The spin doctors have done their much-too-familiar routine. The only conclusion the common man can draw is to believe that India and America and possibly Israel have attacked our navy and destroyed the two Orions meant only to detect Indian submarines. What was the method followed by the TV channels? Ring up just any retired officer from one of the three arms of the military, call him a ‘defence analyst’ and let him unload bile on the nation.
The ‘it’s-not-our-war’ chorus was hardly punctured by realism, except that the family of the martyred navy aviation officer, Yasir Abbas, pleaded that al Qaeda and the Taliban be recognised as engaged in a war against Pakistan. One channel has the pavlovian reflex of calling the great orator Zaid Hamid every time there is a terrorist incident to hear that the Mumbai attack was done by India itself and that the Taliban and al Qaeda are working for India. Then there is a naval officer in Tehreek-e-Insaf who doesn’t stop rebuking the army for still being linked to the US when, in fact, the US was after our nukes.
If it was speculation everybody indulged in, why couldn’t anyone build a convincing scenario about the objectives of the al Qaeda-Taliban combine behind this attack? The entire world knows that the Taliban are aligned with al Qaeda. The Americans have killed some Taliban and al Qaeda leaders we couldn’t, but are still guilty in our eyes for ‘funding them and using them’ against our valiant army. Al Qaeda has accepted that Osama was killed by the Americans but one TV anchor hasn’t stopped building the scenario that he was not killed in Abbottabad, just like the conspiracy theory which says that 9/11 never happened the way the Americans say it happened.
The phalanx of retired military officers is bent upon reliving its fantasy that the Americans betrayed Pakistan from day one and are once against destroying Pakistan in league with India and Israel. Somehow, the question ‘whom does this all benefit?’ has become the catechism of all our spurious analysts. If the terrorists destroyed the Orions, who will gain from this? No one other than India. After that the nation is supposed to take up arms against India because the latter must be involved in the attack on the base. No one asks why would the Americans risk the lives of six of their own citizens [the trainers who were on the base when it was attacked] in the process?
After the world has silently acknowledged al Qaeda’s ability to train its terrorists to the highest point of expertise in land and sea assaults, we still think that because the terrorists were ‘highly trained’ they must have been prepared by India or America. It is no use telling our conspiracy theorists that the Taliban have, in fact, owned up to the attack and are targeting the navy because it is a part of the armed forces. It is no use reminding the ‘defence experts’ that terrorists have successfully targeted our ISI officers and attacked the agencies buses, killed our SSG commandos while they were in their mess, attacked our GHQ, our FC trainees, our police personnel, and our political leaders. The refrain still is that we do not recognise who our enemy truly is, meaning it is not the Taliban or al Qaeda.
Why did the navy ignore the attacks carried out on its buses in April? Why was it not possible for its security experts to anticipate that it was an escalating situation and that the next attack would be on a more important target? This is a pattern observed in all terrorist attacks. Why can’t al Qaeda take revenge by destroying the American-made Orions in PNS Mehran? Why would India — a friend of the US — bribe the Taliban to attack PNS Mehran, putting American trainers at risk? Why can’t we consider the possibility that perhaps the escalating attack on the navy is a prelude to an al Qaeda sea operation? Why do we forget that it developed this expertise before it learned higher forms of terrorism?
We should recognise that we need help globally to fight terrorism made invincible by sympathy within us for its Islamic credentials. Those whom we call our enemies understand our collective psychosis and are still willing to help, albeit with the thought that a heavily infected Pakistan can ruin the world.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 25th, 2011.
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