TTP: Can we reverse the plague of extremism?

Published: August 17, 2012
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The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for two well-publicised attacks in the country on Thursday, August 16. PHOTO: REUTERS

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for two well-publicised attacks in the country on Thursday, August 16. The first involved the well-planned attack on the Pakistan Air Force base in Kamra, where nine militants engaged security forces for nearly an hour before they were brought down.

In the other incident, militants stopped several buses travelling from Rawalpindi to Gilgit in Mansehra and ordered 19 members of the Shia community to disembark. They were killed at point-blank range.

Then, as I wrote this column, I heard channels blaring news about a blast near Safari Park in Karachi, just as a bus carrying Imamia Students Organisation members passed by.

The TTP must be feeling quite full of itself after its successive hits. However, I’m not sure how the rest of the country feels about these incidents because unless you are ready to address the root cause of any problem, you are not really troubled by the consequences that arise due to that problem.

Our denial in recognising that the TTP is an existential threat to our country can be gauged by statements issued by our leading politicians, Opposition Leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan. Both gentlemen warned of consequences if our military and Nato conducted joint operations to root out TTP militants from North Waziristan. Their logic was that if we bomb the terrorist camps, they’ll bomb us in our cities.

Well, wake up Mr Nisar and Mr Khan! Terrorists are already bombing and shooting us in cold blood! Our security forces and religious minorities are under attack, all because of the confusion that people like you are planting in our minds.

What the country’s military and political leadership needs to do on an urgent basis is to decide if it wants to reverse the plague of extremism that has arisen due to Ziaul Haq’s Islamisation campaign. While politicians and dictators before Zia used religion as a tool to fool the masses for their own personal interests, the practice has taken an unmistakably violent turn since the 1980s.

We are a country with an overwhelmingly young population, the majority of which is ready to grab onto anything it is told on popular media. By all means, continue to base your governance on religion but use the all-encompassing and inclusive interpretation of it, instead of one that has been twisted beyond hope and repair and which will ultimately lead to a civil war.

Read more by Ali here.

Ali.Mehdi

Ali Mehdi

A sub-editor for the Karachi pages at The Express Tribune.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.