At the Munich Security Conference, the Pakistani Foreign Minister spoke about the threats of terrorism to their country and the region, referring to the attacks carried out by Tehreek–e–Taliban Pakistan. He urged the world to engage with the interim Afghan government. It is completely understandable to be concerned about the growth of terrorism in the region, and we must add that to address this issue, regional and global cooperation is necessary.
The contradictory stance of Pakistan on the issue of terrorism from the past to the present, which was clearly evident in Zardari‘s latest words, is what causes no one to take his words seriously. On one hand, he considers Tehreek–e–Taliban Pakistan to be a terrorist organization, yet on the other hand, he does not miss an opportunity to advocate for the Taliban, pleading the world to help them. This explicit contradiction renders the original claim that the Taliban are terrorists invalid and causes the audience to doubt the speaker‘s intentions.
Mr. Zardari and his associates must answer the question of whether it is possible to differentiate between good and bad terrorists. Is it ethical to advocate for terrorists who are in line with their country‘s foreign policy while condemning those who oppose it? Is it ethical to have strategic cooperation with Madrassas and support them while simultaneously criticizing their products? Is it ethical to nurture the root of a tree while attempting to cut its branches and then complain about its growth? The main question, however, is: What is the difference between the Afghan Taliban and the Pakistani Taliban? Do they not share the same ideology and plan for the people of this region? Are they not both affiliated with international terrorist organizations? These are straightforward questions that every Pakistani politician knows the answer to.
The people of the region are not responsible for the creation or growth of this organization, yet they are affected disproportionately and this will continue if the Pakistani establishment does not cease to manipulate the issue of terrorism. This may bring short–term gains, but in the long run, the region will be engulfed in poverty, backwardness, and deprivation, and will be unable to keep up with the rapidly developing world. If Pakistan stops distinguishing between good and bad terrorists, commits to eradicating terrorism, and strives to create a region free of terror, violence, and extremism, the Afghan people will be their first strategic partner in this endeavor, and the rest of the world will welcome this effort.