Taliban murderers are at it again. An increased rampage of suicide bombings and blasts in Peshawar, in Lahore, in Nowshera, in Hangu, and all over Pakistan. As the operation against them intensifies in the Swat region, they are bringing more terror to the rest of Pakistan. From their statements, they take responsibility for and seem quite proud about killing Pakistanis, murdering Muslims, targeting Mosques, spreading mayhem.
Does this signify an act of desperation on the part of the Taliban, or an act of expansion?
Yesterday it was a blast at a five-star hotel in Peshawar. Today it was the targetted murder of a major anti-Taliban religious leader in Lahore and the destruction of a mosque in Nowshera. But these are just two data points in a continuum of killing Pakistanis, destroying mosques, and massacaring Muslims who disagree with their doctrine of hate that has accelerated recently and is likely to increase even more.
There is little pioint in repeating the gory details of these bouts of murder by the Taliban. We know the details already. And what we know will change soon enough. And more bombs will be added.
It is clear that the Taliban know exactly what they are doing. They are spreading mayhem. They are breeding fear. They are terrorizing Pakistanis. They are doing all this for a reason. The real battle is for the hearts and minds of Pakistanis.
They made the religious argument and that seems to be working less and less for them today. Now they are threatening our daily existence in the attempt to break the will of the public.
The question is: Will they succeed? Will we give in to their terror? Will they be able to scare us – the people of Pakistan – into retreat? Will we bow to their venom and murder?
These are not easy choices for those who actually live where the bombs are blowing up, where limbs are flying, where children are dying. This was always a war on Pakistan that Pakistanis themselves would have to fight. the Taliban are making it ever more personal for ordinary Pakistanis, every day.
The Taliban are hoping we will make the wrong decision. That we will side with our personal safety rather than our national security. Will we?