35 dead and 175 injured – the numbers may increase..
As if the recent acts of violence and an atmosphere of fear was not enough, the butchers have attacked Lahore’s oldest and grandest shrine – also known as Data Saheb. Thursday night is the time when thousands visit this shrine to pray and offer their respects to Hazrat Usman Hajwery, a Sufi who has been known as the protector of the city and the generous guide who is believed to have blessed countless generations.
This is a barbaric attack and should serve as a wake up call. Data Saheb’s shrine is not just another crowded place – it represents a millenia of tolerant Sufi Islam which is directly under attack by the puritans.Last year, there were threats and the government had closed the place for a day or two. This time the worst of nightmares has come true.
How long will we be mere spectators and see our great city blown to bits – culturally and physically. This is time for hard, concrete action and a major crackdown on all terrorist outfits that are operating in the country especially the Punjab wit impunity.
How long shall we remain in a state of denial – as if there is no problem within Pakistan and all acts of terror are perpeterated by the Indians, Jews and the Americans. Continue reading
These were ordinary people struggling for livelihoods. What was their fault to have been brutally used as fodder in this gruesome Great Game of power, violence and territory? About time this menace is addressed and Pakistan is saved.
Islamabad, Aug.21 (ANI): At least sixty people were killed and over 80 others were injured in two suicide bomb blasts outside Pakistan’s main military arms factory in Wah Cantonement on Thursday.
Preliminary investigations revealed that the attackers blew themselves up almost simultaneously outside two gates of the sprawling factory complex in Wah Cantonment, said to be one of Pakistan’s most sensitive installations.
According to The News, the bombers were on foot and they exploded themselves less than a minute apart.
The Pakistani Ordnance Factories at Wah is a cluster of about 20 industrial units producing artillery, tank, and anti-aircraft ammunition for the Pakistan armed forces. It employs around 25,000 to 30,000 workers.
Police and security forces cordoned off the area while security has been put on high alert across the country.
Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and Co-chairman, Pakistan People’s Party, Asif Ali Zardari strongly condemned the deadly blasts.
Pak Tea House published a book review of Asad’s book on suicide bombings. In continuation of that series we are posting Khaled Ahmed’s review of the same book. Those interested may wish to check these links on suicide bombings series: narratives of terror; a liberal reaction here; and a psychological analysis here (Raza Rumi)
BOOK REVIEW: A ‘counter-view’ of suicide-bombing by Khaled Ahmed
Pilots that bombed innocent German civilians during the war were doing the right thing under law and could be not be dubbed terrorists, but today’s militant who kills innocent people through suicide is committing terrorism
Talal Asad is a professor of anthropology at the Graduate Centre of the City University of New York, and has written on aspects of suicide-bombing that most writers on the subject ignore or are not qualified to discuss. He says the idea of the war on terror has developed in the United States, and the theorising on ‘just war’ has unfolded there and in the UK and Israel. He disagrees with some of the assumptions made at these centres and wishes to posit that ‘creation of terror and perpetration of atrocities are aspects of militant action in the unequal worlds we inhabit and the emotion with which we justify or condemn particular acts of death dealing’.
An idea of how he proceeds can be had from how he proceeds from the problem of culpability of Saddam Hussein. That he killed and bombed Iranians and his own people should be understood in the light of the fact that his culpability was watered down by the fact that the US supplied him intelligence against Iran and Europe helped build his chemical weapons. He thinks that a suicide-bomber acts to win approval from his community. One can expand the concept of the community to include the state which actually expects its soldiers to kill themselves if need be for the sake the motherland. This has nothing to do with the legality of the war that the state may be undertaking. Continue reading
By Raza Rumi
An overwhelming majority of Pakistan’s population finds itself hostage to narratives of ‘terror’ that are either alien to its ethos or are constructed by its home-grown theologians and opinion-makers. This is not to say that the issue of suicide bombings is easy to define and understand. They are essentially complex and located in decades of Pakistan’s evolution into a society that is difficult yet again to label: Islamic in name, struggling to be democratic and a republic it is not, well, not yet.
If we take the viewpoint of liberals, it is our war as much as a war of others. If we were to hear the west, it is about countering terror and preserving world peace; and if we listen to Pakistan’s right it is someone else’s battle fought on our land — the land of the pure lest we forget.
Where does this leave the confused, battered citizen who now has to strive for personal security among other daily struggles of existence? There are no clear answers and if one were to probe further, the questions are as murky as their geneses.
One thing is clear though: to identify the recurrent suicide bombings in the name of theological, tribal and imperial grievances is at best a half-truth. The genie is far more complex than a response to the reductionist narrative of “war against terror” and such other imperial phraseology. At the core of this phenomena, if one were to be rather blunt, lies an exclusive, bigoted ‘ideology’ of a few men of holy intentions orchestrating a script written by others. Continue reading
Filed under Citizens, Democracy, Islamism, Justice, North-West Frontier Province, Politics, public policy, Religion, Society, state, Terrorism
By Dr Muhammad Naim Siddiqi & Dr Abdul Wahab Yousafzai
TWO articles published in these pages (of the newspaper DAWN) made some observations about suicide bombers. In one Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy (March 9) argued that human rights activists and religious scholars are hesitant to condemn suicide bombing because of its association with Islam. He added, “As the mullah’s indoctrination gains strength, the power to reason weakens.”
He further said, “For them [Americans] it [operating lethal drones] is a way to defend their country. What is harder to understand is how the Pakistani suicide bomber can kill people who are so close to him in so many ways.”
Dr Amin Gadit (Feb 26) explained the phenomenon in these words: “A disturbed neurochemistry of the brain cannot be ruled out either, as a number of them are either depressed or have suffered from depression.”
The history of ‘homicide by suicide’ shows that ever since two Jewish revolutionary groups were associated with this sort of activity in the period 4 BC to 70 AD, suicide bombing has been used as a war strategy by the Germans, Japanese kamikazes, the Palestinians and the Sri Lankans. Since the first suicide bombing took place on Nov 6, 2002 in Pakistan, nearly 2,000 people have died as a result of this form of violence. Suicide bombings can only be understood in reference to the context of individual cases.
As psychiatrists we will restrict ourselves to a psychological examination of this phenomenon. In a word, what prompts suicide bombers to destroy themselves while killing others? Continue reading
Filed under culture, Islam, Islamism, movements, North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan, Politics, psychology, Religion, Society, Terrorism