Misinterpreting the PNS Mehran attack

Published: May 25, 2011
Those whom we call our enemies understand our collective psychosis and are still willing to help. PHOTO: FILE

Those whom we call our enemies understand our collective psychosis and are still willing to help. PHOTO: FILE

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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Reader Comments (25)

  • May 25, 2011 - 1:39AM

    Very very refreshing. Loved every word. I was aghast at first when Lucman raised the India spectre in a Nasim Zehra show and then it took on a life of its own.

    The anti-establishment and pro-parliament tone that was set after the OBL attack suddenly changed and all it took was four terrorists breaking into a naval base. If you ask me as to why the planes were hit, I would quote a famous mountaineer when he said that he climbs mountains because “They are there (to be climbed)’ – the terrorists hit the planes because the alternative was destroying the shaadi hall which they could have done with a remote controlled device anywhere in Pakistan. They hit the planes because “they were there”.

    Shouldnt the change in tone of the talk shows be an indication as to who was behind this attack? I wouldnt put this beyond the deep state. Two destroyed planes are small change for getting the heat off their ineptitude post May 2. Recommend

  • May 25, 2011 - 1:56AM

    Bravo! Recommend

  • Armoghan Shah
    May 25, 2011 - 2:39AM

    Thank God, the author has made an objective analysis. I am so tired of hearing ‘foreign’ hand involvement whenever anything goes wrong in Pakistan. I have a simple question from all experts if these so called attacks are done by USA, Israel and India then Pakistani establishment is doing what to stop them… since they already know? It is high time that Pakistan security establishment declare an open war on Taliban and Al-qaeda and hunt them down. Recommend

  • Arindom
    May 25, 2011 - 2:40AM

    The attack was carried out by the same group that attached Mumbai – 2008. At least they had the same trainers and planners.

    But then to Pakistani establishment – the Mumbai attackers were “good terrorists” – so cannot be touched.

    All it has to do it cooperate with India & US to follow leads and arrest the Mumbai attackers — the whole group which are running these sophisticated attacks will be arrested. Just investigate the known terrorists that roam freely and make speeches across Pakistan. Follow these leads…be at them!Recommend

  • Vicram Singh
    May 25, 2011 - 3:57AM

    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.

    Zaid Hamid should be banned from public appearances for the simple reason that he sells false dreams to gullible, overly emotional middle-class Pakistanis (mostly students, young professionals) and when those dreams show no signs of materializing, severe psychosis sets in. His constant diatribes against Jews, Hindus and others are distasteful and only go towards bolstering a superiority complex.

    And when you combine superiority complex with severe psychosis – you get only get a explosive situation.

    All of Pakistan’s enemies are internal – and Zaid should figure some-where near the very top of the list of Pakistan’s enemies. Recommend

  • Adil Adenwala
    May 25, 2011 - 4:03AM

    It is interesting how one event changes the logic of the conspiracy of the conspracy theorists. Linking incidents with unclear assumptions and phantoms created in their heads seems to be the best receipe for iconic expert in relation to Pakistan.

    In this month alone Pakistani experts (as mentioned in the article from retired millitary officers to Zaid Hamid) quote so vehemtly as they were given the blueprints of all these events or better yet had been the members of the situation room while such events are taking place (just like the famous photo of obama regarding osama killing) but do not educate the audiences with the official transcripts, history and facts (as pointed out in some instances in the article) and help public to solve the puzzle.

    I some what disagree to the last part of a very good article respectfully, of course, saying that we need to globally fight the terrorism which is invincible due to our own weakness; the answer to this menace is local first(even though its confused, thanks to our experts) then only we can find relations that goes globally. This is in my view can be achieved through collective RATIONAL wisdom…

    I recall Naom Chomsky’s remark about Propaganda that fits very well with the current spin doctors and allegedly consipiracy theorists that …”great efforts are made in trying to acheive that ideal” Recommend

  • ani
    May 25, 2011 - 4:15AM

    It is 200 % not just 100% fact that India is behind this attack on peace loving nation of Pakistan. Indian commandos trained as star wars figthers were trained by Amerika. Ikram Sehgal -a defense consultant, knew that within minutes of the attack. Hamid Gul having dealt with Indians confirmed their involvement repeatedly. Zaid Hamid was reporting, as usual, from deep within the GHQ. Shireen Mazari’s reporter was reporting the Indian hand directly from RAW offices in New Delhi. Now how can so many educated people be wrong? Ask Imran Khan – he is onto a dharna in front of the Indian embassy. Now if there is a man who knows his facts it is him. 200% Indian hand! Only they can dress their commandos as star wars characters and have the audacity rather cowardice to run away (2 of them did) per Rehman Malik. Recommend

  • Umar
    May 25, 2011 - 8:13AM

    How much this nation wants an appropriate response from the military chief. But we do not hear a single word from GHQ. If Kayani is the man of courage then he needs to stand up and help us over come this madness before it is too late. We must have say it loud now that sympathizers of Taliban and Al Qaida are not friends of Pakistan. Recommend

  • Wah
    May 25, 2011 - 11:15AM

    Excellent ET you rocked again It is time to revisit Pak society to change mindsets Radicalism that was being exported to world from Pak must be dwelt with iron hand Its is vanishing Pak These anchors , mullahs are being paid by Arab world fo Wahhabism Their own children are spending much more than any other country for fun only while children of Pak nation are radicalized due to poverty They are not excepting Osama’s wives but are paying for jihadRecommend

  • Pakistani
    May 25, 2011 - 12:21PM

    First of all why US risk their people in Naval base and attack i give you answer …US killed Zia ul haq every one know that you know US ambassador also killed in that plane so US can do any thing to destroy Pakistan/Islam. Secondly terrorist came from PAF territory and enter Naval Base and not destroy single leaf directly attacked on the Naval plane. Think about these things also.Recommend

  • Qasim
    May 25, 2011 - 1:08PM

    Generally the TV channels have realized that “it is our war”, the reality is gradually sinking in with enhanced projection of the the ugly side of the terrorists acts, loss of defense and civilian lives, economic damage. Masses’ have reacted overwhelming defiant to the Mehran attack with calls to eliminate the terrorist network. It is a significant change, despite muted comments from advocates of conspiracy theories. However I yet have to see state/channels educating citizens in how to identify and report suspcious activities with details of central information cell to collect, collate, investigate and prevent such acts in future. State alone can not do it; it needs EVERYONE’s help. Recommend

  • RP
    May 25, 2011 - 1:19PM

    Only the Chinese engineers were fired upon, not the Americans.
    There is a strong suspicion that someone inside the base provided information. Why must it be a Pakistani who provided this information?

    And the million dollar question….
    Why must we rule out any plausible theory without a full investigation?Recommend

  • S.G. Jilanee
    May 25, 2011 - 2:57PM

    Could any mai ka lal please tell me when this “our war” started and why? What was the casus belli? Who attacked whom first? Recommend

  • Majid
    May 26, 2011 - 2:12AM

    One (or may be two) insurgent strikes by Pak f16’s into Afghanistan will tell the author and its sympathizers who was behind these attacks.Recommend

  • Shaikh Mohommad
    May 26, 2011 - 3:24AM

    What is missing the role of Pakistan Army? Why does Pakistan Army allow a free hand to USA? American drones are having field day in attacking civilians. American spies and contractors can do anything they like in the country without fear of being apprehended by Pakistan Army. Pakistan has become a colony of America. American military aid has completely subordinated Pakistan Army to Washington’s control

    Another aspect is the fact that Pakistan Army controls 60% of the economy. It runs banks, factories, businesses. No one cares about Pakistan as a sovereign state. Obama has repeatedly said that they will repeat incursions in the country similar to Abbottabad.

    What Pakistanis have to realize that Pakistan Army is not serving Pakistan. It is serving Washington. Just read Wikileaks to see that statements condemning drone attacks are for public consumption only.

    The only out is for the people to come on the streets NOT against USA but against Pakistan Army.Recommend

  • Tony
    May 26, 2011 - 4:34AM

    Lets get real. The PNS Mehran attack had all the footprints of the CIA.. The USA wanted all the Orions taken out so that their submarine cruise missiles could get in close. Due to great work by the defenders they only managed to get two. Apparently some of the attackers had tattoos, and I am led to believe that the Taliban do not have them, but Blackwater people do.Recommend

  • Rehmat
    May 26, 2011 - 9:22AM

    Pakistan Taliban claim they did it. The Pak government agrees it was Taliban that did it. This is in line with what te Taliban had promised as revenge of OBL slaying. Al fits fit together. So other than psychotic hatred of India there is no reason or basis to assume that India had naything to do with this.

    So it is not as though there are too eqally complelling theories and people like Zaid Hamid are picking the one they believe. No one cae the victima and the perpetratr take ownership and agree. On other side there is no evidence whatsoever. Recommend

  • True Pakistani Patriot
    May 26, 2011 - 9:36AM

    WHAT EVER THE CASE MAY BE……we are failed counter it, even worse is we cannot portray a post incident ONE MUTUAL stance and a policy statement….. It seems that Rehman Malik is being left with the only hope to misguide Public and Int’le Media…..that worsen our integrity considerably.Recommend

  • RP
    May 26, 2011 - 11:54AM


    There is no evidence either way.
    An anonymous phone call claiming responsibility and the statement of our interior minister before any investigation whatsoever are far from compelling evidence.

    Foreign and local media have numbed our brains by bombarding us with one-sided stories, we are no longer capable of independent thinking. All I ask is look at the details and try to make sense of it using your own judgement. Recommend

  • mo
    May 26, 2011 - 11:39PM

    @Armoghan Shah:
    Why do you have to use a pakistani name to make a comment like this you indianRecommend

  • Usama
    May 27, 2011 - 10:48AM

    i think it would be better if u know more fact….ill just throw you one:
    when these guys attacked there were scores of airforce and army aircraft parked nearby they totally ignored them and went for the aircraft which poses the greatest threat to Indian or israeli or US navy ships..those are the only aircraft destroyed, why?? now dont be so naive and think with an open mind who attacked us and why and who has benefited the mostRecommend

  • Cherish Raj
    May 29, 2011 - 2:09AM

    Then, why do not your government or army make such a claim? Why do not your friends Saudi Arabia or China make such a claim?Recommend

  • Faizan
    May 29, 2011 - 5:34PM

    Dear author,u have made USA an angel,now i believe dt USA has given 50 million dollar funds to people like u ti divert public minds..Attack was done by USA becuase they are behind our nukes…USA who knew dt world trade center was going to aatack and risked life of thousands of people,USA who killed its own soldiers for sake of oil,y can such big country cant risk life of 6 of there engineers……usa engineers present there gave all information to terrorists…grow up buddy,,,very very bad analysis by u authorRecommend

  • Mahin asghar
    May 29, 2011 - 11:31PM

    Dear let me tell you that the benefit of destroying 2 aircrafts submarine detectors goes to India and no one else. All possible efforts be made by every individual around the world to reach to India and destroy their nukes, aircraft career, Jaguar aircrafts, Miraj 2000 aircrafts, AWACs aircrafts and dams built on Pakistani water. It will be actual Jihad, I also request Indian Muslims to wake up and join hands with Pakistan because you are also doing unjustice to Islam by not rising against hindus who are after your buisnesses, life, the life of your kids, not including you in main work force etc etc. Today neither UN nor NATO or for that matter USA all western powers are together with India and are upto complete distruction of Pakistan.Recommend

  • Usman
    May 30, 2011 - 8:35AM

    would India — a friend of the US — bribe the Taliban to attack PNS Mehran, putting American trainers at risk?

    Wow, you’ve got me there Editor. Maybe because these were not actually the Taliban, maybe because they already had a list of targets before the operation and that list may have included the Chinese Engineers, not the American. Have you considered that or are you not willing to consider the fact that the Pakistani middle class is on to somethere here when it blames India/US? Since when did bashing the Pakistani middle-class become trendy in the media?Recommend

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