Pakistan’s Peaceniks

A Tiny Antiwar Movement Takes on Nukes, Military Spending, and Dictatorship

Yet she agrees with the peace activists on one point. General Musharraf speaks without a mandate. If there were a democracy, she and other fundamentalists could elect a more conservative politician, one who shares her and her family's views. If Pakistan's leader were elected, she says, he or she never would have sided with the U.S. against the Taliban. And Faiza's democracy has one caveat. "Only those of sufficient moral standing should be allowed to vote," she says.

Both mother and daughter are well-educated and intelligent—they come across as reasonable people. "People are the same the world over, we all want the same thing," she says. Then she reminds a visitor that Islam literally means peace.

Activist Saba Gul Khattak says the state has banned the voices of peace.
photo: Michael Kamber
Activist Saba Gul Khattak says the state has banned the voices of peace.

It is Pakistanis like Faiza that the peace activists would like to reach. Yet the gaps between the two groups are immense. Part of the problem, some peace activists say, is that they have not found a way to explain their movement in a way that emphasizes Islam, an issue that is so central to the lives of many Pakistanis. As Roshan said recently, "There is no movement per se. We have not been able to link our cause to that of the ordinary Pakistani."

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