(EDITORIAL IN THE "FRONTIER POST" OF FEB.12,2008)
The despicable Charsadda terrorist bombing of the ANP election rally snuffed out precious 27 lives, leaving scores of others gored. Heavens know how many women the evil deed left widowed, how many children it orphaned and how many extended families it deprived of their lone breadwinner, as did an earlier contemptible suicide bombing of ex-Interior Minister’s election gathering in the area, which felled at least 53 innocent people and wounded many more. Instantly, the thuggish act was denounced by all and sundry, as was the earlier one, as indeed the various terrorist assaults elsewhere in the country in these times, as vile attempts to sabotage the upcoming poll and to destabilise the polity. Surely, these are, unquestionably and doubtlessly. But there is more to the wickedness of the terrorists in this part of the country than meets the eye. It, arguably, is part a deeper conspiracy to divide up the Pakhtuns and set them at one another’s throat. Of course, the entire land is in the vile sweep of these evil savages. They have been assaulting now civilian and military targets alike, lethally and fatally wherever and whenever they want; and in one deadly attack they brutally killed PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto and nearly three dozens of other innocents after her election rally in Rawalpindi. But the focal point of their thuggery is visibly the Pakhtun-dominated regions, especially in the NWFP where they have been not only slaughtering the innocent Pakhtuns with suicide assaults and remote-controlled bomb blasts but also blowing up their homes, schools, businesses and shops. Irrefutably, their sources of abetment, funding and arms lie outside the country, forming part of a grand conspiracy against the Pakhtuns, which is no lesser reflective from the painful reality that even as they themselves are the worst victims of terrorism they are being painted worldwide as terrorists. But the regret is that when the configuration of this conspiracy is so palpably evident there is no manifest realisation of it on the part of the Pakhtun leadership so as to put its act together to face up to this mischievous threat to their solidarity and cohesion . Instead, it remains embroiled in divisive squabbling and fracas. Political or miscellaneous differences come natural to a living community. A people sans diversity of views, thoughts and ideals are indeed a dud, stagnant and impotent community, which the Pakhtuns definitely are not. They are a people full of vigour, vitality and life. But a people with diversity but no unity among its ranks is a community on the way of decay, decadence and disintegration. This is the lesson of history, which the Pakhtun leadership across the spectrum should have imbibed zealously and voluminously but seems to have not at all. As the conspiracy to drive sharp wedges among the Pakhtuns and create unbridgeable schisms among them is blowing so furiously and so bloodily, this leadership shows up not even a slight sense of concern and unease. It keeps up with its own divisive ways puritanically. After the terrorist assault, the ANP has vowed not to deviate from Baacha Khan’s sublime principle of non-violence and to remain unflinchingly committed to peaceful struggle for attainment of its goals. This is good. Given the grave threat presently confronting the Pakhtuns to their solidarity and cohesion, this principle should now necessarily percolate down to all strands of Pakhtun political, intellectual and religious leadership. Had indeed this happened earlier, no outside powers would have dared to conspire against them and no natives would have ventured to become their agents. And the fanatics would have stood marginalised from their mainstream, not hogged the centre-stage as have they now, relegating even the religious leadership to coop up in safe havens for their own lives. If even now the Pakhtun leadership across the spectrum doesn’t create unity among its diversity, the community is surely in for more harrowing times. The unfolding conspiracy against the Pakhtuns is evidently very fierce, very ferocious and very vile; if this leadership doesn’t forestall it now, it will sweep the community, from one to all, to a destiny unknown but unmistakably grievous to all, without any exception. All must know this.