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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2038

Matters of Pride and Shame

By Adnan Gill

As a nation, Pakistanis should hold their heads high with pride, for there were brave amongst them who gave their lives to save others’ when a suicide bomber struck in the heart of Islamabad.

Pakistanis should hold their heads high with pride, for there are dedicated amongst them who rescued the distressed from the fires of hell. Pakistanis should hold their heads high with pride, for the selfless ordinary citizens, because of whom Marriott is still standing. Pakistanis should hold their heads high with pride, for there are still few among them who want to break the shackles of slavery put on by the foreign masters. Pakistanis should hold their heads high with pride, for there are few amongst them who still want to defend the inalienable rights of the tormented Kashmiris and Pushtoons. And most importantly, they should hold their heads high with pride, for their brothers from FATA who unanimously cheered their military, when it defended them from the flagrant ISAF attacks.

As a nation, Pakistanis should bow their heads in shame, for their promiscuous president couldn’t control his hormones at the first handshake with a female politician. Pakistanis should bow their heads in shame, for those entrusted with their safety and security were so engrossed in making and pulling down the governments, as the bomber slid into the capital. Pakistanis should bow their heads in shame, as the terrorists massacred dozens of innocent civilians, as whole security apparatus guarded the jubilating high and mighty.

Pakistanis should bow their heads in shame, for an attack on largely affluent populace is paralleled to 9/11, as the innocent victims of much larger attacks are dispatched to the waste-bin of oblivion. Pakistanis should bow their heads in shame, for the bomber who decided to settle scores through massacring innocent civilians, Muslims and Pakistanis. And most importantly, they should bow their heads in shame, for without a shred of proof, some Pakistani politically appointees called for the blood of the Pakistanis in FATA for bombing Marriott.

Such is the tragedy of Pakistan. It is stuck in a vicious cycle where blood begets blood. For good 50 or so years Pakistanis belonging to same religions have lived in relatively peace and harmony. Then why, all of a sudden, they are turning on each other now? Till we could answer this question, all we'll be doing is treating the symptoms and not the disease.

By all accounts the Marriott bomber(s) used a mix of military explosives, including the RDX and incendiary materials (most probably chlorine trifluoride or aluminum oxide). It is next to impossible to procure such a humongous amount of exotic explosives, like the RDX from the black market, without raising red flags.

Therefore, it can be argued, that such a sophisticated attack cannot take place without the planning and support of some sort of professional organization. Hence, the potential sponsors of the attack could be narrowed down to either Pakistani intelligence agencies like the ISI, or some foreign spy agencies.

Neither Iran nor China could possibly gain any benefit from such attacks or by destabilizing law-and-order situation in Pakistan. At the same time, Afghan and Indian culpability cannot be ruled out.

Both of them have clear motives, desires, and resources to destabilize Pakistan. Throw the CIA in the poisonous mix, and you get a perfect recipe for the witches brew. CIA’s bottomless resources, along with RAW’s capacity to supply huge quantities of RDX, combined with Afghanistan’s NDS’ large pool of agents freely operating inside Pakistan, makes a team perfectly suited for the subversive activities inside Pakistan. On the other hand, it is hard to imagine how the ISI, which is said to have a soft spot for the militants, could have gained any benefit through such bombings which could jeopardize the image and existence of their alleged boys (so-called Taliban)?

Circumstances surrounding the Marriott bombing suggest, the bomber had a helping hand from some other Pakistani security agency, and the bomber was most probably a devout Muslim. Because, without inside support, such a huge amount of explosives couldn’t have been smuggled into the heart of Islamabad, and only Muslims (baring few exceptions) willingly sacrifice their lives. But that doesn’t mean the puppeteers have to be Muslims too. Even a non-Muslim handler can easily pull the strings of a potential suicide bomber, without a hint to the bomber.

Which brings us to the question, what pushes a perfectly sane person to become a suicide bomber? If we could answer this question, we could possibly address most of circumstances that bread suicide bombers. Once you take the suicide bomber out of the deadly chain that forms the bomber, it can exponentially reduce the lethality of terrorist bombings. Therefore, the need to study and learn the circumstances that mold suicide bombers cannot be overstressed.

If we could ponder over some of the following, we could be on our way to solve, at least some of the pieces of the puzzle:

1. Pakistan had been in existence for over 60 years. In it, same people of the same religion have lived in peace and harmony for good 50 or so years; so why all of a sudden they are turning on each other now?

2. Who is behind the suicide bombers? Is it only Mullahs running the assembly line that churns out the impressionable children for suicide missions? Or are there other, yet unidentified, forces/players also exploiting the emotionally charged, thoroughly frustrated and deeply impoverished sections of population to further their objective?

3. What have we (supposedly moderate, liberal, educated, affluent and enlightened) done to pullout/help the susceptible population from falling into the hands of Mullahs who provide them free shelter, food, education and most importantly a promise of much better life after death?

4. Have we done anything to give the distressed a ray of hope? They tried the dictators, they tried the bureaucrats, they tried the feudal lords, and they tried the politicians; but everyone failed to address their woes. When, for a brief moment, they saw a glimmer of hope in an institution that was finally listening and doing something to address their grievances, it was snuffed out too by the establishment, which took down the superior judiciary.

5. What good could be expected in a society in which rich and powerful get their sins white washed with a single stroke of pen, but poor and innocent victims of unwonted state and foreign forces aggression are labeled as criminals and terrorists, or at minimum, a statistic of the ‘collateral damage’?

When faced with despondency that exists in Pakistan today, how difficult could it be for the opportunists to recruit suicide bombers, who naively imagine themselves to be the martyrs?

- Asian Tribune -

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