BY MUJEEB RMN: The Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr.Nawaz Shareef is once again deeply grieved to hear that more 20 innocent Pashtoons have lost their lives, this time in Charsadda, at Bacha Khan University located 25 miles away from the school (APS) where 145 innocent Pashtoons mostly children were butchered in an ambush Dec.2014 carried out in almost the same fashion. The PM yet again issued a typical statement he always keeps ready in his pocket just in case he happens to be abroad if this happens.
The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Umar Mansoor has taken responsibility for the attack. Though for obvious political reasons, another spokesman for the same movement has denied any role in the attack dubbing it against Sharia (really?)
DG ISPR Lt. Gen. Asim Bajwa said the attack was controlled from Afghanistan and that they have asked the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani for cooperation in tracing the attackers. One wonders why these attackers are not intercepted and stopped in the first place. How can they sneak the radars when they are planning or executing it. The same happened after the APS attack. It was said that the perpetrators were controlled from Afghanistan. What should be done and has been done to those who are in Pakistan. The terrorists do not have the technology to fire and kill from hundreds of miles away. How do they reach the target is the question the security agencies should answer.
Former member parliament and human rights activist of ANP (Awami National Party), Bushra Gohar told Walwaley that multiple military operations conducted against terrorists in the past several years but the strategic assets or so called “Good Taliban” feel under no threat. “There are claims that they have been largely successful yet terrorists capabilities to pass through numerous checkpoints & carry out attacks in highly secure areas have not been undermined. The previous series of terrorists attacks clearly show grave intelligence and security lapses and failures” she said.
After the APS attack Pakistan military and political forces joined hands to defeat terrorists and terrorism and vowed before the nation after formulating the so called National Action Plan (NAP) which is not only napping for quite a long time but seems to be in coma since its very birth. The Interior Minister of Pakistan Choudhry Nisar Ali Khan has yet to wake up from his nap and explain why the NAP has not been implemented so far and why the killing of innocent Pashtoons continue on his watch. The only part of the NAP which has seen light of the day so far has been the establishment of the controversial military courts and giving more powers to the already mighty military. The Intelligence agencies of Pakistan have yet to admit their failure in tracking down and thwarting such attacks.
The responsible security agencies, the ministry of interior as well as the Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa government needs to explain to the nation and to the world as to why the top leadership of the Taliban in Pakistan is still intact, except those who have been dispatched by the US drones. We have yet to know how come the “weakened” terrorists successfully plan and execute the attacks whenever, wherever and whichever way they want to. The boldness and not the frequency tells how better training and tactics they have got than those who are fighting them in uniform. The sitting provincial government in KP and the military do not spare a moment where they brag about the frequency of terrorist attacks been brought down.
Every now and then the military claims to have “broken terrorist’s backs” but the terrorists making sure they cause the maximum damage even with their “broken backs”. No doubt the Pakistan army and KP police have lost precious lives fighting this war. But the problem seems to be persisting at the policy level. Ms. Bushra Gohar is of the view that “The policy of using proxies as strategic assets or outsourcing security to these groups remains unchanged”.
Ms.Bushra said “Information about the operations and terrorists killed or captured cannot be verified independently. The operations have created humanitarian crisis with tens of thousands families displaced. Transparency & accountability mechanism of the operations is important”. Taking public in confidence and sharing the truth with them could make them say what they see. Other than that nothing will make them believe the tall claims of weakening the terrorists at the knees.
To add insult to injury, all the head of state, PM. Nawaz Sharif has to say is “the killers have no faith and religion”. I mean seriously? I salute your intellect sir. Is that all you have to say? And yes a couple of more pet sentences most of the political leaders have memorized for such occasions are “No one will be allowed to take law into their hands” , “Terrorists will not be allowed to kill innocent citizens (as if the terrorists ask for an NOC before killing innocent people)”, ” We will defeat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations”, “I strongly condemn this attack”, Nobody questions him or others following such statements.
Obviously the terrorists do have religion, they do have faith Mr.Prime Minister and that is what they are dying and killing for. Their masterminds may have different agendas than those who are blowing themselves up. Could be gaining power via terrorizing the locals or attracting clients, occupying the land and resources, political share, making money etc. but unambiguously those fighting in the lower cadres for terrorists are in the frontline and are die hard Muslims with the dream of ruling the world by means of terror. They have been brainwashed in their training camps and in some madrassas not only would they get dozens of “Hoors”(Unbelievably beautiful women, Nymphs) in the “Life after death”by killing others but are promised to be honored by being in the company of Prophet Muhammad’s friends and companions who died for the same cause of enforcing sharia over the world. They have been told they can get there by defeating democracy and silencing the sane and secular voices.
Senior journalist Amir Mateen told Walwaley the government seems confused on issues important to the security of the citizens.He said the federal government should take a clear stand and should tell the nation about the hurdles in implementing the NAP. He asked the federal government to expose the forces behind the obstruction of the National Counter Terrorism Authority(NACTA).
” Its time to change the team” Amir said. He questioned the credibility of the team running the affairs from top to bottom. Amir Mateen said it’s time to tackle the terrorists head on and that no Taliban sympathizer should be allowed to work in or with the Nawaz administration.
The role of Madrassas:
Looking back, the total number of madrassas in Pakistan in 1947 was lower than 300. Thanks to Gen. Zia the number rose to 3000 in 1988 and according to the latest figures provided to the media by the religious affairs ministry of Pakistan in early 2015, the number of registered madrassas in Pakistan is nearly 35,337 (and still counting). These madrassas are affiliated with the union of madarassas, ITMP (Ittehaad-e-Tanzeemaat-e-Madaris Pakistan). One wonders how the mushroom growth of unregistered madrassas go unnoticed especially in Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa where apart from registered or madrassas with a proper buildings, most of the houses have been turned into madrassas. Every neighborhood has at least half a dozen madrassas not far by even half a kilometer from each other in some areas like Charsadda, Mardan, Swabi and in the outskirts of Peshawar city. The number of unregistered madrassas in Khyber Pulhtoonkhwa is the highest among all the provinces of Pakistan. The religious affairs ministry of Pakistan told the Express Tribune there are 4135 unregistered madrassas in KP while the number for the same category in Punjab is 2411, 1406 in Sindh, 266 in Baluchistan while 31 in the heart of the capital Islamabad let alone the far lung areas.This goes on and on as every student attending such madrassas becomes a half baked scholar and thus consider him/herself eligible to unfurl the hatred further. Every madrssa has it’s own source of funding. Saudi Arabia, Qatar , Kuwait are the main generous muslim brother countries who sponsor a huge number of these madrassas in Pakistan. According to the ministry more than 3.5 million students are enrolled only in the registered madrassas. just imagine the socio economic impact of these 3.5 million people if they were to be taught physics, biology, chemistry or software engineering. What a wonderful country it could be if the brother muslim countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait or Qatar could send millions of dollars to fund scientific research in Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa or sponsor students who could become future of the software industry of Pakistan rather than funding madrassas where in most of the places the teachings revolve around violence, terror and hatred. one can debate it flat or around but registering madrassas is simply not the solution. if it could stop giving birth to terrorists we would never have seen Maulvi Fazlullah, Hakeemullah Mehsud and many more as they were and are all the graduates of registered madrassas. What the state can and should do is to keep a close eye on what is taught inside and how to stop the top clerics from spitting the venom.It needs a will. But what can be expected in terms of seriousness towards the solution from a government which can not even make a cleric behave who lives and spread hatred from within two miles of the parliament house and a few yards from the country’s premier spy agency’s headquarters. Maulana Abdul Aziz challenges the writ of the state every now and then.
You have to be a country like India, the world’s largest democracy, a nuclear armed nation and not some ethnic or religious minority in Pakistan to make the state clamp down even partially on “some” of the outfits or madrassas as we saw it happen soon after the Jan.2 Pathankot attack. Days after the attack on the Indian base the (Pakistani) Punjab government shut down several madrassas run by the already banned Jaesh-e-Muhammad allegedly behind Pathankot attack and arrested several of the members including it’s chief Masood Azhar a long time foe of India. Jaish-e-Muhammad is headquartered in Punjab. Jaish-e-Muhammad’s militants are also blamed to be behind the 2001 attack on Indian Parliament which almost brought the two nuclear armed nations to the brink of war. This further strengthens the claims that the state of Pakistan is harbouring such organizations to use as proxies for why could they not stop the already banned Jaesh-e-Muhammad. It reveals Pakistan had to wait for India to ask for it. Millions of Pakistanis are asking the same from Pakistan but again you have to be India to demand such arrests or at least to ask them wake up and implement the napping NAP. Many Pashtoons on the social media have a feeling they are being sacrificed forcefully. They want to be secure like those in Punjab, even they would love to be called Taliban, their province renamed as Punjab, their educational institutions named in Arabic after some religious seminaries and their students be called Taliban just depicts how desperate they are to get the basic right to live. Most of the social media posts and tweets reflect these feelings. All the Pashtoons want right now is to live and to live in peace. Its not too much to ask from the state they are living in and from the state they are dying for.
With ISIS on the doorstep, separation movement, missing persons, unrest and violence in Baluchistan, killings and suicide attacks in KP, thousands of Pashtoon funerals every year, the CPEC(China Pakistan Economic Corridor) which is now famous as “China Punjab Economic Corridor” the problem in Karachi, it is indeed an eye opener and not wise for the state of Pakistan to stay in the state of denial if it wants to brave the weather not so far. They might soon be embracing a Baluchistan like situation in KP. With all this being said, one should have no doubt in understanding the fact that no lesson has been learnt from the past whether it was 71, the 80s or the aftermath.
Writer: Mujeeb Rmn
The writer is a Washington based Journalist. He blogs at