A shameful reaction

Tehrik-i-Taliban (TTP) chief Hakimullah Mehsud was killed in a US drone strike earlier this month. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan wants to block NATO supplies from crossing through Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in response to this particular drone strike. Jamaat-e-Islami chief Syed Munawar Hassan called Mehsud a ‘martyr’. Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said that anyone killed by the United States — even if it is a dog — is a martyr. Pakistan’s Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan described Mehsud’s death as “the death of all peace efforts”. This is how most political leaders of mainstream, albeit rightwing, parties reacted at the death of Pakistan’s worst enemy.

All terrorists are horrible creatures, but Hakimullah Mehsud was one of the most callous terrorists this world has ever seen. However, the way our ‘leaders’ and the media (some honourable exceptions aside) reacted to Mehsud’s death was unbelievably shameful. In any other country, the people and their leaders would have thanked their lucky stars at the death of a top terrorist, but not in Pakistan.

Here, all we can see around us is rudderless leadership, both military and civilian. They are not ready, nay willing, to fight terrorism. Have they forgotten that this mass murderer and his coterie of monsters have carried out hundreds of terrorist attacks all across Pakistan? The TTP, under Mehsud’s leadership, was responsible for the death of thousands of innocent Pakistani civilians and soldiers. The TTP has vowed to bomb more Pakistanis to avenge their chief’s death but our leaders still want to have ‘peace talks’ with the Taliban. The US has taken out the top most threat to Pakistan yet the US remains our enemy number one. If this is not confusion, what is? Granted that drones are illegal and cannot be condoned but why should a terrorist killed in a drone strike be celebrated as a martyr?

As Saroop Ijaz wrote in The Express Tribune, “We can oppose drone attacks and still be entitled to our fleeting moment of relief on the passing away of Mr Mehsud. The wrongs of drones and Mr Mehsud are not comparable. Even if they were, his death is no time for that comparison.”

It is a tragedy that our leaders are acting the way they are. It is unethical the way our media is turning a terrorist into a hero. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif needs to take a clear stand on terrorism. He should also remind his Interior Minister that peace talks were not sabotaged by drones. In fact, it was Hakimullah Mehsud who did not want peace talks. Mehsud did not believe in the constitution of this country. Democracy was unacceptable to him.

Under these circumstances, what could have these so-called talks achieved for we have not really seen a single peaceful day in Pakistan even after the government and APC’s call for peace with the Taliban. They have not laid down their arms, they have not stopped bombing our streets, they have not stopped beheading our soldiers; they are on a killing spree and do not want to stop. The only way to stop them is by taking action. Pakistan needs leaders who call a spade a spade. At times like these, one certainly misses brave leaders like Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed.

(Originally published in Mid-Day)


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