There were human bodies strewn like dry leaves on an autumn day.
For the first time in life, I saw burnt human flesh, smelled it, touched it and collected it; pieces of small children, big boys, and women. There was a severed hand with just a pink Mickey Mouse watch wrapped around and an amputated foot with the familiar Cheetah joggers. More than 130 dead bodies and an equal number of injured. Continue reading
Despite hundreds of attacks and the deaths of thousands of Pakistanis, there is still a great deal of confusion about the number, nature and end goals of the militant organisations operating in Pakistan. For some, they remain figments of a fevered imagination. To others they are proxies of foreign powers.
This belief has not come out of the blue. It is part of an obscurantist narrative the state itself created and propagated. The problem with this narrative is that while it may have delegitimised some jihadi groups within public ranks, it is counter productive in the long run for a number of reasons. First of all, it fails to address the very ideology that promotes militancy and hence the state’s failure to present an effective counter-ideology. Secondly, the jihadi groups simply have to prove that the state-promoted narrative is a “baseless lie” to win recruits, as indicated by scores of interviews of jihadis. The fact is that these groups are very much in existence and the ones who carry out attacks against Pakistan’s civilians and armed forces have a clear and stated objective: to dominate and overthrow the Pakistani state.
Unfortunately, the state has also promoted a concept of “good” and “bad” militants. This narrative itself has been problematic. There are often strong links between the “good” and “bad” jihadis that also take the form of material, logistical, manpower and other support.
As Pakistan debates engaging the Islamist militants in the tribal areas and beyond, it is imperative that the policy-makers as well as the public understand the militant groups and their interrelations.
The following is an interactive of the militant landscape of Pakistan. Click on each group for more information:
When Peter Oborne first arrived in Pakistan, he expected a ‘savage’ backwater scarred by terrorism.
Years later, he describes the Pakistan that is barely documented – and that he came to fall in love with
It was my first evening in Pakistan. My hosts, a Lahore banker and his charming wife, wanted to show me the sights, so they took me to a restaurant on the roof of a town house in the Old City. Continue reading
The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.
She was bitterly crying on phone begging for her life in the captivity, as she had seen her 16-year-old brother on a CD being slaughtered by kidnappers and pieces of his dead body were sent to her father by them some six years back. Continue reading
Paul Rogers, 09th September 2011
There is intense rethinking in the Pentagon about the “war on terror”. The outcome of the Libyan conflict will reinforce its principal trends.
When Donald Rumsfeld was appointed George W Bush’s defence secretary in 2001, he had the clear aim of fighting wars with minimal “boots on the ground”. From that point, the United States would fight its enemies mainly from the air and the sea. This vision of a high-tech military age saw armies as increasingly redundant. Continue reading
The fight against Lashkar-i-Jhangvi is part of the country`s larger battle against the Taliban who have declared war on the state and people of Pakistan. The enemy is ruthless and indifferent to human suffering and innocent deaths, and targets school buses, hospitals and funerals without any qualms of conscience. While the government has to operate within the sphere of the law, these constraints should not deter the state in its resolve to stamp out terrorism in all its forms and give protection to the people.
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via Sectarian killings.