When you keep snakes in your backyard, they are bound to bite. The snakes may be meant for the various pests in the neighbourhood, you may feed them well, even give them a nice pat or two when they gobble up the annoying rabbit next door, but a creature whose fundamental nature is to eat its own kind, offer them a whole buffalo and they will forget who raised and nurtured them. We’ve seen how experiments frequently go wrong, horribly wrong. In the classic movie ‘Jaws’, super sharks are created, only to go out of control. Dinosaurs are brought to life, only to destroy entire cities. Machines develop a will of their own and turn on their creators. Mindless soldiers are created, only to develop an unquenchable thirst for blood, anyone’s blood. Experiments can go horribly wrong, even in real life.

A man was once shot by an arrow. When a passerby tried to take it out, the man refused, ordering him to first tell him who was the one who shot it. Time was short, the passerby tried his best to dissuade him, but the man adamantly asked why had he been shot. He needed answers, he wanted to know what was the make of the arrow, where had the shooter been standing, who sent him, his appearance, his religion, his country. And then he died.

I do not want delve into the past, nor do I know much about it. That’s for the history books to decide. We will keep on asking who created these snakes, and in the meanwhile they will swallow us whole. The snakes are real, they are here, and they are hungry, our priority should be to drive them out of our backyard, not to play blame games. It may have been the need of the hour many years ago, maybe it was a choice between an American speaking snake or a Russian alligator, and a hard decision was made.

The CIA plans 50 to 100 years in advance. For every important decision they make, they consider it’s implications decades in the future. They understand the game of chess well. It’s not about hanging a few pawns and declaring victory, but eventually capturing, controlling or annihilating the king. After using the snakes, we left them hanging. We would sometimes ask them to visit another neighbouring country, but what used to be orders changed into polite requests. The snakes had grown big, the snakes started to challenge us. The snakes, wanted a kingdom of their own.

There are no good or bad snakes- snakes are snakes. Who controls which snake does not matter. There may be American snakes in Syria, Afghani snakes in Kyhber Pakhtunkhwa, Indian ones in Balochistan or ‘King’ cobras in Saudi Arabia, fact of the matter is all these snakes fundamentally believe in one ideology: kill all infidels.

The whole world is engaged in proxy wars, the age of conventional warfare is over. Almost every state has an extremist group of its own, fulfilling its agendas in other countries. Pakistan is no white sheep, and has every right and justification to play this dirty game to ensure its own survival. The only problem is: initiate proxy wars in other countries, not your own. Send your pet snakes wherever you want, but for Heaven’s sake don’t give them a seat on your own dinner table. Don’t induct them in Parliament, don’t make them celebrities on prime time television and don’t make them national heroes. Promote their ideology in other countries, if you must, but for Heaven’s sake don’t pay television actors to spew venom on national television, don’t fund fraudulent doctors to declare someone an infidel, don’t pick up Facebook activists, or hack pages and put up questionable content in someone else’s name. Don’t start dangerous campaigns against the Prime Minister if he embraces a minority, don’t declare a person under house arrest as a national asset. How many sacrifices has the Pakistan army, have we, rendered? What will you say to the daughter of a shaheed, if she realises that the bullet that pierced him was actually ‘made in Pakistan’? Will she be able to understand that it is just a game? Will she be able to comprehend that it was for the ultimate benefit of the nation. Will her tears stop flowing when you tell her father’s killer has just been hanged, when his bosses roam freely? Is using these elements to fulfill national agendas really worth it?

The Taliban can never be driven out of Pakistan through bullets. We can conduct countless successful operations, the Talibs will always remain. For every news bulletin claiming the death of 10 terrorists, 20 more are created the next day. It is the ideology, that is to be defeated. An ideology that permeates state institutions, national politics, education, bureaucracy and the national narrative itself. If we continue to promote this ideology, in our very own country itself, if we continue to allow retired air vice marshals to spew hatred on national television, if we continue to allow huge gatherings in Raiwind with tents full of weapons, and suspend police officers if they interfere, if we continue to believe becoming the leader of a murderous coalition is a huge honour, if we continue to hang pawns but support the kings, if we continue to not learn the hard lessons of history, we should keep in mind the fate of Rome. At least Rome achieved it’s peak.