Ten or more terrorists attacked the Police Training School in Manawan, Lahore at 7:30 am. Over 8 policemen killed; nearly 100 injured. 1 or 4 of the attackers have been apprehended, and the rest killed. The gun-battle lasted for 8 hours? Details are sketchy and you should look elsewhere for real-time information.
As many are pointing out, there are obvious operational echoes to Bombay as well as the SriLankan team attack.
Lahore is, now, a battleground city.
How many people must die for the awaam to wake up and take notice?
Have been watching GeoTV coverage and this much is clear - the awaam is awake and taking notice.
The awaam is taking notice for sure, but their reactions leave a lot to be desired... They are well within their rights to wonder aloud why the government and the security forces fail so miserably to provide security to the masses, and now, to themselves... But there is simply no explicit, clear cut condemnation of the Taliban and the sectarian/extremist/jihadi organizations of all hues that roam free through our land... one way or the other, our people insist on dragging the US and India into the debate... there are plenty who are of the view that if the US were to just leave Afghanistan, these terrorists will simply pack up and go back home and be good family men who come back from work and play with their kids and eat dinner watching TV... unless what is best an ambivalent attitude towards the terrorists is not done away with, it must be concluded that our awaam is asleep...
Wait for the "foreign hand" statements and hints about the enemies of Islam to start in 22 minutes (they must have started already in Pakistan). In fact, I can predict that Zaid Hamid will soon be on TV pointing out that this training site is only 10.34 miles from the Indian border, where 3123 soldiers of the 32nd Sikh regiment are stationed and the CO of that unit had mysteriously gone to attend his "uncle's wedding" in Kerala only 6 days ago (of course, we all know that Uncles never get married in March among the Brahmins of Kerala)...AT WHICH TIME 3 american tourists and one Israeli were seen bathing in the pool of the Sheraton hotel in Bangalore in Karnataka. He will then invite his viewers to draw their own conclusions. Being exceptionally well trained in solving these puzzles, many of his viewers will immediately draw the correct conclusions and one of them (a retired brigadier) will reveal that he had seen plans for exactly such a terrrorist strike when he went for a short course to Leavenworth 20 years ago (an occasion when he was also served alcohol by 3 young Puerto Rican beauties with Yiddish accents). Meanwhile, Ahmed Qureshi will present the history of "false flag opeations" in a special program on Waqt TV. I kid you not. These attackers were trained to take on NATO and the Indian army; compared to those foes, this kind of training academy is a very soft target. Ideally, the so called government of Salman Taseer should have taken some precautions after the Sri Lankan attack (if not much earlier) but it seems that many poor people will have to die before our security installlations have the level of security that any ordinary Rashtriya Rifles camp seems to have in Kashmir. Of course, in Kashmir the army, its intelligence agencies and the various paramilitary organizations are fighting on the same side .. Sad. By the way, I hasten to add that I am in no way excluding the possibility that some intelligence agency has its moles in the militant ranks and pulled strings to get them to aim in this direction. But such conspiracies are attempted in all conflicts, usually with limited success. The "root cause" lies in training 50,000 homicidal maniacs and teaching them how to set up such operations ...... and it wont go away unless someone (the ZPP may not be up to the job) is able to make a clean break on a "pakistani" basis and mobilize public opinion against these people. Having some corrupt functionaries do the job while pretending to fight someone else may not be good enough. On the other hand, once the state is lined up all on one side, then its power is not to be underestimated. The Pakistani islamists are no more motivated and are less popular than the Algerian variety and the Algerian army has managed to fight their militants...I still think our security services can fight our militants, at least in Punjab and Sindh but we need to get the army and its agencies all on board with the plan (whatever its details) AND FOR PEOPLE TO ACTUALLY BELIEVE THIS IS SO. That habitual liar Musharraf saying the ISI is fully on board doesnt cut the mustard. In these matters, justice doesnt just have to be done, it must be SEEN to be done. It may well be that the army is ALREADY fully committed to fighting the militants it created. But it sure as hell has not yet convinced the people of Pakistan that it is doing so....and without that conviction they are not going to get the people to step up and cooperate with the security agencies. Its a matter of credibility. If you had only 10% suspicion that the ISI was actually still cooperating with the militants, would you pick up that phone and stick your neck out by providing assistance to the agencies???
Well said Omar... I would just like to add that in addition to the security services taking these people on and people believing that this is what is being done, there has to be a sea change in public opinion actually demanding that these people be taken on... that is something that I feel is sorely missing... whenever there is visible action against these terrorists (nominal or otherwise, effective or otherwise), the common man, TV anchors with dubious political leanings and Charlie's Aunt all whine about killing "our own people" and how they wouldn't kill us if we didn't kill them and other such nonsense... unless this mentality changes, this war will not be won...
Oh, and by the way, it is illuminating to read how the JI and the JI-lite parties have responded to this atrocity... BBC Urdu reports that Qazi Hussain Ahmed, Maulvi Nawaz Sharif and Maulvi Imran Khan have all "condoled with the families of the deceased officers"... But a condemnation of the attack? HELL, NO... http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/pakistan/2009/03/090330_manawan_update_as.shtml (The condolences by these closet mullahs are in the paragraph second from last...)
I dont think you should bracket Qazi sahib, Nawaz Sharif and Imran together. Qazi sahib may still have some hope that the islamic revolution will include him, but I am going to stick my neck out and say that he is NOT in favor of the taliban types and actually fears them, but does not know how to condemn them while holding on to the dream of rule by the JI. Nawaz Sharif is completely on "OUR" side. He will fight against these people better than Musharraf ever could. He will keep making Islamic noises, but just like you dont expect Christian democrats in Germany to be anti-christian, I dont know why we should expect PMLN to be "anti-islam"? Imran is the saddest case of the lot. He is just out of his depth and confused and that is sad because with the world cup and Shaukat Khanum he is the owner of two of the biggest positive achievements in our history. I wrote the following on my blog today (the context is easy enought to guess): I am the last of the optimists. I know its a race against time, but I think the bulk of Pakistan can survive in its present form (for the next 10-20 years..who knows beyond that? professional forecasters and "strategists" may wish to think that far ahead but for most of us, 20 years is about the window in which we live and act). certainly, Pakistani education has prepared a lot of people for the coming of the taliban. 60 years ago no one in our village (including the poor moulvi, whose own literacy was borderline and who survived on handouts and had a social status somewhere between the cobbler and graveyard attendant) had any idea that they were supposed to be fighting for Allah's system of laws. Today, there are several young men in our village who can read Abdullah Azzam in translation and who are planning for the day when "man's laws" are overthrown and God's laws put in place (until then, some of them also carry out armed robberies on the side....the cause needs cash as well as ideas). They have written Allama Iqbal's verses on our mosque and a nearby village has its own madrassa with even more Allama Iqbal verse on the door. But still, thats a few people out of thousands. Maybe I should not be an optimist, but I like to think i have empirical evidence, not just "westoxicated" or "hinduana" ideas. For example, (and this is only part of it, but its interesting) I am a member of 4 different email groups and I try to track what responses are being posted. It seems to me, most of the Punjabi middle class is NOT ready for islamic rule at this time. If anything, the emails I get from Karachi are more confused (more likely to blame unnamed "foreign hands" and worldwide conspiracy against Pakistan) but that may be because a lot of the people there are mohajirs (not just from India, but also from Punjab and Pakhtoonkhwa) and their situation is somewhat unique. But then, their leadership (MQM) moved on to their unique vision of secular, gangster-ruled Jinnahpur long ago, it really doesnt matter if the average email artist is still peddling RAW conspiracy theories. So, exhibit A for me is the middle class: not ready for Lashkar e Tayaba to take over at this time. Exhibits B, C, D and so on will have to wait till i get some more time... Of course, I could be wrong. In which case its short trousers and beards before the flight to lahore on an overpriced charter from dubai (its too much to expect direct flights in that situation). Omar --- On Mon, 3/30/09, peracelsus wrote: doc This incident should leave no doubt in anyone's mind as to what is in the offing for Pakistan. People of Punjab has been ready since Zia's time to embrace Islam, I mean the purer version. Their prayers are being answered. That day is not far when you will start growing a beard a month before embarking on a plane bound for Lahore; make sure that you pull up your trousers well above the ankles. Actually, according to the latest trends, among the believers, the lower edge of your pants drops just below the knees, and a trouser or a shalwar is considered outdated among the looks conscious faithfuls; it is being replaced by a modified jelaaba that is much shorter than its original version. I can't wait to see Imran Khan in a beard of proper lenght, and the attire of a believer will make him look so handsome...oh my! pashi
White paper from WH says "The ability of extremists in Pakistan to undermine Afghanistan is proven, while insurgency in Afghanistan feeds instability in Pakistan. The threat that al-Qaeda poses to the United States and our allies in Pakistan — including the possibility of extremists obtaining fissile material — is all too real. Without more effective action against these groups in Pakistan, Afghanistan will face continuing instability." And in Tandem President BHO says, "I want the American people to understand that we have a clear and focused goal: to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat-al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to prevent their return to either country in the future. That is the goal that must be achieved. That is a cause that could not be more just." Amazing how the timing of these attacks by "Islamic Extremists", "Islamofascists", "Talibans" or whatever , helps advancing the above stated policy goals and manipulating the public opinion ( makes you wonder if they are on same team).
There is a couple of ways Pakistan can address this problem. One is to emulate the Algerian model, which is basically "kill em all", ban beards, close mosques and then orchestrate horrific civilian massacres to blame it on the islamists. Not a bad strategy if you have the stomach for it. about 150,000 people died in algeria over this strategy. it would cost more paki lives seeing how the population is over a hundred million. A bloody option, but an option indeed the saudi arabian option, which is a two fold strategy. One is to funnel the most radical fighters to iraq to fight the americans, while at the same time "rehabilitating" the islamists who attack inside saudia. Pakistan could conceivably do this. But Saudi Arabia has much more money and influence with the US. Pakistan has no leverage with the US. In addition, do they have the Islamic theology that saudia arabia has? Pakistan is much more of a receiver of ideologies rather than an exporter. The Israel option. Treat the NWFP like the west bank. Settlers, walls, id cards. Puppet govt. Occasional raids. Problem is, pakistan is a big place, there are lots of ways to get in and out of regions. So it may not be good. The Chechnya option: Total war. The one upside is that it would force the militants to fight in NWFP rather than in the middle of Lahore. The best defense is a good offense they say. The problem is that it might take a couple decades of heavy investment and bloodshed before a sustainable peace happens., if at all.
Well, if these are the available options, I say go for a hybrid of the Algerian and Chechen approaches... "kill 'em all" in a total, but focused and targeted, war, but don't ban beards (because I wear a goatee) or mosques unless they are affiliated with the culprits... if they are, it doesn't matter how we destroy them as long as we do, their civil rights be damned... they don't believe in civil rights anyway...
Beitullah Mehsud has apparently claimed responsibility: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/01/world/asia/01pstan.html?_r=1&ref=world
Hi, I'm new to your blog (got here from Sepia Mutiny, recommended by Sanjeev). As a concerned South Asian American of Pakistani origin, I just wanted to express my horror at this latest attack on Lahore. I think now is really the time for all of us to wake up and realize that the "war on terror" is not just America's war and getting rid of these elements of our society is in our own interests as well, if we want any sort of a future for Pakistan.
Which is not to say that the drone attacks in FATA are justified, a lot of innocent people have been killed who are not terrorists at all... but just because things have been implemented badly is no excuse for Pakistanis not to be serious about dealing with extremists
Actually, "a lot" of innocent people have not been killed in drone attacks. There was one attack in which a madressa was hit when many students were killed (not all of them "innocent", but some must have been) but since then the accuracy and intelligence seems to have improved a lot. Compared to conventional bombing (and compared to the number of civilians killed in Pak army shelling, which tends to be much more haphazard) the drones are remarkably accurate. They are clearly a violation of sovereignty. But look at it this way: the US wanted to destroy certain jihadi networks that the Pak army wanted to maintain. Instead of launching war on Pakistan, the US has moved more subtly. They have tried (with some slow success) to fight the pak army's proxies while pretending the army is an ally. The Pak army has done exactly the same thing in reverse. The people being killed are in some sense pawns being sacrificed by the army in the interest of long term strategy. meanwhile, the US is fully aware of this, but is hoping that by gradually getting its own proxies into the Pakistani state apparatus and by mobilizing public opinion in Pakistan against the jihadis, they will force the army to dump them altogether. This is a nasty, two-faced war on both sides and innocents are being killed by BOTH sides. Meanwhile the true believer jihadis have an agenda of their own and are willing to fight the army all out if that becomes necessary...but even they are subtle and complex in their calculations. Thus, they are killing soft targets more than army people, hoping to convince the army to cooperate less with the US, or to force public opinion to turn against the US.........and so on.
Nostalgic you said Oh, and by the way, it is illuminating to read how the JI and the JI-lite parties have responded to this atrocityâ€¦ BBC Urdu reports that Qazi Hussain Ahmed, Maulvi Nawaz Sharif and Maulvi Imran Khan have all “condoled with the families of the deceased officers”â€¦ But a condemnation of the attack? What else is new, JI and the JI-ite parties are just here to benefit from the situation, they are reluctant democrats and do believe in violence to further their agenda. Now a days JI leaders openly calls all non Sunnis kafirs which is another dangerous trend and want women to stay home and promote Saudi kinda Islam. I've seen them too up close and personal during my Karachi University days. Omar, I don't trust JI and its kind especially after Lal Masjid scenario, they gave those goons their full support. No one is saying Nwaz Sharif has to leave Islam but he need to redeem himself and openly condemn extremists. He need to distant himself from Whabi kinds Mullhas. He can do some good if he promotes milder version of Islam and can borrow ideas from Al Azhar University.
Agreed Neena... yet people fail to see the rich irony in their presence in the lawyers' movement... JI have made an art form out of luring impressionable, otherwise well meaning young people to their cause using every trick in the book... and now they have a potent weapon to continue doing so: his name is Imran Khan... I had high hopes once of Nawaz Sharif and his PML-N emerging as the conservative, yet decent and mainstream political alternative... no more, not unless, as you said, he can condemn terrorism without any ifs and buts...
Re "Beitullah Mehsud has apparently claimed responsibility:" http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2009/04/04/69879.html dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1167147/