Attack on tourists: Yes, you condemn, but what’s next, dear leaders?

Published: June 24, 2013

Condemnation of terrorist acts by state authorities is good, but grossly insufficient if we are interested in bringing an end to these catastrophes. PHOTO: AFP

We were just coming to terms with the blast that wrecked a student bus in Quetta and the bomb that destroyed the Ziarat Residency. Then, news broke that up in the northern most part of the country, 10 foreign mountaineers – belonging to Ukraine, China, Russia and the United States – have been shot dead in the wee hours of Sunday morning. 

One cannot help sounding downright pessimistic when the subject of Pakistan is broached these days. We have become a country that has no dearth of news that horrifies the world; a country that is capable of producing a shocking news piece a day.

Does anyone remember the last time our beloved country made an appearance on the world news bulletins for the right reasons?

Such occasions are rare even if we crane our necks to look into the far distant past and include the fields of sports and education, science and art that in the past have been our saving graces.

That such dastardly things are a norm in Pakistan – for over a decade now – does not surprise me. What does baffle me is the passive nonchalance with which the authorities have reacted to this new act of terror.

Our politicians seem to have a standard statement etched  on their minds, a generic response for whenever something embarrassing and terrifying happens on our territory. The authorities responsible react in an identical way to every tragedy that hits us, using words and phrases similar in their manner as well as their futility.

The reaction runs somewhat like this:

We condemn this act of terrorism.

We should bring to light the hidden hand behind this act.

This is a conspiracy to shame Pakistan and damage its reputation in the world community.

As an example, look at the statement issued by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf on its official twitter account @PTIofficial:

Other political leaders, including the prime minister and the interior minister, have said almost as much in as many words while speaking to various news outlets.

Condemnation of terrorist acts by state authorities is good, but grossly insufficient if we are interested in bringing an end to these catastrophes. Such statements have taken us nowhere in the past, nor will they help this time. We need tangible action!

On the other hand, the relentless Taliban, the people behind this particular act as well, are having a field day. They are cocooned in every nook and corner of the country. They come at will and in broad daylight. They strike as many times as they want and target whoever they wish to.

One day they strike in Karachi in the south, the next in Quetta in the southwest and then in the north. They have massively destructive weapons in their possession and every kind of stupefying strategies up their sleeves.

According to a national daily, the Taliban’s spokesperson has said, ‘this will tell the international community about our feelings and sentiments against the killing of our fighters.’

It is frightening to see how nonchalantly they admit responsibility for terrorism inflicted while they are so close to entering into the negotiations room with the government.

Time and again, we are forced to ask why it has proved impossible for the authorities concerned to reach and apprehend an entity that has a distinct name, a clearly identifiable face, and an address within the precincts where Pakistan has a claim to running its writ?

Pakistan no doubt is a ‘hard country’ but equally without doubt is the fact that Pakistan boasts an irresistible geography and a hospitable, talented populace.  The fateful expedition by the mountaineers from Ukraine, China, Russia and United States, despite all troubles faced by Pakistan, was a testimony to our aptitude for tourism.

We demand prompt action on the part of government that brings those responsible to justice and restores the confidence of the people. We expect actions by authorities concerned that will prevent the complete demise of prospects for tourism in Pakistan.

If not, then we should be prepared to be eternally clubbed with countries like Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen – those markings on the map which the larger part of the world has no interest in.

The choice was always ours – do we want to be a country that others delight in visiting or would we rather be an outcast that is painted red on the world atlas?

Dear leaders, please do something more effective than just ‘condemn’ the brutal murder of these innocent tourists.  We need you to take a step further and begin to fix this country that people may well be too scared to visit!

Follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqmasudmalik

Tariq Masood Malik

Tariq Masood Malik

A freelance writer, who has worked in the nonprofit sector in Pakistan since 2005. He tweets @tariqmasudmalik

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

  • Vishnu Dutta

    Send Imran Khan to talk to them.Recommend

  • Parvez

    The fact that our leaders……all of them………..can only condemn the act, is in itself condemnable.
    The hidden hand they allude to is their own, the damaged reputation is their reputation damaged beyond repair in the eyes of the people. They know that to condemn and dole out funds from the empty exchequer, is easy. For them to take action, hold people accountable and punish them, is hard…………simply because the same can happen to them.Recommend

  • TahirF1

    @Author – Good piece. My sentiments exactly! I wish the authorities catch the culprits and bring them to justice within days. But may be I am hoping beyond hope. Recommend

  • mimi

    Well written, thought provocative and bang on target. Kudos to author.Recommend

  • suhaib

    “Attack on tourists: Yes, you condemn,
    but what’s next, dear leaders?” Imran khan and nawaz sharif are planning a sit-in against drone strikes in tribal areas.Recommend

  • From Lithuania

    Ernestas was Lithuanian citizen, not Russian.

  • http://www, Mohammad A Bajwa

    This TTP is destroying Pakistan.They will be bolder when Americans leave and drones stop. Let us be clear about it.Recommend

  • M Jahangir

    No one can disgaree with the author, he probably left the senior executives having taken notice of the event, and ordering further inquiry. Think starting an inquiry is and should be a routine matter, what is the big deal. Has any enquiry resulted in a report for a common man.

    How do we categorise such events as coward (Buzdillana) act, rather need guts to perform such acts in the presence of so many security men.

    God help Pakistan. The new government is shying behind the old Musharaf Sybdrome, rather than facing the issues of power, security, poverty and jobs.

    Long live pakistanRecommend

  • Mehdi

    Kudos to author, mere condemnation is not enough, justice needs to be served. IK is incompetent as a politician but as a cricketer he is one of the greats of the game. he should quit politics and dedicate his time towards charity. I don’t think there are any competent leader who have the courage to stand against terrorism. Only one institution can take this challenge head on, it’s the paki army. but they are in bed with these fellas unofficially. not the regular foot soldiers but certain segment of the arm force that deals with intelligence. leave the foreign policy implementation to seasoned diplomat. Army generals are not policy makers in the field of diplomacy rather their job is to provide security to the nations mass.Recommend

  • Mehdi

    @Vishnu Dutta:

    He is too afraid to do thatRecommend

  • naive

    @TahirF1: ” I wish the authorities catch the culprits and bring them to justice within days.”

    Be grateful that the culprits are not catching the authorities.Recommend

  • Naresh

    The Pakistani Terrorists “State Supported” but so-called “Non-State” Actors honed their Killing Skills while perpetrating their Heinous Terrorist Attacks on Indian Targets.
    Now that it is beoming difficult for these “State Supported” but so-called “Non-State” Actors to carry our their Attacks in India they are attacking the Pakistani People and the Foreign Visitors as well as Tourists coming to Pakistan to Partake in Pakistan’s Natural Beauty.
    It is just a case of “Birdies Coming Home to Roost”. Thus Pakistan can only get rid of these Terrorist Attacks by “State Supported” but so-called “Non-State” Actors by not supporting them any more but employing Pakistan’s Security Forces – Agencies to make an all out effort to eradicate the Terrorism being perpetrated by its “State Supported” but so-called “Non-State” Actors in Pakistan as well as out side Pakistan in General and India in Particular.

  • Aimal Khan

    It would have been more appropriate to quote Prime minister and Interior minister’s statement than PTI’s tweet. Wonder whats up in your minds? nonsense!Recommend

  • Aimal Khan

    Imran Khan is right. Drones must stop. These are reactions of drone attacks.Simple!Recommend