The five-hour-long siege of Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport by 10 gunmen that claimed 18 more lives, along with the militants, is an unfortunate reminder of the skewed equations between the extremists and their erstwhile benefactors within the system, the military-industrial complex. In a deadly attack eerily reminiscent of 26/11 Mumbai debacle, that included a thwarted attempt to hijack an Emirates plane, militants dressed as a police guards stormed the terminal after opening fire with machine guns and a rocket launcher. While the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility for the dastardly act, there is a much deeper malaise which is now threatening to tear apart the very fabric of civilian life in the country. The terribly debilitating concoction of religious fanaticism, an excessive dependence and emphasis on militarism, as well as chalking out its foreign policy, and indeed deriving all its geostrategic sustenance, from a war-like situation with India chiefly, has been choking Pakistan on its own putrefying grand delusions. It has resulted in inverted priorities for not just the stupendously powerful military appendages of the civilian regime under Nawaz Sharif, but also for the ordinary Pakistani, whose everyday bearing and worldview are impacted upon on a daily basis, asking her to choose between the devil and the deep sea.
Karachi airport attack is a wakeup call for those who proclaim themselves to be the next generation leaders , including the rather messianic and charismatic Imran Khan, whose Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf has been accused of hobnobbing with the fanatics in North West Frontier Province and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. On the one hand, intrepid sections of Pakistani media have openly castigated the corrosive role of the militants and their army or political backers. On the other, jingoism has razed Pakistani public sphere to dust, with any voice of dissent quashed with alarming ruthlessness. Evidently, what has got the Pak Taliban’s goat is the recent overtures and diplomatic niceties shared between Sharif and Modi, which has set the ball rolling for future negotiations. The latest strike proves yet again that vicious violence is the only ideology that the Taliban live by.