Articles of the year 2008

The Lahore Bombings
Published on March 2008

The Lahore bombings have cast a pall on this once happy city. The whole Subcontinent had always been proud of Lahore, which was known for its joi-de vivre its laughter, its happiness. Suddenly, the war has been dumped in our midst. Why so? Yes we are Muslims, but no more and no less than any others on this planet. We are the most accommodating of all the ethnic groups that make up the region. This is not our war, Baghdad is far removed from us in Spirit and in space. Why are we being targeted? There are no US soldiers here. We have just had the cleanest elections in our history, and before the new Government has a chance to be sworn in the bombings have started. Bombings without a cause, without an agenda, without an enemy. The Lahori is a simple soul full of goodwill toward all, and malice toward none, so the attacks are even more mystifying. The poor Lahori has no border disputes, yet with a rich history of conquerors who came through, saw Lahore were enchanted and settled here like generations before them. But now there is a sense of violation about the city. People glance furtively about while walking through the streets. The openness in the gaze of the Lahori has been replaced by examining every passerby as a potential bomber. Mistrust and suspicion is now the hallmark. It was never like this. The Israeli and Palestinian conflict has spread its poison far from their neighborhood, till even Lahore is being targeted. The Arab/Israeli conflict has nothing to do with us, but we are being caught up in its wretched embrace. We, the poor Afghans, our Northern areas, Wana, are all in the deadly whirlpool which is dragging us into its killer vortex. Indeed it is difficult for us to understand the savage and brutal retribution being visited upon us by these devils of death. And at whose bidding?

Our Agencies in league with the CIA created a formidable instrument to destabilize Russia. After this success they moved their focus onto the Kashmir agenda. The rogue element of this arm has spun out of control of its handlers and the bombings in Pakistan can safely be attributed to these groups. Their rabid voicings such as Hamid Gul on talk shows betrays the mind set, and the depth of their indoctrinations- for the freedom fighters, so even if some Pakistani targets are attacked, it is within the overall scope of the larger aims of these rogue groups in the name of Islamic activism. That is why none of the political parties has condemned the blasts strongly enough. Showing their softness for the Kashmiri cause. This bent was strong enough to force Zardari to back away from his statement on the reality of the Kashmiri position. These bombings have brought the security of Pakistan into a direct attack, and should be countered with the might of all Pakistanis. The last year has seen attacks on Pakistanis at random locations and with no warnings. The same methodology as the attacks in Kashmir. The effect on the Punjabi psyche may create a wave of anger against any and all support for the Kashmiri cause. Negating 60 years of the Kashmiri struggle. Worse, turning Lahore into a frontline state.

The politicians must immediately take steps to bring all the Islamic Parties forward, to issue a Fatwa which should declare Suicide bombers as Kaffirs. This Fatwa should be unambiguous, and all suicide bombers and their handlers and their helpers should not be allowed Muslim burials either. For that matter IjazulHaq must now be carefully investigated for his movements in the Lal Masjid affair. It is clear that the Lal Masjid administrators have links into these networks. He and his family must be shown the results of the handiwork of those he supported. And the families who lost their loved ones must be taken to Ijazul Haq to see face up the man who harboured monsters that had committed these crimes. The Fatwa must encompass all such people. Any and all support to these groups should be cut off at the root. Islam does not condone suicide nor does it condone attacking innocent civilians. Islam does not accept collateral damage as coined by the US Defense department spokesman. For us the killing of non-combatants by the Suicide bomber is Kufr The sooner this is proclaimed by all the Mullahs, and broadcast five times a day from every pulpit and after every Azaan—the better. If any Mullah does not do so he should be charged with heresy, and punished as such. These are desperate measures, but then the Lahore action does indeed call for such measures. The video clip showing the van brutally running over the guard shows the commitment of the bomber. We need somebody as single-minded . Asif Zardari may be just the man for this job.