Millennium Post

Putting up strong fight

Putting up strong fight
Twenty-five-year-old Fizza Malik began her career as a legal practitioner on 1 March at the Islamabad district court, after graduating from the Islamabad School of Law last year under a distance learning programme with the UK’s University of North Umbria. But on 3 March, the charming youth had her mundane innings tragically terminated following a twin suicide attack in the first hours of court business. It was natural that Pakistan’s media and social networks were up on their feet in a rare feat of sobriety outpouring grief, which was prominently telecast by BBC Urdu service correspondent Iram Abbasi. Grief-stricken Asad Ali, her brother, said, ‘Terrorism took my sister away – no brother could feel his sister is safe, and her mother, crying profusely, quipped, ‘My Fizza was so beautiful she didn’t have to die so young. She used to love Pakistan so much that she never wanted to settle abroad. But who knew her own country will become her killer?’ The killers, in their twenties, who exterminated 11 persons in all – including Islamabad Additional Sessions Judge Rafaqat Ahmad Khan Awan, belonged to a little known group, Ahrar-ul-Hind, a splinter faction out of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan. ‘We claim responsibility for the attack, we are an independent group and have no links with TTP,’ said the caller, claiming the responsibility, through telephonic message to leading dailies of Pakistan.

The TTP, through a promptly issued statement, issued by spokesperson Shahidullah Shahid, distancing itself from the incident, but it can’t morally dissociate itself from the phenomenon of terrorism, which is financially inspired by alien interests, as the Ahrar-ul-Hind spokesman stated in clear terms, ‘we were a part of TTP earlier but now we operate independently.’ So the killers were groomed by TTP, which habitually recruits young people who are frustrated in a darkening milieu of joblessness. At least 460 people were killed in Pakistan including 241 civilians, 86 Security Force personnel and 133 militants in January this year alone, according to partial data compiled by the South Asia terrorism portal True Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, but the ‘terror industry’ was established by the military-feudal interests of Pakistan whose primary intention was to export mujahideen to neighbouring countries like India and Afghanistan to secure Pakistan’s perceived ‘strategic interests.’ The TTP thrived in that schema. The TTP was created in the aftermath of the Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) operations in 2007 to transform Pakistan into a terror state. The seven-year-old terrorist outfit has not given up its politics and business of terrorists but it continues to be backed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan who urged the government to resume peace dialogue with Taliban. The PTI chief also said that if the talks failed and anybody tried to forcefully impose any system in Pakistan, he would himself take up the gun in resisting the terrorists. But all this is a glib talk and Khan did not say he would take on the TTP in a counter-terrorist way. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took initiative through a peace process in January-end but more than 110 were killed after that. But the TTP demands that it be allowed to set up an office in Pakistan. The PTI serves as the go-between in as much as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa minister of health and information, Shaukat Yousafzai, belonging to the PTI, offered to help the terrorist outfit set up Taliban office in the KPK province help peace process. The authority of TTP brass is on the wane among various militant groups, associated with it. Which is why, sceptics among political analysts, assume the PTI wants to act as a saviour of TTK.

The split-away-faction of TTP, proudly owning responsibility for twin blasts, is against peace negotiations, arguing that it would be a breach of Islam. Almost exactly, the TTP used to shoot down suggestions for dialogue with the government in Islamabad. So many civil rights activists whose genuine intention for making Pakistan a free and fearless democracy is beyond doubts consider PTI’s over-enthusiastic initiative with a pinch of salt. Moreover, although the TTK declared a one-month ceasefire, it is yet to come out with an assurance to join the mainstream politics through an amicable legal process.

The PTI supremo is right that the loss Pakistan has been suffering in counter-terrorist strikes in North Waziristan, but the authorities can’t expect success with a soft stance. Pervez Musharraf rightly told in an interview to New Statesman two years ago: ‘If you are weak, anyone can come and kick you.’ One has to think of the next of kin of hundreds of victims of terrorist strikes that halt normal socio-economic programmes. Leftwing intellectual and labour organiser Farooq Sulehri in an article, tersely commented, ‘During the hearing on the case of suicide attack on Islamabad kutchehry (district courts), the Supreme Court was informed by the agitated Islamabad lawyers that the cops did not fire on the gun-wielding attackers. Instead, these cops informed us that their guns are good for nothing guns. We cannot fire with them,’ the advocates reported to His Highness, the mighty Chief Justice of Supreme Court.

If nuclear Pakistan’s Islamabad police are as ill-resourced and as non-violent as the bunch of activists running Mazdoor Jeddojuhd, we don’t need Mirza Ghalib’s idiomatic Brahmin to predict ye saal (bhi) acha hay [for Taliban, of course!].

IPA
Sankar Ray

Sankar Ray

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