Feature

Unfairly blaming Pakistan

Pakistanis react to the failed Times Square bombing.

Blaming Pakistan for the failed Times Square bombing is insulting and just plain wrong, said the Peshawar Frontier Post in an editorial. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned this week that Pakistan would face “very severe consequences” if any successful attack were traced back to this country. It sure would have been prudent if, “before shooting off her odious bluster,” Clinton had “given a little thought as to why American Muslim youths were getting radicalized.” Because even if it’s true that accused Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad got his bomb training in Pakistan’s Waziristan tribal area, “that doesn’t wash out the incontrovertible fact that he had imbibed radicalization toward terrorism right inside the United States, not outside of it.”

We can’t escape blame that easily, said Ardeshir Cowasjee in the Karachi Dawn. Shahzad is, after all, a Pakistani. So was Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, and so were most of the 2005 London train bombers and plenty of other notorious terrorists. There is obviously something “radically wrong” with Pakistan that it “manages to produce so many young men who are violence-prone.” I believe that it all began with Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, Pakistan’s dictator from 1977 to 1988 and “a devout worshipper at the altar of his own dangerous brand of Islam.” Zia “brainwashed” the Pakistani army with “the joys of jihad,” and he encouraged all Pakistanis to support the mujahedin in neighboring Afghanistan. To this day, jihadists the world over know that they “can come to Pakistan and learn how to make bombs to blow up themselves, if they so wish, and many others.”

The U.S. is right to be angry at Pakistan for being a haven for terrorists, said Shafqat Mahmood in the Islamabad News. But we Pakistanis are just as angry. After all, Pakistanis, not Americans, are the victims of the vast majority of attacks by Pakistan-based terror groups. The good news is that “never before has the state and its armed forces been more committed to fight against militant groups as it is today.” The army is already fighting bravely in Swat, Bajaur, Buner, South Waziristan, and Orakzai. “The international community needs to understand the difficult nature of this struggle and, instead of blaming Pakistan or putting undue pressure on it, give it practical support.” We could use economic aid and counterterrorism training. “Just continuing the mantra of ‘Do more’ is unhelpful.”

In fact, it’s the U.S. that needs to do something—get out of Afghanistan, said Zahid Malik in the Islamabad Pakistan Observer. The militants based in Pakistan are there because of the Afghan conflict. Once U.S. troops leave Afghanistan, many of the militants will leave Pakistan. Those groups that are Pakistani-grown will be deprived of their main propaganda point—that Pakistan is supporting foreign invaders. But as long as U.S. troops stay on, “the menace will continue to spread, and American citizens will remain hostage to threats and fear.”

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