Mr. Sharif out of sync? Dr Farrukh Saleem

The whole world wants to rid us all from the menace of terrorism. Muslim-majority states of the OIC, including Turkey, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the UAE., Albania and Azerbaijan, all have troops in Afghanistan. A total of 43 countries — including Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Austria, Croatia, Finland, Georgia, Macedonia, Ireland, Serbia, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Romania and South Korea–are all fighting terrorism right next door to us.

On September 20, death worshippers blasted the Marriott while my office colleague, my son’s classmates and my friends were breaking their fasts inside. Ten days later, in an Eid day message, Shahbaz Sharif said that the “government should shun someone else’s war.” Shahbaz Sharif is clearly out of sync. Pakistani Muslims walking around the streets of Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi surely aren’t scared of American fighter bombers — they are scared to death of suicide bombers.

On February 25, Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif said: “there was no reason not to engage in a dialogue with those involved in terrorist activities (” Look what happened the following day: on February 26, Surgeon General of Pakistan Army Lieutenant-General Hafiz Muhammad Mushtag Baig was killed by a suicide bomber in the high-security cantonment area of Rawalpindi. Mr Sharif is clearly out of sync.

Pakistan is at war for its soul. The world is at war with a particular world view; a world view that insists that the existing world order is unfair and is adamant on imposing its own world order–and that too through violence. Everyone has the right to argue whether the current world order is fair or not but no one has the right to impose his or her own world view and that too through the use of violence.

Over the past few years, a total of 11,504 innocent Muslim Pakistanis have been blown to bits by terrorists. In 2002, there were two suicide attacks. In 2007, there were 56 and 2008 has already seen 37 suicide attacks. In 2003, there were 41 bombs blasts. In 2008, there have already been 700 bomb blasts. Muslims are ruthlessly killing Muslims and Nawaz Sharif is adamant on having a ‘dialogue’ with the killers of humanity. Someone is definitely out of sync.

Our existence as a nation-state is at stake. Our existence as normal human beings is at stake. Doesn’t Nawaz Sharif understand the gravity of the situation? Doesn’t he realize that some 10,000 square kilometres of Pakistani territory — between Tochi and Gomal rivers — has been captured? This isn’t terrorism any more; it’s an insurgency. Shouldn’t Nawaz Sharif be leading; leading his voters to win the war that Pakistan cannot afford to loose?

On October 6, a suicide bomber attacked MNA Rasheed Akbar Nawani’s residence killing 20. MNA Nawani, who ended up at the Sheikh Zayed Hospital, is from Mr Sharif’s own party. On October 7, juice shops and a beauty parlour in Garhi Shahu were bombed; Mr Sharif’s home city was rocked. Pakistan is under an existentialist threat and the Sharifs are out of sync.

On August 22, The News editorialized: “This is a fight very much to the death — for our very way of life, to protect and preserve it from people whose ‘qualities’ include intolerance, bigotry, hatred and downright bestiality. The sooner this is realized — by all Pakistanis, by the state and its various institutions and by the present government — the better.” For how long would the Sharifs continue to remain out of sync?

The writer is an Islamabad-based freelance columnist. Email:

The News, 12/10/2008

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