During the last decade or so, Pakistan has been the epicenter of terrorism. Over 60,000 Pakistanis have fallen victim to the dark and sinister forces of bigotry. Suicide bombings have extinguished the lives of so many of our citizens. After the launch of operations like Zarb-i-Azb, there has been a definite reduction in deaths and carnage across the length and breadth of the country. However, we are still not out of the woods. Last week, there were several brutal attacks on our security forces, resulting in the death of security personnel in Waziristan, Ormara and Turbat. We are still fighting a huge terror machine managed and controlled by religious fanatics.
Despite the brutal and merciless carnage orchestrated by our own monsters we still believe that all this is the handiwork of some dark mysterious forces from across the border. Unfortunately a large majority of the educated elite and some TV channels still harp on the tune of hidden hands and foreign agencies attacking our country. This narrative is very popular, and usually the favorite whipping boy is RAW, CIA, Mossad or the Afghan intelligence. Every act of terror is blamed on the Yahood-o-Nassara, meaning Jews and Christians. It appears as if our media is now controlled by forces of obscurantism which are blind to ground realities and insist on their ill-informed belief that Muslims cannot do this. We blame everyone, including Charlie’s aunt, except our own home grown and nurtured religious fanatics. We are so blinded by our religious intolerance that all non-Muslims and those who dare to speak against religious intolerance are declared infidels and worthy of death only.
From the very early days of our independence, we have witnessed many atrocities, beginning with the murder of Liaqat Ali Khan in 1951, the separation of East Pakistan, the plane crash of Ziaul Haque, the killing of Murtaza Bhutto, the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the attack on the GHQ, raids on the naval base in Karachi and countless others. The perpetrators of all these heinous acts have never been identified. In the recent past, our own elected representatives handed over the Swat valley to the fanatic mullahs called Sufi Mohammed and maulvi Fazal ullah, under the guise of the Nizam-i-Adal (NAR) resolution and they imposed a cruel regime. Who can forget the gory and bloody attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar in the near past, when about 200 innocent children were butchered by the Pakistani Taliban? Ironically, even when the Taliban spokesman had accepted responsibility, some TV channels were insisting that this was the work of the Indian agency RAW. We should also remember that all facilitators of the murderers were Pakistani and three of them were also local clerics.
The founders and leaders of our home grown religious extremist groups did not spring up overnight
The fire brand mullahs of Lal masjid in Islamabad held the capital hostage for many days and insisted on imposing their brand of sharia in the country. It was only after a bloody battle and the loss of many lives that their siege was broken and the citizens of the city heaved a sigh of relief. The mullahs of Lal Masjid were also Pakistanis. Many of our political leaders and intellectuals argue that terrorism in Pakistan is a direct result of our support of the USA in their war on terror after the happenings of 9/11. They fail to recognize that the roots of terrorism lie deep within Pakistan. The terrorism of today is a direct offshoot of sectarian violence and religious killings of the past. Who created the religious based terror machines like the Sipah-i-Sahaba or the Jaish-i-Mohammed? These extremist militant groups were established well before 9/11 and even before the birth of Taliban in Afghanistan and the sad reality is that they were founded, nurtured and led by Pakistani Muslims.
The founders and leaders of our home grown religious extremist groups did not spring up overnight. They were trained, nurtured and finally launched by the numerous seminaries that have mushroomed all over the country. There is a direct correlation between the rapid growth of seminaries and sectarian killings, intolerance violence and killings in the name of religion.
This monster has created an atmosphere of fear and horror. Its philosophy has destroyed the ideals and beliefs of a free democratic society. If this society has to survive and progress, we have to come out of the conspiracy complex and look inwards to save this country from ending up on the dust heap of history. We cannot deny the evil intentions of our enemies but the fact remains that the entire world is not after us, we are after ourselves. Terrorism and religious fanaticism cannot be ended without facing the dark, evil and bloodthirsty our own home grown monsters. About time we came out of the conspiracy complex and solved the problem with courage and foresight.
The writer is a teacher