Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Massacre in Peshawar

On the eve of Sandy Hill Tragedy anniversary, we get another horrific news of school killing in a far away place. One cynical way to look at all this is - 'Pakistan is a true ally of USA'. America was feeling lonely in her inability to stop the gun culture, the culture which tolerates annihilation of its own progenies on the pretext of right 'to make money by selling military weapons to civilians' disguised as Second Amendment right. American hypocrisy is all too evident when we Americans will stop cars for Flashing Red Lights of Yellow School bus way at a distance, almost in some of kind reverence to school going kids; but we will simply not see the stupidity of what havoc our permissive gun policies do to our own kids and people. Now America need not feel lonely, Pakistan has been forced to join her ranks.

Well, ranting against America's gun culture aside; this massacre is utterly inhuman. Evil does not respect the holiday season or feeling of 'giving, sharing and love' during these festive days. I guess Taliban stated it - they were 'giving'; what they were interested to give was 'pain of loss of loved ones' to Pakistani Military.

Clearly the cause honored in awarding Malala is right one - the right of Pakistani kids to pursue education safely. What is unclear is how did that award honor scores of many other Pakistani school going kids who brave the stupefying violence and in the end pay the ultimate price as like many kids did in this killing spree.

There have been so many wake-up calls to Pakistani Society and her Politicians about the danger of playing with fire i.e. guns and Taliban. They have an opportunity not to be America - where our political class (and judiciary too) is simply beholden to the gun makers lobby. True, reasons and motivations for violence in these incidents are different. In Pakistan's case clearly it is the war waged by Talibans against larger Pakistani Society; fundamentally a different issue than America's failure to control guns. But Pakistani Army has tended to harbor terrorists for petty tactical gains against India or Afghanistan or simply opposing political force for too long and her politicians have failed to rein it so far. Like America, it is the failure to stop causes of violence.

Pakistani PM is responding in right ways to the tragedy - publicly grieving for families who lost their loved ones, visit Peshawar and help manage the crisis on immediate basis. Early on in his term, PM Sharif first extended his hand of friendship to Talibans despite political perils of such an approach. Taliban rejected that and he has reluctantly started to mop up Talibans militarily. PM Sharif needs to continue on this path strategically and needs to bring together the entire Pakistani Society with him to fight terrorism of Taliban. It is a common enemy of Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and even USA. 

Many young and affluent people in Pakistan get lured by theatricals of Pakistani Opposition Politician Imran Khan. They need to realize, it is much better and much patriotic to join Pakistani Government and Army in their fight against Taliban rather than getting embroiled in some flimsy agitations perpetrated by Imran Khan for his political opportunism. It is time for Pakistan to come together and take decisive steps in getting rid of Taliban. Specter of South Sudan is never far away. 

India needs to help Pakistan as much as possible in this fight against Taliban (but still continue the policy of armed response for any terrorist adventures from Pakistani side on Indian border). Immediate reaction of PM Modi is setting the right tone, India needs to sustain it over a period.

The biggest actor who can take Taliban head-on is Pakistani Army. First it needs to stop playing Taliban against India or Afghanistan or USA or political opponents. Then only it can wage an effective war against Taliban. It is not about doing favor to America or anyone in fighting Taliban. It is all about protecting children and families of Pakistan itself. The enemy has reached at the heart of Pakistani Armed forces - their progenies. 

(From tactical perspective it is utterly foolish to attack Pakistani Military Personnel's school. This will remove any ambivalence of Pakistani Army against Taliban. It is a direct provocation of Pakistani Army and Taliban just ensured that there will be a brutal counter-attack by Pakistani Military against Taliban. One hopes it does not escalate into some kind of mindless violence.)  

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