So what?

Published: January 13, 2012

There is something horribly wrong with the national psyche of this nation that forms the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, both with its leadership — including those who profess to be the pillars of state and all that is known as the ‘establishment’ — and with the led. Hypocrisy has been taken to new heights and double, if not treble, standards are firmly embedded, settling in deeper as time goes by.

When Nato forces, on November 26, killed 24 Pakistani troops at the Salala checkpost — surely not by intent as they had nothing to gain — the entire government machinery, the mighty armed forces, the very free media and most of the remaining 180 million went emotionally berserk. Not because 24 young soldiers were dead and 24 families in mourning, but because the US, the favourite whipping post was involved in the deaths whilst waging war against the Taliban. The reversals in relations with the US are well-known. The confrontational attitude of the military and civilian establishment, of the tottering government that follows the line drawn and set by the army and the media hype went into top gear. It was not about the soldiers, it was merely the perfect opportunity to attempt to go for the US jugular — just stopping short of an actual declaration of war. (The American inability — or is it policy — to say ‘Sorry’ did not help in any way).

On January 6, we read that the mutilated bodies of 15 members of the Frontier Constabulary, previously kidnapped by the Tehreek-e-Taliban-e-Pakistan (TTP) had been found in North Waziristan, riddled with bullets, in a revenge killing by the TTP. The pillars of state, the government, establishment — military and civil — were silent. Pakistani Muslim had barbarically slain Pakistani Muslim, so what? Can someone explain the difference between the TTP and the other Taliban that the 24 or so soldiers were fighting on the Afghan border in Mohmand?

There was no public outrage, the ghairat brigade of the electronic media and those who move from channel to channel to ‘tawk’ found it unworthy of comment and, as far as we know, the security forces did nothing but send the bodies back to 15 grieving families and maintain their stoic silence. The leading English language newspapers wrote fine pertinent editorials, all of which are firmly backed by this column, as is the January 7 column of Tazeen Javed, titled “More equal than others in death” printed in this publication.

The TTP was by these few roundly condemned, as was the attitude adopted by the military towards its supposed target, conciliatory no matter to what depths it sinks. The military and the government are paralytic when it comes to the TTP — but fully supple when they think they can get an upper hand over the mighty US. When will they realise that the prime danger lies not without but within? Or is it that they do not wish realisation to set in, so obsessed are they by what they deem to be their strategic assets. The assets may loosen murder and mayhem upon all and sundry in the Islamic Republic and the attitude and inactivity seemingly give the TTP the right to do what it will.

On January 10, we read that 10 further bodies of Pakistan’s security personnel were found in the Orakzai agency. The 10 soldiers had been shot and the TTP took full responsibility for the deaths. So 15 plus 10 equals 25 — one more than those killed accidentally (it really cannot be otherwise) by Nato fire. Thus, 25 dead through sheer brutality and 25 families left to mourn, whilst an unfeeling nation did little more than gulp down the latest crises to hit this crisis-ridden republic. No one was jumping up and down in any indignation as all were immersed in the confrontations and tussles unwinding in the Supreme Court and the memo matter in the ongoing battles waged against each other by our self-styled pillars of state.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 14th, 2012.


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Reader Comments (40)

  • Hamza Arshad
    Jan 13, 2012 - 11:15PM

    Vibrant media is throwing more dust in the eyes of masses than enlightening them. Today, an average Pakistani who watches half a dozen news channels of his choice and reads one or two newspapers, is the most confused one. He does not know whether America is our friend or foe; Taliban are our assets or they are out to kill us. We are carried with a storm or we are the cause of storm. It is our war or not…. and a host of other issues. This confusion is as harmful as brain-washing.


  • Roflcopter
    Jan 13, 2012 - 11:24PM

    Probably the dumbest article I’ve read so far in 2012…Congrats! I mean wow seriously? You do know our “paralytic” “hyporcrite” armed forces are verociously fighting TTP, right? Do I REALLY need to remind you how many of our soldiers have been martyred in this fight? What our country is suffering through today was brought upon us by US…oh yes the great mighty US whom you seem to be so fond of. Oh and NATO attack on our troops was “surely not by intent”…wow just wow…good job Recommend

  • SalSal
    Jan 13, 2012 - 11:27PM

    Those who have no knowledge will obviously be confused. Either that or people are just dumb. Afghan Taleban are claimed to be our assets, not the Pakistani Taleban. The afghan taleban are fighting occupation in Afghanistan and they are not killing Pakistani soldiers or doing blasts in Pakistan. All blasts in Pakistan and killing of our soldiers is being done by TTP or Pakistani Taleban whatever u want to call them. The Pak Taleban consist of our tribal people and they get assistance from India Israel Afghanistan and U.S.
    Besides, the people protest against USA cz USA is someone who can hear and she is recognized. TTP is a terrorist organization who doesn’t listen. What’s the use of protesting against them? Isn’t it usual that they are killing us?


  • Yoda
    Jan 14, 2012 - 12:07AM

    How’s this for a difference? America was supposed to be our ally, the Taliban however are universally acknowledged as our enemies. The deaths of the FC soldiers can be deemed a necessary casualty of war, as were the 3000 some deaths that the Pakistan Army has weathered over the past 10 years in the War on Terror. The deaths of the FC soldiers are, as callous as this may sound, fairly routine compared to what went on in 2008 and 2009, no one doubts that the TTP are wholly anti-Pakistan. The Americans, on the other hand, claim to be pro-Pakistan. I personally feel that the difference between the Salala incident and the executions of the FC troops is stark enough–the 24 soldiers at Salala weren’t trained to fight NATO forces and they certainly weren’t expecting an aerial attack. I don’t understand how the author fails to see why a borderline treacherous act by a military ally should generate more outrage than a facet of a war we are all too familiar with.


  • Parvez
    Jan 14, 2012 - 12:46AM

    Pointing out the difference in attitude to the two incidents is necessary. Why this is so and how could it be addressed and by whom and do those who can address this issue want to do it, are all questions that need answers.


  • x
    Jan 14, 2012 - 12:51AM

    1/ you say that US had nothing to gain by killing our soldier while we just needed an excuse to turn on the US. pray, what did we have to gain by turning on our benefactor?take the moral high ground, pass furious statements and hasty actions then wait a few weeks and go back to the US with out tails between our legs?FAIL.
    2/ all reports prove that it was in fact, intentional. maybe to show us who has the upper hand as this is not the first incident. and the formal report prepared by the US and by our US backed military were rejected by the DG ISPR as being mere whitewashing,
    3/ we are WAGING WAR on the taliban so we attack them, they attack us. they are our enemies, our rivals in war so that is expected. the US on the other hand, is our ally. moreover, an ally who has cost us many precious lives, resources, time, money, our economy, our sovereignty, our freedom, our dignity and self respect. we help them attack what were formerly only THEIR enemies and in return, we get attacked by not only their enemies but also the US.
    THAT is what produces such outrage, ms jilani. Recommend

  • A reader
    Jan 14, 2012 - 12:51AM

    SalSal and Roflcopter – You both are sad and confused people if you believe what you have said. It is this willful blindness to your own problems that will end Pakistan.


  • You Said It
    Jan 14, 2012 - 1:03AM

    An apoplectic fit at the accidental death of Pakistani army regulars at the hands of the US, resulted in huge rewards. It forced the US to confirm the delivery of new and upgraded F-16s which had been silently put on the back-burner. Strategic assets like Haqqanis got a respite from drone strikes and a chance to recuperate. Higher payments will be negotiated for the army’s National Logistics Cell which handles NATO supplies. More military aid can be squeezed from the US.

    By 25 deaths of the Frontier Constabulary (who are far lower in the pecking order than the army) there are no such treats to be obtained by rallying against the Taliban. Even a monkey learns quickly which button-press yields a treat and which has no effect. Our strategic masterminds can obviously do better.


  • rafiq
    Jan 14, 2012 - 1:22AM

    Yes I agree it seems media is purposely confusing the nation,working on enemies agenda…


  • Babloo
    Jan 14, 2012 - 1:39AM

    TTP is looked upon as the ‘errant son’ of the establishment that rules Pakistan. Civilian governments have no role there. So the establishment hoepes that TTP can again be brought under its control, like JuD, LeT are and then they will serve as anathor ‘non-official actors’ of the state.


  • Mirza
    Jan 14, 2012 - 3:47AM

    A very balanced and pragmatic Op Ed. Thanks a lot for the truth.


  • Roflcopter
    Jan 14, 2012 - 5:24AM

    @A reader, no mate I know exactly what I’m talking about and SalSal is spot on as well. It seems you’re the one who is confused.


  • MarkH
    Jan 14, 2012 - 9:03AM

    @A reader:
    Just ignore roflcopter. He’s the type you just give a cookie, pat on the head and ignore. Recommend

  • SalSal
    Jan 14, 2012 - 11:20AM

    @A reader
    Typical example of somebody who doesn’t have any knowledge and tries to act smart. You are the one being manipulated by the media and getting confused. If you had read more books and avoided reading biased articles by journalists then you would be aware of the situation. There is a reason why the Pak Taleban has a different leader and the Afghan Taleban has another. Pak taleban are our own people who get help from outside. Afghan taleban are Afghanis who don’t like to interfere in Pakistan they just want U.S to get kicked out


    Jan 14, 2012 - 11:34AM

    Agree with your comment. TTP needs to be dealt with an iron hand and govt or military should stop further talks with this deadly outfit who cannot be trusted anymore.


  • Hasan Mehmood
    Jan 14, 2012 - 11:52AM

    Tell me categorically without any mumbo jumbo and hiding behind platitudes that do you consider Pakistani Taliban as a state enemy to be persued with full force of the state and backing of the nation including the likes of you. PLEASE FOR GOD’s SAKE NO IFS AND BUTS.


  • peace seeker
    Jan 14, 2012 - 11:56AM

    author forgot to mention that pakistan used to be a peacefull country,there were no terrorist outfits,nor there were terrorist activities in country,untill it joined US war for terror and started bombing its own people which left no option for them but to take up arms against state and its institutes.iam sure terrorism would automatically vanish if pakistan decided to part with US war for terror.


  • Hasan Mehmood
    Jan 14, 2012 - 12:17PM

    {Pak taleban are our own people who get help from outside}

    So we should treat them with kid gloves along with all the brotherly rapists, arsonists, robbers, killers etc enjoying the same nationality?
    I am utterly and absolutely Dumbfounded.


  • Jpy
    Jan 14, 2012 - 12:27PM

    Brilliant article. It is surely height of hypocracy. When it comes to USA all cries foul at the top of their voice sounds the bugle for jihad. But when it comes to TTP nobody is bothered even to sypathaise with those martyrs because they are the supposed strategic assets for futureRecommend

  • Hasan Mehmood
    Jan 14, 2012 - 12:28PM

    @peace seeker:
    {terrorism would automatically vanish if pakistan decided to part with US war for terror}

    Please get this statement vetted from TTP and tell me where to join a procession against War on Terror. If TTP agrees to disband or atleast let Pakistanis live in peace without trying to convert to their twisted / barbaric brand of Sharia at gun point and threat of slaughter once the USA leaves Afghanistan, lets stone US Embassy together.

    Utterly sick and tired without getting any cogent response from the likes of you which unfortunately are in majority.


  • Feroz
    Jan 14, 2012 - 1:50PM

    While sleeping when you are bitten every night by mosquito’s and complain you are told by family, it is not our mosquito’s it is neighbours please keep quiet. You believe neighbours are responsible not only for the bites but everything else. The World is responsible for my problems, never me. While the Army may have recruited, trained and sheltered militants for use as proxies, it is neighbours and conspirators who are killing citizens.


  • ahmed
    Jan 14, 2012 - 3:15PM

    the writer is mixing up two different issues with each other…actually we are fighting with terrorist not americans.we are ally with them if the country whom we are supporting start killing our soldiers so called unintentinally then what should be are reaction. if killing done by terrorist(TTP) it also a lost of life but actually we are fighting against them and we are ready to face this damage.


  • Hasan Mehmood
    Jan 14, 2012 - 3:26PM

    {it is neighbours and conspirators who are killing citizens}.

    Editor ET: Poor proof reading. The above part of sentence makes no contextual sense. Maybe the author meant : We should not blame neighbours and conspirators for kiling of our citizens.

    If you have no time for proof reading, why not post comments instantly?


  • mateen saeed
    Jan 14, 2012 - 4:28PM

    We are self-proclaimed heirs of so-called great Islamic civilization of Baghdad, Dehli etc. We love to challenge Jain ts not pygmies like Taliban. We as self-proclaimed heirs, wish to restore our so-called great past. This Target can be achieved only by threatening western jaints; in case we can’t achieve this target, at least can satisfy our this obsession by fervently condemning collectively. Hell with ground realities i.e. venous Taliban. After we own a ready-made combat force to fight back western jaints.


  • Roflcopter
    Jan 14, 2012 - 4:38PM

    @MarkH, Hilarious comment coming from a known troll. I speak facts but I guess trolls don’t like that ;)


  • Roflcopter
    Jan 14, 2012 - 5:04PM

    @mind control, Going for peace is a sane decision which I don’t think you’re able to comprehend and that doesn’t change the fact our forces continue to fight bravely and will do so as long as needed and peace will be attained with upper hand unlike your chacha amreeka next door who is begging for talks. So what was the point of this question of yours? we’re you trying to imply our forces are surrendering or something? hahaRecommend

  • Hasan Mehmood
    Jan 14, 2012 - 6:34PM

    {Going for peace is a sane decision}
    Please specify the absolute minimum you hope to get from Taliban and the absolute maximum you can offer them.

    For me the absolute minimum is peaceful coexistence and avoiding killings and slaughter of those who dont agree with them. They are welcome to keep their arms and their ideology as long the arms are not used to spread their barbaric ideology. Let them preach and those who agree may join them.

    The maximum I would offer them in return is the stars, moon, sun and everything under the blue sky. Unfortunately they only want an unconditional surrender to their mindset. If you are OK with that, go ahead and best of luck.


  • Hasan Mehmood
    Jan 14, 2012 - 6:46PM

    There is no mix up if you use your common sense. When a friend tries to harm you intentionally or unintentionally you protest and / or break relations. When your enemy does it, you retaliate and fight back. Otherwise ain’t we supposed to gulp down all injustices from India being our percieved enemy instead of shouting from the roof tops.

    The author has only highlighted the difference in intensity of two reactions i.e

    Protest against the ally (USA) for killing our Jawans and

    Retaliation against our enemy (TTP) for the slaughter of our Jawans.

    I hope you get the point because I cannot possibly explain it in simpler terms.


  • Aftab
    Jan 14, 2012 - 6:53PM

    Excellent write-up. We, as a nation, have become dual natured and hypocrite people.


  • Jan 14, 2012 - 6:55PM

    The FC men killed by Taliban were pushtoons and those killed by NATO were made difference in the state of Pakistan response to it.


  • SalSal
    Jan 14, 2012 - 7:55PM

    @Hasan Mahmood
    Pakistani Taleban is our enemy and it is them who we have to kill. Some ignorant Pakistanis support their activities thinking that they are taking revenge for siding with the Americans and killing afghan taleban. Pak Taleban are also not religious people they are doing the same Pashtunism thing with an Islamic name. There are no ‘Mullahs’ in TTP. To get the title of a mullah you need to get a particular degree. That’s what the Afghan Taleban have, like ‘Mullah Omar’ and ‘Mullah Zaeef’. We need to wipe out TTP, not the afghan taleban coz they aren’t doing anything to us infact we are the ones who arrested many of them and handed them to the Americans eventhough they didn’t do anything against us.


  • observer
    Jan 14, 2012 - 8:32PM


    Those who have no knowledge will obviously be confused. Either that or people are just dumb. Afghan Taleban are claimed to be our assets, not the Pakistani Taleban.

    Well. in that case,
    A. Why does the TTP swear by Emir-ul- Momoneen Mullah Omar?

    B. Why was a peace deal signed with the Mehsuds conceding NWA to them?

    C. Why are the two Talibans living in harmony in NWA?

    D. Why did TTP help in securing Parachinar?

    E. Why did Gen Gul call the TTP ‘true patriots’ and ‘mujahids’.

    Looks like the ‘assets’ have acquired some assets of their own.
    You were something about people being confused and dumb. Were you?


    Jan 14, 2012 - 9:53PM

    @maqbool hassan:

    {The FC men killed by Taliban were pushtoons and those killed by NATO were non-pushtoons}
    Please dont bring ethnicity in an ideological / policy debate. Its a cheap shot.


  • Zalim singh
    Jan 14, 2012 - 10:11PM

    hypocratic nation?


    Jan 14, 2012 - 11:22PM

    {Pakistani Taleban is our enemy and it is them who we have to kill}

    Thats music to my ears. Thanks for the clarification. We are on same page now.


  • Hu Jintao
    Jan 14, 2012 - 11:33PM

    these lost identity self defeatist liberals are worth listening/reading to.


  • SalSal
    Jan 15, 2012 - 2:32AM

    @Hasan Mahmood
    Pakistan gives Afghan Taleban their support coz they trust the Taleban that they won’t interfere or let anybody use their territory against Pakistan. When they were in govt in Afghanistan, Pakistan felt the safest when it came to the Western border. Also, Taleban are the only reliable party which can eradicate the drug production in Afghanistan (as they had done before) which will stop them from being smuggled into Pakistan. Taleban dont care about what happens in the world And doesnt like interfering anywhere else. Their aim is to kick Americans out. The current Karzai govt and the Northern Alliance are assisted by India and Pakistan doesn’t want them to be their neighbor cz they will cause havoc like they are now by sheltering TTP and BLF. And also remember that eventho Pakistan supports the Afghan Taleban, the security agencies aren’t exactly aware of their locations because the Taleban don’t trust them enough to inform them of their wherabouts. They keep shifting. Especially cz they were betrayed by the Pakistanis due to Musharraf.


  • Amna
    Jan 15, 2012 - 1:30PM

    The US is supposed to be a “peaceful” nation and supposedly the good guys…as they think they are. So therefore, their hypocrisy is shocking and the Pakistanis reacted in a justified manner. The Taliban are our enemy already and do not go around preaching democracy and peace in the world…its pretty basic, I cant believe you wrote such a long article on this.


  • SalSal
    Jan 15, 2012 - 1:47PM

    When did General Gul call TTP true patriots? When did the Afghan Taleban ever approve of what the TTP is doing? Did they ever issue any statement of that sort? Afghan Taleban don’t care what TTP does in Pakistan cz they aren’t interested in that. Stop reading disinformative articles by puppet journalists.


  • Jan 15, 2012 - 2:24PM

    The very basis of this article is based on a wrong assumption that NATO’s attack on Salala Check Post was unintentional.The purpose was to punish Pakistani soldiers on the pretext of helping Talibans and then taking a plea that it was an unintentional attack despite of the fact that NATO/ ISAF have complete details of all the border check posts and their locations. We cannot just avoid the problems within but on the other hand we must not remain oblivious to the nefarious designs of US towards Pakistan being the only atomic power and having a strong military. We must get over with the internel strifes within our country through dialouges but we should also be aware of our real enemies.


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