […]

  4. Firman on Jan 2013 at 5:50 AM

    that he is pro militants he just said that only war will not solve the satuition. We have to try and differentiate between the militants and the actual pro-Pakistan people in the North Western Pakistan. Even within the Taliban ranks would be people who would not agree with the militants and would be ready to negotiate with the State.Imran Khan has been wise by not criticizing the TTP and the Taliban openly and blindly like rest of the coward and corrupt politicians. He has decided to view this problem logically even though it has been an extremely emotional time for the entire nation. Sending in troops to fight TTP in the coming winters would be the biggest mistake. Repercussions of NWA operation would be greatly felt in all major cities of the country with massive civilian casualties due to suicide attacks and enormous damage to the economy. Additionally satuition may get so bad that even the National elections would have to be postponed indefinitely. In short, an emotional decision at this stage would be catastrophic for Pakistan. If the war escalates to a point where it can not be contained, it will give US / NATO forces to enter Pakistan and within days and weeks Pakistan will become another Iraq.So pray for a quick and full recovery of Malala but also do not be blinded by emotional (politically motivated) statements by the tried and failed politicians and do not get pressurized by the US and its other western allies. This time think before you act!

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