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Attacking our way of life

Published Oct 28, 2009 04:56pm


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Amidst the mayhem gripping Pakistan today, there is also a deafening silence pervading the corridors of power and the ranks of the opposition on the prevailing security situation. That silence, too, is being heard now. Pakistan is at war, and this is a war that is being fought as much in our cities as on the frontlines in Fata.

Wednesday’s attack on a Peshawar market, selling mostly women’s merchandise, is an attack on our way of life more than anything else. It is not a statement of the Taliban’s anti-Americanism as Hillary Clinton lands in Pakistan, nor is it a sign of their hatred against the Pakistan Army, which is carrying out a military operation in South Waziristan. It is aimed at women, as you see that a big number of those killed in Peshawar are women shoppers; shoppers that the Taliban want confined within the four walls of their homes. It is an attack on our way of life as we have lived it in Pakistan.

But back to the silence first: President Zardari met Mian Nawaz Sharif over dinner in the security of the presidency on Monday, and the two leaders did not even utter a word of concern about what the people are having to go through in wartime. Islamabad is a city very much under siege; Lahore and Peshawar are no different. And if you ask parents with school-going children in Karachi, they will tell you the situation in the Sindh capital is no less alarming.

Bickering aside, what Mr Sharif told Mr Zardari at their meeting, that the people were becoming acutely aware of the lack of governance, would have made more sense if he had also said the same thing addressing the chief minister of Punjab. The lack of governance and security failures in that province where his own party rules the roost is equally appalling. This is just bad politics at a time when the people need to see their leaders showing more concern about the challenges staring them in the face.

Opening after a week of closure, many private schools in our cities have installed CCTVs, deployed snipers, and placed sandbags around their buildings as local police patrol the areas during school hours. A sense of fear grips parents dropping off their children at school; not a day goes by without terrorists trying to attack security forces’ personnel, amidst reports that all vital installations, media organs, and educational institutions are in the bull’s eye as far as extremist militants’ top targets are concerned.

Schools offering co-education have received threats from terrorists, which have to be taken seriously because of the history of attacks on and threats against schools and colleges in Swat, Peshawar, and across Fata. In Lahore, the Punjab government keeps shutting down schools which in the government’s view have not made adequate security arrangements. In Karachi, many schools ignored the government’s directive to reopen on Monday, choosing instead to wait until they have the security cover in place that they feel they need under the circumstances.

This, while there is little sense of newsworthiness attached to what’s happening in our cities, even when buildings and installations are not being attacked or security personnel made hostage. The media must share some blame for this state of apathy. Why is the war on terror, which has now come to our doorstep, not the primary concern of the prime time talk shows?

Instead, popular hosts keep inviting politicians to wash their dirty linen in public. Is it not the people’s war that is being fought today? Won’t the people of Pakistan be the biggest losers if we fail to win this war that is aimed at annihilating our diverse cultural norms and the social value system?

Yet, it’s just the number of casualties every day that now seem only to casually make the headlines; the media’s mainstay remains internecine party politics which seem to have little to do with the bigger reality marred by fear and depression gripping the whole nation. There are thousands more families that have been displaced by the ongoing military action in South Waziristan, and nobody talks about them. Millions of parents with school-going children have lost their sleep, and there’s little mention of the fear gripping the people in the face of the threat posed to everyday life in our cities.

The failings are staggering, and dangerously enough, they will be seen by many as the failure of democracy yet again. We are at war, finally seeking freedom from the forces of regression and a medieval, extremist way of thinking, and there is enough freedom of speech in this country to voice disgust and repulsion against this mindset, if only one would. The obtaining security situation has left no one untouched. Yet, surprisingly nobody comes forward to voice that sentiment of the silent majority.

The people want to go back to their mundane routines. Youngsters want to go out to the parks, to the beach, to bowl, to eat out. Women want to go shopping unescorted, and men want to go about their daily chores without worrying about families left at home. This is not happening anymore. People look tired and depressed; while many count their blessings that they are safe, some have had close encounters with terrorism; relatives, friends and acquaintances have been killed and injured, or had to leave their homes.

There’s little sense of an imminent end to the mayhem rattling the people’s minds. The citizens want their sense of security restored. They look to their leaders in askance for at least some soothsaying at this time of uncertainty and turmoil. What they get to hear instead is bickering and mudslinging.

Both the government and the opposition leaders need to come out to voice the people’s concerns and give them hope. They need to own the war being fought against the anti-people forces in Fata, and in our cities – as Wednesday’s attack on a women’s market makes amply clear.

Murtaza Razvi is Editor, Magazines, of Dawn.

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.


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Comments (96) Closed

Shujaat Ali Oct 28, 2009 03:45pm
Well said. Interesting how this is a war of the people of Pakistan, and appearanlty not the rulers of Pakistan. The demise of democracy shall once again be the fault of these very democratic rulers of our country.
Raza Oct 28, 2009 03:56pm
I agree that the situation in Pakistan is no less than alarming. The violence perpetrated by terrorists is both unprecedented and despicable. It is about time some of the politicians- and the people- got their act together. If today it is meena bazaar in Peshawar, tomorrow it could be one in Karachi or Lahore. Some Pakistanis need to come out of their 'Lahore-Karachi-Islamabad' shell. And fast. A few years back when such terrorist attacks ( mostly sectarian in nature and in places of worship of Shiite Muslims) were confined to some 'remote' corners like DG Khan or Charsadda, people in 'major' cities would just shrug, going about their lives as usual. Condemnations were few and action by the government and the security agencies fewer. But as has been witnessed recently, if any prrof was needed, terrorism is like cancer; it is debilitating and spares no part. And in Pakistan's case it is spreading rapidly, attacking even those parts just three years ago no one would have thought possible. I am sure most Pakistanis are expecting action now and not just verbose displays from those who call the shots in Islamabad. Because extraordinary times call for extraordinary- and unprecedented- measures. The military campaign in Waziristan is encouraging. But it is only a start. And by no means a perfect panacea. The border with Afghanistan needs to be completely sealed, like we did with India. Let normal people who wish to travel between the two DIFFERENT countries do so through legal channels. Terrorist hotpots in Punjab need to be attacked. And ISI and other security agencies must expend their complete energies in going after perpetrators and thwarting attacks like the most recent one in Peshawar. Also, a complete change in mindset of Pakistanis is needed. Quibbling over an aid bill was a ridiculous diversion from more pressing issues. And conspiracy theories and fixation with who created what is unhelpful. Except, of course, for the terrorists who wish to do the country harm. This attack came within hours of Senator Clinton
Afzal Oct 28, 2009 03:35pm
In India, the media played a very powerful role immediately after the Mumbai attacks in galvanizing popular disgust against politicians and making sure people were held accountable. People need to come together and say enough is enough.
imra Oct 28, 2009 03:27pm
I agree that our current lifestyle is hijacked by the most notorious uwanted elements of the society. Seriously more than the government, what is the common man and the general population doing about it? Why arent there protests held, why arent the officials forced to resign, why are people in governance forgiven? Why is the police and other agenceis which are incompetent and ill euipped embarrassed in public? America is a great country today not because of its democracy, politicians or policy makers but its common man and general population who have held the country's governing acountable, have fought for their fundamental rights and last but not least, have valued human life and dignity. So please stop blaming the government and its affiliates and let the general population take the blame. Our destiny is not in the hands of the few but in our own hands and collectivetly we form a ideology!
Akbar Ahmed Oct 28, 2009 03:28pm
I am shocked and saddened by this cowardly act of terrorism. Why are we failing as a nation and our military (one of the strongest in the world) who valiantly protected us from external threats is failing in our own backyard. Our senior leadership dress so well but can they utter a single meaningful word to console the victims of this attack and encourage us to unite against this menace? We make absurd statements of blaming India for these attacks only to avoid any responsibility on part of government. Everything from BB's assassination to the earthquakes are blamed on India. Our leaders should take some responsibility in the statements they make and protect us the civilians in our country.
Sumit Oct 28, 2009 04:11pm
you shall reap what you sow.
Amir Oct 28, 2009 04:12pm
Its high time our government stop funding and protecting all extremists an terror groups.
Syed Ali Oct 28, 2009 04:13pm
This is not and was never Pakistan's war. It did not exist before 2001/2. The extremist ideology that you are talking about it not new, but it wasn't Pakistan's problem. Musharraf invited the problem by supporting America in its so-called "war on terror" and created new enemies for the state and people of Pakistan. The only way to end this is by discontinuing the collaboration with America.
Ahmed Jamil Khan Oct 28, 2009 04:17pm
Every Pakistani need to ask him/herself why do we have this incompetent leadership? Why this media is still making money while it humiliates our dead? why we as average people do not play active role in managing our country while our way of life is being obliterated like it happened in Somalia, Iraq & Afghanistan. I am ashamed that I did not vote in last election and I am ashamed that I have not raised my voice against the third class Media beaming down my TV. I am ashamed that I have never shown love for my country and way life. Imagine if we have no Pakistan no freedom... I will raise my voice today and will do all I can to best of my ability to save my country and way of life! Jamil
Ali Oct 28, 2009 04:33pm
Not only the politicians are quiet, so is the public. Where is a million people march against the terrorists? Wake up Pakistani's or be annihilated.
ajaz ahmed Oct 28, 2009 04:40pm
as a student of final yr. in bachelors i would say that the educational institutions should not support the governments idea about closing down institutions because we need to oppose the idea of the fear that is being installed in the mind of people of pakistan. By reacting in the wrong manner, we are only provoking more chaos and hoplessness everywhere. and i feel that rahter then media channlels debating on issues realted to terrorism, they should debate on the reason behind it. in the last about the government, i think poeple have allready lost their trust in ther government so i dont think they would be expecting anything from them.
Concerned Oct 28, 2009 04:41pm
You are so right. If others (politicians) fail to stand for us, then it should not inhibit us (the masses) to stand up for ourselves. We need to constitute Area wise vigilant teams for any suspicious activities. We need to condemn on internet and media about the horror. And above all stand together in these diffcult times. Remember the rich ones cares too hoot for us and onus is on each one of us affected by the menace. May Allah give us the strength, courage and patience to stand up for ourselves. Rest assured if we have Unity, Faith and Discipline; these mongrels (at either side) would runaway.
S Singh Oct 28, 2009 04:52pm
Agree. Hope things get settled there.
Ghayyas Raja Oct 28, 2009 04:54pm
When will the religious right realise that our local Talibans and other religious extremists are as much to blame, if not more, for our destruction as external forces like USA and India. They are quick to put all the blame on external forces but never ever speak out against the deadly internal forces. As for the government, it is more interested in grabbing/clinging to power.
JN Oct 29, 2009 06:04am
Get real Syed Ali - this problem is not Musharrafs fault. People in denial are the problem. These monsters want to destroy Pakistan. The USA has nothing to do with it. What has some poor market trader in Peshawar got to do with the US war on terror - get real. These monsters are targetting women and children and there can be no excuse by blaming the US, India or others. It is OUR war. Either fight it or hide away like a coward. There is no compromise - stand up for your people and nation. Don't look for scapegoats.
M A Qavi Oct 28, 2009 05:01pm
It is the very nature of 'our way of life' which is at the root of what ordinary Pakistanis are trying to cope with. The Air-Conditioned elite living as it does in secure compounds has distanced itself so far from the mass of people that they do not even share the same language anymore. We have chosen to side with the Anglo-Saxons whose values and life style we have embraced, leaving the rest to fend for themselves in the dark laybrinbths of the warped ideology of oil saturated Arabia. The outcome is before our eyes.
Parvesh Sharma Oct 28, 2009 05:01pm
I am deeply sad with the situation in Pakistan. I am an Indian and I condemn these kind of attacks. I believe(reading this article) now Pakistan understand the fear that grip people after these attacks. The same fear we have gone through. I strongly request PAK govt to stop militancy and terrorism whether its on their own ground or India.
Ansar Oct 28, 2009 05:09pm
It is very saddening to hear about the pain of the people of Pakistan. I have said in one of the similar blog earlier that we should stop blaming our neighbors, west, other religions, and the list goes on. I do believe that we should take matter into our own hands. We should protect the Land of Pakistan by treating it as our own land. It
Saleem Khan Oct 28, 2009 05:15pm
While Pakistan and international forces move forward to ponder a solution to the current crises exacting a heavy price from the civilians a review of the past superpowers role and cold war policies in the region must be reviewd and lessons learnt from it. It is also important to hold accountable the responsible parties for the civilian displacement and loss of lives since this fight has its roots in the events of 1980s and 90s. 1978 coup in Afghnistan was a home grown factor and enacted swiftly land reforms and programs of rights of women and their education. All indications are that the peace will have a chance with the end of occupation. It is a regional problem and requires regional solutions. One must not overlook the national factors and preservation of a way of life in Afghanistan as the causes of the ongoing insurgency. Secetary Clinton will be well advised to take these factors into consideration while meeting Pakistani officials. Current leadership in Pakistan is inept and incompetent as it comes from landed aristocracy which is not so well acquainted with the demands of the modern times. Those who don't remember the past are condemned to relive it.
Purush Oct 28, 2009 05:18pm
It is indeed sad that the people are going through such a torturous existence in Pakistan and all this for no fault of theirs. My friend Politicians world over are the same. They care two hoots for general public. They are interested in the votes and thereafter in notes.
AM Oct 28, 2009 05:22pm
One thing is for sure. When the day comes (sooner or later - I pray that it is sooner) when Pakistan is rid of this curse of extremism and the power of these criminal gangs of murderers is reduced, some of the same politicians whose "silence is deafening", will be the first to take credit for ridding Pakistan of this scourge.
M.A. Vasiq Eqbal Oct 28, 2009 05:24pm
Murtaza has timely raised this issue, amidst the ongoing war and un Urban-War. Terrorists are amongst us and our politicians have nothing to do with it, the only thing to worry about for them is continuity of their position in power. In this war, uptill now, its just the army and civilian people who were targeted, not even a single casualty is from political background. they are afraid to speak , for their own security they have motorcades of not less than 72 cars, but still they do not speak against the terrorist, not even to condemn their barbaric urban-war. Media, has became habitual of all the suicide bombings and killings, now the spice is no not enough to make a new taste. That too, is looking for something that diverts the minds of masses. Everyone is concerned with his own safety and security, no one thinks about comforting the mourners, the sufferers and to lead the nation whish has suffered and still now suffering the most.And will might continue to do so if the nation does not get a leader, a self less leader.
Khuda ka banda Oct 28, 2009 05:27pm
A very candid and soulful article that is oozing with substance. Parts of this is also applicable to Pakistan's neighbour, India where the media tends to focus on news generated by politicians rather than the plight of the citizens. There is no dearth of dumbness on both sides of our borders.
Saad Oct 28, 2009 05:37pm
Good write up. Truly depicting our state of affairs. Do our governments have any right to sit in those secured buildings if they can not come with something substantial to protect lives of its masses. It is a real shame on this government. It has failed to deliver. Equally responsible is all those parties in opposition. There is no point of discussing NRO, corruption, Aid bills if there is no solution in place to address our core issues of security. To sum up there is a huge trust deficit between government, institutions, and public. Further, our leadership lack courage and direction. Don't blame others when you can't play the right shots.
Vijay Oct 28, 2009 05:37pm
The real core problem in Pakistan is that the common person in Pakistan does not have power , the Militarty and ISI primarily obsessed and with elements wanting to spread Wahabist fundamentalism Islam , calling moderates as Infeidels is the greater problem.It is war between Moderates and extremists. It starts in the idelogy and the minds. The schooling , the Madrasa system the interpretation of Islam. If ISLAM means peace who is responsible for so many terrorists justifying their barbaric acts in the name of Islam. Why are the true religious leaders condemning this. Killing oneself or others without a proper cause is prohibited.Even wars have to be waged with certain ethics. There are no religious leaders who express religious truth in scientific aspects nor there are any efforts in the direction. They could have a project started in the direction of "Religious Spiritual Truth and Modern Science". If Koran is indeed True ,which it is Science should prove it is which will unite western scientific thinkers and oriental believers
Mohd. Sharif Sindiwala Oct 28, 2009 05:59pm
If we followed the pure rules of Islam, there would be no mayhem, no terror attacks and no suicide attacks. But we as a country have always been afraid of doing that. I ask all my countrymen to follow Islam and we will be fine. No need to go to another country.
irum Oct 28, 2009 06:05pm
They were willing to bring the country to a stand still for restoration of judges movement. It was a question of getting into power for the politicians . where are they now,when the poor die ? why cannot they mobilize their support and unite the country in the fight against terrorism? may those in the lawyers' movement do support the Taliban in their hearts. i also believe that instead of blaming US,we should look at the country of saudi arabia which has supplied the madrasas with financial aid that have bred these terrorists.
SUBHASHIS NAG Oct 28, 2009 06:10pm
It is surprising that despite the high casualty figure, the incident has not found prominent mention in the international media.Also, why is the Taliban targeting women and children ? Are they afraid of taking on the Pakistani army ?If my assumption is correct, then the Pak army is winning.The Taliban's days may be numbered.Three cheers to Pak army.My Pakistani friends, do not lose heart.This is an act of cowardice by a cornered enemy.
Ahsan Oct 28, 2009 06:26pm
Well written article. I largely agree with everything that you say however I would also like to add that I am, at this point in my life, completely assured that our government is neither willing nor capable to protect the ordinary citizen. Why is the life of the federal minister, the chief minister, or any other high-ups more important than that of the ordinary citizen? The former enjoy police protection and security protocols to wherever they travel. Would it make any difference to the country if they were blown up by a terrorist attack? Do they have some sort of special capabilities that make their lives more precious as opposed to mine or yours? Clearly not! And so then why aren't those security arrangements that are escorting them everywhere in place instead at more important places like schools where the masses are exposed. To protect one stupid, idiotic person they expose a thousand others. I think we as a nation need to get together and realize that this is something we need to do ourselves. We need to be brave, we need to do whatever we can, write, voice our opinions, concerns and make ourselves heard. We are not afraid of the taliban. We do NOT want them in our country. We must promise ourselves to get rid of the corruption that is so blatantly there in each and everyone of us. We need to work hard. We need to be productive. We need to educate people around us. Why is it when there was the Kargil issue the entire mosques had congregational prayers for Pakistan and now when Pakistan is under attack once again, a more severe attack than ever before, we do not hear the same prayers again. I dont know. I am upset but I know this much, that we as individuals, responsible citizens, for our future, for our childrens future and for Pakistans future, need to pull up our socks. We need to party less and work harder and contribute in whatever work we can. We say all this and then we go to the little posh restaurants in small alleys, which is bustling with people. Shouldn't we be focusing our energies elsewhere?
Masood Haider Oct 28, 2009 07:59pm
First and foremost, the government should officially declare that it is at war with the Taliban and make it unlawful to speak in favor of the enemy. This would enable it to considerably neutralize the poison being spewed by Taliban friendly politicians, news analysts and talk show host who are a demoralizing influence on the public. In this hour of peril, one would hope that the whole country stands united in eliminating this scourge instead of the politicians bringing up futile and pointlessly contentious issues with no solutions to them in sight.
Jahan Oct 28, 2009 08:24pm
This attack has proved that our enemies want to destroy our country. I don't care who ever they are, I just can't see these bombings everyday ruining my country. Our government is fragile, our so called leaders are corrupt and its the people who are suffering. Lets be "one for all and all for one" for once, and tell the world who we really are. Whom are we waiting for, no one is going to come from outside and tell us to solve this; rise Pakistanis, rise before its too late. Don't forget the meaning of Pakistan: Land Of Pure; lets make it pure once more. Lets prevent Quaid's soul from aching; rise Pakistanis, rise before its too late.
Paulose, India Oct 28, 2009 08:37pm
What the wrong the innocent people of Pakistan did to suffer all these?. They are the victims of the lack of vision of the leaders to build a progressive nation. Hiding corruption and misguide common man in the name of ideology, hatred etc. Pakistan is in the process of becoming another afghanistan. Is it too late to prevent it? Well, let us wish the success for Pakistan army against taliban. But will that military success alone resolve the current mess?
Tahir Bakhtiar Oct 28, 2009 09:07pm
Yes, the silence is loud and agonizing. Our so called leaders can march on roads for chief justice and not for the justice to people. They can visit the countries all over the world to beg in the name of their people but cannot visit the bereaved family of a victim. They can shout for hours in assembly halls and on TV channels but cannot utter few words for the martyred. But they should remind themselves that the time will change for them. No one is there for ever.
Jasim Oct 28, 2009 09:09pm
Frankenstein is biting back. This is our own creation. I don't blame western countries, US or India. Only to be blamed are our leaders, ISI and military.
Ali Hayat Oct 28, 2009 09:11pm
The news media for me is the biggest factor. Some news correspondents still ask the rhetoric question that 'is this our war?'. Well, we are the ones dying. We are the ones living under constant fear, constant apprehension of what might happen. There needs to be a massive change in the way people approach this war. The mindset is still based on regional lines, with some people still wishing to believe these are American mercenaries hoping to weaken Pakistan. The media is to blame. Increased viewership has given them unparalleled power, unchecked power. There should be no question about whether we are at war, whether the Taliban are fighting for Islam. Still fueling speculation by asking these questions is what the media is doing.
Cheebz Oct 28, 2009 09:49pm
Very well said, but you only look for leaders when you actually have leaders. These are not leaders, they are practically seat hoggers (i hope we realize now). The country is united, but our politicians are on the side lines (Media should stop praising or putting hopes in Politicians; they are no saviors!!)
Shahid Shafi Oct 28, 2009 10:08pm
Yes, the situation is alarming and local, provincial & federal governments are doing reasonably well in view of an extra-ordinary situation that has beset out motherland. While there is always room for improvement, all the people are indeed doing their bits. This may turn out to be a long drawn war. What is required is patience and an objective appreciation of the pitfalls that the LEAs are facing. I am immensely heartened by the way the GHQ appreciated the Police's conduct during the attack on GHQ.
Ahmer Oct 28, 2009 10:49pm
A senseless and careless government and helpless people.
Bashir Khan Oct 28, 2009 10:56pm
The cowardly act of terror directed against the innocent people, mainly women, of Peshawar is a reminder of the fact that the so called torch bearers of Islam are a bunch of heartless barbarians who have no regard for human life or values. The recent acts of terrorism in some of our major cities on most sensitive installations is a matter of great concern for everyone: not only for those living in Pakistan, but also for people like me who are living in foreign countries. Its no denying the fact that I am scared for my beloved country and my people every step of the way. The statements issued by some of our political leadership in favour of negotiations with the millitants make me sick. With total disregard to the fact that very existance of Pakistan is in jeopardy, these selfish, corrupt and power hungry leaders are persuing their own political agenda. Shame on them. I salute the brave armed forces who are offering the sacrifices of their lives so that we can live in peace. I hope the nation will stand behind them and will never forget their sacrifice.
Afshan Ijaz Oct 28, 2009 11:16pm
As a pakistani living abroad, I know that I probably dont feel as perpetually threatened by suicide bombers or car bombs as my fellow country men who have to endure it everyday. However, I also have family back home and I am afraid for them. I am also deeply disturbed by the lack of any sincere response from the government. My mind keeps returning to the same question again and the absence of a strong and sincere leader, is there any thing an ordinary pakistani can do? If so, what? It seems that even powerful people are being rendered helpless in the face of such terror. What is a nation to do when it has run out of options?
Sayed Haider Oct 28, 2009 11:36pm
Kudoos- Murtaza has articulated the sentiments and the reality on the ground. Our leaders have taken safe refuge in their bunkers and not shown any concern about its citizens. It is time that we demand from them a voice of action or they should be dispatched to their respective homes where they can face the reality of daily life being confronted by the people of Pakistan. Blame lies squarely on their door steps whether those in power or in opposition. So called the "leader" are busy jokeying for political positioning and shown no leadership that they were elected to provide. There is no governance, no accountability and not even semblance of leadership. This mayhem would have brought about a political change in any civilized democratic society. Perhaps it is time for the people to raise their voices and demand action.
Ali qureshi Oct 28, 2009 11:38pm
I agree in totality.. By staying silent on this issue, the Pakistani government may potentially lose the propoganda war (far more important the one being fought in the battlefield). There are simply not enough government officials railing against the ridiculous propoganda that qualifies for public discourse on television and otherwise. The media is doing a poor job too...a direct result of which is the variety and number of alternative theories people have to offer..with respect to who the supposed 'real culprit' is. Though, it has to be pointed out, the lack of credibility and popularity of our leaders means that people have very little faith that those in power today will be the ones to get us out of this mess..however, this doesn't mean the government should be silent on this issue. To those who refuse to believe that pakistani 'muslim' brothers can pull off something like this...I pity your continued resolve. The ttp and it's affiliates have assumed responsibIlity for a large number of the attacks carried out so far..And they have promised to continue to kill innocent pakistanis. Schools, mosques, market places..nothing has been left unharmed. The enemy is within..
Amjad Cheema Oct 29, 2009 12:07am
This a war against humanity & whole modern civilization. A large section of Pakistani people are in a state of denial, the great denial. This is a war between modernity & ancient civilization. These people want to take us back to tribal society of seventh century arabian peninsula. Yes this a war on our way of life. West is an ally & not enemy in this war. Stop playing to cheap galleries.
Larry Stout Oct 29, 2009 12:14am
My heart goes out to the GOOD people of Pakistan -- not only those who were kind to me in times past in Peshawar, Lahore, Karachi, and elsewhere, but all the innocents who suffer and die at the hands of the insane mass-murderers. This terrorism is HIDEOUS and ungodly by any meaningful definition. The bombers are animals, not humans.
Usman M Oct 29, 2009 04:00am
This stoic attitude by our so-called and self rightous leaders is simply alarming. In the midst of bombings and murder of innocent people incl. women and children, the dialogue about who should have more power among the heads of the country and the opposition is just shameful. Hoping that call to action for our leaders doesn't just stay within the confines of english newspapers and websites. Our leaders need to hear it loud and clear from every Pakistani that we are losing hope quicker than can be imagined and that the will to stand behind our leadership is reaching its limits.
Aussiedessi Oct 29, 2009 04:19am
What a nightmare for Pakistan and its neighbours!Pray that the good people win in the end and the sacrifice of the innocents is not in vain.It's time that South Asians as a whole rise up as one nation to fight this menace of uncontrolled violence. We, far away from the scene, can only sympathise and pray for the victims of this senseless carnage in name of any religion or God.
Abbas Ali Oct 29, 2009 04:34am
Good question raised by the author. Attacking our "way" of life???? What was that "way" ? Was that "way" not accepted by Pakistanis indirectly when they allowed the taliban breed for three decades? Was that not the way we accepted when raised religious slogans everytime we won a cricket match against our enemies? Was that not the way we accepted when Osama Bin Laden photos were sold in Lahore streets??? Was that not the way we accepted when allow culprits like Dawood Ibrahim live in Pakistan. Terrorists did not attack our way of life -infact we choose to let them take over our way of life. Was not ISI responsible for raising this human bombs? So when did we wake up? Did we? We made a choice when we choose religion over secular status long long time ago. Eradicating taliban is not the end-what are we going to with the ideology that is pervasive in every nook and corner of Pakistan?
Babar Oct 29, 2009 05:24am
I tuned into Pakistani media after hearing the news of 106 death in a Meena bazar of all places to find the disgust expressed by them. But alas, all I found was people bashing Hillary Clinton, complaining about drone strikes and thumping their chests at US in general. Realy uncosiderate patheticness.
S Felix Oct 29, 2009 05:34am
Dear God, Please take care of my country. Amen
Qazi Muhammad Naseem Oct 29, 2009 06:48am
My heart is bleeding over this tragic incident, how women and Childs lost their lives in this tragic incident, it is alarming situation for Government as well all of us? I pray to almighty ALLAH, bless on our country
Prashant Saund Oct 29, 2009 07:21am
I feel sorrow for common awaam in Pakistan & India. There is urgent need to stop supporting terrorism & extremism in religion. The consequences is pretty bad it is like you will get what you sow. America is most Hippocratic, if you look at history of CIA, America has never ever a long term good-will while intervening in other countries matters. Check Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, (featured) Iran war. It is a high time Pakistan need to introspect with their Ideology, it is their own war of thoughts. How nice world could be if there is no extremism or if religions would not be use to spread hatred.
Nusrat Pasha Oct 31, 2009 07:13pm
We are guilty of disregarding the will of the founder of the nation, who had envisioned a strictly non-theocratic and Secular Pakistan. Dragging religion into politics has cost us heavily.
george Oct 31, 2009 07:24pm
Purush says: It is indeed sad that the people are going through such a torturous existence in Pakistan and all this for no fault of theirs. My friend Politicians world over are the same. They care two hoots for general public. They are interested in the votes and thereafter in notes...... purush, you must be from india. Not everywhere politicians are as crooks as they are in India. UK politicians, at least some of them are, dishonest and were caught. Some resigned, some have been told that they will never get a ticket again and all the parties got together to stop the loop holes. Now in India lalu and his friends from all parties do not care if some of them are corrupt. The same people become minister and rob the people. Corruption is so rampant in India and here in London, there is no corruption, not at least in the daily lives of common people.
Lawrence J. Maushard Oct 29, 2009 08:22am
I fear the US has caused so much of this horrific death and destruction. First, America pushed Islamabad to sweep through the Swat Valley, displacing millions. And now the Obama administration has obviously abetted the attacks into South Wasziristan, the move causing the appalling pushback attacks all over the nation. Secretary Clinton needs to do something RIGHT NOW to display a true concern for the people of Pakistan. She needs to throw out the script, throw out the speeches and planned agendas. At the very least, she needs to visit the wounded and visit the blast sites personally, She needs to display a real solidarity with the people, even if it means exposing herself to the same dangers as the common people. Anything less is unacceptable.
Ali Mehdi Oct 29, 2009 08:36am
Another sad incident. More loss of innocent lives. More lack of trust on our leaders. More sense of insecurity. Whenever such incident happens we get the feeling that now this has happened now the govt will have more strict checks and that now this will not happen. But very next day a bigger blast takes place. We know that our army is doing their best to root out these barbarians but I can also see that they also are clueless as to what should be done to stop these blasts. The only thing that comes to mind is that when we have started this battle it should continue we will lose more lives but they should be uprooted once and for all. Let the life come to a standstill but this cancer should be properly treated. we have to bear severe losses to save the country and its people. Its very sad to note that when we are sitting on a burning house our neighbour (India) is telling us that we must destroy the hideouts of these terrorists. I must that I salute thier courage to make such an untimley demand, they really have the guts to say this!
Mohamed Oct 31, 2009 05:47am
Those who live by the sword die by it. That's unavoidable Pakistan could have chosen the path which should have solved the matter without a bloodshed but instead chose violence and now paying a heavy price.
Asif Iqbal Oct 31, 2009 07:18am
Pakistan should get rid of these extremist elements in order to overcome current economic and social situations. Both Government and Opposition should transform our religious community to a secular one.
Aqib Oct 31, 2009 07:25am
The perception on islam changing because of these crimes committed in the name of religion. Let us stop finding solution through religion.
shubhro dutta Oct 31, 2009 08:21am
I feel the army needs to act decisively with intent. They should not think of flushing out these terrorists out of Waziristan. In such a case the problem will only get exacerbated. At the moment I am not sure if 30,000 soldiers can counter 10,000 militants, when burdened with the obligation of keeping a low collateral damage. Pakistan is faced with a Hamletian dilemma, " to be or not to be is the question", and in such a situation, collateral damages in form of civilian casualty is bound to escalate. I know there are innocent lives at stake, but sometimes you must be prepared to suffer for the greater good. The second point is that due to these disturbances, your economy is in shambles. You need businesses to run, you need new investments to boost new ventures,to create new jobs, you need schools, road, health care system. Unfortunately none of these things are being addressed by the political class. Why aren't youth forums marching the streets demanding jobs, better living conditions. Why has the Pakistani educated class abandoned the cause of the people and run away to greener pastures? Where are all the sons of the soil gone? You have to push your politicians to the wall to make them act, else they would simply keep you busy talking about the USA, India and Israel and the theory that the rest of the world is conspiring against you. This is a decisive moment in your history. Its a revolution in the making. Accept change because it is the only thing that is constant. Shubhro
Ibrahim Nov 02, 2009 08:06am
Good article. And I completely agree with Sheriff's comment below. But I guess the main problem is, the majority are ignorant, illiterate to identify the reality.
M.Srinath Oct 31, 2009 09:48am
My prayers are with the people of Pakistan. I sincerely hope that the civil society and the leadership will get their act together to keep the flame of liberalism burning. They owe it to their people.
jamil Oct 31, 2009 02:51pm
taliban are an active minority and i think they are a temporary phenomenon. what is going to really hamper the progress of pakistan is a silent majority having more or less same ideas as these people. it is going to take a very long time and a sincere effort to change these minds. question is are we and our leader ship capable of achieving that??
Nafees Oct 31, 2009 05:23am
Our leaders are Living a luxuries life, their faces and body language just dont reveal the severity of the current situation in the country. I say to these leaders go and reach out to families who have lost their loved ones, expose yourself to the same level of danger that public is faced with. We are facing the biggest problem of this century, May Allah swt protect us from it and bring peace to Pakistan. This is only possible if our leaders and nation adopts Islam as a way of life. May Allah guide all of us. Ameen
Taj Mohammad Nov 01, 2009 01:23am
I suspect the future of Pakistan is at stake in the wake of present crisis. Instead of using only force to eliminate terrorism, they must try to go to root of the present situation. It is not a big problem and can be solved if the government of Pakistan takes sensible steps and the world should come forward to assist Pakistan at this critical time otherwise I suspect Pakistan is going to see a civil war.
Mary Nov 01, 2009 01:26am
I am American, and all of us are so saddened by the intentional killing of so many innocent people. Pakistan is a leader, showing the world that they will not tolerate extremism, and are in a sense, "protecting" the world from fundamentalism and radicals. The good people In Pakistan are forging a new beginning for their country, and will no doubt be successful. You have earned our respect around the world with your sacrifices, and we praise you for your good hearts and brave spirits, that will make you the clear winner in this fight against terrorism. Bless the good people of Pakistan!
Reality Check Nov 01, 2009 01:36am
And what is the author doing? Sitting happily at home writing articles, pointing at what the government should and should not do. I am tired of even reasonable 'English speaking' people and papers putting all the expectations and all the blame on government. Zardari this. Government that. And if it not the government, then it must be a 'foreign hand'. Pakistan is in disarray because for too long its people have decided to look the other way. I can say that the author has never done an hour of community service.
Mohammad Rafiq Nov 01, 2009 05:57am
Dear friends, We are hell bent to blame Taliban without looking into the root cause. In India, Muslims are the one who are most backward even though lot of facilities are given by the government. In other parts of the world also, the case is same. Why why why ? If anybody can answer this, then that is the root cause of terrorism.
Raj Oct 29, 2009 11:21am
Well said Abbas Ali. Stop living in denial, terrorism is a double edged sword.
Yousuf Oct 29, 2009 12:05pm
My all grievance to families of innocent people killed. May God rest them all in peace. And may the culprits of this incident be caught and given the exemplary punishment.
dua khan Oct 29, 2009 12:34pm
very well written and at a right time. it has become an everyday news that a blast took place somewhere and the death toll is above 50 where as some 100 or more injured. is this some kind of joke or what!!human beings are getting killed like anything,the life of a person has become the most unvaluable thing.people are scared to go outside even for necessary work the fear of these blasts have limited people to their homes.but there is no effect on our leaders it seems they have closed their minds and eyes from this whole scenario.our country is on war,innocent lives are taken away on daily basis,it's high time but the incharges of the country are seen nowhere to support or play their role in this crutial time.
karthik Oct 30, 2009 01:07pm
if the situation goes like this, soon Taliban will take over pakistan and there will be direct war based on religions. Thank you guys!
karwa sach Oct 30, 2009 01:27pm
While innocent lives are being taken away and families left behind to wonder why their loved ones had to die this untimely death? there are people who still pray to Allah for resolution of this problem. Millions and millions have been killed. It is time that people of all religions should start to THINK and use REASON to come to this conclusion that the concept of killing people in the name of religion should stop.
Chethan Prabhu Oct 30, 2009 01:57pm
There will not be a military solution to this. This is the time for the silent majority to stand up and denounce all violent acts against innocent men and women whether it happens in Pakistan, Iraq, India, Israel or anywhere else. The solution to this problem has to come from within the islamic society. If they can do this, they will get the moral upper hand to get the support of the world in dealing with some of the vexing issues like Palestine...
christopher fernandes Oct 30, 2009 03:56pm
i am an ex sunni muslim who has converted to christianity and is now living happily in germany . instead of blaming assorted militants , security agencies , external threats , why is no one questioning the ideology on which this nation is based? i dont see any nation in the west with a fraction of the problems of most islamic nations.
abhi Oct 30, 2009 05:00pm
Cant we stop all this ..??iam hurt
Satya S Issar Oct 30, 2009 05:42pm
I fear that while most right thinking Pakistani's are accepting that the Talibans need to be eradicated and got rid of before peace returns to Pakistan. The history of terrorism and the terrorists is that if any government or a state sponsered agency lets terrorists to grow eventually the same terrorists hit back at their masters. The reason is simple. The terrorists want to retain their power and hold on the territory gained and are unable to surrender it. Those who do not recall or know that In India Mrs Indira Gandhi, in order to devide and rule the Akalis in the Punjab in India in early 80s, created her own brand of terrorists. Those terrorists kill every one those came in their path. They virtually wanted to rule everyone. Eventually they had to be eliminated at great cost; but before being finished they were responsible for the assisnation of Indira Gandhi herself. What Pakistani's had begun to witness in Swat Valley where Shari Law was allowed. If not checked they would have gone further and deadlier. I want Pakistani's to realise that fight against Talibans and Al Quida should b delt in more peaceful ways rather than attacking on the & killing them, this will only result in more distruction. Satya
Ben Oct 30, 2009 06:11pm
Our prayers are with Pakistan. While I am not from Pakistan, the subject of terrorism is universal. I would urge the people to stop blaming others and take action against an enemy that is a global enemy. Blaming US or India is only shifting the attention away from the true enemy-- The fundamentalists-- to them hammering people into theri way of thinking is the only endgame. So fight back if you want to retain any hints of democracy. Do not fall into the scapegoating trap.
ballu Oct 30, 2009 11:32pm
general public should come out and protest. why they are not protesting in the streets of karachi peshawar and islamabad. why keeping quite now and just writing on blogs. go out and get back your pakistan..
Amit Oct 30, 2009 11:51pm
For what its worth, I want to tell my neighbors that I do not always stand by the official statements of our (Indian) leaders. Quit often, they are mistimed, heartless and entrenched in politics. The loss of women and children in the blast is so heartbreaking. I am a family man with three kids and cannot imagine the intensity of such tragedy. Please accept condolences as I stand in grieving with you- Amit
Rahman Hassan Oct 31, 2009 02:04am
When will the people of Pakistan wake up and realise that they are at war with a brutal enemy that is hell bent on dragging Pakistan back 500 years to the Dark Ages? An age where women are kept locked in-doors, where daughters are sold to the highest bidder, where illiteracy is the norm, murder and torture is daily routine, and where scientific development is non-existent! The Taleban/Al Qaeda have no place in Pakistan. The public must stand united and condemn terrorism and act against it, and not turn a blind eye. Enough is enough!
Mohd Aleem Oct 31, 2009 02:15am
I dont trust our politicians, All what they do is ask for aid to fight against terrorism & if not provided it would be difficult to control terrorism.It looks like Pakistan's Govt doesn't want to solve this problem. Pakistan needs a real leader, who is capable, intelligent, loyal to country, trust in Pakistan's strength. Just pray to Allah "Save my payara pakistan" Ameen.
Mohd Aleem Oct 31, 2009 02:18am
we need collective pray to us from terrorist and corrupt politicians. Amin
shumaila kausar Oct 31, 2009 03:29am
im feeling so sad why we are so selfish and forget every thing and busy in our routine. we as a nation must need to prove ourselves we r not the afghanistan or iraq whoever interfare and we accept them.we are pakistani and we must take care our nation and our people plz Allah help us ur the only authority to solve our problem.
Hikmatullah Oct 31, 2009 03:53am
It is a sad day for a great country. Pakistan has been bleeding ever since its creation. The politicians have misused the country and have sapped the wealth of the nation far too long. They are a total misfit. Only the army will set the course right. Democracy cannot work in Pakistan it will further divide the nation. First and foremost Pakistan must stop portraying itself as a beggar nation. People are highly talented and creative. Second the nation should free itself from the curse of class system they have unwittingly inherited. This is not helping the nation. The disparity between the filthy rich and the destituted poor is appalling. As long as these two curses are continued to ruin the nation, there will be such acts committed by people who are not satisfied with the way the nation is running. My suggestion is that the military should take back the control of the country and nationalise the assets and make an equitable distribution of wealth and opportunity across the varying classes of the society. This does not mean Pakistan should go communist or socialist. It can strike a golden mean between the two extremism of socialism and capitalism. Perhaps a full-fledged Islamic system that is based exclusively on enlightened moderation would solve much of the problem the country is facing. Playing to the tune of the American flute will not solve Pakistani problem. We should stop spilling innocent Pakistani blood for a 7.5 billion dollars.
Wigi Nov 01, 2009 08:31am
Simply put, Abbas Ali (posting on October 29th, 2009 at 9:34) has summarized it in totality ... and Ballu (posting on October 31st, 2009 at 4:32) digs it a little deeper. The fire that Burns Pakistan now, was actually lit by PAKISTAN (& Pakistanis) to burn a neighbor which was apparently striding much faster on the road to development... is it a fire of jealousy which went out of control?? If given total freedom to Pakistan (i.e without remote control from US and other powers of the world), Pakistan might become be the most dreaded nation and hub of all Islamic extremists ... and that's the truth.
yasir tanveer Nov 01, 2009 04:56pm
According to me we must realise the basis of this problem. Once again after this attack a phone call appears telling that talibaan have done this attack. I wonder that we believe on the sayings of our corrupt leadership. I ask all of u a single, simple question that if i say that our leadership is not sincere with us, does it surprise u?? obviously not, because all of us know examples like NRO etc etc which gives clear understanding that these rulers r not sincere with us. After knowng all this would you still believe on their saying that taliban is doing that??? I think we must realize our real enemy. I think the problem started when US starts interfering in our issues. So the real solution lies in keeping US out of it.
Bilal Malik Nov 01, 2009 05:11pm
you have talked of silence and carelessness of politicians. While this is true, there is another group of leaders whose silence is a real problem. They are religious leaders - ulema and mullahs. They have not spoken againt these terrorists and this very relevent since they control the minds and souls of common people through their Friday khutbas. I think it is almost criminal to stay silents in trying times like these. Those ulemas who do not speak out, should be held accountable
Maheen Ghani Nov 02, 2009 06:06am
Many of our Pakistani brothers and sisters die, to be more exact killed in the bomb blasts, suicide attacks and other terrorist activities. But we are doing?? just sitting in our air conditioned drawing rooms, showing our sorrow for them..:( But its not enough. We need to realise the importance of national unity which is lacking in our society.
maryam Nov 02, 2009 12:48pm
they are targeting schools now what next?God help us!
Rizwanul Huda Nov 04, 2009 04:23pm
The present situation in Pakistan is the result of almost 30 years of nurturing these elements. It's like Frankenstien that we were trying to create to fight our enemy which has finally turned into a monster. This people has started killing without distinguishing between friend and foe. It's the time for each of us to realize that our enemy is within us. Our extreme ideology which is based on hatred and destruction is the real root cause of this problem. Although the number of this die hard extremist is low but they have a long list of their sympathizer including general public who suppot them on the name of Islam. In Paksitan 50% of the people support Paksitan Army action in Waziristan and the other half still think that it's not our war and we should have dialogue with the terrorist who are bent upon destroying anything which is from the civilized society including schools. Just by pointing fingers towards others wont solve the problem. We must realize that something has gone wrong in our society. We must differentiate between our friend and enemy. We must think in a human way. However, it seems that we are too busy in discussing NRO and KLB while there is suicide bombing almost every day all over Pakistan targetting innocent civilian including women and children. Please wake up before the bomber reaches your door step.
Inday Nava Nov 03, 2009 09:43pm
I agree. The silence is deafening. Amidst all the recent bombings (Peshawar, Pindi and Lahore) not to mention those in previous weeks and months the world is waiting for the Pakistani leadership to say something. The interview with one doctor in Peshawar seemed to suggest that the Pakistani's are used to terrorist attacks or such violence. As an outsider (who feels like an insider having lived in Islamabad for almost a year and having gone back a few times) I feel that the Pakistani's are sitting back and just watching everything happen. But I think that is not the real picture. I see fright, despair, confusion in the faces of those captured by news camera's. Please tell me the Pakistani's are NOT surrendering their beautiful country to this kind of philosophy? Please my Pakistani friends do something, save your country. I am fearful when I return in a few years I won't have the same beautiful place that I left in 2005.
Farooq Nov 04, 2009 07:38pm
The questions im asking myself, but cant dare ask anyone else. If taliban were our friends for a decade how come they became terrorists now? When we need security, how come political parties are free to roam Karachi with AK47 ? When every innocent soul is trembling, how can we allow Rehman malik speak words of steel and hide back to his fortress? If Qazi Hussain Ahmad, Hafiz saeed, Syed Salahuddin, Maulana Abdul Aziz are all pious muslims how come Hakimullah Mehsud a bad guy? why cant we stop this nostalgic act of double confirming with an illiterate mullah on tv whether it is haram or halal? How come Iran sent its revolutionary guard 7KM inside balochistan and we complain about fool proof security? We cant take drone strikes, yes it is illegal but why cant out government ask the Americans to vacate our base instead of condemning every time innocent women and children die? We call kashmiri
Maheen Ghani Nov 04, 2009 05:09am
Pakistan should get rid these extremists now. They are destroying the peace of our motherland. Its a high time for our leadership to take immediate and effective measures against these terrorists. And bring tranquility , peace and harmony to the nation.
GHAZAN KHAN Nov 04, 2009 05:40am
To eliminate terrorists is not a difficult task for the powerful army of Pakistan it needs only political will of the government. The present government of Asif Zardari seems determined to root out terrorism and therefore success has been achieved in Malakand and Swat. Inroads are also being made in South Waziristan and hopefully the terrorists will be defeated and eliminated from there too. After Waziristan operation they should also start operation against various extremist Islamic groups. These groups are more dangerous then the Pakhtoon Taliban These groups are involved in giving shelters, protection and support to these terrorists. One of the terrorists involved in attack on Manawa police center addmitted in public that he was residing with these groups.
NK Nov 06, 2009 03:43am
What way of life are we talking about. I think our only way of life is corruption.
Ahmed Nov 23, 2009 01:08am
Can someone tell me what is meant by the pakistani way of life? I was always under the impression that Pakistan was founded as an Islamic republic, created for the preservation of rights and justice for its inhabitants, which can only truly come about through the Shariah. But what went wrong?, have any of the leaders truly worked towards this?. Today decades on we find them calling for democracy, a secular state which promises it's people to be the solution of their troubles. Pakistan has no one to blame but itself for the situation it finds itself in, it has sold the verses of Allah for a miserable gain, it's leaders continue to dupe the nation one after another while they build their palaces from blood stained dollars. As for the modern day Pakistani, the perception of Islam is cloudy and a distorted one, only an extreme interpretation by which the western media has succeeded in freeing them from the slavery of Allah to the slavery of nationalism and democracy. I fear that the country my parents are from will be one day be lost to western values.