From Karachi to Swat, the Taliban are active. Shame on those in a state of denial

FROM Karachi to Swat, the Taliban are active. Shame on you Imran Khan, Hamid Gul, Kashif Abbasi, Mushtaq Minhas. Are you still in a state of denial?

From Karachi to Swat

FROM Karachi to Swat, the Taliban are active. The ‘executions’ in what once was a tourist paradise and a police informer’s abduction in the port city show both, their tentacles in society and the ruthlessness of their philosophy and action. Pakhtun tribal traditions include respect for mediators. But on Sunday militants belonging to Maulana Fazlullah’s camp ambushed tribesmen on the way to a peace jirga and took 12 of them hostage, and when other tribesmen attacked the Taliban the hostages were shot. Later they were hanged to ‘teach a lesson’ to the non-Taliban. The police informer in Karachi was murdered because he tipped off the authorities about an Al Qaeda-Jundullah cell. How they kidnapped him is immaterial. It is doubtful he was trussed up and taken to Swat all along in that condition. Most probably he was lured into visiting his home district and then trapped. But what is shocking is the Taliban did not confine their wrath to the informer; they beheaded his wife, children and parents — a deed that testifies to their moral depravity.

The murder of the peace jirga members is not the first of its kind. The Taliban have been murdering non-combatants as a matter of policy now for years. In the past they have bombed mosques, Eid congregations, and civilian targets, including girls’ schools and UN relief offices, without any qualms of conscience. What is shocking, however, is that sections of society friendly to the Taliban keep mum about these barbaric acts and, thus, indirectly encourage terrorism. The government’s own handling of this menace has been anything but scientifically planned. The crackdown launched on the Swat rebels in November last has no doubt made some headway, but as Sunday’s crime shows Fazlullah’s men are far from vanquished and are still quite capable of making mischief. In Bajaur the military for the moment seems to have the upper hand, and the militants have shown a desire to negotiate. However, a well-coordinated strategy to crush the rebellion appears to be missing. Notice, for instance, the prime minister’s unhappiness with the FC commander’s remarks — later clarified — that it will take a full year for the authorities to restore peace to Fata. The unanimous parliamentary resolution demonstrated the nation’s will to combat terrorism, but regrettably some religious parties still have a soft corner for the terrorists and condemn suicide bombing and others acts of terrorism only for record’s sake. (Dawn)