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Harsh Reminder

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The attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi that claimed five lives, as well as the blast in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, in which 25 persons died, marks what authorities in Pakistan are considering a renewal of terrorist activities. There had been a bit of a lull during the elections as extremist organisations attempted to acquire political power by forming parties and mainstreaming themselves, but that seems now to be over. The Army had, earlier, carried out operations against the ‘bad’ terrorists and claimed to have had considerable success. However, Friday’s incidents indicate that things have not changed very much, mostly because the founts of terrorism continue to flow freely. The manner in which the government of Imran Khan had to compromise on the conditions of Asia Bibi’s release in the face of large-scale protests signaled exactly that.

While the attack on the consulate was claimed by the Balochistan Liberation Force, the blast in the North West targeted the Shia community. This signals the fact that sectarian as well as ethnicity based terrorism continues unabated in Pakistan. It should also expose to the hapless common people of that country the fundamental deficiency of the Establishment’s ‘good terrorist-bad terrorist’ narrative. A nation based on the ‘separateness’ and superiority of one religion cannot expect non-discriminatory practices from its citizens. Despite all evidence to the contrary, and overlooking the meltdown of the political and economic underpinnings of the state, Pakistan continues to indoctrinate its people in ‘two-nation theory’ terms. As a result, the need to become a modern nation state – only possible through secular acknowledgement of all beliefs and the rule of law based on equality – is continuously belied.

The response of the Pakistan Government to the latest incidents has not yet been that of blaming India’s RAW, but it will be soon coming. It is, after all, a good way for the government to distract attention and absolve itself of responsibility. Imran Khan, for all his brave talk and display of modernity, is just as trapped in the machinations of the military as any Prime Minister before him. In fact, analysts believe he is in actually a worse position. Even old time ally, the US, has exhorted him to come down more effectively against the terrorists, irrespective of what kind they are. Despite the economic straits the country is in, it still cannot resist the temptation to sponsor a host of terrorist organisations that purportedly pursue the Kashmir cause. With this, it only strengthens the hands of those who can, at any time, turn against their own people. Friday’s incidents are a harsh reminder of that.