Guillotining Pakistanis for Pakistan: Collateral Damage to Sponsor Terrorism

Pakistan today experiences one of the worst kinds of terrorist attacks, targeting religious minorities, women and children. Mostly civilians are losing their lives, giving ample logic for the civilian administrators and the military to clamp down on civil and political liberties. Are the administrators trying hard to curb such terrorist activities?

Pakistan has been using terrorism as a state policy, when it targets neighbouring nations, and now they are practicing the same policy against its own citizens to use the victim card as well as blaming the neighbours card. When former General Sharif claimed to have wiped out most of the terrorist and extremist groups from Pakistan, it was a claim that even the Pakistanis found hard to believe. It kept on claiming, amidst the incessant terrorist attacks that Pakistan experienced, that they had no more terrorists and extremist groups.

The present terrorist attack in Sehwan remain to be a glaring example how callously the Pakistani administration takes terrorism. It was reported by many law enforcement agencies that Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA), who has claimed to have carried out the attack, has plans to attack soft targets. The Counter Terrorist Department (CTD) has clearly stated that JuA had itself telegraphed its intent of carrying out attacks against agencies and institutions (On February 13th), the CTD claiming that JuA remain to be one of the major institutions to carry out a terrorist attack in a heavily guarded city of Lahore. But none of the JuA associates were taken into custody, or steps taken to thwart the imminent attack that they threatened to carry out.

In a radicalized Pakistan, can there be a social uprising to save such lives from being used as collateral damage to sponsor state policy?

Pakistan presently is being bludgeoned with an over activist media. To state some that has been grabbing headlines are the incessant news of corruption cases against the government, the fledgling opposition led by newborn and immature politicians along with the innumerable cases of failure of the Pakistani administrators to implement the vision of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). It is followed with the provincial energy blackouts, faulty provincial mergers, the faltering role of the army, the failing role of the civilian administration to tackle day to day civilian administration, the dying cause of Kashmir and the various other lacunas that mars Pakistan today. Having Frankenstein at hand gives the civilian as well as the military administrator the pleasure of hoodwinking the domestic as well as the international masses, of weeping crocodile’s tears of blaming the neighbouring nations breeding terrorism in Pakistan. For the Pakistani administrators, the collateral damage is less than protecting the images that they try to maintain, an ally of the West, laying innumerable sacrifice fighting terrorism, and still fighting to develop the nation. The law-enforcement agencies themselves acknowledge that there has been a surge in the presence of ‘extremists’ in urban spaces in recent times, especially after Operation Zarb-e-Azb claimed to have cleared out extremist groups from tribal lands, countering the claims of General Sharif that Pakistan is freed of terrorism.

Post Sehwan attack, the government while blaming Afghanistan, announced more than 100 dead in various crackdowns. Such crack down saw 18 dead in Karachi, six dead in LandiKotal, three killed in Peshawar as well as ‘sizeable apprehensions’ across all parts of the country, information that the intelligence had before, and allowed such miscreants to function scot free before the attack. No clarifications of how they were targeted or how were they eliminated. It is just a step to pacify the domestic masses that the administration is trying enough, while claiming that they all came from neighbouring nations. Terrorist attacks in the forthcoming week might force the administrators to have more such crackdowns. While crying on Kashmir, they fail to identify that in February 2017 alone, while the commentary is being wrote, 120 Pakistanis have laid their lives for terrorism, all of which emanated from Pakistan itself.

In a radicalized Pakistan, can there be a social uprising to save such lives from being used as collateral damage to sponsor state policy? As per its geo-strategic location and international political shifts, the international front has shown that it will not be able to force Pakistan to abandon its policy on terrorism, for external and internal use. Masood Azhars, Hafeez Saeedsand Dawood Ibrahimswill continue to thrive, be sponsored, nurtured and protected in Pakistan, till their utility isn’t over. Nations might not identify them as terrorists, till the time their value as a strategic tool diminishes, making them part of the collateral damage. Now it is only on the Pakistani masses to rise against the menace to stop the calculated assassination of women and children from Peshawar, Sehwan and all of Pakistan, while bringing an end to the import of terrorism to its neighbours.

Profile photo of Dr. Dhrubajyoti Bhattacharjee
Dr. Bhattacharjee is a Pakistan expert with a leading foreign policy think tank based out of New Delhi.