The state’s credibility problem endures. Following the unprecedented attack on APS Peshawar, death penalty was reinstated after seven years moratorium. The death penalty returned with popular support based on the argument that it was needed to fight terrorism. Somehow, we believed, terrorists who were willing to die for their delusional cause would give up if they faced the death penalty. However illogical our reasoning, though, the death penalty has not been used as a tool against terrorists. Actually, only 7 per cent of executions are related to terrorism charges! This shows that ‘terrorism’ was only an excuse, not the real reason, which seems to happen with alarming regularity in Pakistan.
The state’s credibility problem has been on display in many ways lately. Not only from the death penalty report, but the release of Quetta Commission report also which catalogued the state’s duplicity including what Dawn described as ‘the state’s complicity with militant groups for parochial agendas that allowed the creation of an infrastructure of jihad’. Is it any surprise that rather than make any effort to correct these issues, the state has instead rejected its own report!
The unwillingness to face facts and be honest with ourselves has a long history. Over 30 years ago we were already telling ourselves sweet little lies.
This failed mindset not only damages our credibility in the eyes of the world, it has destroyed the state’s credibility with our own people. When Quetta Commission report was released, who really believed it would change anything? Same with Abbottabad Commission before that and Hamoodur Rahman Commission before that.
61 killed and 165 more injured. The militants struck at night, like cowards, when their targets were sleeping and defenseless. It was the worst attack in months, and it could have been even worse if it hadn’t been for the unrivaled courage of Captain Rohullah Mohmand, the SSG commando who threw himself onto a suicide bomber, sacrificing his own life to save countless others. Captain Rohullah’s willing sacrifice personifies the unchallenged love for their country among our security forces, but what about our love for them?
Our love for our armed forces seems obvious. Polls always show the military as the most respected institution, and our national celebrations often center on displays of our military might. From the looks of things, it is hard to argue that we do not hold our soldiers in the highest regard. However, can looks be deceiving?
Before the rescue operation had even completed, news anchors were declaring on TV and social media that the attack was carried out by India. The attackers were actually jihadi militants with links to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and possibly Daesh. Why does this matter? It is of the utmost importance because by blaming the wrong enemy, we provide cover for the militants who are carrying out attacks. We should hold India accountable when they cross the limits, but we cannot let them distract us from the mission against LeJ and other home grown militant groups. Distracting from this mission puts our soldiers in immediate danger.
The next problem is how quickly we have forgotten the attack and the sacrifice of our soldiers and other security personnel who remain in the line of fire. We spent one day reacting to this latest attack, and then turned our backs. The PMLN has returned its attention to wrestling control of Kashmir from India, and opposition parties have returned their attention to wresting control of Islamabad from the PMLN. Over 60 cadets killed, hundreds injured, soldiers martyred in a rescue operation, and within days everyone goes back to their own agendas.
Captain Rohullah didn’t put himself first. He put himself at the service of his country. His country, not his agenda. He didn’t act for greater wealth, or for greater power. He wasn’t interested in ambition or ‘great games’. Captain Rohullah sacrificed his own life rather than let his country down. We should look at what we have done in the past two days, then look in the mirror and ask ourselves, have we let him down?