The recent horrific terrorist attack at Charing Cross Lahore served to demonstrate yet again the incompetence and inability of the powers to be to realistically assess the security threat to Pakistan. The Lahore attack was followed by four suicide bombers striking Peshawar and the Mohmand tribal region, killing seven more people. There appears to be a severe lack of ability in terms of risk assessment of such events; for gauging the actual capacity of the terrorists to carry out such attacks; and the proficiency of the security forces to deal with such capacity. The fact that even after prolonged military operations these terrorist are able to strike a target of their choice with relative impunity is scary to say the least.
In the wake of this tragedy, as in previous tragedies, we continue to hear the same rhetoric of eradicating terrorism and shifting of blame. Yet again we see no plan to combat the actual cause or assess the real risks that need to be managed.
As if the idiocy of it all was not enough an MNA from within the ruling party appears to have set a new low by moving a bill in the National Assembly, which is actually being debated, stating that terrorism is on the rise because students are not studying Arabic. The surprising aspect is that even some opposition members are supporting this bill.
The proposer stated: “We have started focusing on the English language, and parents put their children in English-medium schools and do not bother teaching their children the Arabic language. It is because of this attitude that terrorism is increasing,”
There are a few sane voices who have opposed this, but how the correlation has been established between Arabic and Terrorism is any ones guess. The rationale provided is that by understanding Arabic, the children would understand religion better and refrain from terrorism. It is the interpretation of religion that needs to be understood and that can be achieved in any language.
The fact is that our crumbling educational system can hardly teach Urdu or English, expecting it to generate fluency in another language such as Arabic is expecting a bit too much. Plus if the origin of these terrorists is from neighbouring countries, how will Pakistan teaching Arabic help the cause. It’s just incompetence galore – Ignore the real underlying issues and causes and just deal with frivolous ideas on the fringes.
The discussion of such Bills in the National Assembly serves to demonstrate how far away these so called elected representatives are from the real issues facing the country or their absolute incompetence in dealing with them. These and other elites are far removed from reality with armed guards parading in front and behind them and blocking traffic for the common man so that they can whiz past in their ‘protected’ cavalcades. Amid all this the common man is exposed to all the hazards of everyday life in Pakistan, and when a tragedy occurs these same secured cavalcades arrive to pay lip service to the aggrieved.
Terrorism is a scourge that has nothing to do with religion. However, the impact of terror related activities is tremendous. There is the obvious fear factor that it breeds. This in turn leads to an economic impact in terms of investment, growth, stock market and business activity within the country. Just as things appeared to be settling down and somewhat stabilizing we are witnessing the rise of terror-related activities. This can unravel the gains made, unless the realization sets in that the cause needs to be tackled and destroyed. Teaching Arabic or asking crowds not to gather or putting up ‘useless and inconvenient’ checkpoints will not remove terrorism. Reactive governance needs to be replaced with proactive governance. There is a need to bring fundamental changes as envisaged within the National Action Plan, which appears to have been all but forgotten. Unless we overcome the incompetence within the system, there is no way to deal with issues such as terrorism and Pakistan will continue to lose innocent lives.