The results of our involvement in foreign entanglements is well known. The 50,000 Pakistanis whose lives are no more. The cries of mothers. The blood that will forever stain the streets no matter how much we try to wash it away. The toll that has been levied against us has brought us to the current situation in which the government has decided to continue trying to negotiate a peaceful resolution with anti-Pakistan militants despite the fact that the very same militants have said they are not interested in peace. It is easy to point fingers at Musharraf for agreeing to cooperate with the US in their ‘War on Terrorism’, but we can’t stop there.
The terrorist attack that tore through a fruit market near Pir Wadhai on Wednesday morning killed at least 24 innocents going about their daily lives. Hundreds were injured in the blast. TTP was quick to condemn the attack, terming the killing of innocents as haram. However, such statements by Taliban terrorists can be understood as only a cynical ploy to hoodwink the masses when those same Taliban terrorists have confessed to the same crime of bombing markets and killing innocents themselves. This time, responsibility for the blast was claimed by a group of Baloch militants, and was condemned widely. Today, the Interior Ministry has rejected this claim, terming it as ‘ridiculous‘. Meanwhile, another attack has taken place in KP where gunmen attacked NATO container trucks killing a driver. Will this be condemned as strongly as the Islamabad bombing? Too often whether or not an attack is condemned depends on the justification behind the attack. Balcoh separatists are condemned, but those killing truck drivers are excused. Hafiz Saeed condemns terrorism inside Pakistan, but supports terrorism outside Pakistan.
We need to stop picking and choosing which terrorism is condemned and which is excused. There is not such thing as ‘good terrorism’ and ‘bad terrorism’. All terrorism is unjustified and should be condemned equally.
At least 16 were killed and dozens more injured in a blast at Sibi railway station today. This is not the first terrorist attack in Sibi. Actually, it’s not even the first this week. According to Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique, terrorists fired on the same train earlier this week. Before that, there were attacks in 2008, 2012, 2013, and January of this year. Additionally, while no one has claimed responsibility for today’s attack, the timing coming the day after reports that FC men killed more than 30 Baloch separatists leads many to suspect that today’s attack was an act of revenge by the same.
If you’re on Twitter, you’ve probably heard about the #NotABugSplat campaign by now. It’s a giant art installation in KP that is protesting drone strikes by displaying giant photographs of children’s faces so that drone operators will see them and realise that their targets are human beings and not ‘bug splats’. It’s a fairly clever idea, but there’s only one problem. There are no drones.
There hasn’t been a drone strike in over 100 days. No Pakistanis, innocent or otherwise, are being killed by drones. Meanwhile, there have been over 300 terrorist attacks in Pakistan so far this year that have killed hundreds of innocents.
#NotABugSplat campaign is impressive both in its clever way of drawing attention and its sophisticated use of social media to increase attention to the issue. However, that’s really the only point of it. All the giant photographs of innocent faces are purely for news cameras, not for drone operators. It’s a media sideshow that distracts us from the real cause of our problems. It’s great PR for PTI, but it does nothing to make Pakistan safer.
Pakistan’s global isolation continues to settle in as even our Muslim brothers are now shutting the gates to Pakistanis due to concerns about our role in exporting terrorism. Yesterday, Gulf News reported that Kuwait has barred Pakistanis from entering the country due to security concerns.
The minister, Shaikh Muhammad Al Khalid, had issued instructions to the Citizenship and Travel Documents and the Immigration departments “to work in coordination with the Ministry of Interior and the hotels sector which can also engage in the process of issuing all kinds of visas to Kuwait — commercial, tourist or family.”
However, security sources told local daily Al Rai that the new rules do not extend to nationals from Iran, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan who have been barred from entering Kuwait.
It should be noted that the six countries excluded from Kuwait’s visa regime are all nations known to be centers of regional and global terrorism. Our inclusion on such a list is sad reflection on Pakistan’s current situation.