The madness of the Pakistani Taliban

Just a few days after I lamented what had become of Pakistan’s aspiration to be a refuge for the subcontinent’s Muslims, a Pakistani Taliban suicide bomber yesterday killed at least 54 people in Quetta who were taking part in a Shi’a-organised al-Quds Day rally in support of the Palestinians.

Various news agencies are quoting Qari Hussain Mehsud, a deputy leader of the Pakistani Taliban (whose leader, Hakimullah Mehsud – a cousin of Qari Hussain Mehsud – is pictured above), as claiming responsibility for the bombing. Reuters quotes him as saying:

“We take pride in taking responsibility for the Quetta attack.”

The Quetta bombing comes the day after another sectarian bombing of a Shi’a procession in Lahore which killed at least 33 people.

The Daily Telegraph quotes Qari Hussain Mehsud as justifying the attack on the Shi’a rally in Quetta saying:

“Our war is against America and Pakistan security forces, but Shiites are also our target because they too are our enemies.”

Qari Hussain Mehsud was also quoted as threatening similar attacks in Europe and the USA “very soon.”

What can one make of this? What possible sectarian differences can justify the killing of civilians in this callous manner? And during the holy month of Ramadan?

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2 Responses to The madness of the Pakistani Taliban

  1. Dear Inayat,

    I do not condone any of the alleged atrocities committed by the Taleban, just like I don’t condone the atrocities committed by my government. But I do think we need to be very sceptical about all such incidents being attributed to the Taleban. We know that the “Pakistani Taleban” are not born straight from the womb of the Afghan Taleban. Resistance to the army has increased since the shocking increase in drone attacks incurred by the US and more significantly due to the heavy-handed handling of military matters in the tribal regions by the Pakistan army. We should not forget the millions displaced last year when the army tried to confront insurgent activity in the Swat valley

    I think it would be apt to mention that the US and West played a large role in sponsoring and even arming the Shiite squads in Iraq to curb Sunni insurgent activity about 5-7 years back when the US forces were really reeling from the “Eye”raq war. Also, even our own British forces were caught red-handed in plotting bomb attacks that would have been attributed to terrorist insurgent activity if succeeded. This was quickly swept under the carpet. I would hope that it is a matter of time before Wikileaks sheds more light into the very hazy subject.

    There is very little information we know about these alleged “terrorist” attacks. I do not know which source this report quoted to have the Taleban mention Shiites as a true enemy like the occupying forces. But, I think we have sufficient grounds to be a bit sceptical about a lot of the information we gain about these abhorrent acts of terror.

  2. Thoughtshuffler: I certainly agree that the US has greatly compounded the extremist problem with its terrorist drone attacks in Pakistan which have killed many hundreds of civilians. I also agree that some Iraqi Shi’a groups cooperated with the US in the invasion of Iraq back in 2003. The reports about Qari Hussain Mehsud describing the Shi’a as ‘enemies’ all appear to come from an interview with Associated Press. See this al-Jazeera report which also contains the same quote from AP:

    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2010/09/201093111014874105.html

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