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Taliban triumphs as Pakistanis are shell-shocked into silence


“I am not such a pessimist that I say the situation will not turn around here, but I don’t see anything on the horizon yet large enough to push things in the other direction.” [Pervez Hoodbhoy]

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch |
Source/Credit: The Australian
By Amanda Hodge | November 5, 2012

ON Saturday, a veteran anti-Taliban politician was killed in a suicide bombing in northwest Pakistan, while in Lahore the 77-year-old principal of a respected girls’ school was refused bail because of an alleged blasphemy committed by a teacher in a homework assignment.

The Farooqi Girls School was torched by hundreds of furious demonstrators on Wednesday, most of whom had no idea what they were protesting against. On Friday, prominent women’s rights campaigner and columnist Marvi Sirmed was shot at by gunmen as she and her husband were driving through Islamabad.

On the same day, 18 civilians, women and children included, burned to death after militants set fire to their passenger van at a Balochistan petrol station. No group has claimed responsibility.

A few days earlier, a mother and father in Pakistan’s Kashmir doused their 15-year-old daughter in acid for “standing close” to a boy. They refused to take her to hospital for 24 hours as she lay dying in agony at home.

Meanwhile, conspiracy theories continue to circulate through the middle-class that last month’s shooting of teenage education activist Malala Yousafzai was the work of the CIA, even though the Taliban have claimed responsibility and vowed to finish her off.

For a few days in October, after the 15-year-old Swat schoolgirl was shot in the head, some columnists believed the attack would be a watershed moment for Pakistan, that ordinary Pakistanis would tolerate no more of the madness. But Pakistan’s often senseless violence has made silent abetters of its population by so grossly subverting the normal that peace is now defined by acts of terrorism committed far away enough to be ignored.

So out of control is one province, Balochistan, that the Supreme Court last week concluded the provincial government had forfeited its authority to rule by systematically failing to protect its citizens from the orgy of violence there. “I am not such a pessimist that I say the situation will not turn around here, but I don’t see anything on the horizon yet large enough to push things in the other direction,” says Pervez Hoodbhoy.

“People around me were saying, ‘this is the turning point, they shot a 15-year-old girl who just wanted to study and things are going to be different from now’ and I said ‘no way’. “You have to understand, our culture has changed. People are more conservative now and more prone to propaganda.” The 62-year-old nuclear physicist and outspoken peace activist lost his university job last week for speaking out.Columnist and Pak Tea House website editor Raza Rumi believes the situation for liberal commentators in Pakistan is as perilous as it has ever been.

Not content with squeezing the country’s Liberal dissenters to the margins, its most conservative forces now seek elimination.

“It’s quite serious because there’s been a continuous process since the murder of (former Pakistan Prime Minister) Benazir Bhutto that anyone who dares to speak against these militant forces have to be silenced,” says Rumi. “So now we have a situation where (Awami National Party politician) Fateh Khan, who was organising tribals to resist the Taliban, can be killed and people like Marvi shot at for speaking out against attacks on schoolgirls.”

Compounding the problem is that such violence finds ready apologists who cite continued drone strikes in the tribal areas and corruption as justification. “The problem is that last week is just like any other week because there is now a culture of impunity in which militias and mobs now operate,” Rumi says.

“An outsider in New Delhi or Australia might think ‘oh my God, this is crazy’, but actually for people who live here, it’s just the state of affairs because the state is not functioning.”

Read original post here: Taliban triumphs as Pakistanis are shell-shocked into silence

This content-post is archived for backup and to keep archived records of any news Islam Ahmadiyya. The views expressed by the author and source of this news archive do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of Ahmadiyya Times.

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