By Farman Nawaz
Diamond cuts diamond and ideologies defeat ideologies but what is the remedy of the armed groups pretending to be based on freedom struggle but actually designed to destabilize the region.
The terrorist organizations in the tribal areas of Pakistan and western parts of Afghanistan are based on the concept of freedom from foreign forces and imposition of Islamic law on the land. So far political or military efforts are carried out to handle these movements but truly speaking these organizations are successful in the sense that on one hand they are able to carry out successfully their activities and on the other hand their supporters are busy in society to create justifications for their terrorist activities. Military operations and political pacts can defuse this issue for the time being but in the long run this extremist mentality will take decades to wither away.
Historically we see that people of this area are hostile in their nature. After the failure of war of independence in 1857 the British also analyzed its policy and started to build schools and colleges to educate the young minds. As industrialization of India was not their aim so industrial ventures were not started in the region. India was left as agricultural country. Although educated Hindus started industries but Muslims as a nation refrained from modern education and industrialization. However education brought the warring nation to table and India was liberated by political and constitutional efforts.
Today again the people of tribal belts of Pakistan and Afghanistan are not educated. A sort of educational setup is there but that is fundamentalist in nature. This education is not producing enlighten people. But here the mode of education prevalent in our society is to produce literates which can read and write only. Systematic mentality is extinct in this region. In the past ideologies were fabricated to bring changes but today science is bringing changes in the society.
I request the Chinese intellectuals that they should advise the higher authorities of China that instead of establishing Confucius Institute in Islamabad, they must start educational ventures in the tribal belts and surrounding districts of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Turkey has started Pak-Turk Schools in various cities of Pakistan but these ventures are confined to big cities only where well established educational networks are working.
British kept this area a buffer zone between India and Russia and still today we are living in a buffer zone. Chinese investment in education will win our hearts and minds. Chinese efforts in tribal belts can bring change at the grass root level. The system of Pak-China schools can change the young minds of this region. This project will not be a burden on the Chinese economy too. In the beginning the project will need funds to purchase land and to construct buildings but afterwards these schools will generate handsome income as standard schools are desperately needed here.
China is growing economy and it is all the time searching new sources of income. Investment in education will give encouraging results in the neighboring countries. In the beginning Chinese engineers will get employment and afterward this project will help China to generate income for other projects in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The recent recession in western economies must open our eyes that reliance on western markets can imbalance our economies any time. Any blow to exports of the regional countries to western nations can cause cracks in our economies. Alternate markets in the surrounding will help these countries to sustain the economic shocks. Educational ventures in the region will help China to promote trade and win support of the regional countries to strengthen SCO.
In the last I will request the Chinese authorities that don’t let us say after hundred years that we had a regional power in our neighborhood that believed in the concept of mutual benefit but it did not bother to solve our problems.