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The Taliban strike again, while Peshawar and other cities in Pakhtunkhwa had been targeted frequently, this time they decided to hit the big cities, i.e. Karachi and Lahore. 11 people have died so far with more than 50 wounded.

An interesting thing to note is the statement of claim from the Taliban, here is how it has been reported by Express Tribune

“We claim responsibility for the suicide attack on police in Lahore,” said Azam Tariq, spokesman for the TTP, in a telephone call to AFP in Miranshah.

We regret the loss of civilian lives in the attack and warn people to keep away from security forces and government property,” he said.

“The attack was in retaliation for drone strikes and military operations in tribal areas. We have more than 3,000 trained suicide bombers,” he added.

The statement by Mr. Azam Tariq is something that would make the likes of Imran Khan (PTI) et al say; we told you so.

But a few points to ponder; why is it that for these two coordinated strikes, that were supposedly aimed at “security forces and government property”, the TTP chose the Chehlum of Imam Hussain? If they “regret” the loss of civilian lives then why didnt they just barge into one of the hundreds of police stations or army camps that dot Pakistan. Why a Shia procession specifically?

It is obvious that Mr. Tariq is lying, he by no means will ever “regret” the death of a Shia, so why do the drama then? Why not put an Alhumdulilah about killing Shia Kafirs?

In my opinion, statements such as these are to leverage the efforts of all of those who are presenting the Taliban as freedom fighters. This “regret” would probably be enough for many to declare this as a legitimate reaction to someone else’s war.

But, these attacks signify the inability of the Taliban to coexist with anyone who is theologically different from them. With Shias constituting around 20% of Pakistan’s population, this expression of hate should be enough to convince many about the necessity of containing the Taliban ideology.

But the hindrance to this obvious consensus is provided by baseless explanations that declare these actions as mere reactions. The scary thing is that the Taliban has evolved to leverage these ridiculous explanations. An evolution which is exhibited by this new found “concern” about civilian causalities.

Its also not the case that sectarian violence is a post 9/11 phenomenon, which would magically vanish once the war in Afghanistan is over. In the period between 1989 to 2000, around 1000 Pakistanis died and around 2500 were injured due to sectarian violence. A report by the International Crisis Group, claims that 70% of the deaths related to sectarian violence since 1985, were of Shias.

This expression of  “regret” by the Taliban shouldn’t mean anything, but the way the whole debate around the Taliban issue is being carried out, to many out there this is yet another incident to blame on outsiders.

Written by Imran Khan

January 25, 2011 at 5:06 pm

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