How Many Must Die Before Pakistan Drops Plans Of Dialogue With Terrorists?

Sameera Ehteram
Huddled inside, terrified passengers feared for their lives as loud explosions and gunshots from outside indicated the severity of the raging battle between Pakistani security forces and Taliban terrorists at the Karachi airport.

Karachi Airport Attack

This is not the first time one of the most sensitive and high security areas of Pakistan was attacked by the Taliban. Yet the country’s government remains intent on dialogue with the militants, leaving many completely baffled.

The several horrifying hours of battle left twenty seven dead as terrorists besieged a portion of the port city’s Jinnah international airport.

Pakistan's military, paramilitary and police fought an all-night battle with the Taliban gunmen, who were armed with rocket launchers and suicide vests.

Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility, as they usually do for any of their actions, and continued with their mindless rhetoric that they are ‘fighting the enemies of Islam’. Perhaps what these terrorists fail to realize is that thousands of Muslims have perished in their attacks in recent years.

The authorities declared the airport cleared near dawn, but hardly a few hours later, the roar of fresh gunfire filled the air, prompting security forces to re-launch the operation.

The brazen onslaught is a terrifying reminder of a similar event in May, 2011, when the same militants attacked a high security naval base in Karachi.

Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), an alliance of insurgent groups allied to the Afghani Taliban, said this was “a response to the recent attacks by the government.. We will continue carrying out such attacks.”

"It is a message to the Pakistan government that we are still alive to react over the killings of innocent people in bomb attacks on their villages," said Shahidullah Shahid, a spokesman for the TTP.

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However, he added that the group was still looking forward to continuing the peace talks with the government.

Negotiations between the government and the Pakistani Taliban have failed in recent months. Most people in the country do not see the wisdom in the government’s pursuit of dialogue with the same savages who openly claim responsibility for such devastating attacks.

Especially after this fiasco:

And this is not the first time:

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The peace process with the Taliban, started by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's government in February 2014, fell flat on its face when a faction of the Taliban claimed responsibility for the brutal killing of 23 paramilitary soldiers. As a result, the Pakistani army renewed airstrikes against the militants in the country’s tribal areas up North.

That compels observers to ask the same question time and again; what kind of a government wants to hold ‘peace talks’ with terrorists bent upon death and destruction?

The answer is simple – an extremely right wing government which has deep sympathies with the terrorists because they are ‘Muslims’ and have staunch faith in Sharia (the Islamic way of things). The fact that the terrorists do not believe in Pakistan’s constitution (because it’s ‘un-Islamic’) apparently doesn’t faze the government.

Add the fact that ultra conservative cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party is ruling the North West region of Pakistan, the tolerance for the Taliban becomes clear. In fact, he has been labeled by many liberal Pakistanis as 'Taliban Khan'.

Also, it is not only the government that has Taliban sympathizers among its ranks. The common man in Pakistan stands divided when it comes to supporting or opposing the Taliban, merely because they call themselves Muslims and promote the Islamic way of life – even if it’s their own warped and extreme version.

Just recently, Pakistan Telecommunication authority banned social media pages promoting progressive ideology, including a left-leaning music band, whereas anyone in the country can easily access the sites of militant groups.

Karachi Airport Attack

Karachi Airport Attack

The tolerance for such pages, simply because they bear some religious inscriptions in Arabic, is truly staggering, considering such outfits are actively involved in extrajudicial killings based on ‘blasphemy’ and ‘honor’.

As for the government, perhaps this cartoon by one of Pakistan’s leading cartoonists says it best:

Karachi Airport Attack