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Children of a Lesser God

Wajid Shamsul Hasan

Updated: August 3, 2017, 7:29 PM IST
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Children of a Lesser God
A boy injured during a suicide attack in Shabqadar is transported on a stretcher at Lady Reading hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan. (Photo: Reuters)
We have had operation Zarb-e-Azb — what our former Army Chief General Raheel Sharif and his tweeting ISPR (Pakistan Army’s media wing) DG almost called mother of all anti-terror operations post the attack on Army Public School. This was followed by mother of all anti-terror operations-II styled as Raddul Fassaad — that is now in progress.

ISPR claimed that Zarb-e-Azb achieved its objective of getting North Waziristan cleared of terrorists, so does it claim now that Operation Raddul Fissad is successful and determined to eliminate the terrorists and their networks from their roots?

In between, we have National Action Plan (NAP), more popularly known as No-action Plan, whose footprints can be traced to the Archives of Ministry of Interior, with Interior Minister making his rare appearances on television to claim what could at best be called quixotic achievements of his ministry.

It is alleged that the Punjab-dominated federal government is not interested in an effective crackdown in the province. Religious extremists have a sizeable electoral and muscle power that poses a threat to ruling PML-N’s (Pakistan Muslim League – National) vote bank.

All these grandiose scheme of things pertain to a philosophy bequeathed to the science of state-management by Hitler’s unbeatable master of propaganda Joseph Goebbels.

The method behind Goebbelian madness has been the most favourite information management tool with all military and civilian dictators. However, it seems that the present incumbent rulers in power have outdone them all in pursuing the Goebbelian notion that it is the absolute right of the State/government to supervise/formulate/manipulate public opinion to suit in its selfish interests.

There is no doubt that the entire nation is benumbed by the recent blatant terrorist mayhems in Parachinar, Quetta and Karachi, in which not only scores of civilians were killed but also members of law-enforcing agencies. The question being asked by the grievously hurt people is who is in better control of things — the organised, well-equipped, numerically overpowering state or the band of terrorists — whose number nobody knows and whose psyche no one comprehends.

What we see is a claim of successes one after the other on one hand while on the other, terrorists tell us to learn truth from the phrase ‘taste of pudding is in eating it’. Indeed, the moment our law enforcers put the feather in their own cap, the terrorists pluck it faster than pegged by their killer strikes. Invariably!

Unfortunately, the greatest fallacy that we suffer from is that those in power refuse to recognize the enemy within. Immediately after any tragic mayhem in which terrorists strike at will, we see an orchestration by the clerics and even rulers — such as our Prime Minister — that such a dastardly act cannot be committed by Muslims when the fact is that more Muslims are killed by their brothers in faith than anyone else.

I am sure this comment of mine will fall in the category of an observation by a retired general that these “are enemy sponsored activities to create a sectarian disharmony in Pakistan... People who write such articles like these must be mindful — as their views can create unnecessary dissensions in our society’.

One would not like to sound sectarian but the fact of the matter is that when law-enforcers ignore oft-repeated warnings of an eventuality — killing of minorities like Shias, Ahmadies etc — seems to be more or less case of being silent witnesses to dispensing off children of lesser god.

I know from a highly reliable source in the corridors of power that Quetta with enclave of Hazaras and Parachinar being Shia area and constant target of Tafkiri terrorists –were alerted of the strikers that claimed nearly hundred dead.

My source lamented-“When there are no attacks for a few weeks, our law enforcing agencies (LEAs) become complacent and indulge in early celebrations to take credit for ‘breaking the back bone’ of terrorists only to be interrupted by yet more bloody strikes by the terrorists”.

My friend who is in the throes of anti-terrorist operations says — “However, as you know better anti-terrorism or the now called kinetic actions are not good enough- vital though but long term steps are needed. Many exhaustive actions have been spelled out as part of Counter Extremism policy and revamping of the criminal justice system — these are lying with the Minister of Interior as head of NAP for government’s approval and implementation. State policy unfortunately still is grey in many areas. Civilians leadership either lacks in capacity or it does not want to comprehend the issues for political reasons.”

Those who are involved in counter-terrorism strategy feel disgusted when it comes to take action in Punjab. General Raheel Sharif with all his blowing hot could not send Rangers or army into Punjab — internationally recognised epicenter of global terrorism.

Had he done so in his three years, Pakistan would have eliminated its domestic terrorism. It is alleged that Punjab dominated federal government is not interested in an effective crackdown in the province since religious extremists have sizeable vote bank plus muscle power that poses a threat to keep PML-N’s electoral opponents from campaigning in elections.

It would be worth recalling how the Punjab-based extremist Tafkiri organisations made it impossible for PPP and ANP to contest 2013 polls. Their message in number of PPP/ANP killings was clear to both the parties. PTI was spared because of its support to Taliban.

With elections likely earlier than 2018 because of JIT/Supreme Court’s findings, one can understand why the Prime Minister cut short his private Eid visit to London and rushed to condole with the Bahwalpur tanker tragedy victims in his electoral power base rather than go to Parachinar or Quetta to share the grief of the children of lesser god.

The writer is the former High Commissioner of Pakistan to UK and a veteran journalist
First Published: June 29, 2017, 10:38 PM IST