When I first heard that there was an attempt to bomb the Times Square in New York City, my first thought was ‘Please do not let it be a Muslim.’ Then TTP took responsibility for the attempt, but I thought, “No, this is just bragging. TTP cannot do some bombings in Pakistan.” When I read that the arrested suspect is a young Pakistani Faisal Shahzad I felt my heart sink into my stomach. As the story has begun to unfold, though, there is something that just doesn’t seem right. I think it is quite well known that I have no patience for conspiracy theories, but I cannot help but wonder – was this all a set up? Please let me explain…
There are several pieces of this plot that do not make sense to me. First, there is the bomb. It has been widely reported that the device was “crude” and “amateurish” even made of firecrakers.
A crude car bomb made from gasoline, propane, firecrackers and alarm clocks was discovered in a smoking Nissan Pathfinder in the heart of Times Square on May 1, 2010, prompting the evacuation of thousands of tourists and theatergoers on a warm and busy night. Although the device had apparently started to detonate, there was no explosion.
This is supposedly a bomb made by a wannabe jihadi who was trained by TTP. Now, it is no secret that TTP knows how to make some bombs. They have killed thousands of Pakistanis with their terror devices. Suddenly, though, when they had a chance to kill Americans, they forgot how to make a bomb? And this “crude” and “amateurish” bomb – this is what TTP wants to claim responsibility for? This makes no sense.
Also, why was this not a suicide bombing? When TTP blows up some marketplace or children’s school in Pakistan, they do so by suicide bombing. In New York City it would seem that the security would be even more strict than in Karachi or Peshawar. Past bombers have all been suicide bombers. Now these jihadis change their tactics?
This brings to the next point which is the wannabe jihadi himself, Faisal Shahzad. He was not only not a suicide bomber, his escape plan was to go to an airport and get on a plane using his actual name. He was obviously caught, and then he immediately told the FBI that he is the attacker and he is returning to Pakistan. Really?
Today there was an important headline in the American media that compares the situation to a fictional TV drama. The New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly was bragging that he solved the case in only 53 hours. Read how this was described by The Washington Post newspaper:
In fact, the similarities are eerie between reality and the television version of the terrorist plot now playing out in New York City. The main difference? The video surveillance is far better in the show.
None of this makes any sense. I have seen this drama before on TV. In real life, it is much more complicated, much more difficult to unravel the mystery. This drama was made for TV.
Okay, I say to myself, what if this was a drama for TV. What is the point? Who will benefit? This is where I suddenly had a revelation. This was a drama for the American TV.
The past several months have continually seen an increased partnership and closeness between Pakistan and US. FM Qureshi and American Secretary of State Clinton had warm, friendly, and constructive talks. PM Gilani met with President Obama at the nuclear summit and found common ground, even walking up to what was thought impossible before – a civilian nuclear deal between the two nations.
The American government has promised billions of dollars in investment in Pakistan’s energy sector, agriculture, and civilian infrastructure. Pakistani and US militaries are working as closely as brothers, with the Americans transfering advanced military equipment like night vision and laser-guided weapons to our armed forces. The Americans have even begun to turn their focus away from one centered on the war against terrorists to working with Pakistan to ensure our conventional defences. The Americans have stopped calling on Pakistan to ‘do more’ and have started showing appreciation both in words and deeds.
This is all good for Pakistan, but bad for the jihadis who want to flog our women, destroy our culture, and kill the dream of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The jihadis need some way to push this speeding train of cooperation and partnership off of the tracks.
Obviously, a suicide bombing would not do the trick. There would be too many questions. Too many groups would claim credit. But a plot that looks terrible but actually fails would allow the Americans to see a villain that is Pakistani. Let us be honest, the Americans do not know Pakistan. They would not know that this wannabe jihadi and the false ideology that he represents is hated by the vast majority of Pakistanis. Only they would have some fear of Pakistan, some doubts. Maybe, they would think, we should not be so close. Then the Taliban would really have their victory.
Of course, I do not have any proof of this. But the entire situation is just too ridiculous. For anyone who has known these killers and their wickedness, they know that it just does not make sense. There is a solution, though. There is a way to nullify this attempt to drive a wedge between Pakistan and the Americans. It is for the government, the media, and we ourselves to say louder than ever that this is not Pakistan. We should show the world what real Pakistan looks like. With our rich beauty, our diverse culture, our hospitality. Because if the world sees the real Pakistan, no Taliban plots or conspiracies will ever succeed at home or anywhere in the world.