Taliban’s ‘nebulous’ shadow impossible to control: Pakistani mediaMay 7th, 2009 - 5:50 pm ICT by IANS
Islamabad, May 7 (IANS) The Taliban’s “nebulous” shadow is looming far beyond its strongholds, threatening large sections of the citizenry, particularly women, and is almost impossible to control, an editorial in a leading Pakistani English daily said Thursday.
Another editorial said the ideology the Taliban sought to impose “makes the worst excesses of fascist dictatorship pale by comparison”.
The extremist right-wing ideology the Taliban represent “and the tactics they employ are casting a shadow that looms far beyond their strongholds”, Dawn said in an editorial.
“Large sections of the citizenry living far from the actual theatre of war are being threatened in this manner.”
The threat from the gun, “it can be hoped, may be countered through superior weaponry and sufficient political will”, but the ideological threat, “being nebulous and diffuse, is almost impossible to control”, the editorial maintained.
In this context, it noted that educational institutions in urban centres such as Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi, “which stand in little danger of being physically overrun by the Taliban”, have been receiving threats of varying intensity.
Also, the fact that at least two educational institutions have enforced stricter dress codes - mainly for female students - “shows just how far the fear invoked by the Taliban has spread”, the editorial said.
In some cases, women had been threatened for what the extremists consider “liberalism” or “improper behaviour”, the editorial said, adding: “Although the women of this country are no strangers to harassment, the gravity of the threats they now potentially face is greater than ever before.”
“Women are usually the first and most vulnerable targets of the extremist right-wing thinking that now holds Pakistan at gunpoint,” Dawn said.
It also pointed to blackmail, harassment and intimidation of citizens “at the hands of a dark ideology that has seeped into the very fabric of society, the tactics of which are most horribly apparent in the activities of the Taliban.
According to The News, a Taliban missive to government doctors in North West Frontier Province (NWFP) capital Peshawar asking them to shed Western attire proves that the militants “will control not just our attire, but our whole way of life and thought in a way that makes the worst excesses of fascist dictatorship pale by comparison”.
“Understandably, fear has gripped the large medical community, who have no choice but to take the warning seriously,” the editorial said.
The Taliban warning was “an indication of the extent to which they and their ilk seek to control every aspect of our daily lives, reaching into our wardrobes and selecting what it will be that we wear to work”, The News said.
Noting that the warning “carries the stink of barbarism”, the editorial hoped “that it is the repugnance of the majority that in the end defeats the tyranny of the minority”.
Tags: casting a shadow, citizenry, dress codes, educational institutions, excesses, extremist, extremists, fascist dictatorship, female students, gunpoint, improper behaviour, intimidation, karachi, lahore, liberalism, strongholds, taliban, urban centres, vulnerable targets, weaponry