The Charity of Peace in Pakistan07 Jul 2014
The previous week has been hectic for Pakistan. The country already in the pits of an insurgency in one province, political turf war in the largest metropolitan, and an ever controversial role in the war against terror suffered another ambush. On June 8, Taliban rendered the Pakistani security forces and central, as well as provincial government in Sindh helpless in one after another attack, starting with the Jinnah International Airport, Karachi takeover, followed by an assault at the Airport Security Forces hostel, killing at least 39 people, including 10 terrorists.
Millions spent the wee hours of Monday morning (June 9) glued to their television sets, as extremists received live coverage of the counter attack launched by the Pakistan Army. The Taliban accepted responsibility immediately after the attacks as if it was a nobel prize.
The success of the Taliban is not in attacking a busy and one of the largest airports in the country, but in knowing the vulnerabilities. Like an acupuncturist, they know where to press—not for relief though. Their objective is to hold the whole country hostage to their puritanical and takfiri ideology.
If the two attacks were not enough to put in doubt the government’s capability in terms of giving public life a priority, the culminating deaths of seven people at the airport cold storage due to the delayed attempts to rescue people alive proved to be the final nail in the coffin. Family members of those stuck inside the airport cold storage had to take to the streets to seek their loved ones’ right to life. However, all their attempts were in vain, since the government was too busy playing the blame game, and by the time the authorities stirred to take action, the ‘survivors’ had already been burnt alive.
Even after the debacle, it took Karachi Police chief, Ghulam Qadir Thebo five days to make the inquiry committee for investigating into the incident at the Karachi airport. While the defence budget has been increased to Rs700 billion for fiscal year 2014-15, people’s right to security and safety seem to be the government’s least concern.
One might at this point ask frustratedly if the only way to live in Pakistan was to take to the streets and hurl insults and stones at the ministers, police, and the army. The truth of the matter is, even this might not work if not done in front of the right people, or at the right platform. The world informed Pakistanis to vote for their betterment and start walking on the democratic path, now they await for the same pro-democratic world to set things right. To rid the country of the evils of Taliban, descendants of the proxy American mujahideen. But can that be achieved via some USAID donations given a little bit to the education sector, and some to the healthcare sector? Between 2002 and 2011, the US gave $11.740 billion to the Pakistan military, while a meagre $6.08 billion was allocated for the economic sector.
People do not want donations, they need relief – a world where there is no need for charity. Those who have lost a loved one at a roadside bomb blast or are too poor to not send their child to a madrasah do not care about sloganeering and aid packages. For them, life is too real and too far away from Cathay Pacific to worry about any airlines cancelling flights to the troubled land of the pure. Most of them do not have an escape ticket to the Middle East or some European or North American country. This is where they live, amid the turbulent and bloodied waters of Pakistan. This is where they hope to salvage some of what is left of peace and tranquility. And this is where many hope to raise their children without fearing savages.
Savages, who do not follow the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, with whom some have been advocating dialogue to achieve peace. Though the army has stirred itself enough to carry out airstrikes in North Waziristan, that borders Afghanistan, the government of Pakistan had continued to press for peace talks with the Taliban prior to the Karachi airport attack.
Many speculated it was to give Taliban enough time to regroup and retaliate with more force, and impose a brand of ideology that for them is the most pure. Perhaps that is what the airport attack proved too.
The right wing parties like Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf top the list of those wanting to follow the way US took to deal with the Afghan Taliban. The persistent violence, instead of being taken as a sign of ‘not interested’ was understood as a conspiracy to derail peace talks by the vested interests. Both the parties tow the ‘good Taliban, bad Taliban’ line and have been targeted and humiliated on social media for their stance.
The fact of the matter is that the government too needs to take its job seriously, and monitor the ones interested in dialogues with Taliban for their stakes in the war against terror. If not, youngsters, who constitute 70 percent of the population in Pakistan will either live in fear of the killers of thousands, or join their ranks and become hellbent on continuing the agenda of imposing at the cost of innocent lives.
The state machinery has to make an attempt to plug all the loopholes, starting in the urban centres with those who support Taliban ideologically, monetarily, or physically, otherwise a military operation just in North Waziristan will prove futile.