Let’s cut the crap, shall we?

Published: December 18, 2014
The writer is editorial consultant at The Express Tribune, news junkie, bibliophile, cat lover and occasional cyclist

The writer is editorial consultant at The Express Tribune, news junkie, bibliophile, cat lover and occasional cyclist

The Taliban did it. The Pakistani Taliban. They killed children, burned women alive and reportedly took the heads off several who revealed their links to the army. The Taliban came for our children and they will come again. It could be my child in Bahawalpur, or yours in Gilgit, Lahore, Hyderabad or Quetta. Or Peshawar. Again. You and I could be carrying that small coffin that weighs the heaviest. Crying the bitter tears of loss, and anger in our chests.

The Taliban will come again because there are those among us who want them to. Who will inwardly be rejoicing at the butchery, which will provide support and succour to them, food, money, shelter — all of that. Somebody did just that for the men who were killed at the end of the operation on Tuesday. Somebody gave those men a bed, cooked for them, wished them luck before they went on their bloody way. And they are still there today. Sitting next to you on the bus perhaps, or at a table across from you in the chai khana, sharing a read of this newspaper with you even. How many are there like that? I know not, but a number in the many thousands.

Related video: The Express Tribune asked 10th graders in Karachi to share their thoughts on the massacre of their counterparts in Peshawar

The Taliban will come again because where there is a need for unity, there is none beyond the brief theatricals of an All-Parties Conference to be held later on the day this is written. There will be grand statements of resolve as ever, and the media channels will wheel on the usual suspects, the apologists and equivocators and a selection of clerics to deconstruct events (‘analysis’ is far too grand a word) and de-claw and de-fang the rage that some of us feel on this day. Whatever unity there might be will disappear in a puff of political self-interest once the formalities are over and the story of the day the Taliban came for our children will drop off the headlines, go below the fold, and be as dead as the dodo next Monday.

The Taliban will come again because we let them. There is no pushback beyond the candlelit vigils here and there, and the miserable bleating of the Tweeters and Facebookers who equate a few keystrokes with political activism. What there ought to be but never will be is the streets of every town city and village across the country jam-packed with ordinary men and women protesting at what has been done to them, and protesting en masse for long enough to force the hands of those that allegedly govern us. But it will never happen and a people with the collective short-term memory of the average goldfish will nod and mutter and get distracted by somebody alleging that a blasphemy has been committed in some far flung outpost and quick; let’s rush off and burn the blasphemers this very minute. Right now. Because that is what we are commanded to do.

The Taliban will come again because there has been a failure of governance that stretches back decades and includes every party that has ever had the stewardship of Pakistan. Without exception. The failure to recognise what was happening in terms of the radicalisation of a national mindset — indeed supporting and promoting that radicalisation on numerous occasions — or turning a blind eye and a deaf ear if they did see it for fear of upsetting the clerical establishment. The current government has not exactly covered itself with glory when it comes to battling the forces of darkness, has it? It needs more than the sacrifices being made daily by our military — which at this point in time seem to be the only institution coming to work in the morning with their head on the right way up.

The Taliban will come again because they are not broken, and are nowhere near being broken. They have a demonstrated capacity to mount complex operations wherever and whenever they choose. They are a wealthy and highly sophisticated group that makes long-term plans and carries them through with determination and professionalism. Yes… professionalism. These are not amateurs; they are battle-hardened and disciplined.

The Taliban will come again. Ready for that are you? Thought not.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 18th,  2014.

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Reader Comments (45)

  • sabi
    Dec 18, 2014 - 1:50AM

    Go for secular Pakistan and see who opposes it is the enemy of Pakistan and enemy of Islam.If they resist catch them by their foreheads and send then behind bars end of the story.
    W e don’t need unity where muulah sits in our ranks and misguide our train of thoughts as always.


  • Ranjha
    Dec 18, 2014 - 3:33AM

    Really Cork? Only last week, you seemed to consider Imran Khan the biggest enemy! Suddenly, it is the Taliban again!

    We always end up getting the bottom of the barrel from foreign lands–Arab terrorists who can’t get deployed in their own countries, Afghan traders who only trade in guns and drugs, English “scholars” who can’t get published even on page 2 of The Sun! Complete and utter travesty.

    Cancel their visas and expel all this crap from Pakistan. Period.


  • Riya
    Dec 18, 2014 - 7:35AM

    When a narrow set of beliefs, in the name of the religion, becomes a weapon of furthering petty interests of a set of power hungry cabal, so many people suffer and pay for their sins. But then it knocks at their own door-step and wreaks vengeance in an unimaginable manner. Lessons learnt must be remembered. Mistakes committed must be rectified even if it hurts the society’s ego. Atrocities on other communities must be condemned and its perpetrators must be swiftly brought to justice. There should be no excuses: palestine, Burma or India. Are we ready?


  • Jawad U Rahman
    Dec 18, 2014 - 9:03AM

    Taliban will come because we are in denial about their very existence and genesis. Our media anchors and experts inadvertently help Taliban by confusing the general public with unfounded conspiracy theories as to who is really behind Taliban – mostly based on conjecture and emotions instead of any hard proof. If Pakistan gets embroiled in international fracas with India, USA, and the West because of these conspiracy theories, that will only help the Taliban get stronger and hurt us even more.


  • Ghazi
    Dec 18, 2014 - 9:14AM

    @Ranjha: Really Ranjha? You only strengthen Cork’s point(s), which I totally agree with. Well written sir. Truth hurts.


  • Raisani
    Dec 18, 2014 - 10:09AM

    Uncle Cork simply rocks!


  • sabi
    Dec 18, 2014 - 10:32AM

    Some of youtubians struggling hard to convey their ‘feelings’ on this space trying to keep civilized but in vain…hope you understand it.I can visualize how many attempts they have to make before they get one such through.Lol.


  • rabia aamir
    Dec 18, 2014 - 11:33AM


    A very strong and well assembled argument – with you all the way Mr. Cork. Just one small request:
    Please stop calling them Pakistani Taliban – in fact do not call them Taliban at all –
    what they are, are terrorists – a Talib in Arabic means ” seeker of knowledge”
    and they are doing anything but…
    While propagating such a strong case it would be great if you could set matters and meanings right as well.

    Appreciate it!


  • MSS
    Dec 18, 2014 - 12:55PM

    @Rabia aamir
    Very correct. TTP is Tehrik-e-Terrorism Pakistan. Most of them are illiterate and have had no exposure to the world outside their caves. They are not Taliban but the killers of real school going Taliban.


  • Khurram
    Dec 18, 2014 - 1:29PM


    I don’t know Mr. Cork, but despite your causal analysis of his work up to now, is there anything here, that is untrue? The enemy being within – how untrue is that?



  • Suren Singh Sahni
    Dec 18, 2014 - 1:58PM

    Taliban cancerous tumour on humanity


  • George Fulton
    Dec 18, 2014 - 3:28PM

    All sadly true. Thanks, Chris.


  • Parvez
    Dec 18, 2014 - 3:52PM

    Brilliant…brilliant…brilliant……..the truth in neon lights.
    In the Peshawar incident…..just look to see who benefited the most……now when ‘ you ‘ have friends whose proxies are capable of such inhuman acts and these friends are ‘ your ‘ ‘ muscle ‘ and support you in power ……. then it is only a matter of time before they turn on you. So the Taliban will come again…… but this time for ‘ you ‘.


  • Asad Chaudhry
    Dec 18, 2014 - 4:01PM

    This article is spot on. Lets not bury our heads in sand like an ostrich. If we are safe thae its not that we are lucky, we are only in waiting for our turn to come.


  • YP Mississauga
    Dec 18, 2014 - 5:16PM

    Very well said, matter of fact.Recommend

  • unbelievable
    Dec 18, 2014 - 6:12PM

    Spot on. If you can’t take to the streets when you children are slaughtered – there is no hope for you.


  • Sexton Blake
    Dec 18, 2014 - 6:55PM

    What Mr. Cork is writing about has been routine for the last 13 years, but media generally has basically ignored the greater tragedy of many thousands of children, the West, Israel, and Pakistan military have killed over the last few years. For example, 700 children were murdered in Palestine recently. I could use the article written by Mr. Cork and just replace the word Taliban by Western Military. What we have at Peshawar is reprisals. The double standards of the contributors is appalling, which I suppose is why dreadful things keep on happening. Because bad things usually happen to the other side nobody really worries about it. Unlike you Mr. Cork, and many others, I do not play favourites. Murder is murder regardless of who does it, and I am appalled every time it happens. Now you are getting down to horrific detail who do you think is designing and dropping cluster bombs from Africa to the sub-continent? These bombs have various little tricks, but one of them is to release thousands of tiny blades which slice men, women and children to pieces as they walk around their villages. Many mothers all over North West Waziristan would love to be preparing meals for their murdered children. As usual ET will not print this, but you are partially correct. As long as people refuse to accept reality the problem will not go away. To conclude, if the media created a similar furore every time this type of activity occurred, and not just in a military school, perhaps Pakistan authorities would try some serious thinking with a view to solving several never ending problems.


  • Yousaf
    Dec 18, 2014 - 7:08PM

    The metamorphosis has completed, Mr Chris Cork has become one of us .Angry and helpless.


  • Amardeep Assar
    Dec 18, 2014 - 9:36PM

    It is heartening that there is greater awareness in some
    segments of Pakistan (among common people, business, artists and
    intellectuals…) that peace with India makes good sense. Understanding and believing
    this is ONLY the beginning of the work that has to be DONE to make the change.

    Which Pakistanis are going to take on and rein in and
    get past the obsession with India on the part of the military, ISI, religious
    extremists, and all those “non-state actors / strategic assets” that
    have been hijacking Pakistan’s future for decades, despite democratic elections
    and civilian governments that have come and gone?

    How long will Pakistanis watch their own future taken hostage
    by those with tired rhetoric and guns?

    This change can ONLY happen from within Pakistan. Will it?


  • Rex Minor
    Dec 18, 2014 - 11:28PM

    @Sexton Blake:
    Every tragedy brings grief and at times anger which can turn into WAHN and this can make humans into monsters. Those who came to Peshawar were monsters indeed and they carried out a vengeance for what was done to their families and children, as the reports say and used the prehistoric procedure of culling not killing. The author rightly says, they will come again, they always come again. Now is the turn for people of Pakistan and their leaders to unite, become angry on account of greed too which will bring WAHN and act as the monsters do, demonstrating that what they can you can too as well!! The majority will abandon your country again as previously after suffering genocide and the majority will abandon the rest of Pakistan again if it is turned into a military garrison of the south east.

    Rex Minor.Recommend

  • SpreadSomeLove
    Dec 18, 2014 - 11:49PM

    I love how you conveniently absolved our armed forces of any blame, Chris. Not so easy to hit the nail on the head by openly saying our military is the root cause of this by creating Islamist forces to further their own ‘strategic depth’.


  • Ajay
    Dec 19, 2014 - 12:10AM

    @Sexton Blake:
    While it may appear that Taliban hit as a reprisal for military bombing but in my opinion that was just an excuse which was easily available to them. Without any reason, they have been shooting children and blowing up schools. Have you got your head in the sand? Such mindless people do not need a reason, their weird beliefs can be enough justification.


  • Ajay
    Dec 19, 2014 - 12:14AM

    Wrong ! they are very much Taliban…you can compare their agenda line by line.


  • numbersnumbers
    Dec 19, 2014 - 1:13AM

    @Sexton Blake:
    All should note that @Sexton Blake has NEVER condemned the TTP for the slaughter and maiming of so many Pakistanis over the past decade or so!
    Instead we will hear about cluster bombs with imaginary properties (unsupported by any references as usual!) that are far cheaper to use than the very expensive guided munitions employed by that unnamed power!
    So now will @Sexton Blake give us the make and model number of that imaginary munition that (he claims!) “release thousands of tiny blades that slice men, women and children to pieces as they walk around their villages” ????
    Probably not!


  • st
    Dec 19, 2014 - 1:34AM

    @SpreadSomeLove: The military is hardly the root cause of the problem. The nation still exists due to the military. If you forget, Pakistan is sandwiched between India and Afghanistan. India continues to do all it can to damage internal security in Pakistan since 1947 and it has a pliant state in Afghanistan to do its bidding. Did you not hear that the savages who were killing children were taking orders from their handlers across the border in Afghanistan? That’s why the army chief rushed there the next day to confront Afghan leaders with the evidence. When Pakistan has to suffer the abuse of neighbors like Afghanistan and India on a regular basis, what do you expect Pakistan’s military to do? Do you think the whole country should wind up like occupied Kashmir?


  • BlackHat
    Dec 19, 2014 - 10:46AM

    The common person is confused. That which is a useful tool when used against neighbors, is a threat to oneself. So, the common person is for and against these groups. If it is Mumbai, it is good. If it is Peshawar, it is bad. After mass murder of innocent children, if there is no consensus in the ruling class on how to proceed, you can be sure a consensus will always be evasive in the future. We just have wait for this phenomenon to burn itself out, however long it takes.


  • MSS
    Dec 19, 2014 - 1:11PM

    NO. The word “Taliban” is a respectful plural of the word “Talib” usually from “Talib-e-ilm”, seekers of knowledge. They do not have any agendas.


  • Fedup
    Dec 19, 2014 - 2:20PM

    There couldn’t have been a better way to demonstrate your shallow mindset. People like you who can’t wake up from their partisan and parochial prejudices even in times of such tragedies speak volumes about the state of this country. Rest in shame.


  • bahadur khan
    Dec 19, 2014 - 2:47PM

    sad but true the islamic world is in a spot. every other terrorist event has its roots/ip address in AF-PAK. In this situation what is the future of a still born Pakistan. I leave it to your judgement.


  • Ranjha
    Dec 19, 2014 - 3:20PM


    Let’s cut the crap, shall we? Pray tell me why is my mindset shallow? This joker has never supported any change in Pakistan, only blathers about this that and the other. What is his qualification to write articles in this space? Other than a Yosemite Sam mustache, which looks extremely repulsive, and the English language, he has no qualifications! He will not be published in the Greenwich Crier in the UK but can pass balderdash and piffle as analysis.

    We are sick of analysis–we want someone who has the courage to stand up and take the lead. This unCorked blatherer is another one of the “English” medium morons imposed upon us by our pathetic, low standard press and media!


  • Dec 19, 2014 - 5:36PM

    No need to take out your unjust rage on Mr. Cork.
    Your comment is full of hatred, prejudice and bigotry.
    Most of the time the esteemed writer just writes
    about slices from every day life. Simple pleasant
    articles. He has the freedom of expression. Just as
    you have your freedom to spew your vitriol.
    Remember,..the Cricketer wanted an office in Islamabad
    for his “brothers” the TTP….quote ‘HAMARA BHAI HAEY’
    He became a laughingstock. Maybe he is born again now.


  • Dec 19, 2014 - 6:58PM

    By the same token, the Pudgy Man is no exception.
    No knight in shining armor, more, The Quail of Punjab.
    His slogan “Give Peace a Chance” was the most
    reviled, putrid, self serving statement. imaginable. After the
    terrorists/extremists had slaughtered 67,000 men women
    and children,…this man wanted to negotiate with them.


  • Ranjha
    Dec 19, 2014 - 7:04PM

    @Hoshang Ansari.:

    Einstein, the “cricketer” is a million times more intelligent, upright and patriotic than the army of nobodies masquerading as experts in these forums. He wanted to have a transparent, structures dialogue like Cork’s buddies had with their “brothers” in the IRA for all to see, in broad daylight, not shadowy midnight conversations by Rana Sanaullah and offers of gifts and money to appease his own children by the Octane Maulana and others of his ilk!

    As I said, a land of imbeciles only attracts more from abroad!


  • Sexton Blake
    Dec 19, 2014 - 7:15PM

    @numbersnumbers: Dear numbers, I will not do your research for you, but like many others I know you will not do it, because you cannot handle the truth. I must confess it is difficult to find the make and model of say a 3,000 pound bomb after it has exploded in the middle of a village and killed hundreds of women and children. This has occurred in countries from Africa through to the Sub-Continent. Although the US use despicable weaponry such as cluster bombs and white phosphorous they do not openly admit to it because it is a war crime. However, there is much evidence that the Western allies also use depleted uranium, which is not depleted at all, and cities such as Fallujah, Iraq are now radio active dumps causing massive birth defects in babies. Further, by using their dreadful arsenals of brutal weaponry the Western countries have killed over a million people during the last 12 years. If you do your research, which you obviously have not, you will find the relatives of these dead people are not interested in the make and model of the weapons which killed them. Similarly, a few months ago the Israeli’s, using US weaponry, attacked Palestine, killing 700 children, killing over 3,000 in total, injured many more, and destroyed 100,000 dwellings. Do you require the make and model number of the weapons used as proof? To spell it out, the complete arsenal of weapons in Western/Pakistan armories have been used in Afghanistan/Pakistan over the last 13 years killing thousands of people, many of them women and children. During that time CENTCOM has not distributed, to my knowledge, an inventory of weapons used or the make and model number. I hope this helps you?


  • Tony Burne
    Dec 19, 2014 - 9:55PM

    @Sexton Blake: The fact is, Sexton, that all Western armies are trained and legally bound (as is the IDF) to avoid civilian casualties to the greatest degree possible. The Taliban do not avoid civilian casualties, they purposefully go out to kill civilians,(mostly women and children actually).

    If you cannot see this difference, and continue to make excuses for those military forces (the Taliban and most other Jihadi forces) who have totally zero standards, or rules of ethics, or avoidance of civilian casualties, then you are a morally bankrupt person.

    In all legal systems, whether International Law, Human Rights Law, or Military Law, or Sharia Law, the INTENTION and efforts of the combatants is the vital point:

    are they trying to achieve a genuinely legitimate military tactical or strategic goal in their military actions (degrading enemy units, materiel, seizing terrain, etc…) and trying to avoid civilian casualties as much as possible (as the IDF is acknowledged to have done in Gaza with many prior warnings of forthcoming attacks on targets in order to allow civilians to evacuate those targets)

    or are they deliberately TARGETING civilian women and children as those you are supporting do – always and constantly (and the vast majority of their victims are Muslim civilians).

    Yes, cluster bombs are inhumane and thankfully are being mostly phased out in Western arsenals. On one point I would agree with you: no-one knows what the Pakistani army is doing in it’s offensives (to what degree they are avoiding civilian casualties at all possible costs, if at all) because of the barring of all press coverage (unlike in the Gaza conflict where the whole battle was carried out in the full glare of total international press and tv coverage (and a good thing that is too – should be the same in all wars)

    However, nothing, absolutely NOTHING justifies the deliberate murder in cold blood of 132 children . . but then maybe you just can’t see that? In which case we must wonder how you were raised or how your system of empathy became so damaged?Recommend

  • Ajay
    Dec 20, 2014 - 5:27AM

    but that is not how the word gets used.
    It is how the street defines and recognizes it.


  • Dec 20, 2014 - 6:16AM

    @Rex Minor:
    Something is very wrong with you. For condoning the
    butchers of Peshawar. You are an apologist for TTP.


  • Peshawar wala
    Dec 20, 2014 - 8:37AM

    @Rex Minor:
    You are an apologist for the TTP.
    Hope the Germans deport you back
    to FATA. Where you belong.


  • Sexton Blake
    Dec 20, 2014 - 9:08AM

    Dar numbers,
    I have relented. The weapon which slices people is referred to as DIME. Dense Inert Metal Explosive. It is quite lethal and I am led to believe that the Western, powers including Israel use it quite often. Please advise me if you require further data. However, you really should do your own research on the matter. I find it difficult to believe you did not know about it.


  • Sexton Blake
    Dec 20, 2014 - 9:13AM

    @Tony Burne:
    Dear Tony,
    I have tried to reply to the nonsense you wrote but ET did not print it so this is my second attempt, and I will make it brief. I have not seen any evidence of Western armies making any serious attempt to avoid civilian casualties or in fact following morally legal pathways. In fact, just the reverse and particularly so in Gaza, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Most of Pakistan’s problems started when the US, fully supported by President Musharraf and subsequent Governments, invaded Afghanistan, which was under the control of the Taliban. The problems have just continued to escalate since then and I do not see any solution in sight. The Taliban are obviously not giving up, and are fighting asymmetric warfare just the way they did with the Russians so get used to it. They did not ask to be invaded. Contrary to your missive I will not accuse you of lack of ethics, empathy etc., but would suggest that like most people you lack foresight and cannot see the big picture. As a result of the lack of wisdom in our leaders in many places, and passive acceptance of their decisions by many people I do not see the problems of Pakistan in particular or those of Libya, Syria, Afghanistan being solved any time soon. Also, regardless of what you think it bothers me also.


  • attique ur rehman
    Dec 21, 2014 - 7:51AM

    Where there is no teledu on there also such atrocities are happening.tome is to align our self centered politicians and administration. No body wants to kill or die . they have been pushed to so.


  • Sexton Blake
    Dec 21, 2014 - 12:23PM

    I do not know whether ET will print this. However, I wish all my antagonists and those who agree with me a very happy end of year and a prosperous New Year, and look forward to jousting with you in 2015. Let us hope that 2015 will be a big improvement on 2014 for Pakistan.


  • pervez Khan
    Dec 22, 2014 - 8:44AM

    Let’s not kill the messenger. There is a Taliban within every Pakistani born after 1979, the poison sown by Gen Zia ul Haq. The older generation like me is as much responsible for not saying NO to his shenanigans. We stood silently as he ripped apart the toleration of our society and for what… a promotion, a better placement. How many stood up to him… I remember very very few.


  • Kamran Shafi
    Dec 29, 2014 - 10:53AM

    @Ranjha: What a disgraceful ad hominem attack on a gentleman like Chris Cork. You obviously do not have an argument.


  • Kamran Shafi
    Dec 29, 2014 - 12:24PM

    @Ranjha: So, all you can do is mount ad hominem attacks on a gentleman, eh? No cogent points to make, eh?


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