Deny Everything



From DawnNews

When I got in to work at 6 am yesterday morning, our overnight anchorperson complained that it was a slow news day.

“Nothing’s going on. We’ve been running the same headlines all night; just changing the order around,” he yawned.

I immediately responded by saying that he shouldn’t get used to it, as it was Friday the next day.

It sounds callous. It sounds like I’m desensitized but it’s true. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are busy days for terror in Pakistan. Last night I wrote a rough sketch of a script filled with quips around Friday the 13th. By the time I arrived at work, the two blasts – one in Peshawar that destroyed the city’s ISI headquarter and the other in Miramshah that targeted a police station – had changed everything. There could be no cheesy allusions to the genre of horror, as Pakistanis live in terror and horror every day of their lives, but especially on weekends.

I think Dr Hasan Askari, columnist, educator and defense analyst, had it right when he said that the militants want to disrupt life as Pakistanis know it.

“The attacks may be a reaction to the Waziristan offensive, but more importantly, the militants want to spread fear and paralyse life. The people must stay strong and not give in. If they do, I am hopeful that this time will pass.”

As we wait for the time to pass, attacks such as the two this morning are becoming increasingly common. One of the things that came to mind, and was voiced by Dr Askari and security analyst, Rustam Shah Mehmand was the role of the political leadership in all this.

Dr Askari questioned, “Why are the political parties not addressing this issue? They are too busy scoring points and practising partisan politics when what the people need right now from them are answers.”

Security analyst, Rustam Shah, went further. He claimed that the reason behind the entire scenario was lack of governance.

“Politicians addressing the people are not enough,” argued Shah. “This is a war. We are at war. The root of the problem is lack of governance. The government must show good governance and win the trust of the people. Only then will we see full support from the people for this government against the militants,” he said.

[picapp src=”0/7/d/9/Pakistani_Movie_Theaters_6e43.jpg?adImageId=7408771&imageId=5048771″ width=”500″ height=”333″ /]

It cannot be denied that the leadership is not addressing the concerns of the people. Over the past few days, some of the statements that have come out from Pakistani leaders border (and I’m understating here) the absurd.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani as quoted by Jang: “There will be suicide and terror attacks for a while. The nation must not lose heart.” (Ok. So we should basically just get used to it?)

Military head, General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani: “Terrorists are targeting innocent civilians because they don’t have the courage to fight back the military.” (Thanks! That makes us feel a lot better!)

President Asif Ali Zardari: “ ____________________” (Hmmm…Ok. I’m going to have to learn to read between those lines. Uh, wait a second…there are no lines!)

Head of main opposition party, PML-N, Nawaz Sharif: “___________” (Right! That sounds really different from President Zardari’s “_______________.” This is why you would make a better leader for Pakistan, and we keep hearing rumours of mid-term elections.)

Like I said, bordering on the ridiculous.

Finally, what are the opinion makers saying?

The presenters of the highly influential Urdu electronic media are busy trying to convince Pakistanis that the real culprits and miscreants are Indians, Afghans and Americans.

I’m going to quote Dr Hasan Askari again here. “Pakistanis are in a state of denial. There is a growing perception that there is a foreign presence in Pakistan that is behind these attacks. There is no evidence of this. There can be foreign involvement through funding (I’ll add here that we know that Saudi Arabia has been pumping money into jihadi groups), and providing weapons, but to say that it’s not the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, a Pakistani group, is to be in denial.”

21 Responses to “Deny Everything”

  1. With reference to what you have quoted about President and Nawaz Sharif; there is no denying that these two “leaders’ (people) are numb and it does not come as a surprise to me at least. As far as Dr. Hasan is concerned i sorry to say do not agree with hi. I think people saying that there is not much of foreign hand behind all this are living in denial. If you closely follow the patterns of all the attacks; the recent wave, other then a few, have been direct on military installations, personnels and centers; most of them have already been on ISI and it is by no means easy to find out an ISI office other a few.
    There has been external pressure on government as well to give ISI under the civilian control; there has been a series of blames by Indians after Mumbai attacks. My analysis say that the strategy, funding and weapons are provided by Foreigners whereas the people carrying out are locals and the reason locals are being used is due to poverty and lack of education and awareness. It seems that the west has worked very hard to find out the phenomena of ‘Jihad’ and exploitation of muslim belief.
    Had the locals been so powerful the country would had parted long time back when we had sectarian violence of Shiaa’s and Sunii’s.
    India has already blocked your water; they already pumped money in your tribal areas; the radio stations working on the Afghan Border area and 8 serving Brigadiers looking after the “Consulates” in Afghanistan stand for what then if India, American and others are not behind it?

    • I understand that there is a growing perception in Pakistan that India is behind the violence in Pakistan. However, the point that Dr Hasan Askari was making is that it is better to look inward before pointing fingers at others. Pakistan’s leaders have acknowledged the role of the state in the past in cultivating and nurturing the groups that are now at war with the Pakistani nation and state.

  2. 3 FaizaK

    You have very eloquently given voice to what every sane pakistani is feeling right now -frustration at the lack of governance, exasperation at the people in denial and sheer anger at the mainstream media who conveniently blame each and every disorder of our country on US and India.
    To wake people up from dormancy and to bring about change in people’s opinion, I personally think that media can play the greatest role! I hope media straightens out its facts and play its role in bringing about a much needed revolution.

  3. 4 sherjeelawan

    I liked what you wrote, though I wont agree to everything but again we all know that why are we standing in such a condition.
    I believe that rather then accusing Nawaz or Zardari, we should try to realize that why is this happening to us only? I wish I could ask US Administration that why do you want us to fight with these militants when you yourself are trying to negotiate with Taliban in Afghanistan.
    Every day I read paper trying to find out the news of some blast and I keep praying that may God not show me the bodies of the dead and faces of the injured but I see it, I feel sorry for myself and all I could have done !! I started to write, the best way to pull out my frustration and feel at ease.
    Have a great day, I liked your blog.
    God Bless Pakistan

  4. Naveen, we are indeed in a state of denial. I must say that our electronic media and press are complicating this situation further. For instance, the triple S brigade (Shaheen Sehbai, Shireen Mazari and Shahid Masood), two of whom belong to the English language media unfortunately.

    Great post, nonetheless!

  5. Well written as always! Firstly ever since you have moved to your blog your pieces have become bolder and am loving it! 🙂 you’ve always followed the ‘say it as it is’ strategy but am loving the flow now, a refreshing change indeed 🙂
    Secondly. coming back to the piece I think we definitely need a change of name I think ‘Denialistan’ would be a lot better?

  6. Saudi Arabia will never support crazies like TTP. This seems more a RAW work. But our tolerance or connivance while they were shaping in to a monster is an unpardonable crime and now we are paying the price for a delayed action to exterminate these maniacs. There will be backlash – very natural – but poor people are again the victim of this backlash. The government through Army should accelerate the wipe-out operation – that is the Rahi-i-Najat of all the Nation.

    • Mohsin, you could look at this report if you like. It substantiates its claims with various publications.

      Click to access RL32499.pdf

      • Naveen! Saudi Arabia did support creation of Taliban by funding as well as using their “school of thought – wahabi” influence at the request of US & ISI for reasons known to all. Ironically, these Talibans turned in to Frankenstein. After 9/11 when Talibans refused to hand over Osama & gang to “aggrieved” US, the backlash of “Taliban Creators” started on their own “Creation”. The rest is history how US did reach to where they are today. Pakistani Talibans – a off-shoot of Afghani Talibans – have only one thing in common – being Pakhtoon. Otherwise, both are only name-sake otherwise, our version of Talibans did more harm to Mulla Omar’s Taliban more than US could by their suicidal stupidities on all fronts. They deserved a severe Iron Hand, which according to my opinion, moved very late and very slow due to politico-religious reasons. The price is what we are paying in our cities and God knows how long this TTP backlash will terrorize lives of Pakistanis.

        Now let us to the report. Saudis at personal level may be financially supporting these in the name and cause of misunderstood -“Renaissance of Islam”. How this phenomenon can happen at the hands of the most illiterate section of Muslims. How a Blind can claim to lead others? To cut short, there are still lot of Pakistanis who think that Talibans (TTP) were right and support them morally, if not financially.

        NN – We will never reach Solutions, if we don’t have a big picture of – Canvass of Chaos – the Chaos created by “MufSiddeens” and then crying wolf – Islamists & Militants have come.

        US is not on a high moral ground as they claim to save “their great civilization” but a COOK which has spoiled the broth by using a Recipe – Recipe of Disaster and Destruction. (LA TAfsidu fil Ardh Qalu! ina ma Nahno Muslihoon – truly applies on them)

        (PS: I will prefer your BLOG now over Twitter since no 140 words restriction – LOL)

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this, Mohsin. I appreciate that you took the time out to give your comments in such detail.

  7. Well said!
    Pakistan really is reigning in a state of self-denial. And that, I believe, stems from two things.
    The manifest reluctance of politicians and religious leaders to come all out against terrorists with their usual bold statements (unfortunately, reserved only to bash the peers) is perhaps because the fear ‘has’ made it’s way into our lives. I can’t say for certain, of course, but I’m sure there would hardly be many religious heads in Pakistan who’d say very clearly about those conducting the terrorist attacks as terrorists – that’s more so after Maulana Naeemi’s murder.
    Same goes for the politicians. For them, in a post-GHQ-Attack time, they are safe nowhere. And they probably feel better not bringing up the issue of terrorism lest this may attract them few volunteers of the suicides’ brigade.
    Add this to the other band of conspiracy theorists and we have the blend of a nation which is still totally not ready to effectively tackle this surge of terrorism.
    Truly, God help us, if indeed He hasn’t left already!

  8. 12 Mubeen Irfan

    We have always been an extremist as a nation. Hot weather, spicy food or poverty reason could be any. When we talk abt the war on terror same applies. Some of us are sure its Talibans and some say its def India, US or my fav Mosaads. Why can’t it be a mixture of two? The Talibans (personally I don’t like to call them that) are desperate to create a new world where there is no US and opression (don’t even know what it means). But on the other hand US has a heavy stake here in the region so its logical they create conditions to stay in Afghanistan. If someone says it is too much to presume that US wants to stay in the region then look at history. For global dominance anybody can try anything.US is no different. I say v quit being extremist and find a moderate and working solution.

  9. 13 Amina

    Its diabolical how blase’ our leadership is towards the plight of this country. Bombs go off on a regular basis, there is no sugar available in the markets, and what to talk of the wheat crisis which is already here. How can this nation not lose heart? our prime minister should be asked.
    great post!

  10. 14 Umer

    Naveen you said!we are denying, Althoug we could not decide since 9/11 is it really our war or still we are fighting for others, if its really our war then why we dont have the evade of our own nation against this war, before 9/11 if any blast occur inside the Pakistan we directly blame to indians without any delay and the same reaction they shows if anything happen their, but know indian shows same reaction as it was earlier (like Mumbai attacks and highjaking of their planes and e.t.c) and we have the concrete evidences against indian involvment in Balochistan and tribal areas, we are unable to do anything or even we are not doing protest, interestingly on one side we are saying we should raise the same in at international level or e.t.c, but practically we are not doing this, as far as the present circumstances of Pakistan are concers, it is not possible for any organization, individuals or group to find the places of intelligence agencies of any country without the support of some special hands, we could not understand if in fact our intelligence agencies are working and they are submitting the daily reports to the Present Govt. why this govt. is reluctant to take initiative.

  11. 15 Faisal kapadia

    @umer not i say its not our war can u now tell the ttp to stop killing our asses?
    @naveen the political leadership is vacant this is what we made mush resign to? We need to realize democracy only works if the elected few are responsible to those that elect them.

    I say we kill anyone that threatens us as a nation pakistani muslim hindu afghan chechen uzbik foreign or domestics hands feet and the whole sodding crew of diff militants and ppl who give them support on off and below air. Go on a witch hunt we must!!! Tighten a few baddys as well in their tauqs we shud or we just a train wreck in slow motion!

  12. 16 Fatima Jawad

    Pakistani people have become extremely insensitive to the horrors other Pakistanis go through with each of these attacks. Until it is your family or friends that are affected we tend to read the news of the blasts and move on with the rest of the day. The problem is that they have no solution being provided to them, it is not as if they can work with their local governments and security agencies to provide security watches in local areas to get rid of the miscreants. They seem to be waiting for someone else to take care of them. Looking at the state of our government, they do not invite any confidence for this type of measure. But it is a fact that there is involvement from the local people (or people who are known to the locals) in these attacks. If any one person in that chain of people would stand up and report these people, the attackers would not feel so confident. We cannot sit back and wait for Pakistan to become a police state. We have to learn how to help ourselves to make Pakistan a better place to live in.

  13. It is not the time for us to concoct ridiculous conspiracy theories. It is highly irresponsible of the electronic media to spread such rumors. Our leaders are only concerned with sticking to power and that sickens me. I have only seen them talking about the NRO and the elections in Gilgit-Baltistan. Somehow I think they all have selective amnesia as they dont bother talking about the terrorism issue. Are they in such a state of denial that they don’t realize that the common man is affected? They already have security measures in place for them so the plight of the common man does not concern them. Why cant our leaders stand up and tell our people that they should fight back instead of listening to ridiculous theories about the presence of external elements i.e. Blackwater or foreign black ops units? The more we lose ourselves the easier it will be for the militants to attack our way of life. Even if the theory was true they should realize that the problem is home grown and are the instruments to carrying out the attacks. Our leaders don’t care about our people. Why did we even elect them in the first place? You are right about them being in denial. If the whole nation rallies against it then these attacks wont take place.

  14. 18 Natasha

    ‘No muslim can do such acts of terror’ – it is this belief that sets the foundation of denial.No matter who is pulling their strings , it is pakistanis against Pakistanis at the end of the day.

    Nice article.

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