The casualty toll included over one hundred dead and another one hundred injured. Of course, the brutal terrorist attacks, which targeted innocent civilians, deserve the utmost condemnation and those responsible for organising them need to be given exemplary punishment. The fact that the attack on the mosque at Darra Adamkhel last week may have been prompted by tribal rivalries does not make it any less reprehensible.
Such terrorist attacks are usually followed by condemnation by our authorities, especially by our Interior Minister. The people are assured of strong action against the culprits and foolproof measures to prevent their recurrence. There is calm for a few days until another terrorist attack in another part of the country takes its toll to be followed by the ritual condemnation and promises of effective action against the terrorists. This sickening cycle of insane brutality from one side and empty promises from the other presents the picture of a government, which has failed in its primary function of maintaining law and order in the country and providing security to its citizens.
Terrorism was virtually unheard of in Pakistan until 1980s when it raised its ugly head. Undoubtedly, the scourge of terrorism was linked to the wave of extremism, which spread in the country as a direct result of Ziaul Haq’s exploitation of the name of Islam for prolonging his rule and an indirect outcome of his policy of support to the jihad of the Afghan people for the liberation of their homeland from the Soviet occupation. This should not be interpreted as a criticism of the policy of support to the Afghan jihad, which has become fashionable among Pakistan’s liberal circles. Zia was, indeed, a usurper, besides being guilty of the heinous crime of hanging a democratically-elected Prime Minister for which he deserves condemnation. He also used Islam for his nefarious political ends. But the support to the Afghan jihad was a strategic necessity for us because of the serious threat that the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan pos-ed to Pakistan’s security. The Soviet move was like a pincer manoeuvre against Pakistan taking into account the history of bitter Pakistan-India relations and India’s strategic partnership with Moscow.