Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Brutal Attack

The Pakistani Taliban's attack on a school in the strategic city of Peshawar, killing over a hundred people, mostly children and teenagers, is a horrific crime against humanity and possibly one of the worst acts of terrorism in recent history. The attack was in retaliation to Operation Zarb-e-Azb on militants in the restive North Waziristan area in FATA, a difficult operation for the army operationally and for embattled PM Nawaz Sharif politically.

This is not the time to play politics. The creation of these militants by the Pakistani state, first to fight the Soviets and then against Kashmir, was clearly a grand mistake that is now eating up the country from within. A plan to destroy India has now ended up killing over a hundred innocent children in school in the country itself. Humanity requires us to spare innocent children, who hardly have any control over events, from political battles. But then, the TTP has never really been humane.

Domestically, Pakistan is going to have to make up its mind. The likes of Imran Khan cannot talk about negotiating with the Taliban if this is the standard of humanity that they set. Fortunately, PM Sharif has called for resolute continuation of Zarb-e-Azb, a brave and difficult decision to make, and he deserves applause and support for it. Imran Khan has to give up his tactics and come down to the issue of making people safe - most particularly in KPK, whose capital city is Peshawar, and which his party the PTI governs.

Indian PM Modi did well to ask for schools to observe two minutes of silence in solidarity for the dead children of Peshawar. The city has a deep and ancient history with Indian civilization, which goes back far beyond Partition. For India and the rest of the world, this tragic incident is a moment to question just how far the world has fallen in this war. 

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