Source: Dawn, “Silence is not an option”
Relatives and policemen carry the flag-draped coffin of Sifwat Ghuyur, a senior police officer, to a burial site during his funeral in Peshawar
Enough is bloody enough! Enough of deafening silence as our people, women, men and children, are mercilessly killed and maimed and widowed and orphaned by cold-blooded murderers and their handlers and motivators.
How many more Safwat Ghayyurs and Mushtaq Baigs and Faisal Alvis and Malik Saads and Abid Alis and Khan Raziqs will have to die before those who are equipped and paid to prevent, or at the very least anticipate attacks such as those that killed these fine men, will begin to do their jobs? Whilst I have started this piece with the mention of officers in the service of Pakistan, I am by no means making light of the deaths of thousands of nameless innocents such as the women and children in Meena Bazaar, Peshawar, or the hungry poor at Data Darbar, Lahore.
It is time that all of us Pakistanis stood up and loudly asked the establishment a raft of hard, even unpalatable to it, questions and demand answers. We must ask why it is that not a single suicide-jacket maker has been apprehended and prosecuted in all the years that these beasts have been going about their ghastly business. We must ask why not even one explosives supplier has been caught and brought before a court of law. We must ask why not one, just one, motivator has been exposed and locked up so that he may not spread his poison any more.
We must ask why not even one facilitator, people who move these mindless creatures with explosives strapped to their bodies from one place to another, has been arrested and put away. Or why even one suicide attack or car bombing has not been prevented by our much-praised ‘agencies’. We must ask why high-profile officers such as young Safwat Ghayyur were not provided such intelligence cover as would have uncovered the surely elaborate plan hatched by the terrorists to get this officer.
We must ask how it was that the man who apparently fit the profile of a suicide bomber almost perfectly: young, hanging about outside a sensitive agency (the Frontier Constabulary headquarters) waiting for his quarry; probably wild-eyed, entered Peshawar cantonment in the first place. I went to Peshawar a few weeks ago and it took my wife and I and our driver a full three minutes of questioning, checking of our ID cards, opening the hood and the dickey of the car, having a soldier peer into the car and so on, before we were let through just one barricade. There were three within the cantonment before we got to where we were going and the procedure was repeated at each one, albeit in abbreviated fashion. So how did that misguided, mindless youth stroll into the secure area to do his dreadful deed?
We must ask too, what is the very first duty of any agency of any state. Surely it is the protection of its own people first and foremost, and as the end result of that the protection of the country as a whole. We must ask if our much-talked-about agencies are succeeding in these primary duties. We must ask if the attacks that have robbed so many of our people of their very lives are the direct result of a massive and ongoing intelligence failure. The frank answer is that the ‘agencies’ have failed and are failing all ends up in doing their primary duty: witness the audacious attacks by terrorists at any target of their choosing anywhere in the country, including that holy of holies, the GHQ. Including, indeed, on installations, and the transport, of the ISI itself.
Which reminds me. There is an email doing the rounds that tells us that our ISI is the best intelligence agency in the whole wide world. The ranking of the world’s intelligence agencies according to this email is as follows: our very own ISI (and more strength to it, I say), Mossad (Israel), MI-6 (UK), the CIA (US), MSS (China), BND (Germany), FSB (Russia), DGSE (France), RAW (India) and ASIS (Australia). Two immediate questions come to mind. If the ISI is really as good as it is made out to be, how come our country is in the state it is in? Second, if RAW is as bad as to be the 9th worst intelligence agency in the world, how come it can pull off actions as diverse as bombing Data Darbar and R.A. Bazaar in Lahore and Lahore cantonment respectively; arming and provisioning Baloch separatists; and attacking our Ahmadi brothers in their mosques in Lahore? Could it be that RAW is not as bad as the list would have us believe, and the ISI not that good?
Jokes aside, however, we must ask the hard questions and also make demands of our agencies, paid as they are from our taxes and revenue. The very first is to say to them to please secure our own country first and then attempt to project Pakistani power across our borders, say in Afghanistan. It is to say, please use all the significant resources at your command — the list referred to also tells us that the ISI has up to 10,0000 (I kid you not) operatives worldwide — to at the very least open the Thal-Parachinar road so that the poor people who live in Parachinar do not have to get to their homes via Kabul, Afghanistan.
May I say please, sirs, sort out the criminal terrorists in your own country before you attempt to broker peace between Karzai and (some of) the Taliban. May I say please, sirs, if you cannot secure your own country how can you possibly have the gall to boss the neighbourhood around? Look inwards, sirs, at the veritable mess this poor country is in and do something about it. Surely you know that the last time the Parachinar road was opened, 10 men and six women were killed and eight men (all of them our Shia brothers and sisters, please note) were taken as hostages. At least find out where these poor hostages are, and have them released. Surely being number one you can do it.