By Dr Shahid Qureshi : –
Pakistan is traumatized by the terrorism and counter terrorism measures especially after Islamabad operation and suicide bombings. It has affected every one. I don’t know about the ruling elite, how they are coping with this trauma. They might be dusting their foreign passports and green cards, confirming their air tickets, or sorting out their safe houses abroad. Those who invaded Afghanistan and Iraq are having a bad time but their egos are stopping them to accept the failure of their policy. My advice to them would be to cut the losses and get out of the mess because; people don’t want to be occupied.
It is the occupation and constant provocation making people suicidal. The bombing of Mosques, religious places, insults and humiliations by the so called western intellectuals is adding fuel to the fire. The latest one was the knighthood of Rushdie, it is like saying to the two million British Muslims and more than billion Muslims around the world, as the US President Franklin D Roosevelt reportedly said in 1939 about Anastasio Somoza García the non communist Nicaraguan ruthless dictator, “Somoza may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch”.
Pakistani nation is traumatized with the bombings, killings, humiliations, insults of Muslims all over the world by the so called high and mighty. Trauma is often defined as a coping response to and a consequence of overwhelming situations. However, as an individual’s sense of being “overwhelmed” is subjective, the occurrence of trauma is also subjective. There is evidence to suggest that how people cope with extremely stressful situations is associated to the amount of trauma suffered from such events.
Situational Trauma is well-known in genocide, war, and crime situations. It is almost always seen in torture victims and targets of group attacks. It also occurs in natural and man-made disasters, catastrophic mishaps, and medical emergencies.
For an event to have a traumatizing effect it is not necessary that physical damage occurs. Regardless of the source of the trauma, the experience has three common traits: it was unexpected, the person was unprepared and there was nothing the person could do to prevent it from happening (helplessness). It is not the event that determines whether trauma occurs, but the subjective experience of that person.
Pakistan is a victim of terrorism since the invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 by the Soviets but it never reached to a point where people started blowing themselves and killing fellow Pakistanis. Yes Afghanis, Iraqis and now Pakistanis are attacking their own security services and killing their own people for various reasons which are not justifiable. A suicide bomber is convinced that security services who should be protecting him are now serving the foreign interests and not national interests. Some critics say it is an Indo – US plan to fan sectarian and ethnic terrorism in Pakistan.
The attacks on the armed forces by whoever is part of the conspiracy to disrepute the armed forces and distant them from the people of Pakistan. Its time the military strategists should start listening to the people of Pakistan and feel their pulse.
It is the occupation and constant provocation which is making people extremists, fundamentalists, and walking time bombs. Occupation is the main cause of most of the violence in the world. It is quite strange that wherever US goes, suicide bombings, sectarian and ethnic killings go sky high. How difficult is it for the US policy makers to understand that people don’t want to be occupied. Afghanistan is a graveyard of empires and imperialists.
The US must understand that those who wrote the American constitution were committing treason and would have been hanged, had they lost the war of independence. People don’t want to be disrespected in their own country, homes, cities and towns.
Suicide bombing is not a moral or religious issue that is why Hindus are doing in Sri Lanka and Japanese Budhist kamekazis did in the second WWII. It is an act of desperation against the policies of injustice, humiliation and insults. Those who forced some one to commit such an act are equally responsible because it is cause and effect. So when talk about terrorism and extremism also mentions occupationism and provocationism.
There were no suicide bombings in Iraq before the illegal occupation now more than 800+, there were no suicide bombings in Afghanistan now more than few dozens, there were no suicide bombings in Pakistan now more than dozens.
A very senior analyst told me few days ago in London, “Some circles in Europe and US want to disintegrate Pakistan into small ethnic states”. He further said, “Chinese are quite concerned with the current policies, yes Chinese President might have asked for the protection of its citizens, but he might never asked to kill Pakistanis when Chinese citizens were already released.
Those who say we will fight with the terrorists for 20 years or 50 years are in actual fact glorifying terrorists. How can small numbers of people with small old-fashioned arms fight with a current and old super power? The NATO and US should devise an exist strategy which ‘chuckle brothers’ Bush and Blair’ never had?
It is time to dialogue, forget, forgive and move on if the rulers are serious in saving Pakistan from disintegration.
Published in The Frontier Post 20/07/2007
(Dr Shahid Qureshi is award winning senior investigative journalist and writer on international terrorism, security and foreign policy based in London)