A discussion on Twitter the other day brought up a dusty old Ghairat Brigade talking point – there was no terrorism in Pakistan before 2001. Actually, I find that even among my friends and family it’s widely believed that terrorism was brought by the Americans as part of their ‘War on Terror’, and it will leave with the Americans. If it wasn’t for ‘America’s war’, Pakistan would still be as peaceful and tolerant as it was before. This is a great talking point that provides an easy solution to one of the most grave problems facing the nation. Too bad it’s utter non sense.
1986: Pan Am Flight 73 highjacked in Karachi, innocent passengers killed
1987: Bombs kill 72 and wound 250 in Pakistani city.
The bombs exploded half an hour apart amid crowds of rush-hour shoppers in the heart of Karachi, the country’s biggest city.
1995: 2 Americans shot to death in Pakistan.
Gunmen shot and killed two United States diplomats and wounded a third this morning as they were driven to work in Karachi, a sprawling port city that has long been ravaged by violence…
More than 1,000 people have been killed in Karachi since January 1994 in a wave of ethnic, sectarian and factional violence. Of these, more than 275 have been killed this year, including 13 Shiite Muslim men and boys who died last week in a massacre in a Karachi mosque. The victims, who had gone to the mosque for prayers celebrating the end of the holy month of Ramadan, were lined up against a wall in the mosque and gunned down.
1995: Widespread damage: 40 die in Peshawar car-bomb blast.
PESHAWAR, Dec. 21: At least 40 people were killed and nearly 120 injured when a powerful explosion rocked the central part of the city, blowing up a number of shops and setting others on fire. The blast was said to have been caused by a car bomb.
1995: Suicide bomber attacks Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad, kills 15 and wounds 59.
A suicide bomber rammed a pickup truck packed with explosives into the gate of the Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad today, killing 15 people and wounding 59 others. Islamic militants claimed responsibility.
Most of the dead were Pakistani security guards and people applying for visas. One Egyptian diplomat was also killed, hospital officials said.
The four Americans were killed this morning when unidentified gunmen opened fire on their station wagon. The vehicle’s Pakistani driver was also killed in what police described as a deliberate attack. According to police reports the car carrying the Americans was forced off a road in Central Karachi, then riddled with bullets at close range. The driver and the four passengers died instantly, according to the police. The four Americans worked for the Union Texas Petroleum Company–the largest international oil firm in Pakistan. Today, at Union Texas headquarters in Houston, John Whitmire, the company’s CEO, said he and his colleagues were stunned…
Pakistan was a long-time Cold War ally of the United States and a partner in the decade-long fight to oust the Russians from Afghanistan in the 1980’s. In recent years the country has suffered from political turmoil, ethnic violence, and economic stagnation. So far, no one has taken responsibility for today’s attack. But both Pakistani and U.S. officials speculated that it could be linked to the case of Mir Aimal Kasi–a Pakistani national charged with the murders of two men, both CIA employees.
1999: Explosions rock Islamabad
Several explosions hit Pakistan’s capital today. Rockets struck near the US Embassy, the UN office, an American cultural center and other buildings, rocking Islamabad with at least seven explosions, officials and witnesses said.
These are just a few examples of terrorist incidents that occurred before 2001, putting to rest the false claim that we can sit and do nothing and the problem of terrorism will magically disappear when American troops leave Afghanistan. Also, do you notice how many incidents involved the killing of Americans? These incidents also disprove the false claim that anti-Americanism is a result of drone strikes or American troops in Afghanistan. The fact is that authoritarian tyrants have used the bogey of America to exploit sentiments and manipulate the people for decades. It’s nothing new, and we should stop being fooled by the same old tricks.
These are just a few examples that I was able to easily find news articles about doing some basic research, but it’s just a drop in the bucket. Terrorism in Pakistan was not imported by Americans, and it’s not going to leave when they go home in 2014. We will never be free of this menace until we face the uncomfortable truth that we are allowing the problem to grow as poisonous ideologies fueled by hatred and violence are allowed to spread unchecked. Until we are willing to face the internal threat head on, we are going to continue to suffer. That’s not a talking point, that’s reality.