The Peshawar Blast: Is There No End?

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

How many more Pakistanis have to die before this godforsaken war comes to an end?  The blast in Pipal Mandi has already claimed a death toll of 87 people and this is before they’ve started to clear the rubble. Frankly I am not going to guess who did it.   I am sick of people smelling a foreign hand and declaring “No Muslim could have done this”.  The hand that placed the bomb and the hand that drove the car to Pipal Mandi and the hand that detonated the bomb were all local hands!   And they were most likely Muslims.

 Who pulls the strings is frankly beyond the scope of this article but what is clear is that the puppets at the end of those long strings are our very own and that Pakistan is now facing the blowback of its so called successful war against the former Soviet Union in Afghanistan.    I do not question the Pakistani establishment’s decision to fight the Afghan War but I do question their strategy but that is the subject of another discussion.  What is important right now is to determine what we will do from here?

The situation is really bleak.  All of us working in office buildings are under a constant threat.   Our children haven’t been able to go to their schools for almost two weeks now.  Most of those schools were scheduled to re-open tomorrow- now they won’t. So many young students will waste this year – so many will miss their admission deadlines for colleges and universities.  Many smart young adults who could have gone to university abroad will default on their conditional admissions.

091028_pakistan

I wonder if those who are hurting Pakistan now understand how they are digging all of us – including themselves- into a hole which shall result in the total and complete annihilation of our people, civilization and way of life.  Only a strong, economically prosperous and educated Pakistan can be of any service to its people and to the Muslim world.   We complain to no end of our backward state, of the fact that we get exploited by western powers etc  but are they- the terrorists- really naive enough to think that by resorting to such acts of desperation they would be able to improve our lot?   If the Western powers are as cold, calculating and heartless as those opposing them portray them, would they give two hoots if 87 Pakistanis die in Peshawar or 100 die in Islamabad or 500 in Karachi?  Some how the logic given by those who support these acts of terror does not gel.

May I remind everyone of a great nation from the very Eastern tip of Asia – which had a military and cultural tradition far more rigid and far more superior to ours-  which rose to become one of the strongest economies of the world.   The Japanese after utter and total destruction at the hands of the allies in the second world war put their head down,  renounced methods that had failed and within decades managed to create a nation state far superior to that of its aggressors.

We must therefore learn a lesson from this.  The way of militancy is counter-productive unless ofcourse the terrorists are merely acting on some sort of collective suicidal instinct.   For god’s sake,  if you truly believe in what you claim to be fighting for i.e. liberation of Islamic lands from foreign exploitation, stop this self flagellation and acts of masochism and sadism now.   Make education, economy and scientific learning your weapons instead.  Only these will truly liberate the Muslim World from dependency.

26 Comments

Filed under Pakistan, Peshawar, Terrorism, War On Terror

26 responses to “The Peshawar Blast: Is There No End?

  1. Majumdar

    Yasser,

    While attacks on GHQ, FIA etc are understandable, some of the other recent attacks have been on completely innocent and unarmed civilians like this ghastly incident. This reminds me of some of the incidents in the later days of the Khalistan struggle, killing of unarmed civilians- Hindus and Sikhs both. Eventually that turned even those who had some sympathy for the cause.

    What do the Talibs hope to gain by incidents like this?

    Regards

  2. Bloody Civilian

    re.“No Muslim could have done this”

    what is it that a muslim can or cannot do that does not equally apply to a human? are muslims not human? or are they the only humans?

    now if people were to say that “No human could have done this”. it would be understandable, at least. and the naiveté could be ignored. but to say what is being said is just another ugly symptom of the disease: denial. the denial is more than just about who the enemy is. it is also about what the enemy is.

    @majumdar

    forces like the taliban have equal impulsive and explosive powers and tendencies. equally destructive of whoever and whatever happens to be in the vicinity. they live, kill and die in fast-motion. no time for strategy… it rapidly becomes about little more than the (sense of) power, money and adrenaline that comes from blood and gore.

  3. Peshawari

    Yasser,

    I don’t even have words anymore. What do I say to people now for carrying one with their ‘normal lives’ which I have been advocating for so many weeks now. My mom luckily survived the blast today, shuker alhamdulilah. She was at Meena Bazar then. But I personally know several there who lost their moms, fathers or siblings……

    I pass that place daily when I go to work . I live at footsteps from pipal mandi, close to Qissa khwaani and near Dabgari and I don’t live here alone. This place is the heart of Peshawar.

    Education, prosperity, learning lessons just sounds like plain shit at the moment. I need words to get people out of the ‘fear’ we are in right now. I need that for myself and for others.

    Can I go to work tomorrow? Can I let anyone else to leave home now?

    Give me words to push up the strength again…..

  4. D_a_n

    It seems to me that the attacks of the last few weeks, especially in Peshawar have shown that the Mullahs have now given up on trying to co-opt the general public to their side…
    The sympathy they enjoyed amongst the confused and cowardly populace vanished March-April of this year and the battle for Swat.

    However, what seems like success for the Taliban at the moment is going to be the cause of their downfall in the medium to long term.

    Just like Iraq, the Takfeeri’s have just about over played their hand. Still just about unfortunately. I am certain, that however long it takes to win, late 2009-early 2010 will be marked in the history books as the beginning of the end of the Takfeeri Scum that has managed to latch onto us.

    This awful carnage might somehow turn out to be a most severe penance that the Pakistani people that will open their eyes to the evil that resides in their midst.

    The PA is not the Afghan Army nor the ill led, unmotivated and out gunned Nato/ISAF and that is evident from the battle field this last year but that is NOT enough. The civilian leadership is astoundingly absent. There are no where to be seen. There has not even been a pithy address to the general populace to explain what we are up against. That we are in the fight of our F***ing lives and we’d better man up and make stand for what kind of Pakistan we want. What we have seen from the duly elected leadership and the Opposition politico’s is pure dereliction of duty and it seems that we have been thrown to the wolves. Not an even an attempt is being made to somehow, someway rally people, get them to take ownership of this war. Similarly, civil society the newly discovered force from the Lawyers movement is not really seen (at least to my eyes) pushing the government to show SOME leadership…..
    Good Lord I dont even know of any massive blood donation drive for the PA (required or not, such things can be used to galvanize people and get them together)…
    The political leadership is not even seen taking a chopper to the front line….a photo Op. Something. anything that shows some spine.
    It’s no wonder that people look to people like zaid hamid for some hyper nationalistic uber jingo BS. From the people that I have spoken too, that is why they watch and listen to him. In a bizzare way he makes them feel like we have some sort of a spine.
    It is pathetic. They have been screaming to be given the right to lead. When the time has some, they have literally abandoned us. Waiting it out and then decide amongst themselves to see if we survive (and thus them) or they flee or probably in the case of people like NS join with the animals should they over run us. This is our tragedy. Led by compromised pygmies, glorified shop keepers and people whose singular achievement in life has been to own and inherit land……
    As I write this, I believe the death toll has crossed 100. The heart break and the rage welling inside has probably not allowed me to write a coherent post…
    but despite all this, we will win. It might be a victory like the British on Bunker Hill but we’ll come out standing…We must. We have no where else to go.

  5. Rashid

    @YLH
    “For god’s sake, if you truly believe in what you claim to be fighting for i.e. liberation of Islamic lands from foreign exploitation, stop this self flagellation and acts of masochism and sadism now. Make education, economy and scientific learning your weapons instead. Only these will truly liberate the Muslim World from dependency.”

    Roots of all those who are killing their fellow Muslims is based in their understanding of religion. I am not sure you can change this attitude, unless you bring drastic changes in their understanding of religion. Please remember, problem is with understanding, and NOT religion.

  6. Gabban

    Yasser bhai,

    Let us all keep faith in Allah… let us all pray for well being of people of Pakistan and the country.

    May He give strength to the bereaved to bear the loss of the loved ones.

    May realisation dawn on the perpetrators for their dastardly acts and repent.

    May the army and air force of Pakistan annihilate all the terrorists.

    Amen.

    Peshawari bhai,

    May you, your family, relatives, friends and people of this great city be safe.

    Please, aap aur hum himmat nah haarein.

    Ya Ali !

  7. Aliarqam

    Those wo commit such actions are muslims…..they are neo kharijites….
    They are frustrated and these attacks on the innocents revealed that….
    They have nothing to give the humanity except
    Ready to live under their fanatic principles or be prepared to Die….

    Pa Pekhawar K Parhar Ma Jorawa
    La Da Kaabal Parhar warghaley Na Dey….

  8. May rationality prevail among those that are witnessing this carnage, and may the grieving find the strength to bear their irreparable loss. Playing the blame game can lead into rumor mongering which will tear the country apart more than it already is so thinking and rational minds are the need of the hour. Pakistan needs both mental physical tenacity like never before! An inspiring leader could perhaps turn things around….
    Please stay safe.

  9. Bloody Civilian

    D_a_n

    every sentence of yours is painfully true.

    democratic leadership is about building consensus around what it believes to be good and necessary for the country. otherwise they can neither claim to be democratic nor the legitimate leadership.

    i’m totally against a dictator dragging people by the nose, in whichever direction, because it always ends badly…. esp for a large, multi-ethnic country like pakistan where only democracy can work. but this leadership doing nothing more than ‘building consensus’ in western capitals, instead of at home, is either apathetic or cowards. unforgivable, either way.

    they reluctantly visited the idp’s. sharif has not been west of abottabad (with the exception of the visit to the idp’s). they ought to be thoroughly ashamed of not visiting the troops. they have failed in creating consensus and solidarity with the troops and honouring them. the mainstream leadership having abdicated its responsibilty, your explanation of how the vacuum is being filled by crackpots like zaid hamid is more than plausible.

  10. Bloody Civilian

    yasser

    very well put: even if there is someone else pulling the strings… if we destroy the puppets… we don’t have to worry about who pulls the strings. strings can’t do any damage if there are no puppets at the end of them. it’s high time the nation stood shoulder to shoulder and concentrated on just that.

  11. Puzzled

    People talk about democracy or dictatorship as if these were some branded line of clothing – one-size-fits-all.

    Time has come when we realize that it is not a choice between one form of government and another. Its between peace and anarchy!

    The author of the article commendably focused on Japanese nation. Would it be a fair supposition that if Pakistan were in the situation that Japanese were in, Pakistanis would have pressed on until the death of its last civilian? Who is wiser then? Who is right then?

    It is a debate that may never have a conclusion.

    We all know that military governments have ruled Pakistan for 55% of our independent days.

    Please someone out there, do some research, put out a number of civilian casualties under both civilian and military governments! Put out a number on the Nation’s wealth stolen by each of civilian and military governments! Lets do a fair comparison!

    There are people who say that democracy is worth any price. I’d like to ask them, is it worth the life of your son, your daughter, your father, or your mother?

    What kind of country are we living in? 100s of people die, and there is not one resignation by anyone in the government!

    One thing for sure ladies and gentlemen, Pakistan is not ready for democracy yet! We ought to bring ourselves to the level where we can demand the ‘sacred’ institution of democracy – the level where one human life is important enough to rattle government of the day.

    Bring back the military, bring back the peace!

  12. yasserlatifhamdani

    Puzzled,

    First of all… what happened in Bangladesh happened under a military government. Pakistan went to war with India twice under a military government. Pakistan fought a third and potentially disastrous war in Afghanistan under a military government. The casualty figures for military regimes are much higher… so what you are saying is pointless and ridiculous.

    Secondly what is going on right now is also the result of the policies undertaken by General Zia… a military dictator.

    So I am not sure what you are smoking but that is some strong shit man!

  13. karun1

    Somwhere in ayesha siddiqa’s article i had read that the punjabi middle class donates generously to these militant/terrorist causes. can they continue to do so even after such carnage? Do they not get the point? Or is the support for Taliban fast withering in the society?(i am not talking of the Intelligentsia)

  14. PMA

    My Dear Yassar Lateef Hamadani,

    What ‘Puzzled’ (October 29, 2009 at 9:32 am) has done is simply disagree with you. But let me point out to you parts of your (October 29, 2009 at 9:47 am) response to his comments.

    “so what you are saying is pointless and ridiculous.”

    “So I am not sure what you are smoking”

    “that is some strong shit man!”

    Please take a moment and think about it. Was it necessary for you to take a low road! Please realize that by doing so you have already diluted whatever that you wished to achieve in your article at the first place. I say that as a well wisher and as a sincere friend. Please think about it.

  15. Bloody Civilian

    karun1

    is siddiqa saying that the donations are made directly to the gun-totting terrorists? or to religious charities and madrassahs, some of whom may be acting as mere conduits for funding the militants?

  16. I have always fought against ‘the hidden hand’ theory; and I do believe Muslims are capable of as much barbarianism as the other; I do believe that the recent bombings show that there are other ‘players’ in this destruction of Pakistan.
    I do not believe in the TTP or Al-Qaida philosophy … i do believe they can slit a person’s throat without batting an eyelid; but I also believe that when they deny having done something, they are telling the truth. Strange but true, I do believe in their ‘honesty’.

  17. D_a_n

    @ zeenath Jahan…..

    Pray tell what they have done to earn your trust?

    Please know that by saying what you say, you add your voice to the national delusion and choose to stand with them. Think about that, you stand with them….

  18. D-a-n …
    Think about it… when u demonize the enemy … u cannot understand them … and when u cannot understand them, u cannot win a war against them… because when u do that, u either under or over estimate them….
    like i said, the TTP etc will slit a man’s throat without batting an eylid … but they will tell the truth as though their life depended on it… THAT is what i trust… i trust them to tell the truth because they are not ashamed of what they do … their actions may horrify us, but they feel they are fighting the ‘good fight’ … as does everyone who kills another for country or any other ideology … just becoz they believe in something different…
    no one can kill another for ‘king or country’ unless they believe they are fighting the ‘good’ fight….that is human nature, even at its most bestial, it has to feel it is doing the ‘right’ thing…

  19. karun1

    @bc

    well that may very well be the case…but without sounding too offensive – are they really that naive?

    but then dont know, nothing is the same as it appears nowadays.

  20. karun1

    @Zeenath

    2 points:

    1) Nothing is ‘precious than human life, no ideology, no truth,no religion, no bullshit!!

    2) killing soldiers is a different story , killing unarmed civilians, women and children is possibly the most heinous crime in this world.

    yes agree with you that these terrorists have great love for their ideas and ideology but pls note that this love is the most perverted and psycopathic love ever seen on this face of earth.

  21. Bloody Civilian

    are they really that naive?

    those acting as conduits are not. so can’t really blame those, who are not always that educated and in many cases not that rich either, thinking they’re helping the poor and sick.

  22. @karun1 … u r absolutely right that their ideology etc is perverted … i am not an apologist for radicals of any persuasion … my comment is about something totally different …
    like i said, you have to know the enemy to be able to defeat the enemy …and demonizing them is, in my opinion, being simplistic…it would be easier if the world were black and white, for then we would not have had to struggle with all the shades of gray… but i digress….
    the intention of my first post was that if they said they did not do a particular thing, then i tend to believe them … for they are not shy of claiming responsibility for their dastardly deeds…
    they kill without remorse, but i dont know if they would deny doing something they planned and were proud of… simplistic?… maybe… cruel? definitely… cold blooded? sure!

  23. karun1

    @zeenat

    well if there is no shred of shame or remorse left in them for such dastardly acts, i cannot classify them as human beings. for me the only thing which is the proof of us being human is compassion.

    for me then they are completely black, no shades of grey.the act of killing ,cold blooded murder is the golden test , from where you leave the realm of grey and enter the jungle of ‘pitch black’

    and so if they are robots who are malfunctioning all i can think is how to destroy their nuts and bolts

  24. Trip

    “Zeenath Jahan
    October 30, 2009 at 3:34 pm
    @karun1 … u r absolutely right that their ideology etc is perverted … i am not an apologist for radicals of any persuasion … my comment is about something totally different …
    like i said, you have to know the enemy to be able to defeat the enemy …and demonizing them is, in my opinion, being simplistic…it would be easier if the world were black and white, for then we would not have had to struggle with all the shades of gray… but i digress….
    the intention of my first post was that if they said they did not do a particular thing, then i tend to believe them … for they are not shy of claiming responsibility for their dastardly deeds…
    they kill without remorse, but i dont know if they would deny doing something they planned and were proud of… simplistic?… maybe… cruel? definitely… cold blooded? sure!”

    You are repeating yourself without explaining WHY you think they speak the truth when in reality in war ALL parties lie. Why these people any different? Because they belong to your religion? Why did Osama deny initially when surely he was extremely proud of 9/11?

    This is just typical subversion by taliban supporters. You exemplify the problem.

  25. PMA

    Pakistan’s growing anti-US anger:

    By Aleem Maqbool
    BBC News, Islamabad

    Recently, while Pakistan’s government may have been saying the things that the White House wants to hear, the country’s media and public have often been openly hostile towards the United States.

    US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s charm offensive this week suggests that she recognises that.

    Town hall-style meetings with students in Lahore and round-table debates with senior news broadcasters in Islamabad may be seen as steps in the right direction.

    ‘Go America Go’

    But it is likely to take much more to turn around Pakistani mistrust of American intentions.

    “Americans want this country to face anarchy,” says Munawar Hassan, the head of Pakistan’s largest religious party, Jamaat-e-Islami.

    He has just finished giving another press conference in his “Go America Go” tour.

    “They will then say that the atomic weapons of Pakistan are unsafe and that the United Nations should come in,” he continues.

    “They want to deprive Pakistan of its nuclear programme.”

    Mr Hassan goes on to talk of his anger at American air strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas and at the planned expansion of the US embassy in Islamabad.

    But these days, in Pakistan, it is not just from the mouths of Islamist politicians like Mr Hassan that you hear feelings like that expressed.

    Not far away, Hamid Mir is in his office in the Geo TV building, preparing to go on air.

    His show, Capital Talk, is one of the most influential news talk shows in the country.

    ‘Mirror of society’

    Mr Mir has accused the US of surreptitiously increasing the number of marines in Pakistan and allowing private security agencies like Blackwater to operate here.

    He says he has no problem with accusations that Capital Talk is anti-American.

    “The whole of Pakistan is anti-American,” he says.

    “The talk shows are just a mirror of Pakistani society. It would be very easy for me to be the darling of Washington, but then I will become the villain for my viewers and the common people in Pakistan.”

    “ We have political instability, economic instability and even social instability. We have food scarcity and energy shortages. Pakistanis can’t blame America for all of that ”
    Najam Rafique, Institute of Strategic Studies
    Animosity towards the US seems to have increased since a new bill – widely known as the Kerry-Lugar bill – was passed by Congress.

    It promises a massive injection of aid to Pakistan, but with conditions attached which many Pakistanis feel give the US too much control over their country’s affairs.

    “They say they are our friends,” says Mr Mir. “But through the Kerry-Lugar bill they are trying to convert all of Pakistan into their slave. This is the feeling in Pakistan.”

    On her current trip, Mrs Clinton has gone out of her way to assure Pakistanis that the White House has no interest in micro-managing their country.

    She has said America simply wants to strengthen ties and help Pakistan deal with its considerable militant threat.

    That threat has been horrifically apparent in recent weeks, with a massive series of deadly attacks right across the country. But even many of those affected have little faith in the US.

    Take the Islamic University on the outskirts of Islamabad. Just a week ago, two suicide bombers walked into the campus and blew themselves up. One was at the entrance of the women’s canteen.

    Now female students line up there to light candles, lay flowers and place written messages on the wall for their friends and colleagues who died.

    It was the Taliban who claimed they had carried out the attack, but it is not towards them that anger is being directed.

    “There’s a lot of involvement from America. We feel America is responsible for the blast,” says the first student we speak to. Her friends join in.

    “These are the people spreading terror in Pakistan,” says one.

    “The Taliban are not spreading terror, it is these people, Hillary Clinton and before her Bush. We don’t need America, things were better before they came here.”

    Certainly a lot of the collective mistrust of the US stems from a historic feeling that America uses Pakistan when it wants, and then abandons it.

    Najam Rafique, head of the Americas department at the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad, says it is only natural for America to want to have greater influence in Pakistan.

    “This is not just about the War on Terror,” he says.

    “Pakistan has borders with Iran, whose nuclear programme America wants to keep an eye on. It has direct links to China, with whom America is in open competition, and access to Central Asia, where vast resources are waiting to be tapped.

    “Of course the Americans have their own national interests in mind. If they are moving in terms of securing those interests, why would you blame them?”

    He says that while Pakistanis may have some reasons to doubt US sincerity, it is time for them to stop blaming America for all the country’s ills.

    “We have political instability, economic instability and even social instability. We have food scarcity and energy shortages.

    “Pakistanis can’t blame America for all of that, because a lot of those things are of our own making.”

  26. I think that it’s of no use to ask these questions of fundamentalists or terrorists. The fundamentalists want the annihilation of our people, civilization, and way of life so that they could try to recreate some sort of a pure Islamic civilization that has never existed except perhaps in their own theological fantasies. An economically strong and educated Pakistan is not of any use to them. An educated Pakistan would ask questions and perhaps mock the fundamentalists’ re-interpretations of holy books, their rituals, their beliefs, and their re-creations of history. It’s in their interest to suppress intellect and progress and only permit a limited form of education that supports their own ideas. In their eyes the society in its current form is not moral and faithful and if such a society became economically strong what would that convey? That God rewards the unfaithful? The success of the outside world already undermines their faith so it would be even worse for them to see their own unfaithful lot become educated and successful.

    These questions are meaningless for those who wish to destroy our immoral cultures and create material societies out of immaterial abstract notions of faith and theology that rose out of a tribal bedouins society of early medieval Arabia and which has perhaps outlived its time.