As the new war in neighboring
Afghanistan unfolds, Pakistanis are watching it with the fears of unknown. While
only 40% support President Musharraf's decision to support American war on its
neighbor, most are quite worried about war's effects on Pakistan.
Even though the government
has deployed troops and armoured cars in cities across Pakistan to deal with
protest and the possibility of terrorism, the ordinary citizens know it has
never been enough to curb the violence in Pakistan.
Violence, riot, and terrorism have become a part of South Asian landscape in
the recent past. Some of these acts of violence are rooted in sectarian conflicts,
such as the Sunni-Shia fights. Literally thousands of lives have been wasted
in such trivial 'causes' in Pakistan.
Another source of terror
in Pakistan is the political strife and rallies, which very often revolves around
the ethnic biases. The ongoing killings in Karachi is an example of this form
Assassinations and terrorism in Pakistan has taken away the lives of several
intellectuals, leaders, and religious personalities, such as Prof. Hakim Saeed,
Salahuddin Saeed (the editor of Takbeer magazine), Maulana Yusuf Ludhianwi,
What is even more sad and
disturbing is the fact that the culprits of none of these brutal murders have
ever been identified. How strange and ironic it is that we take pride in being
one of the most powerful Muslim countries in the world, due to our nuclear technology,
yet we are a nation paralysed by the utter lawlessness.
Very often we blame either
the police for its incompetence or the fanatics, fuelled by religious fervour,
for their intolerant behaviour. However, rarely do we address the most fundamental
questions: Where do these protestors, terrorists, or political activists get
hold of the weapons? Why are these terrorists so confident in their crime? Why
is there no accountability?
Even though the answers
to these questions may be simple, their practical implications are probably
not. The root cause of it all is three fold:
- General corruption and
lawlessness---i.e. lack of accountability at the level of police and other
law enforcement organisations.
- Availability of illegal
Arms to the masses--- the fact that in some cities the terrorists have better
weapons than the police itself!
- Lack of training and
proper pay scales for law enforcement personnel
It is highly likely that
just like the Afghan Jihad against the Soviet Union occupation when some arms
were sold to Pakistani criminals there may be those who will sell American arms
for Northern Alliance to Pakistani criminals and sectarian militias.
In the wake of this new
Afghan war, the Pakistani government should begin the reformation of Pakistan's
internal security apparatus. It is now time for the government to:
- equip its law-enforcement
agents, such as police, with more sophisticated arms. They should be at least
as armed as criminals if not better;
- provide professional
training to the police;
- raise the salaries and
the living and work conditions of police officers;
- block the supply of illegal
weapons from foreign countries, such Afghanistan, Iran, and India;
- educate the citizens
on becoming partners in the law and order for a better and safer Pakistan;
- introduce an efficient
accountability process in the police department.
With the latest influx
of Afghan refugees, an immense load of weapons must have also entered Pakistan.
Before an internal war begins within Pakistan, it is imperative for government
to make the move with the above mentioned suggestions.
Date/Time Last Modified: 6/17/2002 3:36:58 PM
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