Raza Habib Raja
One of my very good friends from USA wanted to come to Pakistan. Before leaving I told him that I would get back and then let him know. And now with this latest killings of tourists, who is going to come here? I have to now actually beg my friend not to come.
Every time Pakistan surprises me with its ability to achieve new lows. During the past five years, I have seen Shiite massacre, attacks on Christians, countless suicide bombings and killing of liberal politicians. And overarching all this mayhem has been a sickening state of denial and apologetic defense. In denial mode, our “bright” mostly middleclass Pakistanis simply attribute everything to foreign powers whereas the apologists try to construe extremism as simply a reaction. The deniers often interpret extremism as a western cultivated menace to defame Islam or “weaken” Pakistan. On the other hand, some idiots actually link suicide bombing in markets, school buses and shrines with American presence and drones.
Although I have unfortunately become used to this non sense, but killing of tourists in Northern Areas, is shameful by even “high” standards for which Pakistan is already famous for. The word disgusting perhaps does not even do justice to it. By the way, Pakistanis have always considered China to be their best and all weather friend. At least three of the killed were Chinese. This merciless killing of our so called best friends is an indicator how “caring” these monsters are.
I started my professional career in that area as a development economist in the year 2000. That part of Pakistan is extremely beautiful and attracts a lot of foreign tourists. While it has witnessed sectarian violence but tourists have always been spared. The tourism money is the life line of the area as it accounts for a substantial part of its commercial activities.
This is the day, I want to shout as loudly as I can: I am ashamed to be a Pakistani. And let me tell you that this shame is only partially because tourists were killed. I am ashamed mostly because of the continuing denial and apologetic defense.
As the news spread rapidly, I watched Pakistanis getting shocked and disgusted. However, rather than feeling angry at the perpetuators many of us are still either attributing this to foreign powers or trying to find answers in drones. I had the chance of visiting one and two social websites, where many commentators though expressing horror were busy either construing it as a conspiracy to defame Pakistan or even worse to link it with drone attacks.
Now the funny aspect is that TTP again has claimed responsibility. When I pointed this out, I was told that TTP itself is a foreign creation and does not contain “true” Muslims. But much more dangerous than the deniers are the apologists, whose political chief is Imran Khan.
According to this group, these incidences are nothing but a “reaction” to US war in Afghanistan and the “merciless” killings by the US drones are leading to this reaction. Now exactly how drones become responsible for killing of ordinary Pakistani citizens and also foreigners is something I completely fail to understand. Assuming that drones are radicalizing people, then how come Pakistani citizens are being made target instead of US soldiers?
The fact is that Pakistani population and foreign tourists are being targeted as a pressure tactic by militants to force the Pakistani government yield to their demands. If it is a “reaction”, it is a calculated and cold blooded one and not at all the sort which dimwits like Imran Khan are alleging.
And these militants are being helped by these so called moderate Muslims who end up giving them soft support by taking the focus away from them through denial or misplaced allegations on USA.
And rather than making our mind to fight them, our government ( PML N) and opposition (PTI) are literally appeasing them. Every violent incident targeting Pakistanis leads to increased pleading by these two parties to US to stop drone attacks. In this entire process, militants keep on getting positive feedback for their actions. They get reassured that through violence they can force Pakistani government to yield to their demands.
Even if we assume that USA stops such attacks and militants stop the suicide attacks in return, that frankly is not a victory but a shameful defeat. After all their purpose has been met. And in the process, their belief about our weakness has been ratified.
That will be their victory not ours..
But does it matter to us?? I look around and find that it does not. This is a shameful existence we are gradually accepting for ourselves while chanting hollow and hypocritical slogans against USA.
Yes no one will come to Pakistan and frankly no one should come to Pakistan. It is not the most dangerous place alone but also a lunatic asylum