The horror continues

The Awami National Party (ANP) has been under threat since the day it came to power in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after the 2008 general elections. That the ANP stands for secular values and human rights is anathema to the religious extremists. An attack on Dr Gulalai, ANP chief Asfandyar Wali Khan’s sister and daughter of the late Khan Abdul Wali Khan, is an indication of the grave threat the cadres of ANP and now their families have to face. Fortunately, Dr Gulalai was not critically injured and escaped this attempt on her life. In the past few weeks we have seen the assassination of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain’s son, a suicide bombing outside Mr Hussain’s house while he was still in mourning, and now an assassination attempt against Dr Gulalai. All this points to the fact that we must fight this war against the terrorists till the very end so that the lives of millions of innocent people are not at risk from these barbarians. By targeting Dr Gulalai, they have shown that even women will not be spared now. We saw this in the case of Benazir Bhutto and now Dr Gulalai, apart from the hundreds of other women and children who have lost their lives in suicide attacks.

In the face of all this adversity, the ANP has stood its ground and declared that the party leadership is prepared to sacrifice even its children for the safety and sanctity of the motherland. It is difficult to provide security to each and every family member of the ANP leadership, but one hopes that those under serious threat will take maximum security measures in future. The attack on Dr Gulalai comes as a surprise because under the code of Pashtunwali (the way of the Pashtuns), women are not targeted, but this attack signals that women and children are now equally in the frontline and at risk. If anyone was in doubt about the barbarity of the Taliban, this attack should put an end to that sorry assumption. Dr Gulalai is not just a woman, she is also a doctor. By targeting aid workers and doctors, the Taliban have proved that they do not care about human life and only want to pursue their own nefarious designs.

The local Taliban are no different than the Afghan Taliban who publicly flogged and then executed a pregnant woman on charges of adultery. Though the Afghan Taliban have denied that the execution was carried out by them, it must have been either their supporters who follow in their footsteps or the Taliban themselves who are denying it because they are now aware of the diminishing returns of their anti-human policies. No law, culture or religion allows the execution of a pregnant woman because an unborn cannot be killed for no fault of his or hers. In civilised societies, even if a woman is on death row, she has to give birth before she can be sent to the gallows. Thus, the Taliban or whosoever killed this Afghan woman are guilty of ending two lives.

We have to understand that both the local Taliban and the Afghan Taliban share the same mentality and mindset. They are the antithesis of every tradition, culture, civilised behaviour, and humanity. The Taliban apologists must stop their propaganda that the Taliban are fighting only the Americans. They are also fighting against the state of Pakistan and killing our people. We have to obliterate them if this sorry tale of bloodshed is to come to an end.

(my editorial in Daily Times)

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