WHILE several aspects of the Abbottabad Commission Report are being debated after its unexpected release, one critical statement confirming the government’s protection and support of terrorist groups has not yet been discussed.

Paragraph 497 of the report (on pp 207-8), citing the of the testimony of the director-general of the ISI, states: “The situation was increasingly becoming true of Lahore and other cities. In Lahore, the police protected those who attacked the Qadianis last year (2010) and even directed them to the hospital where the wounded were being treated.

“The provincial government had been informed of the situation but it paid no heed to the advice and information provided by the ISI. No guards were assigned to the hospital as venal political influence intervened everywhere.”

This damning indictment makes the Punjab (PML-N) government an accomplice to this crime; their relationship with various terrorist groups in Punjab has already been documented by the media.

Let us be mature and accept that Z.A. Bhutto’s appeasement of the Islamists by declaring Ahmadis as non-Muslims was the first step down this slippery slope. Gen Ziaul Haq’s ‘Islamisation’ accelerated the pace of this precipitous decline.

Coupled with the unintended consequences of Pakistan’s misguided policies after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the country is experiencing unprecedented sectarian and terrorist violence which can be classified as low-intensity civil war.

Acknowledging the issue is the first step towards its resolution. As a 65-year-old free and sovereign nation, Pakistan must be mature enough to acknowledge past mistakes and make them part of the solution.

Let us pull our collective heads out of the proverbial sand, deal with the facts and find solutions to get the country out of this lamentable situation.

ARIF HUMAYUN Unite States

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