Pakistan continues to face enduring ‘bin Laden’ terror phenomenon: Expert

Islamabad [Pakistan]: The rise in terrors attacks across Pakistan has prompted an expert to question the manner in which the government is combating the menace.

Though a feverish campaign has been launched against terrorists following the recent spate of suicide suicide, and according to reports, over 100 have been eliminated, what puzzles the majority of them is the process of identifying these anti-social elements and the evidence- gathering mechanism used.

“What puzzles me is how the terrorists, who have been eliminated, were identified and located so quickly. Did we always know where they were but letting them be off or be for some reason? If we were letting them be, was it because we did not have enough evidence that they were involved in terrorism?” the Dawn quoted renowned economist Anjum Altaf, as saying.

“If that is indeed the case, how could we just go ahead and eliminate them without conclusive evidence? And, if we did have the evidence and knew where they were, why did we not arrest them and establish their involvement in some sort of a normal civilised manner?” he added.

Questioning the government, he said, “These questions, as I have said, are very confusing and I cannot help but think that we are not being told the truth. Either that or our rulers have attained such a unique state of incompetence that they too do not know what they are doing. Both alternatives are frightening and frankly unacceptable. Once again we are faced with what we might call our enduring condition, the bin Laden phenomenon – did we know or didn’t we? Neither answer does us any honour.”

Altaf also raised doubts over the anti-terror activities by Pakistan, he said, “It seems to me that the frenzy of maniacal activity is just intended to convey an impression of steely determination and purposeful action in order to placate the public and buy time. Who knows how many innocent people are being sacrificed to keep up this charade.”

The economist also questioned attempts made by Pakistan to improve its image in front of the world.

“In the meanwhile, we are subjected to inane statements that the opening of the new Islamabad airport would promote the soft image of Pakistan and holding a cricket match would convince the world that the country is safe from terrorism and bring superstars flocking back to the country,” Altaf said.

“I fail to understand how spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to bribe a handful of foreigners to play a game in a nuclear bunker can be convincing proof that the country is back to normal. Or how announcing that a permanent force of 15,000 military personnel needs to be deployed to protect a trade corridor would reassure investors that the country is safe for business. This is self-delusion carried to absurdity,” he added.

Calling for pushing the entire region towards a conflagration, Altaf asked as to what one should make of the resolve that terrorists would now be pursued into other countries.

“How would one respond if some other country takes that as a licence to pursue terrorists into country? This is jumping from the frying pan into the fire, potentially pushing the entire region towards a conflagration. Is there someone thinking before shooting off at the mouth?” he asked.

Altaf also questioned as to whether it is extremely difficult to comprehend that people can be philanthropists and terrorists at the same time if an ideology can be made to seem ‘compatible’ with both activities.

“It is hard to understand why we can’t approach these matters with the normal process of state-to-state collaboration to eliminate terrorism from the region which would be a win-win outcome for all,” he said.

Raking the issue of good and bad terrorist, Altaf said: “Why do we seem to be in this game of ranking terrorists along some scale of goodness or usefulness? If that is indeed the case, could someone have the courtesy of taking the nation into confidence, explaining how some terrorists are better than others and what we are aiming to do with the good ones? And while we are being made wise to that could we also be told if we are succeeding or not and how far we are from the grand objective we have set for ourselves, whatever it is?”

He further remarked that a failure to provide convincing answers can only lead to one conclusion: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”(ANI)