17 January 2004
The News International
The day President Musharraf declared that no form of extremism or terrorism will be tolerated in Pakistan, the terrorists had struck in Karachi - attacking a Christian Reading Library next to the Trinity Church located in the commercial hub of Saddar. A grenade was initially thrown by two men on a motorcycle, followed by a car bomb explosion which left 13 injured and several vehicles badly damaged. Fortunately there was no loss of life.
The perpetrators have not been identified so far but there can be no doubt it was the work of terrorists. The government efforts to provide security to the likely threatened spots have been partially successful but the attacks still continue. There are any number of reasons for the extremists` venomous activity and include revenge for the US action against Afghanistan, communalism, sectarianism and just plain criminality. The recent attempts on the president`s life have also been linked to the government anti-terrorism drive which is regarded by the extremists as a move to please the West and therefore against what they perceive to be the interests of Islam.
This so-called `holy war` of the merchants of mayhem and menace against the forces of moderation and harmony is the best example of the fact that terrorists have no religion. Their agenda remains ambiguous and confusing. It seems they themselves can`t make up their minds about who should be eliminated in the name of their version or interpretation of religion. Should they target the minority sect of the land whom they consider to be infidel? Or go against the foreign nationals belonging to the Christian faith, like the attacks on the churches in Islamabad and a school in Murree? Or should they target Pakistanis of the same faith, like the attacks on churches in various cities? Or should they just attack randomly, which they have been doing all along, resulting in the brutal killing of their Muslim brethren in the process? This bewilderment also belies all that these persons claim to stand for Islam and its message of love and peace.
With terrorism having become an international phenomenon the government should join hands with the regional states to battle it. A lot still needs to be done to battle terror in the centres where it thrives and to create conditions in the country that will give the poor a chance for a better quality of life. Poverty is accepted as one of the major stimulants to violence and extremism is just another face of violence.