Written November 8,2010
Recently, the new American ambassador to Pakistan: Cameron Munter has said that the drones are essential for the demise of the common enemy in the war against terror. The rampage to find Bin Laden and the the Tehrik-i-Taliban’s binding alliance with him, are causing both sides to over look the collateral damage, which is essentially human lives. That being said, acceptance of these drone attacks in Pakistan, have made the people of Pakistan an unwilling ally. However, regardless of which one-sided alliance is created, the people will still suffer. The suffrage will either be from, the drone attacks or from the attacks from the Tehrik-i-Taliban.
The drone attacks have significantly increased in Pakistan or even the raids by the American forces from Afghanistan; there has been a much speculation as to the ability of the Pak Army to make any political resolutions. This speculation is mainly due to the fact that there has been restoration of non-military rule
The Taliban has stated that the aggression will intensify as the intensification of US drone attacks. There has been news that the Pakistan authority has urged the need to work together in order to enhance global peace. Regardless of the air strike set by the authorities, NATO still violated the airspace, again recently for the third time. Therefore, NATO had been told that there is no guarantee of their supplies being protected.
On October 4, 2010, right outside of Islamabad, NATO supply convoys were attacked by the Taliban. Two days later Foreign Minister Qureshi said that the attacks were an accident and NATO supply convoys will be protected. A few days after PM Gilani stated that the previous government had made this alliance prior to the civilian rule. Once again statements were going back and forth. Futile attempts were being made to pacify everyone.
Regardless of NATO, insurgent activities had taken over Pakistan since the year 2001. The “war on terror” had heavily affected Pakistan and its people, internally and externally. The Taliban had taken responsibility for most of them.
Kathy Gannon, a former American correspondent of the Afghan-Pak affairs from 1986-2005, had said that; when the Taliban had been formed by the Mujahideen in Afghanistan, their customs were not of those imposed by the Taliban today. According to her there was a heavy pressure of village and rural-like practice of how daily life for men and women should be conducted and that Bin Laden has a significant influence in practice of extreme Talibanization In her statements, “Talibanization”, was completely separate from the ideology of the Taliban and from how these acts are actually carried out today. Hence, emphasizing the personification of Islamaphobia. Tehrik-i-Taliban has said that they are separate from the one in Afghanistan but they do have an alliance. Therefore, NATO insists on attacking not only Al-Qaeda, but all also any strong association with them. Gannon’s book “‘I’ for Infidel” has many of these similar researched assertions.
There have been many life taking guerrilla warfare-like excursions based on the foreign policies which have affected many of the cities of Pakistan with heavy economic activity. How have these terrorist activities affected in generalization the locals whom have seen the more peaceful time? Let’s see what a couple of them have to say.
Fahd Dar, currently a student and living in the cosmopolitan Lahore, says:
“Life’s going on but it’s definitely not the same. People have restricted their outings. Although the famous hang out spots still remain crowded, but the fear of the unknown is still there. You don’t really feel safe out there, you wonder ‘when will the next bomb attack happen?’ With scanning apparatuses installed at almost every corner of the city, even at educational institutes, it naturally gives you a feeling of hesitancy and vulnerability. All and all, Lahore doesn’t feel that safe now, to eat your favorite eatables late at night, or watch a nifty play at Al-Hamra. Still, our hopes are high, things would get better.”
Haris Hameed, currently a manager at an advertising agency, residing in the somnolent capital, describes Islamabad now:
“A drive from one end of Islamabad to the other meant you had two options. Take the scenic route running parallel to the majestic Margalla Hills or the one that ran through the heart of the business district, fondly dubbed Blue Area. However, that was then. Now, when planning out your route, only one thing is considered: ‘Which route has the least amount of security check posts?’
For those who recently shifted to Islamabad, this may seem ordinary to them. For those who have spent their youth driving through these now heavily barricaded streets, it is looked upon as an intrusion, a disturbance in the equilibrium of the country’s sleepy capital.
Understanding that these security measures resembling an obstacle course for mice in a science experiment are a necessity in recent turbulent times, the people of Islamabad have taken everything in their stride. There is always remorse and empathy for victims when there is a bomb blast or terror attack in the city, but with a day or two of caution, the locals venture back into their routines. I believe the common thread between the locals, regardless of what section of society they belong to, is that they keep on living. To cower at home in fear and stop leading normal lives is exactly what the terrorists’ want us to do. If we were to do that, it would mean that the terrorists would be successful in their goals, and that they have won. We certainly can’t let that happen. So we live, one day at a time.”
So indeed, Pakistanis from every corner of the country are living one day at a time.