Saturday, October 20, 2007

Priority of the day

Oct.20, 2007
The priority of the day

The despicable midnight suicide attack that killed about 150 people and shattered the homecoming of Pakistan's former prime minister Benazir Bhutto on Thursday is a stark reminder of the urgent need to tackle militancy and extremism linked to Afghanistan.
We do not know for sure yet who was behind the blast, but Pakistani authorities say that it might have been the work of Al Qaeda and the Taliban because it bore the hallmarks of militants linked to pro-Taliban warlord Baitullah Mehsud and Al Qaeda.
Mehsud, said to be the most prominent leader of militants destabilizing its northwestern border regions near Afghanistan ÑÊhad reportedly vowed to greet Bhutto's return to Pakistan with suicide attacks.
There were warnings of attack that were passed on to Bhutto's Pakistan's People's Party but PPP supporters, celebrating her return after eight years in exile, appeared not to have taken the need for security seriously, according to the authorities.
The real loosers in the back-to-back explosions are the families of those died and who were wounded in the attacks, which again underlined that there are forces at work which do not care for human life as long as their meaningless purposes are served. We wonder what purpose was served indeed by the suicide bombings except killing innocent people whose only fault was that they happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.
At the same time, Pakistan itself is a equal loser because the bombings also aimed at the country's democracy that should survive whatever the current crises and raised serious questions about the extent to which militants and sinister forces have penetrated the Pakistani society and body politik.
It is time for the people of Pakistan to bury all political differences and come together to confront the common challenge. The bombings should not be allowed to have any impact on reconciliation efforts between President General Pervez Musharraf and Bhutto or any other move towards addressing the political crises of the country. If anything the attack should toughen everyone's resolve to fight militancy together, and the first sign of such a positive move came with the news that Musharraf telephoned Bhutto on Friday to offer his condolences over the bombings and to "convey his deepest sorrow over the terrorist attack. "
While voting to arrest the culprits, Musharraf also cautioned that no one should exploit of the situation and start a blame game.
Fighting militancy is a tough mission that could never be completed. Pakistan's leaders and people should stand together with the common agenda of fighting militancy in the country with an iron hand. Everything else could come in due time.