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Two Editorials

December 24, 2008

I saw that man on TV walking the burning coal. That was weird and insane.

Age of madness

Tuesday, December 23, 2008
It quite often seems that, as a nation, we seem determined to climb backwards into the Dark Ages, leaving behind what progress has come our way since then. There are many examples of such madness. In a gruesome rite enacted recently in Dera Murad Jamali, a man was made to walk over burning coals to prove his innocence in a criminal matter. Such incidents have taken place elsewhere too. In Swat, militants hung out the body of a local ‘Pir’ who had died in a gun-battle against them after digging it out of the grave. In Orakzai Agency the local Taliban have imposed their idea of ‘Shariah’ and warned men not to allow women to move out of their homes. Other stories that reflect a mindset that is just as medieval continue to come in. Even within our cities, where ‘honour’ killings are not unknown, such mindsets seem to prevail.

The problem is tied in to the failure to educate people. Fifty per cent or more of the population remains illiterate. The quality of education imparted even to those fortunate enough to attend a school is often so poor that the learning is meaningless. Lack of development pins people to lives that have not changed in centuries. There are issues to that go beyond this. The lack of access to justice results in people taking matters into their own hands. The ‘jirga’ judgments that come in periodically are one example of this. The state seems to be absent from the lives of most people. Citizens cannot bank on it to meet even the moist basic needs. This appears to be another factor behind the descent into anarchy we see everywhere. The trend must be stopped. Our leaders must realize the dangers of allowing such madness to continue. If it is permitted to grow it could engulf all of us and the aspects of life that still place us among ‘civilised’ societies.

Age of Madness

Schools under attack

Wednesday, December 24, 2008
The militants have once more demonstrated that the city of Peshawar is no longer safe. Incidents over the past few months have made it obvious the writ of state has vanished from the city. A spate of kidnappings, murders and attacks on shops selling CDs or video tapes make this obvious. To drive the point home, a band of militants has now attacked three leading private schools, torching buses and attempting to demolish the gate of one with a grenade. The choice of schools – two of them institutes for boys – would suggest the motive was to create panic and target the elite, rather than to shut down schools for girls as has happened across NWFP. Threats to elite schools have been made before, in Lahore, Islamabad and other cities. Nothing can be more terrifying for parents, and indeed other citizens, than the notion that their children are unsafe even at school. All three of the schools picked out by the militants were elite institutions. Four members of the staff were injured at one of the schools, two of them critically, while attempting to prevent the band of some 15 armed militants from entering the premises.

The message to city authorities has been sent out loud and clear. The militants have once more demonstrated an ability to strike at will. Psychologically they have also picked a manner to do so which is most likely to create terror. Security at schools in Lahore was stepped up on Tuesday in response to the terrible incident in Peshawar. Mercifully, no pupil was injured. But there is no guarantee that other attacks will not follow this one. The only way to stop them is to begin an all-out offensive against terrorists of all kinds. Only by doing so can we eradicate the fear that today walks alongside every citizen and now enters school alongside the children who attend these institutions.

Schools Under Attack

3 Comments leave one →
  1. owais permalink
    December 24, 2008 9:17 pm

    “The only way to stop them is to begin an all-out offensive against terrorists of all kinds”.

    This is what we have been doing for the past 30 years. It’s high time to realize that suppressing any nation, race or group through force is actually strengthening them by increasing the hatred in them against the government. This is what we have done in Balochistan and today Baloch people are talking about independent Balochistan. War is never a solution.

  2. Ayesha permalink
    December 25, 2008 1:13 pm

    I agree but you know what’s the latest from Swat. Taliban has announced a complete ban on female education. No more school for girls from 15th January.

    So what’s one suppose to do?

  3. owais permalink
    December 26, 2008 6:53 pm

    Well there is no answer for being ignorant and I am not favoring the Taliban in any way but today if we are facing this situation in Pakistan, where a organization from Afghanistan is implementing its rule in Pakistan, its because that in the past all we had done is bomb these areas and their home. Remember one thing that we can never ever wipe them from Pakistan or from the globe. US had tried far too hard and have failed. However what we could do is to change the way they think. Make them see the light and this would take some patience not an all-out offensive 

    Also Ayesha , just think neutrally for a minute . Don’t you find it hard to believe that women were allowed to go to school during Taliban regime in Afghanistan, but the same organization is imposing banned on women in Swat as you say?

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