By Nadeem Piracha
As the country’s electronic media and drawing-rooms buzz with the ins and outs of the Kerry-Lugar Bill, yet another suicide terrorist attack ripped through the already devastated and blood-soaked streets of Peshawar.
Some would say such attacks were imminent in the light of the Army’s affirmative action against barbarians called the Taliban, and especially after the leader of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan’s leader, Baitullah Mehsud was killed in a drone attack last month, but there is no justification whatsoever for the knee-jerk manner the mainstream Pakistani media handles such a threat.
The question is, why in the face of such a threat and destruction do we casually steer away our intellectual and emotional energies towards abstract and rhetorical issues such as ‘sovereignty’ and ‘self-reliance,’ when we as a nation have exhibited such helplessness in addressing and arresting the more tangible threat and issue of mass terrorism?
Debates about lofty ideals and desires of national autonomy and ‘ghairat’ seem rather frivolous and hollow in a country imprisoned by its own delusional pretensions of being a ‘nuclear Islamic power;’ always trapped and forcibly obliged to flex its withering muscles against big bad superpowers, while behaving like utter cowards and false supermen when it comes to the question of terrorism.
Over and over again, many Pakistanis, their politicians, their glorified media personalities and holy men have tried to ignore the issue, treating it as a secondary phenomenon compared to the ‘more pressing issue’ of Asif Ali Zardari’s wealth, Altaf Hussain’s self-imposed exile and Meera’s domestic ordeal – as if trying their level best to obscure the issue of terrorism only because the bloodshed that takes place in the name of God might ridicule the already ridiculous notions of political Islam that the state of Pakistan has been flaunting for so many years now.
To defend all that started to socially and politically de-evolve in the spheres of religion, state and society during the Zia-ul-Haq dictatorship in the 1980s, a number of lunatics in the shape of discarded politicians, conspiracy theorists, TV anchors and maulvies can be heard loudly distracting the people’s attention from the threat that Pakistan faces from within. They either start blaming imagined intrigues plotted outside Pakistan or they shamelessly start defending murderers and barbarians as helpless and hapless consequences of poverty and injustice.
Can’t we already see that it is these lunatics that continue to be given vital space in the mainstream media to go on glorifying the ‘brave deeds’ of the barbarians, going as far as (rather audaciously) linking these deeds with us Pakistanis’ oh-so-noble cry for sovereignty?
With thousands that continue to die so harrowingly in bomb blasts and suicide attacks year after year, Pakistanis still consider terrorism to be a secondary problem?
Are we mad? That’s what it seems. The gruesome insanity of sectarian clashes and terrorism in the fine name of God across the last three decades is bound to have impacted our collective sense of sanity. By tomorrow each one of us who is not apparently a bearded maniac, will forget about this attack and tragedy as well, and move back to our fixation with imagined enemies and the political soap operas that we love to create about famous politicians.
Within a matter of days, we will jump from silently watching the devastation of the blast on the TV, to cursing Zionists, Hindus and the Americans, to cracking jokes about Meera and eventually nodding in thoughtless appreciation the hatred and the accepted forms of psychosis spouted and exhibited by harebrained showmen whom we call ‘scholars,’ ‘analysts’ and ‘preachers.’
We all know about the why’s and who’s of terrorism in Pakistan. And yet, those who were lucky to survive terrorist attacks, or those whose loved ones were maimed so mercilessly in these attacks, we will go on wagging our fingers telling them they died because we are not good Muslims, or they died because certain elusive enemies of Islam are out to destroy our country and religion.
Those willing to point out the real perpetrators will at once be denounced as being western puppets and agents of anti-Pakistan/Islam elements. It is as if the few who are ready to speak out the truth in this respect, loiter among a milieu of mass delusion and denial, and a society that has collapsed from being a neurotic mess to becoming an almost incurable bundle of noble-sounding psychosis. Couple this state of being with a collective love affair we have with nuclear devises, all I can say is God have mercy on us all.