You have to stand guard over the development and maintenance of democracy, social justice and the equality of mankind in your own native soil. [Mohammed Ali Jinnah]

Friday, January 30, 2009

Numbing statistics

By Muhammad Ali Siddiqi

THE statistics are numbing and mind-boggling and should make any Pakistani sit up: in 2008 the country saw 2,148 terrorist attacks, which caused 6,825 casualties — 2,267 of them fatal.

Suicide attacks alone killed nearly 1,000 people — 967 to be precise — and wounded or maimed for life over 2,000. Of the 63 suicide attacks countrywide, the highest — 32 — occurred in the NWFP, killing and wounding over 1,000 Pakistanis; 10 in Punjab (201, dead, 580 injured), and 16 in Fata (263 dead, 497 injured).

Compiled by the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies, these statistics do not include those who fell in ‘operational attacks’. According to the think-tanks’ report for 2008, more than 5,500 people were killed or injured in operational attacks (a minimum of 3,182 dead and 2,267 wounded).

What is scary is the steady rise over the years in the number of terrorist attacks and the consequent increase in casualties. In 2006, terrorist attacks left 907 dead and 1,543 injured; in 2007 there was a quantum jump in the figure for the dead — 3,448.

If to those killed in acts of terrorism we add those who died in operational attacks, sectarian and factional clashes and US drone attacks, the total number of civilians and security personnel killed in 2008 comes to a morbid 8,000, with the number of the injured approaching 10,000. The grand total for 2008, thus, comes to 18,000 Pakistani people getting killed or injured in acts of political violence.

Is the world aware of this Pakistani trauma? Going by the doubts cast on our commitment to fight terrorism and the ‘do more’ litany one doubts if we have been able to inform the world what this country and its people have been going through for years. In fact, it appears as if, barring US Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Richard Lugar in America and Foreign Secretary David Miliband in Britain, very few top personalities in the policymaking apparatus in the western world seem to be aware of Pakistan’s plight and the scourge which terrorism has become for us Pakistanis in our daily lives.

Our post-Mumbai diplomatic effort has not been all disaster. It did indeed succeed in convincing the world diplomatic community that Islamabad was not involved in the Mumbai crime. However, Pakistan’s advocacy of its case was characterised by diffidence. It failed to show our justifiable anger over India’s attempt to obfuscate the issue, and often we appeared to be pleading rather than telling.

Has India suffered anything even remotely resembling Pakistan’s trauma as seen in the cold statistics above? The answer is no, but the world evidently doesn’t think so. What the world does is to view the situation in terms of the ‘safe haven’ which is supposed to exist in Fata and elsewhere for the Taliban. That deprives us of the sympathy we deserve.

Read full opinion at DAWN - Opinion; January 26, 2009

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5 comments:

aZ said...

Good post with eye-opening statistics but the conclusions that are drawn are completely biased in my opinion!

1) "doubts cast on our commitment to fight terrorism"
The reason for that is quite simple: How many people in Pakistan consider Al-Qaeda and Taliban "the enemy" and are (at least) raising their voice against them? More importantly, how many people in the influential quarters (Army that is)? How many amongst the contributors of our very own blog? Definitely not all (I doubt even if they even are in a majority). Let's not talk far stretched justifications based on US immorality and "foreign hand" (Two wrongs never make a right!). Unless we are ready to call a spade a spade, we are also responsible for the loss of lives of our citizens!

2) "Has India suffered anything even remotely resembling Pakistan’s trauma"
No! But then again, India didn't raise and fund (with the help from our "friends" KSA and USA) and let them operate with impunity, these terrorist gangs. Why should India have to face this many brutalities when they are ready to actually act against the terrorism on a first big assault?

3) 'safe haven' in FATA is not what deprives us of the deserved sympathy, it is the fact that we have not been able to turn the switch of political Afghan Jehad off in the minds of common Pakistanis. After all we have brainwashed our people for over two decades to support Jehadis (I intentionally didn't use the word Mujahid since a true Mujahid can't be killing innocent civilians). They have a 'safe haven' in our national conscience! And many amongst us are ready to go to a nuclear war due to their (Jehadis') activities.

Zeeshan Ali Rana said...

1) Will u call India an enemy of Pakistan??

2)who says india doesnt fund n support terrorism??? Tamil tigers, mukti bahni, rakhi bahni, RSS, who supported them??? pakistan??? :). n I do not know wht makes u believe tht india is ready to act against terrorism. Why has India not cut supply lines of tamil tigers ever???? Ok tht was past, lets talk abt recent events: Pakistani high commissioner was recently threatened by All India Anti-Terrorist Group via email... wht actions have been taken by india to bring the ppl, responsible for the threat, to justice? Did india investigate the matter??? Wht r the preliminary results of the investigations??

3)it takes time to establish an opinion... u cannot ask one to change one's opinion on gunpoint. So killing the 'jihadis' won't help remove the 'safe heavens' from the nation's conscience i guess... there shld b an alternate plan...

While talking abt the afghan jihad n brain washing thing one should not ignore 'Akhand Bharat' ideology. Indians have been brain washed under this theme for the last 60 years. u urself have seen the anti pakistan sentiment from all over india recently since november...

if india can be respected even in the presence of such ideologies, then why cannt pakistan be??? If pakistan shld be held responsible and punished for such hatered, then why shldn't india be??? if we dont deserve sympathy for the reason tht we dont raise voice against a few jihadis, then why do india deserve sympathy despite supporting unrest in balochistan and nwfp, despite backing baitullah mehsud???

aZ said...

1,2) Yes India has a bad track record of human rights and they have been supporting terrorist organizations which furthered their interests but none of that is relevant when we are talking about Pakistani's love/hate for the Jehadis. The original posts seems to think that India has not witnessed as big atrocities as Pakistan has and that somehow makes India worse than Pakistan... That is the point of contention here. You think India bashing (no matter how justified) will solve any of our problems? We'll need to look in a mirror for that.

3) Who suggested killing all Jehadis was the solution here? (I will limit the discussion on the use of force to the other thread) Cutting their support, on the other hand, is. And the biggest of that support lies in the hearts of the people. Our media and intelligentsia hold a big responsibility in that regard.

Since the points (that I wanted to make) seem to have been diluted in argument and counter-argument, let me put them here separately:

1) Shifting blame to others wouldn't solve our problems.

2) Taliban and Al-qaeda are enemies of Pakistan and public still having a soft corner for them after looking at these statistics is stupid (at best).

And the second point is what has so visibly infuriated me!

junyDada said...

oh boy, there's a lesson for the democracy-crazy people here!! :)

"Taliban and Al-qaeda are enemies of Pakistan and public still having a soft corner for them after looking at these statistics is stupid (at best)."

Zeeshan Ali Rana said...

@aZ: thanx for admitting tht u started an irrelevant discussion by bringing in jehadis and comparing them with india, since the original post has nothing to do with the comparison.

secondly, i cannot conclude wht u inferred by the post, which is:

"The original posts seems to think that India has not witnessed as big atrocities as Pakistan has and that somehow makes India worse than Pakistan... That is the point of contention here"

The original post has not said tht at any point. The post only tried to highlight the biasness of the world and thts it, full stop. It seems tht the point of contention is a creation of ur own mind.

There was no india bashing in the original post on the issue of terrorism. Yes I highlighted india's role in this regard once u tried to prove india an innocent state.

There was no shifting of the blame in the original post. The post itself criticized our diplomatic efforts made while handling the mumbai issue.

But u have not clearly stated if india is an enemy of pakistan or not??