Saturday, January 23, 2016

Path to Perdition: More Heads and Hands Will Be Chopped Off: New Age Islam’s Selection, 23 January 2016

New Age Islam Edit Bureau
23 January 2016
Path to Perdition: More Heads And Hands Will Be Chopped Off
By Irfan Husain
A Clichéd Column
By Abbas Nasir
Charsadda: Hope And Inspiration Amidst Tragedy
By Kashmala Kakakhel
Bacha Khan And The Politics Of History Writing
By Amna Qayyum
Another School Attacked
By Dr Ejaz Hussain
Martyrdom Galore
By D Asghar
Path to Perdition: More Heads and Hands Will Be Chopped Off
By Irfan Husain
January 23rd, 2016
THE latest terrorist attack at Bacha Khan University in Charsadda is one more bloody event in a seemingly unending campaign against innocent young Pakistanis.
But we have seen so many of these horrifying assaults by crazed militants that they now merge into a single blur of pure evil. However, every once in a while, a particular incident remains stuck in the memory, not necessarily for the numbers slaughtered, but for the sheer horror it provokes.
For me, the murderous attack on Malala Yousafzai was one such event. Here was a 14-year-old schoolgirl shot in the head and almost killed for claiming her right to an education. Pakistan — and the whole world — was stunned by the sheer brutality of the act. It is entirely fitting that she has become an international symbol respected for her eloquence and determination.
Little has been done to change Zia’s disastrous course.
The attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar that ended in over 140 victims — most of them children — was another tipping point. The sheer viciousness of the assault caused such outrage that weak and vacillating politicians were finally forced off the fence and supported tough military action against the killers and their ilk. Operation Zarb-i-Azb has massive support among the public, and has caused significant losses among enemy ranks.
While condemning this wave of terror, it would be good to remember that it has not taken place in a vacuum. The state has created the space and the environment for extremism to thrive and put down roots in our fertile soil. Many terrorist groups operating today were created and fostered by our intelligence agencies to further their domestic and external agendas.
More importantly, the state has allowed madressahs to multiply across the country. Many of them teach the virulent version of Islam that is practised in Saudi Arabia and exported by the country’s royal family across the Muslim world. Few impart any knowledge or skills that could be useful in today’s fast-changing world.
Clerics and religious parties have acquired political power far out of proportion to the number of votes they win, or the seats they have in parliament. As a result, they have pushed through retrograde curricula that teach students to hate those who do not follow their faith.
Even though much of this evil raised its head during Zia’s monstrous rule, the dictator’s civilian and military successors have done little to change the disastrous course he put the country on. Lenin once advised his cadres thus: “Probe with a bayonet: if you meet steel, stop. If you meet mush, push.” In Pakistan, the clergy has almost always encountered mush.
This brings us to the third tipping point on our path to perdition. When a boy slices off his own hand because of his fear of the consequences of a charge of blasphemy, what does it say about the state of the nation? When 15-year-old Anwar mistakenly put his hand up when the mosque imam, Shabbir Ahmed, asked for those who did not love the Prophet (PBUH) to raise their hands, he was immediately accused of blasphemy.
Knowing the bloody fate of those against whom a similar charge had been made, the teenager rushed home and chopped his hand off with a scythe, and reportedly presented it to the imam on a plate. What is worse than this horrific act is the admiration it has evoked. The boy’s piety is being praised, and his parents are filled with pride.
The imam was arrested but then released when nobody pressed charges. However, when the story made headlines around the world, Shabbir Ahmed was re-arrested. I have little doubt he will soon be released and made a hero, just as Mumtaz Qadri, Salmaan Taseer’s killer has been elevated to sainthood.
So rather than wring our hands and weep crocodile tears every time such horror stories play out, we need to think about the environment that places perpetrators on pedestals. In Qadri’s case, it was lawyers who showered him with rose petals when he appeared in court. These people are supposed to be the most highly educated group in Pakistan, so if they cheer a murderer, what does that say about our society?
In several chilling terrorist attacks, highly educated young men have been arrested and confessed their guilt. So the argument that education would eliminate extremist violence is highly questionable. The truth is that our classrooms, far from being places of learning and questioning, have mostly become centres of spreading hatred and ignorance. And our madressahs and mosques are now often platforms for extremism.
Until we are willing to confront these unpleasant truths, things will only get worse. Many opinion polls have shown the increasingly fundamentalist mindset of young Pakistanis. As teaching standards continue to fall, and TV channels go on churning out programmes based on irrational nonsense, we can expect society to be defined more by religiosity than reason.
The result? More heads and hands will be chopped off.
A Clichéd Column
By Abbas Nasir
 January 23rd, 2016
WHEN one starts writing a weekly column, admittedly the first several months are torture as each week the approaching deadline fills one with self-doubt and a fear of failure. You are confronted with a number of what-ifs before the column starts to take shape and is completed.
Then, as you get into the stride, your confidence grows, even arrogantly so. You aren’t sitting before the keyboard with no ideas or thoughts or without homework on the final day of the deadline anyway. You have actually spent many preceding days absorbing news and analyses from multiple sources and then formulated your own thoughts for the week. So you sit and write.
Till of course an Army Public School happens. That’s when the struggle begins. You understand that you aren’t alone in being paralysed by the horror, the scale of the tragedy. What can you say to the parents of over 130 students who bid farewell to their children in the morning, thinking they would have lunch together that afternoon?
As in the APS tragedy, the heroes of Charsadda didn’t have a choice either.
What can you say to the loved ones of those who dedicated their lives to educating and bringing enlightenment to others but were asked to place their own frail bodies between their students and the brainwashed terrorists’ bullets? What can you say to anyone at all for all that it counts?
Neither the students nor the teachers were soldiers and neither had opted to live by the sword. Pens and books in hand they embarked on a knowledge quest but in under an hour were forced to become ‘martyrs’; hailed as heroes and heroines. They had no choice in the matter.
As in the APS tragedy, the heroes of Charsadda didn’t have a choice either. The state failed them too and miserably so. One heard on TV of the chemistry teacher who tried to defend his students and fired at the terrorists with a small handgun but was felled by a hail of bullets.
Then there were two students in a hostel room who are said to have killed a militant before being hunted down by the remaining murderers. In both cases the martyrs and their valour were rightly hailed. But who placed them in that situation?
There was very little discussion again how we got here; perhaps, because there was no point. I am filled with such despair that composing each word seems like a Herculean task. I am not ashamed to admit I am all but paralysed. Can’t think straight, what kind of writing am I capable of beyond the clichéd column.
My own paralysis is being replaced with seething anger though. Famously, most TV analysis and many newspaper columns continue to find fault only in the shortcomings of the implementation of the National Action Plan by the civilian government.
Under the circumstances wherever there are slip-ups, these are unpardonable. There can be no two opinions on that. Side by side we also need to acknowledge that the roots of the malaise are much deeper than mere slow implementation of a plan.
From the Salmaan Taseer murder to how his killer was hailed by officers of the law (aren’t lawyers considered and addressed as such all over the civilised world) to the young boy who stuck his own hand in a fodder-chopping blade and severed it as he was given to believe he had blasphemed by raising that very hand in response to a prayer leader’s question are all indications.
What was then an ideology, systematically introduced by the Zia regime, alien to the land of the mystics has now snowballed into an intolerant and toxic system of bigoted beliefs that is ripping the social fabric to tatters.
As if that ideological shift weren’t enough, our state’s long association with and use of non-state actors in its pursuit of foreign policy-cum-national-security objectives has given such teeth to the adherents of that ideology that even a single day that passes uneventfully brings sighs of relief and gratitude all round.
For years, we invested in the Afghan Taliban. We hosted the Quetta Shura and the Haqqani network and what not. We did this because rightly or wrongly we thought these entities would further the cause of our national security.
However, now that we are attacked by militants who have fled our land and crossed over and set up new bases in Afghanistan we complain to Kabul. We demand action from the government there even as we advise it to share power with a mighty fighting force called the Afghan Taliban.
Why can’t we ask the Haqqani network, which has the means to strike at will in the deepest part of Afghanistan at the drop of a hat, to sort out these killers of our children, of our students and teachers whose only fault was that they assigned a top priority to education?
No, I don’t live in denial. I won’t be surprised if Afghan and Indian intelligence agencies have a hand in harbouring some of these terrorists and using them to pressurise Pakistan, to make us bleed. Why is it impossible? It isn’t.
We only need look at the tit-for-tat actions of the security services of the ‘East’ and the ‘West’ during the Cold War to know how these games are played. The important thing is not to overplay one’s hand.
Pakistan’s soft underbelly appears exposed because it may have overstretched itself. The sacrifices of thousands of our citizens, of students and teachers and of our soldiers should be enough. It is time to regroup, to think or sink. Mere slogans, brave words, pointless reiterations of the whole nation being on the same page won’t keep us afloat. A lot more needs to be done and now.
Abbas Nasir is a former editor of Dawn.
Charsadda: Hope and Inspiration amidst Tragedy
By Kashmala Kakakhel
January 23, 2016
Thirteen months ago, when the tragedy at the Army Public School (APS) occurred, every Pakistani was shaken to the core. Beyond grief, it was just hard to comprehend. How could anyone, regardless of their ideology, even the most cold-blooded terrorist, deliberately shoot children aged eight, nine or 10, and scores of them, at point blank range? There were 141 killed at the time, including 132 young school children.
Since early 2007, we have seen a continuous spate of suicide attacks and perhaps over time many of us have become numb to what has been happening around us but the APS massacre was different. It shattered the stupor of indifference that the country had gotten into. For once, even the world grieved with us. At the time, the event galvanised a lot of action. Imran Khan finished his dharna (sit-in), a political and military consensus evolved and a National Action Plan (NAP) on terrorism was developed. Never again, we all said, and for once the talk seemed to be backed by some action.
Well, it has happened once again. Watching the events unfold at Bacha Khan University live on television, the ghosts of 13 months ago made all of us fear the worst. How many young lives would be lost this time? How many parents would need to deal with the incomprehensible deaths of their children for the fault of sending them to school? Fear is a strange and funny thing. After the terror at APS, when the army stepped in and the university was secured, the fact that the death toll was only 21 made many heave a sigh of relief. It could have been worse. It could have been so much worse.
Since then, the deluge. Almost all of the reactions are understandable. Yes, it is outrageous that we should need to accept that we should be thankful just because a greater tragedy has been averted. Try telling that to the parents of those dead in Bacha Khan University. Yes, it is worth questioning whether the provincial and federal governments and the army could have done more. Yes, it is true that each terrorist attack, as hard as it is to prevent, is ultimately a security failure and our leaders need to accept responsibility. However, is that the only way we should look at this attack? In particular, is it only grief, anger and critical indignation that should guide our reaction?
We must remember that we are a nation at war. We may have inflicted this war on ourselves, but we can now do nothing to change that. We can now only fight back and in each death, the emotion and the tragedy of what happened in Charsadda makes me proud to say that we are. I am devastated beyond belief but I am certain that we are fighting back and winning. We can do much more but I hope and believe we have turned a corner, and we must hold on to that hope. The attack at Bacha Khan University will not be the last of its kind. Unfortunately, that can be said with absolute certainly but if that is the cost that we must pay to win this war then, while it cannot be acceptable, it must be something that we all must bear. The next time it may be one of us, our parents, our children, but we must find a way to bear it.
A few years ago, in late 2009 or early 2010, I remember a time when there was an attack in Pakistan almost every day, an attack in and around Khyber Pakhtunkhwa every day. It was a time when many of us did not even believe that the Taliban existed, that Muslim could kill Muslim. That has changed today. Just a couple of years ago, there was a massive divide in public opinion. Should we talk to the Taliban? Or fight them? Or both? Today, that has changed. The army, the government and the opposition, for all their flaws, are making a significantly better effort to act in unison and, while much can be improved, that gives me a quiet confidence that sooner or later, a nation as resilient as Pakistan will overcome this challenge. Having said so, amidst the tragedy, we must also find reason to hope, be inspired and be thankful. We must look to our heroes.
Those martyred, their parents and relatives who have to bear with their loss are our heroes. The security guards, the Charsadda police and the Pakistan army, all of those who fought the terrorists are our heroes. It is all too easy to forget that while most of us simply go to office for a living, these are all people who have decided, for a salary lower than ours, to be willing to take a bullet to save the lives of others. Think about it.
The people of Charsadda, those who went to the university to try to fight the terrorists, as foolish as that may have been, are our heroes. I could not be prouder than to be from Charsadda today. Finally, all of those who decide to send their children to school today, tomorrow and the day after are also our heroes for the resilience that they show.
None of this dulls the pain or can compensate for the loss of a loved one. It should not. But while we must grieve, we must also find hope, inspiration and resolve because the cold, hard fact is that this is a war that will go on for a while before we win it definitively.
Kashmala Kakakhel works in the development sector and hails from the village of Fazalabad in Charsadda
Bacha Khan and the Politics of History Writing
By Amna Qayyum
January 23, 2016
The recent attack at Bacha Khan University, arguably motivated by a variety of reasons, is indicative of an ideology that seeks to terrorise by targeting education and the youth. It raises alarming questions over the role of security in schools, the militarisation of the public sphere and, more importantly, how to overcome this assault against learning.
However, the selection of this specific university as a site of attack, at a time when a poetry competition commemorating Bacha Khan’s death anniversary was being held, is also symptomatic of how his legacy still remains deeply problematic for us. The university, recently established in 2012, was part of the previous ANP government’s project of establishing and renaming places after Bacha Khan and the movement he led: the Khudai Khidmatgars.
Starting out as a social reform movement for Pakhtuns, the Khudai Khidmatgars were deeply influenced by Gandhi’s theory of peaceful non-cooperation. Their main emphasis was on preventing violence and blood feuds, especially over property, in the province. Starting in the 1930s their stance also became increasingly anti-colonial, and they became the formal North West Frontier Province (NWFP) branch of the Indian National Congress, holding an electoral majority in NWFP for a large part of the last decade before partition, even though the Muslim League had made significant inroads into Frontier politics by the early 1940s.
Unlike the Muslim League, which argued for the Muslims as forming a separate nation, Bacha Khan was wary of the role of religion in government and social leadership. He saw no need to insure safeguards for Muslims in what was already a Muslim majority province, and envisioned the future of NWFP within an Indian state, with substantial autonomy for regional units. Bacha Khan’s vision and his role as a member of Congress have made him a tricky figure for nationalist histories in Pakistan. It raises the central question of how to approach intellectuals and leaders who were critical of the project of Pakistan. Sadly, in Bacha Khan’s case, the approach has been one of erasure or maligning.
The ANP’s project of honouring the Khudai Khidmatgars and trying to recover their role in Pakistan’s history made little headway in changing the nationalist narrative of the Islamic Republic, which is deeply ingrained in our collective psyche. Such accounts glorify the Muslim League, while relegating other figures – especially those fighting for regional autonomy – to oblivion, or branding them as ‘traitors of Pakistan’. This historical amnesia, or worse the ‘friends of Nehru and Gandhi’ label that accompanies figures such as Bacha Khan, needs to be addressed. It is quite telling that much of the definitive scholarship on Bacha Khan and the Khudai Khidmatgars is published across the border, invariably feeding into the ‘traitor’ and ‘foreign hand’ narrative.
Although Pakistani historians have also led the charge in writing histories that take aspirational regional politics seriously, their attempts are often thwarted by educational institutions seeking to maintain the primacy of the centralising state and its twin pillars, the ideology of Pakistan and the Two Nation Theory. Unsurprisingly, the paper that reportedly led to Sayed Wiqar Ali Shah’s removal as the director of the National Institute for Historical and Cultural Research (NIHCR) at Quaid-e-Azam University included an explicit call for exploring the history of opposition parties in the earlier periods of Pakistan’s history such as the one formed by Bacha Khan, Abdul Samad Achakzai and G M Khan in 1948.
The politics of opposition to the Muslim League following partition were also marked by violence and coercion, and is easily glossed over in conventional histories. Starting with Jinnah’s summary, and arguably undemocratic, dismissal of Khan Sahib’s (Bacha Khan’s elder brother) NWFP ministry in 1948, the Khudai Khidmatgars were systemically targeted. In August 1948, police opened fire on a gathering of Khudai Khidmatgars in Charsadda, killing 15 to 600 people (reports vary widely). Soon after, leading figures of the Khudai Khidmatgars were arrested for unlawful organisation and Bacha Khan spent the next six years under house arrest and in jail.
Bacha Khan’s agenda in post-1947 Pakistan was one aimed at regional autonomy and included a reform programme for Pakhtuns. However, he was accused of sedition and conspiring to declare an independent state of Pakhtunistan. To some extent, the spectre of Pakhtunistan as an organised, separatist movement was employed by the provincial NWFP government to its own advantage, creating a sense of emergency and enabling the use of force against perceived dissent.
Bacha Khan spent the rest of his life mostly in opposition to centralising forces that sought to erase cultural difference and delegitimise calls for regional autonomy, finally breathing his last under house arrest in 1988. He was buried in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, and on the day of his burial a ceasefire was declared in the Afghan-Soviet war, allowing mourners to travel.
Plagued by detractors who saw him as aligned with Indian Congress leaders, Bacha Khan’s leadership of the Khudai Khidmatgars, his role in anti-colonial politics and opposition to the authoritarianism of the post-colonial state have largely been relegated to oblivion. Little wonder then that the figure of Bacha Khan in nationalist histories is either erased or is transformed into one of a traitor in cahoots with the Hindu Congress leadership – an ideal target for TTP terror.
Amna Qayyum is a freelance columnist
Another School Attacked
By Dr Ejaz Hussain
January 23, 2016
When the nation was still not over the pain caused by the terrorist attack on the Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar in December last, this January has unfortunately seen another educational institution, namely Bacha Khan University, attacked by four religiously inspired terrorists well laced with modern weapons and supported with the required intelligence. The university administration was organising a poetry session in the memory of Bacha Khan who is considered a symbol of non-violence, communal harmony and struggle for knowledge and resistance against authoritarian forces. Indeed, the university’s logo reflects such values held deeply by his followers.
This terrorist attack has raised a number of questions. Are the attackers local or foreign? If intelligence had already been circulated about an imminent attack on educational institutions in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, why were due measures not taken? Why were the police in particular and other law enforcement agencies not able to pre-empt such an attack? Why did the university administrator not take adequate measures to, for example, construct a proper boundary wall and enhance its physical and virtual security? And, above all, why was the federal government bragging about its self-proclaimed capability with respect to the implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP)?
As per its tradition and habit, our media started covering the sad event with much hype and raised fingers at foreign forces bent upon annihilating the ‘land of the pure’. In this age of digital information, one wonders what mindset drives such elements and their owners to pursue such a line that has no relevance whatsoever in the legal and academic domain. How can you claim the terrorist attack was the work of, for example, Israel, India and the US without collecting, establishing and synthesising layers of evidence? The same is the mindset of the media in India that, right after the attack on Pathankot, started accusing Pakistan of being behind this unfortunate event. The national, regional and even global media needs to moralise its content and approach issues central to its scope of coverage and presentation.
The government of Pakistan showed some restraint in terms of labelling any particular organisation or country initially. Gradually, the former, after countering and eliminating the threat along with documenting initial evidence, hinted at foreign elements based in neighbouring Afghanistan who masterminded the attack in strategic collaboration with their cadre in western parts of Pakistan. Such a line of investigation led the head of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), General Bajwa, to share due evidence with the Afghan authorities. It is still to be seen how the Afghan state (re)acts in response to Pakistan’s concerns. What, however, cannot be condoned is the fact that the Pakistani state has, once again, failed to prevent and pre-empt such an attack on its intellectual cream, the faculty and students, who are our ultimate weapon against extremism and terrorism. One may agree with the official stance that the attack was conceived from inside Afghan territory where all sorts of militant forces are struggling for power but one will disagree with the official version of the country being cleaned and cleared of terrorists, their networks and operational capability. Indeed, the ideological side of terrorism is still intact for no institutional measures have been taken in this respect. Terrorism literature is easily available in the market with the effect that its online presence and accessibility have increased in recent years.
Furthermore, the Bacha Khan University attack has exposed the inherent hollowness of the NAP, which was highlighted by this writer in these pages almost a year ago. The NAP lacks a strategic and tactical vision. Nor is it implemented with the needed will and where it was required. Its selective application, for example in the tribal areas, has helped decrease the number of terror attacks but it could not reduce the strategic logic of (suicide) terrorism and has failed to hunt the beast across the board. This has, in other words, helped sustain an enabling environment for local and foreign terror organisations in terms of perpetuation of ideology, recruitment, training, fundraising and operationalisation.
In order to counter growing extremism and terrorism, the Pakistani state needs to do more. Foremost is for it to revisit and revise the NAP strategically. We no longer can afford to nourish and host militant organisations as force multipliers. In today’s satellite world, established facts cannot be kept obscured or hidden. Regardless of this, even if we keep breeding and maintaining such militant forces, the latter will always pursue their own ideological and corporate interests. From their logic, they use the Pakistani state as a tool to achieve their political and strategic objectives. Hence, any alliance with such forces is going to work against the state from the short to the long run. Second, Pakistani law enforcing agencies need to target all sorts of militants across the board. If Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh can be pursued, why not Punjab, which hosts a great number of such forces with their well-expanded infrastructure? In addition, the police are to be trained on modern lines to gather intelligence and counter such incidents effectively. It is nonsensical to train faculty and students in the use of weapons to fight terrorism. The faculty should be provided space to generate debate over social intolerance, religious extremism and terrorism, and the students should be encouraged to ask questions on such sensitive issues. In addition, there is an urgent need to deweaponise our society.
Last but not the least, Pakistan cannot win the war against terrorism until we generate and disseminate a counter-narrative at the state and societal levels. Does Islam allow terrorism? Can an individual or group wage jihad? Does the state have the legal and moral right to use military means? Is capital punishment permissible in religion? Is Islam not all about peace? These and other such questions are going to be central to any counter-narrative project that must be initiated and facilitated by the state. Schools, colleges and universities are the best places to take the lead. Remember, in the absence of a logical and moral counter-narrative, Pakistan’s fight against terrorism will only remain prolonged. Regional and extra-regional powers are required to do the same and support Pakistan in this endeavour.
Dr Ejaz Hussain is a political scientist by training and professor by profession. He is a DAAD fellow and the author of Military Agency, Politics and the State in Pakistan.
Martyrdom Galore
By D Asghar
January 23, 2016
Never say never again. Somethings are just not in your hands at all. Our people barely passed through the painful first anniversary of the Army Public School (APS) massacre and now another school has been attacked. Granted, this time around, it was an institution of higher learning. Ironically, this was a university named after an exemplary, non-violent man. The signature of the attack and its standard procedures are fairly common in this terror-stricken land. While the overzealous media will remain on the scene for a few more days, dissect the events to the nth degree and beat every previously repeated reason to pulp, nothing substantial will come out of it.
Pardon my straightforward scepticism but I have reasons for that. I find myself a bit less agitated and frustrated because I detach myself from the circus on the tube. The same goes for social media, where I find a lot of similar nonsense from every quarter. Everyone tends to be an expert on something and all this expertise means nothing. It has zero impact on the people who breach security checkpoints to cause havoc and embark on their suicidal path. There are countless people, perhaps in that state of mind, ready to go to the other side, perhaps just waiting for the green light to act.
The poor premier of this baffled and enraged nation has to read the script like a novice actor trying to audition for lines that are just not meant for him. The poor guy reads the script, hoping that it will be accepted without the ruthless declaration of “cut” from the executive director. Again, the script is very predictable and stale; it promises a future that no one has seen and contains the magical “will” and “shall” that perhaps have lost their meaning.
The executive director is a no nonsense director with no patience for retakes. He has too much to his credit, a whole theatre of offense and on crucial fronts. With all this prowess and experience under his belt, he seems a bit puzzled too. The year has begun with too much action and too many strikes of ferociousness. All of this is perhaps a blowback of the much-talked-about Operation Decisive Strike.
The virulent enemies who were pushed towards the other side by the much-touted operation have regrouped and regained energy to make a deadly comeback. Cult followers and the know it all experts on our social media have issued the verdict of how all dots seem to point towards the statements of the National Security Advisor (NSA) of the neighbouring country. You wonder why I try to stay away from that media too, predominantly because of the dime a dozen patriotic analysts who very dull-wittedly encapsulate current affairs in less than 140 characters.
Tributes to the martyrs of these incidents become the order of the day. I am sorry; I am equally sad about the tragic loss of life but certainly do not subscribe to this martyrdom business. The people who are killing other people mercilessly consider themselves to be martyrs. The people being killed posthumously earn the title of martyrs as well. The jokers holding the microphone in their hands with a rolling camera in the background want the next of kin to share their thoughts on the martyrdom of their loved ones.
I do not know about you but as a parent I can express this much: I certainly do not plan on sending my children to a school or university to become a martyr. I would rather have my children carry me when my time is done here. The tube may find some young lad to do another number paying rich tributes to the new martyrs with some catchy song. The video will be a well-crafted consolation for many broken hearts. At least their loved ones gave their lives for a noble cause. With all due respect to the pundits and experts on and off-screen, would they kindly elaborate what that cause really is? So, please, for heaven’s sake stop passing on these glorious titles for the sake of contrived sorrow. Find ways to understand and feel the pain of an aggrieved family member by offering solutions that prevent such ruthless events from being repeated.
The fact remains that confusion still reigns supreme in many quarters. The narrative just gets more convoluted with these incidents. Undoubtedly, action on the ground is necessary to face the ugly monster but ideologically there is still confusion. Apologists find their way to create and foster that confusion. As a crucial and extremely critical step, until and unless these apologists are handled with a total boycott, opinions will remain muddled. As mentioned a few times in the past, the ruthless foe is cleverer than the chosen representatives of the people. These people know how to manipulate sentiments by using religion as a ploy. Chances are that the suckers will not understand this no matter how much blood is spilt of the helpless and the innocent.
D Asghar is a Pakistani-US mortgage banker.