The Fallout of Peshawar Bombings
By Air Marshal (Retd) Ayaz Ahmed Khan
Los Angeles , CA
The heartless massacre of women shoppers in the Peshawar Meena Bazaar, Kochi Bazaar and Pipal Mandi in downtown Peshawar on October 28 highlighted the utter cowardice and desperation of the terrorists. It also reflected the tardiness of the provincial government and the failure of law enforcement agencies.
After facing defeat in Malakand and Swat, and disgrace in Waziristan, the foreign-funded barbarians have fled into North Waziristan, Mohmand , Orarzai and Bara Tehsil of Khyber Agency, with the motive to perpetrate terror in FATA and settled areas.
This was expected. Six suicide bombings in Peshawar including the car bombing of Meena Bazaar and the slaughter of 107 innocent women, men, women and children is to destroy public morale and support for the military operations. The renegades are out to avenge public support for the armed forces, and mounting anger and criticism of terrorists. The public now loathes the terrorists. To avenge masses support for the military operations in Waziristan, the brainwashed Taliban and Al-Qaeda terrorists, have embarked on blood baths of innocent civilians They have resorted to car and suicide bombings to perpetrate slaughter of Pakistani citizens, with the motive to force the government to end the military operation and negotiate peace with them.
At this juncture of grief and sorrow at the loss of one hundred and seven women and children, brothers, and elders, and injury to over two hundred, while we beseech Allah’s mercy and forgiveness, we must unite and resolve to fight terror in every nook and corner. As Pakistani citizens we must display courage, and fortitude and organize ourselves in every mohalla, town and village to identify, apprehend and kill the terrorists before they strike. Let us learn from the suffering and the courage of the brave people of Malakand and Swat, who have formed lashkars to eliminate brigands, and renegade terrorists. Armed with whatever they have - guns, rifles, rockets, muskets, swords, daggers, pick-axes, shovels, spades, and knives - the masses everywhere have formed lashkars to kill and eliminate renegades, traitors and terrorists wherever they are found. The same must be done all across FATA, NWFP and Punjab.
The mindless massacre of ordinary men women and children on a daily basis in Peshawar, and other parts of NWFP and Punjab, clearly proves that the government agencies alone cannot deal with terrorism. They need moral and material support of the people of Pakistan, to eradicate the terrorist menace. The people must form vigilante groups – lashkars - to identify, catch and hang the culprits after short Sharia trials. The perpetrators of massacres are criminals, and their religiosity and fake jehad against the people of Pakistan, must not go unpunished. With paralysis in the provincial government and the police, the people have every right to form lashkars - vigilantes to defend themselves.
Talat Hussain, head of Aaaj TV, disclosed on ARY TV on October 29, 2009 that at the time of the car bombings, Governor NWFP had hosted a banquet in the Governor’s House. While the 150 kg explosive blast had caused death, destruction and huge fires, the VIPs were busy feasting. This feast should have been immediately cancelled, and the Governor along with the VIPs should have rushed and helped to extract women and children from the debris. Another feast was again arranged the same evening by politicians to disgustingly gulp huge quantities of choice dishes, while the injured were groaning, and thousands were moaning the death of their dear and near ones. Such callousness cannot be ignored and forgiven.
The lack of security in Meena, Kochi and adjacent Bazars, helped the terrorists to park a car loaded with explosives in the Meena Bazar for three hours and explode it during the peak hour of shoppers to cause maximum death and injury. If the law enforcement agencies had the warning of terrorist attack in the Bazaars, why no steps were taken for enhanced security and police watch? Why no police or intelligence officer took notice of the parked vehicle? Because they were not there. Why security arrangements at the commercial hub of the provincial metropolis and the adjacent Bazaar was non-existent? This bazaar was most vulnerable, and potentially a terrorist target. It had needed enhanced police vigilance and protection. These bazaars full of women and children should have got high security, which is enjoyed by ministers and VIPs. While the VIPs enjoy high protection, the ordinary citizens are left to be mowed down by bloody terrorists.
The provincial and the Peshawar city police cannot be absolved from what is happening in and around the provincial capital. Reports that TP terrorists have started assembling in Darra Adam Khel, Bara and some suburbs of Peshawar, and have declared them as “no go areas”, have not been denied. That the police dreads going into the “no go areas” needs to be clarified by the NAP government. Heads also must roll in the provincial police hierarchy for the chain of bombings in Peshawar, especially for the huge blast in Meena Bazaar. The provincial top cop and the head of the city police cannot be absolved for the shockingly poor security in the city markets, especially the security lapses which have enabled the terrorists to mount repeated terrorist attacks in market places. There is no coordination between the police and the public. There is an urgent need of a community police in Peshawar and other cities of the province. The IG Police may be authorized to cooperate with traders, shopkeepers and students to organize such a force for enhanced vigilance.
A leading English daily has editorially advised that the NWFP “ Chief Minister Amir Haider Hoti having fully demonstrated his ineptness and unfitness for the top job, should resign”. He had promised to raise a police force of ten thousand for enhanced security. He failed to do so, well knowing that the present force is understaffed, badly equipped and poorly trained. Iftikhar Hussain, the Information Minister, had disclosed last year that the NWFP police is unfit for combating terrorism. Incompetent Hoti lacks leadership qualities, and his inaction to provide protection has lowered public and police morale. After six bombings and terrorist attacks which have killed one hundred and seventy citizens and injured over five hundred in Peshawar, Chief Minister Hoti should accept the responsibility for poor governance, inept administration, incompetence, tardiness and should resign forthwith. His administration is known to be inefficient and corrupt.
The recent terror attacks have caused more damage in Peshawar and NWFP, than the Munbai attacks, where the Chief Minister of Maharashtra resigned at once. As an honest and dignified leader, the Home Minister of India also quit his job. It is because of lack of sense of honor, dignity and honesty that our leaders cling to office, despite proven incompetence and inability to infuse confidence in the public. Our political leaders, especially the ministers, should follow the example of the Indian ministers, as and when they let down the nation and the people.