When you heard about the Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar, your stomach churns to a point of nausea. What kind of religious battle do you wage against school-going children? Has the Taliban become a band of heathens? It puts the spotlight now on the Pakistani establishment, the lame-duck civilian government and the all-powerful army and ISI. Certainly one cannot justify such an act in the name of religion or revenge for that matter.
The attack was claimed by Tehrik-i-Taliban-Pakistan (TTP) which is different from the Afghan Taliban which is being fought by the NATO forces. The attack was touted as revenge by the TTP against the Pakistani army’s war against it in the North-Western region of the country (therefore the attack on the army school). Yes, apparently Pakistan is doing something to fight terrorism. Up until now, Pakistan differentiated among the Talibans as being good and bad. The good ones are those that spill foreign blood while the bad ones are those which spill Pakistani blood. Pakistan has a hand in giving a rise to both of them.
Now we all know that state-sponsored terrorism is Pakistan’s thing. They indulge in nurturing terror organizations. (It was a safe haven for Osama; I mean what else can you say?) So is this strategy really working for them? In light of recent events, you’d have to say no. The TTP has waged various attacks against the state of Pakistan, the latest one being the most gruesome. So why has Pakistan not woken up? Pakistan became a terror factory because diverting attention to religious issues that never existed was the best ploy to keep its populace occupied. If the media glare remained on its internal affairs, there’d be revolutions every day. The army realizes that if it wants to stay in power, it must back terrorism and present outsiders as the biggest enemies. It therefore got so engrossed in aiding terrorism that when something cropped up in their own backyard, they were too busy to realize it.
What the TTP has done may actually backfire on them. Until now, people were largely indifferent to state-sponsored terrorism but when they turn on you, what do you do? The outrageousness of the Peshawar attack actually prompted reactions from the world even evoking reactions from the Indian populace who might have reacted in a ‘serves you right attitude’ if not for the death of innocent children. So people are now calling upon the government to take a stronger stance against the TTP. Even the army is bitter for the TTP’s attack was against an army school. It gives rise to a serious dilemma for the Pakistani state as there are risks of its dichotomy being exposed. This was evident by the bail granted to terrorist Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi which was subsequently followed by his detention by the government after protests from the Indian establishment regarding the two-faced nature of the state.
The world now expects Pakistan to take action against state-sponsored terrorism. If the government or the army doesn’t act, they stand to lose out on public approval. If they act, they would be forced to clean up their act. They cannot act against the TTP and leave out the rest of the organizations as they are basically made out of the same mettle. If it’s TTP today, it may be someone else tomorrow. Pakistan must realize that it has created a Frankestein and if it doesn’t act fast, such attacks will never be a thing of the past.