What follows below is a repost. I had originally written this on July 19, 2007 after bomb blasts in Hangu, Hub and Kohat, which had themselves followed at the heels of blasts in Islamabad. Today, we just had two blasts in Rawalpindi with more than 15 people already being reported dead.
The continuing story here is of a nation at war with extremists. It is Pakistanis who are being killed here. Pakistanis who are being targeted. This is vile, this is cowardly and this is inhuman. While we are all distracted by the continuing political circus, the big story here is for Pakistan’s survival and the all-out war that has been declared on Pakistan by extremists and fanatics. The American forces across the Afghan border are not helping and their incursions into Paksitani territory has only led to other innocent Paksitani deaths which adds to the argument of the extremists and has made the politics of dealing with extremism in Pakistan that much more difficult. But, whereever you stand on politics, we must stand with Pakistan in this war and against extremists who have been murdering Paksitanis all over the place.
Suicide attacks today in Hangu, in Hub, in Kohat today.
This adds to the blast in Islamabad a few days ago and many others in the NWFP over the last many days. Even for a part of the world which has gotten tragically used to needless death and murder by suicide killers, this is crossing a threshold. The headline above may seem sensational to some, but is it really.
It is too simple to blame this on the Lal Masjid episode or just on the fact that we have a military government. I must say I get literally ‘sick’ of attempts to turn these massive manifestations of a truly divided society into petty political sloganeering for whatever someon’s political preferences is. Thsi is NOT a time for propaganda; this is a time for real thought and real action. By all of us. This, as we at ATP have repeatedly argued, is a society at war with itself. And the war is now beginning to get much more bloody. The most recent attack (Kohat) was in a mosque. Most have targetted security forces; i.e., the apparatus of the state.
Let me be clear here. There is NOTHING ‘Islamic’ about any of these murderous attacks. This is not just anti-government. This is anti-state. This is anti-Pakistan. Indeed, this is anti-humanity. This in inhuman.
A bomb blast in a mosque of Pathan Lines in Kohat Cantt. killed 11 and wounded several persons Thursday night. Immediately after the explosion, security personnel has cordoned the affected area and nobody is allowed to enter the area. According to the unconfirmed reports, it was a suicide bomb attack. However, the official sources did not confirm it.
On Hub killings:
The blast at RCD Highway in BalochistanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Hub town Thursday claimed 30 lives, while 30 others were wounded in the incident, sources said. Several injured have been admitted at hospitals of Karachi in a critical condition. According to reports suicide bomber detonated the bomb when a convoy of Chinese engineers was passing through the RCD Highway in Hub. The vehicle carrying the Chinese however passed unscathed from the place, while four police mobile vans accompanying the convoy were caught in the blast. After the blast the panic-stricken security guards of Chinese engineers and policemen opened indiscriminate firing killing and wounding several nearby people. Thirty persons including policemen and passersby were killed in the blast, sources said… The huge explosion also destroyed 15 vehicles and motorbikes and damaged 25 nearby houses and shops. Thirty wounded persons were admitted at KarachiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Civil Hospital, while three others were brought to Jinnah Hospital. Four wounded at the Civil Hospital were succumbed to their injuries, hospital sources said.
On Hangu killings:
A suicide bomber rammed explosives laden car with the gate of Police Training College, Hangu killing eight persons and wounding 26 others on Thursday morning. The bomber struck his car to the gate of the college causing eight deaths and injuring 26 others, police sources said. Civil Hospital Hangu has received 26 wounded persons, hospital sources said. Ten wounded persons were in a critical state and emergency has been declared in the hospital, sources added. Police have cordoned off the area and Peshawar-Hangu road has been closed for all traffic.
Writing earlier in The News, I had written that simply cause-and-effect will not do anymore because what we have is a society and state crumbling at its seams. Each doubtful of the other.
… there is the deepening cleavage between state and society. The difference between Lal Masjid and other similar situations — e.g., the 1993 standoff at Waco, Texas — is that in our case the state had such little credibility that each of its actions was deemed suspect by the media and the public. There was constant chatter that this was a ‘topi drama’ orchestrated by intelligence agencies. There were incessant rumours about how the operation was orchestrated. There were unending doubts about its timing. All of this was not simply a display of our inherent cynicism, these were manifestations of a society that has no trust in its state. This was not just a lack of trust in the government, it was a lack of trust in the state. And that is a truly ugly cleavage.
I truly hope I am wrong. But if I am not, then we really need to stop shouting and start thinking. Anger is never a substitute for analysis; and neither is of much use if it does not lead to real action for real change.