Shaukat Malik is a Muslim-American Certified Public Accountant from Potomac. He left his native Pakistan in 1972 and has been living in the United States since 1980.

Western patience and capacity for continued spending on the Afghan war is running thin. The United Kingdom and other NATO countries are facing increasing opposition at home. The British Petroleum oil spill has added to the urgency for a speedy resolution in Afghanistan. We have reached a very critical stage in the Afghanistan war.


Creating a civil society in Afghanistan is a long-term project that may take a decade. Taliban rule of the 1990s, followed by nine years of continuous war and unrest, have destroyed local government and infrastructure necessary for bringing order to the ordinary lives of Afghans.

However, at least in Pakistan, where there is indeed an elected parliament, the politicians must earn their credentials and not allow critics to label them as useless rubber-stamp parasites hanging around for their monthly paychecks.

Time has come for Pakistan's politicians to show maturity and counter criticism that they are inept, unqualified and unable to handle the problems of Pakistan. A free press in Pakistan has enough material for any politician to understand Pakistan's important role in the war against terror and how it can directly influence the outcome of the war in neighboring Afghanistan.

Ordinary Pakistani citizens must be convinced that the war against the Taliban is their war, and not just America's war. The Taliban has supported Al-Qaeda. The organization that carried out the 9/11 murder of more that 3,000 innocent Americans in New York cannot be allowed to establish its headquarters in Pakistan to kill innocent Pakistanis. The Taliban are no different from cancer cells and must be neutralized or eliminated.The Taliban are clients of Pakistan's Islamic parties, who openly support and share their ideology and are their natural allies. Many members of the Assembly, especially those from the religious parties and the right, are sitting on the fence when it comes to openly condemning the mad Taliban. They see the National Assembly as a rubber-stamp body that pays them a monthly stipend.

It is imperative that Pakistan's elected National Assembly, led by the Pakistan People's Party, validate military action by the Pakistan Army against the Taliban and Pakistan's support of U.S. action in Afghanistan. Unless and until the voters' representatives are seen and heard condemning the Taliban by passing a resolution, all action against the Taliban will be seen by many Pakistanis as America's war against terror imposed on the people of Pakistan.

Each member should then visit his constituency to explain the reasons for passing such a bill. Those who oppose such a bill can be identified as friends of Pakistan's enemies.

A bill should also be passed in the elected National Assembly authorizing monitoring of all madrassas and conversion of all madrassas to regular schools with the help of regional school boards in Pakistan using all available resources. The U.S. stands ready to help.

Madrassas should no longer be allowed to become recruiting grounds for suicide bombers, Taliban and murderers hiding behind the burqa of religious education.

As a matter of fact, all madrassas' names should end in School, thereby killing any hope of a fascist mullah trying to use it as his private military academy. We should teach music and social sciences in madrassa schools to broaden the thought process of students, who presently are focused and stuck on hate.

The Taliban complain that the government is not fully implementing the Hadood laws in Pakistan, and given the chance, they would transform Pakistan into a Caliphate with a fascist Mullah at the helm. We should deny them the opportunity to exploit outdated Islamic laws whose equivalents can be found in Pakistan's penal code.

Pakistan's Supreme Court must look at the Hadood ordinance and Sharia-based laws to establish whether they are just and fair, especially, in the context of today's Pakistan. This process of studying and analyzing Sharia laws through a process of Ijtehad -- reasoning -- is already being employed in Turkey, as part of Turkey's exercise to make its laws more compatible with their European neighbors.

Turkey is doing this to join the common market, but the net beneficiaries are Turkey's Muslim population. Pakistan should do the same by studying what Turkey has done and incorporating it into Pakistan's legal system. This will have the powerful effect of neutralizing the extremist element in Pakistan.

In a Pakistan where every madrassa is monitored and the citizens are on the same wavelength as the politicians and the military, any Taliban running from U.S. action on the Afghan border will find it difficult to quickly disappear into the frontier wilderness or safe houses in Pakistan.

These actions are a pre-requisite for a Taliban-free Afghanistan and Pakistan.