TV channels and comperes; the media and the maulvis, are all going hoarse lamenting the US intrusion in Abbottabad. ‘Our sovereignty has been challenged’, ‘our honour is at stake’, is the chorus.

Shouldn’t there be a little guilt about harbouring the most wanted criminal in the world and persistently denying his presence in the country for five long years.

The leader of the opposition has triumphed in the parliament. PAF will shoot down US drones. We’ll cut off the supply line to Nato. We’ll put a complete stop to the dirty American dollars. A superpower will be straightened out right here from Raiwind. God help us!

That our jets were ordered to shoot down the intruders is well and good. But did our obsolete refurbished F-16s, handouts from the US, stand a chance against top of the line, supersonic,

laser-equipped jet fighters waiting and ready on our western border. Suppose we did shoot down all the American jets and stealth helicopters and killed all the 50 or so Navy SEALSs and pilots. What then?

I think we should thank our stars that our radars were ineffective.

Our parliamentarians should put on their thinking caps before hurling their fiery threats and ultimatums. America is not Pakistan’s enemy ‘yet’. We needn’t try so hard to make them one. Oasma with $50 million on his head lived in our midst for five long years, planning murders and bomb blasts through his couriers and computers.

A three-storeyed house with a 12-foot-high boundary wall topped with barbed wire, shuttered windows and closed gates would stand out like a sore in any posh suburb. Ten consecutive Eids and other festivals, with three wives and 17 children in the house, there must have been some noise, some suspicious sounds. Even a stick-wielding chowkidar would have noticed something fishy in five long years. Our ‘intelligence’ may have been caught napping but what happened to the neighbours?

The fact is that odd households, with alien cultures, are now common in Pakistan. Besides the Chechens, Arabs and cut-throats from almost every Muslim country in the world, we also have three million uninvited guests from Afghanistan spread all over the country. People have become inert to such intrusions in their neighbourhoods.

With a shaved upper lip and a skullcap you can move freely almost anywhere in the country and merge.

Even a national ID card is not difficult to acquire. Al Qaeda provides money and leadership. Suicide bombers are provided by madressahs and training camps. Our places of worship, police stations and, of course, our schools are the target. The business of terrorism continues to flourish.

Shouldn’t there have been at least some mention in the parliament of the root-cause of our problem: the poison being spewed from pulpits; the madressahs that brainwash our children and the training grounds for bomb-makers and arsonists.

Pakistan is the foremost exporter of terrorists and suicide bombers in the world. Shouldn’t the parliament legislate towards curbing this menace?

It is this blind spot of our rulers and parliamentarians, both past and present that can bring us down; not the drone attacks, nor the dirty American dollars.

CAPT S. AFAQ RIZVI Karachi

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