The conditional humanity of Taliban

Published: August 17, 2010
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Pakistani aid workers load food supplies onto a US Marines helicopter at Ghazi Base. PHOTO: AFP

The Taliban have a humane side. No, I’m not kidding. It must be humanity that prompted the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan to offer $20 million for the aid of flood victims and distribute relief goods.

The scenario baffles the mind. Imagine the TTP in Swat, one of the worst hit areas.

I assume victims would be directed to line up at Khooni Chowk in Mingora. I can imagine TTP workers shouting “All those who adhere to our brand of Islam, line up for aid. Anyone who dares to defy us, can go drown in the raging waters.”

Obviously, this generous $20 million offer comes with a catch.

The aid is available on the condition that the government refuses all foreign aid being offered by the West.  Tehreek-e-Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq made his kind offer earlier this week and urged the government not to accept any foreign aid for the victims of the worst floods in Pakistan’s history.

Sadly for them, so far, the big bad West remains our biggest donor. With United Nations sending out appeals for more help, it is likely that the aid flowing in from the West will increase.

When viewed through Taliban-tinted-glasses, the situation poses dire threats to our way of life.

In the past the TTP has accused various international aid groups and NGOs of trying to contaminate our society with un-Islamic values. The opposition has not stopped at verbal threats but has often translated into brutal violence. Bombings at the offices of NGOs and kidnapping of the personnel are not rare. So, really, the demand to refuse international aid should not come as any surprise.

What is surprising is the fact that these people still have the nerve to pass themselves off as defenders of Islam – a religion which lays enormous emphasis on the rights of fellow human beings .

I wonder how these self righteous, self-proclaimed guardians of Islam justify this demand. I also wonder if TTP actually has $20 million to spare – why is it conditional to Western aid being withdrawn? Isn’t it their Islamic and moral responsibility to help a huge population of Muslims?

Then again, the TTP is nothing if not hypocritical.

So far, the offer to give Islamic aid in place of un-Islamic aid is limited to money, they should really think about upgrading the offer and include some relief equipment to the package.

After all, 4 Chinook and 2 Black Hawk American helicopters have been flown in from Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan to aid rescue operations. And no matter how strong the ‘great’ Hakimulllah Mehsud maybe, I’m sure even he cannot transport hundreds of victims to shelters in one trip.

sadaf.khan

Sadaf Khan

A broadcast journalist based in Islamabad who was formerly associated with Geo News and Dunya News. She blogs at ibteda.wordpress.com/

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.