THIS is with reference to your editorial ‘Taliban savagery’ (June 24). The deafening silence that the editorial refers to is surely not a new phenomenon in the Pakistani context where the entire state machinery seems to be moving in small circles without any prospect of reaching either a decision or any conclusion.
When the entire media remains, predominantly hell bent on proving that the armed forces are at the centre of all our woes, then it becomes the most natural thing to remain mum over soldiers being killed or even beheaded.
No doubt, military takeovers have been and the army’s continued role in policy making is still a controversial subject, but the difference between its role in governance and its role as a defending force ought to be very clear. The overlapping of the dual roles thus makes it impossible to appreciate the sacrifices and difficulties that the soldiers of the armed forces have to undergo.
The beheading of kidnapped soldiers by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan and the proclamation to display the severed heads is something that the government ought to have taken as a blatant challenge for itself.
The political battleground at home seems to overshadow what ought to have been our main objectives; to secure the country from the menace of militancy and to consolidate the gains of the military offensives launched by the Pakistan army.
At this precise juncture in time, where the endgame draws near, and when Pakistan has put everything at stake in this long war it is amazing to see the leadership shifting focus from it to pathetic issues.
Its inability to normalise relations with the US may prove counterproductive and may serve to undermine all the efforts of our security forces and innocent people to allow others to collect the gains that would easily have been ours.
IN Upper Dir, seven Pakistani soldiers have been recently beheaded after being captured by the Taliban. Four others are still missing.
The Taliban are openly claiming carrying out this cowardly and barbaric act; all in the name of Islam.
It seems that Pakistani lives have no value, whether it is an air crash, a bus falling into a ravine, targeted killings, bomb blasts or an entire battalion buried under ice, nothing constitutes a national tragedy.
Nobody moves, no flags put on half mast, no eyes wet, no statements of condemnation from any political party.
TV channels go on with their senseless, monotonous talk shows, politicians continue to criticise each other, officials carry on with their overseas jaunts; even the military high command makes a muted noise. Next day it is all forgotten and we carry on with our lives. It makes me wonder, are we really a nation?
I fully agree with your view that the media, government, opposition and civil society have had their attentions fixated only on political dramas, and the scourges of extremism and terrorism, which are rapidly undermining the state and society, have been ignored.
While the media has been speculating the next political move by the political and judicial players, the extremist organisations have been cashing in on this situation, and radicalising the society through their clandestine propaganda machinery.
Meanwhile, they have managed to keep their supply routes and organisational infrastructure intact, despite many tall claims by the military.
It is high time that all the organs of the state, including media and civil society, concentrated on this urgent issue before it becomes too monstrous to deal with.
ENGR RAHAT NASEEM SHAIKH