When the peace accord between T.N.S.M (tehreek E Nefaz e shariat e muhammadi) and the government was broken by the militants moving into Buner and declaring the constitution of Pakistan â€œharaamâ€ as well as our supreme courts, the naysayers of the Taliban must have released a sigh of relief thinking we will show them now. I do not use the word â€œpeople of Pakistan hereâ€ as there are still many among us who still think that this war is Americaâ€™s and we are being led to the slaughter. As if the TNSM is staffed by ex cia spooks and hicks who want to take over our nuclear assets so bad since they have none of their own.
Well as soon as the army and the government of Pakistan woke up to this threat standing at the door step of Islamabad the people of Pakistan saw swift and very just action by the forces against the militants, the army moved in with its big guns and laid waste to many dissidents which I might add included a few faces from foreign shores. The silent majority rejoiced that with the army on the warpath and the militants being routed peace would soon return to Pakistan. We kind of accepted that 2.3 million displaced families from swat were a casualty of a war that had to be fought. However May 28th and the horrible bombing at the rescue 15 building in Lahore slapped us out of our victory stupor pretty quick!! The Militants being routed in the mountains had now partially snuck into our urban centers and blended with the local population. Since they cannot fight the army on a toe to toe basis they had taken the war to where it is bound to hurt the most, the streets of our country. 23 Pakistaniâ€™s died in that attack as per official count but some friends in Lahore who were quick to reach the scene of the carnage spoke of a lot more who had perished.Â The TTP (Tehreek E Taliban Pakistan) an umbrella organization of militants with various nefarious wings claimed responsibility of this attack through their â€œPunjab wingâ€ and warned of more. This â€œmoreâ€ that they spoke of was apparently not an idle threat as 2 days ago the Rescue 15 building in Islamabad was attacked and disaster averted by some brave police officers who gave their lives to save so many of us.
Today the attack came on pearl continental hotel Peshawar in the same style that the last two were done, firing creating a path through the security cordon and then a truck loaded with explosives being rammed into the target to disastrous effect. Its been two hours since this last attack and rescuers are fighting to save the lives of people stuck inside the PC Peshawar where there are no lights, the building is partly ablaze and more than 14 have perished with about 50 -60 taken to hospitals to save their lives.
Frankly all of us are more than a little shell shocked, sure its alright to help our brethren in the camps through relief efforts and donate what we can to them but to think that our children are under threat everyday is preposterous right? Come on this is not supposed to happen in Lahore or Islamabad or Karachi, this war is supposed to be fought out there in them mountains where no one gives a damn what happens as long as we can sit in our air conditioned rooms and nod silently while whispering it is how it is. Wrong, first of all we need to realize that whether it is a child in Swat or at St Lawrence in Lahore or any other school or place in the country they are no different, they are all Pakistaniâ€™s and they are suffering.
We also need to digest the hard fact that with a police force as ill equipped as ours is, with more than 80% of it without access to forensics and dependent upon the old English system of round em up and make em talk we arenâ€™t going to make much investigation headway. In fact the ratio of our police force to our citizenâ€™s stands at about 533 -1 you can take a wild guess at who the 1 is. So rather than raise hue and cry outside the press club and on blogs as to how we the intelligent (pun intended) are being targeted and our way of life threatened we need to open our hearts and minds to the fact that we are all in this together. From the industrialist to the pan walla we as one nation have to stand against the militants or they will create so much paranoia amongst us that we will be paralyzed and will either take our own lives or endanger others with our recklessness born of desperation.
Once we have that acceptance we can go about actually helping our dilapidated police force and bewildered politicians because they have as much of an idea of what to do as any one of us. We need to set up neighborhood watches, we need to remain vigilant and we need to report any single suspicious activity that comes across us rather than closing our brains and doors to the threat present. The government of Pakistan and the intelligence agencies of Pakistan are pretty helpless at the moment because the enemy is among us, faceless and nameless and there is no way to distinguish them other than with the general publics help. This is why cars laden with explosives can still find their ways to hotels in our country because we do not simply have the manpower to check each and every vehicle.
The people trying to kill us are Pakistaniâ€™s as well and rather than sympathizing with their cause because they justify it with a warped view of our religion we need to unite and stand strong against them. No one in their right mind can claim that be headings of corpses in market squares and the plunder of homes of respect and dignity is what Islam stands for. Our army is doing its job wherever it is deployed, what exactly are we my friends doing for this war? How are we playing our role in it? No one will save us if we cannot save ourselves and we must do exactly that ,if our children are going to have a country to live in with peace in the future. There is no us without Pakistan, remember that and stay safe.
As published in the June issue of TGK