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Tag Archives: Terrorism

Want to protest against attacks on minorities; then meet them


[With about 80 people dead in the attack on Church and resent earthquake (in which it is feared deaths to reach 1000) both indicate how ineffective our govt. has been in protecting and serving it’s citizens. A deafening silence for the earthquake victims on social level shows how much we have just accepted that our govt. cannot do anything for us.]

[note: a friend pointed out that what I wrote feels like I am saying only minorities are being targeted. No they are not the only ones, there have been consistent attacks on masajids, bazars and security forces. Ones who are attacking minorities are attacking all Pakistanis (Daata Darbar attack is not so distant event). However it does not mean our society does not need more open communication among religious groups living in it.  We all might not be spilling hate about them, but we do get criminally silent whenever someone is killed in the name of blasphemy. Putting a friend’s face to group might reduce our biases. ]

Let me start by saying I don’t believe in protesting against terrorists. No I don’t believe that holding banners and marching while shouting slogans on the Mall road (Lahore) is going to deter terrorists from attacking another mall or church or school or masjid; brutally and cowardly killing innocent people. So all those questions about shame of being Muslim and protesting against terrorist just indicate how naive are we.

I am not talking about not protesting against government, we can protest against lack of security, unequipped and poorly armed police and poorly functioning security net that should have predicted such event.  We can protest against all this but against terrorists such protests loose their meaning. Why? because they are cancer. One does not protest against cancer that plagues ones body. One takes action against it, medical procedures aside, one changes his/her life style, throws away tobacco, adds more greens in diet, starts running a bit. One takes stock of everything he/she has been doing till now and changes it.

If we are  really serious in fighting this menace, if we really want to remove cancer from our bodies we should change what we have been doing till now. We have been living in monolithic society in a non monolithic population. We have been ignoring all that is different to us, like they don’t exist. Lets change that, lets allow us to get familiar with who live among us.

Lets go to Church on weekend with our families,  invite members of Hindu community to our masajids, learn basics of Sikh religion, let scholars of different religions come and give lectures in our universities. Let them explain what they believe in and let us tell them what we stand for. Lets have a picnic where our kids can play together.  Lets make it difficult for this cancer to spread to our next generation.

Let our kids know people with other faith are not some strangers but part of our society; it’s OK to be different, it alright to believe in something other than what you believe in. But most importantly let us teach them what other beliefs are. Lets burst the bubble we have been living and accept there is more than just what we have been told. And we do that by listening to people of different faith, let them tell what their religion is not what our imagination has cooked up. 

All the goals of removing hate from our books are great, but they will not be solved by some govt. they will be solved when majority of us will have one friend who is not from our religion. When our friends will not shy in telling they are Ahmedi or Shia or Christian or Sunni or atheist or agnostic, that will makes us question all the hate we have unconsciously living with.

If we want to protest, lets protest by action and do something that will last long. Lets take a first step and meet each other, lets make one friend this week who is not in agreement with our belief system.

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Osama dead, Why Pakistan is silent?


Right now every one must have known that Osama has died. The ghost that haunted the world and was main poster boy of terrorism has finally met his end.

Where was he found? Pakistan, not in mountains, not near border, in ABBOTTABAD. Not in some jungle far away from civilization; right in the city.  (Someone has put the location now on the google map)

Right now all the news is coming is from US, that he has been killed, mainly by operation from US forces with Pakistan’s help;

More interesting point is Pakistan is silent.  Why? is the question that is quite confusing. If we played some role, which I want to believe we really did, why are we not coming out and saying, congratulating our forces and agencies for finding him. More silent we will remain more wind we will give to speculations and spins. It is such an important event.

Also we should take responsibility, explain to our people why he was living in Pakistan, for how long was he living in Pakistan.  Why we were not able to track him down before?

It’s not an era where you can assume that by remaining silent you can avoid the questions. Own the responsibility, own the actions we have to taken to stop the terrorism. President and prime-minister please take a leadership role.

{While our govt. is silent, Live updates are coming twitter from Sohaib Athar http://twitter.com/#!/ReallyVirtual, it appears he was in Abbottabad and was tweeting the incidents without knowing what actually was going around.

Well he is on the New York Observer  Sohaib Athar: The Guy Who Live-Tweeted Osama Bin Laden’s Death}

It’s becoming more and more embarrassing by each minute,  according to Omar Waraich PMA was just a kilometer away from compound, even Hameed Gul is saying “That Bin Laden could be in Abbottabad unknown to authorities “is a bit amazing”” (guardian live blog).  Keeping mum will not wash away the huge embarrassement, tackle the issues that have created this embarassement.

 

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N.Y Bomb; and there comes the news


Update: Guy Named Shahzad Faisal has been arrested (nytimes, dawn)

Yes, there comes the news which I was hoping will never occur. From the day I read in NYtimes about the Bomb in SUV (that thankfully did not exploded, much due to observant street vendor), I was wishing that no Muslim generally and no Pakistani in particularly gets connected to this one.  We have enough bad publicity already, we don’t need any other stupid person messing it more.  But NYtimes is reporting that F.B.I is looking for the Pakistani connected to that S.U.V. , so much for wishing.

Today with this news those hundreds of Pakistani taxi drivers will have question mark hanging on their heads.

Just today someone was telling me that we are discriminated at airports and I was saying yes even our visas take long time (3 to 4 months for student visas are not uncommon, where as my Indian friends get them like in week), but you know our (people from Muslim) reputation is not good. Whether this reputation is based on some solid reason or not is another thing, but baseline is we are seen as terrorists. Everytime we try to tell other countries look we are not terrorists, you cannot generalize it,  some nut-job claiming to be Muslim is caught doing something stupid.  There was shoe-bomber, then there was some under-wear bomber, then there were backpack people in England,  crazy, crazy crazy people.

I know we cannot generalize the terrorists, there was I.R.A blowing the buildings but no one started discriminating Irish people, there were Tamil suicide bombers but not all Tamils are killers, there are crazy people in every culture in every country; just few weeks ago some White Americans were arrested for planning a terrorism activity and who can forget Oklahoma.  But this we can tell to an educated or understanding person, to general population every Muslim will be susceptible.

I still wish that they arrest people responsible for this activity and I wish he/she is not Muslim and not Pakistani.

I wish because whenever such thing happens no one sees that how many Pakistani are dying everyday in terrorists attack and how much govt. is doing in getting rid of these monsters; monsters which were created not only by Pakistan but rest of the world to fight then communists Russia. Monsters that have attacked every city of Pakistan and which are mutating into different shapes; engulfing and dividing our society.

 

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Contradictions


Reading David Rohde. He describes his life as a captive of Taliban. This allowed him to see and analyze it’s captor, now he is writing about it. I have read only some portions and I feel his article will be widely quoted in coming days to describe and evaluate Taliban, especially because Pakistan has started Operation in those areas. What makes these articles important read is that we have so less first hand source of information about Taliban, how they work, what they think, etc… We have so many intellectuals defending or bashing Taliban, most of them have their arguments on what Taliban did at what time, not why Taliban did and Why+What Taliban are doing now. Most of them simplify it too much to just either pursuit of World Dominance to Afghan Freedom fighting.

Not going in detail discussion, I am here quoting a paragraph where he describes the Contradictions of Reasoning

It was a universe filled with contradictions. My captors assailed the West for killing civilians, but they celebrated suicide attacks orchestrated by the Taliban that killed scores of Muslim bystanders. They bitterly denounced missionaries, but they pressed me to convert to their faith. They complained about innocent Muslims being imprisoned by the United States, even as they continued to hold us captive.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/20/world/asia/20hostage.html

He also discussed what this socalled anti-terrorism war is doing

My captors harbored many delusions about Westerners. But I also saw how some of the consequences of Washington’s antiterrorism policies had galvanized the Taliban. Commanders fixated on the deaths of Afghan, Iraqi and Palestinian civilians in military airstrikes, as well as the American detention of Muslim prisoners who had been held for years without being charged. America, Europe and Israel preached democracy, human rights and impartial justice to the Muslim world, they said, but failed to follow those principles themselves.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/18/world/asia/18hostage.html?_r=1&pagewanted=2&sq=Rohde&st=cse&scp=1

An interesting insight was how Taliban treated their local captives

Tahir and Asad were held in even lower esteem. The guards incessantly berated both of them for working with foreign journalists and repeatedly threatened to kill them. The dynamic was not new. In an earlier kidnapping involving an Italian journalist and his Afghan colleagues, the Taliban had executed the Afghan driver to press the Italian government to meet their demands.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2009 in America, Pakistan, People, Politics, Terrorism

 

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To My Indian Friends


From the day Jaswant Singh’s “book about Jinnah” issue splashed the media, I have been bombarded by the news, articles and analysis; linked and emailed to me by friends, posted on their facebook and presented during dicussions.

During all this; Jinnah, Jaswant Singh,  India, Indian people, Indian politician, one thing was missing, which I figured out today, My Indian Friends. There was no input from Indian people I know directly, I didnot knew what they wanted?

Why? I asked my self.

Seeing Pakistan defaced every day, misanalysed every new hour; not only by the Non-Pakistani experts but also by the Pakistani experts why I take words published in the Nytimes, BBC and many Pakistani news papers.

Why I am not talking to Indian Class and Lab Fellows I have, about this?  In all this time where I have been friend to many Indians some of whom I can count as very good friends (I tell you I am not so friendly person so few I have means they are good enough to tolerate me).

Why we never had the discussions on any serious topic that actully exist b/w us.

Today when I have so many versions of what Indians want, why I cannot ask an Indian what you want?

From the topics that are thorn in our throuts  (What you think about Kashmir, Why dont they get to choose with whom they want to live? What you think about Pakistan’s Independence, why majorly in Indian films Muslims are terrorists? Why you think Pakistanis will want to blowup Taj Mahal hotel? Why there are still voices in India for Greater India? Where is water going?) to light subjects (like how is social culture changing? Can today people from different religion marry? What books are famous? Why BJP wins? Water issue? ) There are so many things we can talk about, know about talking Face to Face. Knowing how other feels. What other thinks, without going over the load of hatterd crap sent in our news media. But why we don’t

I know because I don’t want to destroy the friendship, but what is friendship if we don’t understand each other.

How will we discuss tomorrow if we are afraid to discuss today?

Today I want to ask them One Question? What do you think about the Jaswant Singh’s book?

What do you feel has Jinnah been honestly presented to India? Because I know Gandhi not have been but there is still great respect for many views of Gandhi in Pakistan.

But my real test will not be when I am posting this online but when I will send this email to my friends here. Frankly this is not even for people who can sit on the laptop and reply, it more like self-asked question that Why I am shying away from Discussing it with Live people when I have oppertunity.

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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Naming the Terrorists


{Wrote this blog about two months ago, revised some of it today}

One of the most difficult matter with which Muslims have to deal with is,  naming the terrorists.The enemy that is killing them.

This problem is unique for Muslims. No other nation or group has to deal with this problem with so much complication.

For, rightly or falsely, American public ‘might” assume these are terrorists are Extremists Muslims or extremists Arabs (anyone watching 24 can figure this out), Europe can assume these are groups who are threatened by their civilization and way of life, their intellectuals can describe that these are results of their leaders policies, India can say that these are terrorists sent by Pakistani’s, Russians can put blame on Chechans, Sirilankan’s can say they are Tamil.

What should Muslims do? Whom should Pakistani’s point out if the schools are blown in Swat?

Where should they put blame if the Civilian-Guards are rounded up and their ears are chopped of?

Whom they protest if people living in Swat are killed and thrown in the choks.

How you label and describe the enemy that is among you?

The basic failure of the American and Pakistani agencies is label these groups simply Taliban. They failed to explain how these entities threaten the core of the country and society.

Western societes can more easily accept and define names like Taliban, Al-Qaeda, etc… as terrorists or extremists  because these words are alien to them. They are not part of their vocabulary. To them they clearly label some foreign entity. Some bearded person wearing Imama on head and Shalwar Kameez (oh! he looks like khoomenies in Iran), sitting in some crazy looking place planning to destroy everything. He speaks in the description of history that is alien the them. He uses words that are gibrish to them. His interpretations of events, current affairs, etc… is not what they used to. Their mind can relate such persona more easily to evil, because they are strangers to them. {you will find many Americans who belive that Pakistan and Afghanistan are part of Mideleast}

For muslims this is quite difficult.

A bearded person wearing Shalwar Kameez, having chadar on his shoulder is not some foreign thing to Pakistani’s.  Even in Lahore a bearded Pathan wearing Shalwar Kameez, having gun on his shoulder and guarding some street is not so foreign thing. The person arrested by police during attack on the Police Training Camp at Lahore looked similar to many of the Pathans at local tandoor ( basically Tandoor is word for oven but used at synonym for the shops having Oven and selling fresh bread/ROTI ).

Pack of bearded people shouting Anti-American slogans does not make them terrorists. In a country where protests mostly result in destruction of public property, picture of Maulvis burning a bus does not mean that religious theocracy is overtaking.

In sum, they cannot completely relate their outlook, words, interpretation of history to the evil. Previously evil to Paksitani’s was related to India, Communists of Russia, etc… They were people defined by their nationality, by their religion; Indian’s were Hindus (even when they had largest Muslim population), Russian’s were God Less communists trying to invade Muslim Pakistan, …. This time People are from within our region, they are Muslim, they look like us!

Someone has to do lot of work to define what makes people and organization that unacceptable; even when their outlook is similar to yours.

To do that you need people who speak in the same language as them. That’s where both American and Muslim intellectuals have failed.  They have used people appearing foreign to the Muslim public, in defining what the Terrorist is.  Unfortunately many of these people trashing terrorists appears to be equivalently trashing Islamists-political movements. They fail to grasp that people who are not supporter of Taliban might not be supporter of  Secular forces also. People who will not lift finger for Taliban might be too much protective to the Madrassas.

This creates a conscious and unconscious effort in the society to protect or atleast not protest agianst the acts which even they will not support. This current event of the lashing of girl in SWAT is clear example. No one wants this to happen but no one is coming up to protest against  it. Any debate on this run into the same dead end, where both Taliban claiming their actions to be Islamic and their aggressive so-called moderanists also giving this benifit.

One must also recognize that the threats that have been posed to Pakistan for more than 50 years were not by these people. They came from other side, quite different side I may say.  For example the recent attack in Lahore, where it was easy for Indian media to describe it as act of Taliban, because they have only one thought about Islamic militants, taliban etc, that these are chaotic forces, terrorists which can do anything. But it will be difficult to convince Pakistani for that; and not surprisingly to every other logical mind. Why will muslim-militants attack Srilanka? and why Cricketers? They dont have to do anything with any of the political agenda these people have.  It is more easy to assume that India’s RAW or some other agency might be involved than to assume that someone from North will kill the people playing the game loved by it’s countrymen.

This failure on part of the society to recognize the enemy within is creating the rift. It is creating a tension, where one part is too much in anger to hear other side.  We have to Name the Terrorist , define it with clear understanding that they have nothing to do with religion.

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2009 in America, Islam, People, Uncategorized

 

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Section 144, Should Politics be stopped by fear of terrorism


There comes section 144, again in the context of best interest of Pakistan.  Govt. is saying that they cant allow long march because of the fear of the terrorism. Well they are right, there should not be any such political activity when there is fear of terrorism.

But I remember the day Benazir returned to Pakistan she was told to reduce her activity, not go for the big rally and she did not listened. Then PPP put blame on the government. Then again it was advised by that times govt. to reduce the public exposure because there is threat on her life but she did not.  Lot of my friends were of view that she has every right to hold the political rally, that’s how the elections are fought, that’s how the politics works; you go and talk to people, you go and meet people, show your public muscle.

I then thought they were wrong, I now also think govt. has right to stop such public activities if there is clear danger of terrorism. But question is are they imposing the Section 144 with positive intent? Will imposing Sect. 144 save the Pakistan from terrorism?

It does not look that this govt. has any more positive intent than that of the previous govt., which by the was zero.But leaders of the political rallies should think and be responsible for the life and safety of their participants.Routs, security guards should be marked. There should be clear emergency plan. We dont want anything that happened in two of the Benazir’s rallies.

But unfortunately Govt. going for kill by starting the arrests, blocking the paths does not allow any room where both can work out details of the program.

Unfortunately the elements of state that should work to protect the people become too busy protecting government that they forget to protect state.

 

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