“Dawood – Who’s that? We never heard of him before.”
“Maulana Masood Azhar who? Sorry, never heard that name”
“Terrorism? What’s that? Don’t ask us to eliminate terrorism, we’ll go to war”
Pakistan is a nation that is in a state of denial. Never before has clearer evidence emerged that Islamic terrorists have established their roots deep within the Pakistani fabric. Yet all our neighbours seem to do is to turn a blind eye to this menace that has started affecting its own citizens.
The trouble started way back in 1947 when India was divided into two countries, India and Pakistan. The biggest flashpoint then was the Indian state of Kashmir. Back then, Pakistan supported the Mujahirs who were no more than armed mercenaries backed by the then rag tag Pakistani army to try and wrest control of Kashmir. They succeeded partially, and what began was a bloody era for people of Kashmir.
What also began here was a clandestine backing of the militant forces by elements in the Pakistani Army. The responsibility of handling these militants was then passed on to the Inter-Services Intelligence(ISI). Since then, several acts of terrorism have been carried on in the state of Kashmir as well as several others throughout India. The developed world mostly ignored these incidences of terrorism till a certain Osama Bin Laden took terrorism to their own backyard.
Switch to 26/11. India’s financial capital Mumbai was held hostage by a group of ten terrorists for 3 days. Unlike previous incidents where all terrorists were killed, this time one terrorist was caught alive. Azam Amir “Kasav” has owned up to being a Pakistani national and has even written a letter to the Pakistani government. Only to be denied existence.
What Pakistan is doing here is playing with dynamite. Even though it has been time and again proven that Pakistan is the home to some of the most wanted on Interpol’s list, like Dawood Ibrahim (mastermind of the 1993 bomb attacks in Mumbai), Maulana Masood Azhar (Jaish-e-mohammed chief and wanted for numerous terror acts), the chiefs and cadres of world famous terrorist groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Muhammed and also Al-Qaeda, it either denies their existence or calls them non-state actors to wash its hands off.
The murder of Benazir Bhutto and the multiple terrorist bombings in Pakistan make it quite clear that Pakistan is now bearing the brunt of the same terrorists it harbors. If this is not enough to serve as a wake up call, only God knows what will!
Pakistan’s democratic government under Mr.Zardari must take swift, affirmative and urgent actions against these known terrorist forces. If they do not, they are sitting on a ticking time bomb that will cause more harm to Pakistan than anyone else.