Friday, October 19, 2007

A Bitter pill to swallow

Most of the 200,000 who turned up on the streets of Karachi to welcome back Benazir Bhutto knew that there were credible threats. But they still came, believing in the humanity of those who made the threats, and the effectiveness of the government security. On both counts, they were wrong. Its unfortunate that innocent people who came to celebrate the return to democracy had to die for no fault of theirs. 130 dead, and counting. 130 Families devastated.

Its the worst terrorist attack that Pakistan has faced. John Howard has blamed the Al-Queda for for this, Asif Zardari has blamed the ISI, and others have just blamed 'Extremists'. This itself shows the monumental misunderstanding that most countries have of Terrorism in general.

The Horrific aftermath of the blasts. (sourced from The Liberal Blogger)

But this incident will come as no surprise to those who have observed Pakistan for the past few years- smaller incidents have been frequent, mostly killing a few dozen people. This is the big one that will wake up the rest. And those who till now were called naysayers, sensationalists, and other names are hollering we-told-you-so. Not with glee though. Unfortunately, it seems that those who're speaking the truth are afflicted with the "Cassandra complex", and its only now that most leaders are realizing what could have been prevented if only they'd listened.

'Blowback'. Thats the only way to describe the present happenings in Pakistan. What goes around, comes around. This bomb blast, the Lal masjid problem, and the growing power of Radical Clerics is all a blast from the past (no pun intended), a fallout of the policies of Gen. Zia-ul-Haq, and ironically, the support of Madam Benazir. After all, it was her channeling of these terrorists into Kashmir that kept them alive. After tearing apart Kashmir, and being beaten back by the Army, they tried (with liberal ISI support) to tear apart our cities with bomb blasts. With the US forces in Afghanistan, they were boxed in. with nowhere else to go, no weak enemies to destroy, the terrorists did the only thing they could- they're tearing Pakistan

Somewhere in South Block today, there's probably been a meeting to discuss the response to these events. Both Shivraj Patil and MMS should realize that the events in Pakistan can, and will spill over. The only way to stop that is to be alert and strong against terror. Unfortunately, that seems a little far-fetched, given our government's pussyfooting, and the fact that we dont even have an anti-terror law.

For long, we've faced these blasts. India has lost 60,000 people to these monsters. It was a matter of time before our neighbours faced the same. Undoubtedly, there's a certain schadenfreude among certain sections in seeing Pakistan eating its own medicine. There was an indication of that when the Samjhauta Express was firebombed. But we must remember that in any incident like these, its not the terrorists or leaders who suffer; its the common people. Hopefully these event will spur the Pakistan's leaders to clean up, and our leaders to be on their toes.

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