Death toll climbs to 93 in Lakki Marwat blast

DAWN.COM | Pakistan | Death toll climbs to 93 in Lakki Marwat blast

Only a few days after Monday’s horrific bombing of a Shiite procession in Karachi, the Pakistani Taliban struck again, blowing up a truck bomb in the middle of a volleyball match at a Pashtun village bordering South Waziristan. The village is the center of a tribal militia that has fought Taliban forces. The Federally Administered Tribal Area is a headquarters for the Taliban Movement of Pakistan, and a major campaign against the latter has been being waged by the Pakistani army. The bombings are the small terrorist group’s way of inflicting damage on a much stronger Pakistani establishment– and one that is attracting the allegiance of Pashtuns in the struggle against Talibanism.

Al-Jazeera English has video:

At the same time, a CIA drone attack killed 6 persons in North Waziristan, the HQ of the Haqqani network of militants who are allied with al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

Unreported in most Western press accounts was that Friday also saw a coordinated series of peace marches in 53 cities of Pakistan by civil society organization protesting both Taliban bombings, especially the attack on Shiites in Karachi on Monday, and the American drone strikes.

A general strike was called by largely Sunni parties in interior Sindh province to protest Monday’s bombing of Shiites. In Karachi itself, Shiites staged marches and rallies.

The violence at the volleyball game and the drone strikes are big stories. But they should not overshadow the peace rallies and the gesture of Sunnis protesting Taliban bombings of Shiites. The Pakistani public is clearly fed up with the Taliban, and is cheering on the army in its struggle against them. If it weren’t for the American drone attacks, in fact, there would not be the slightest ambiguity in the politics of peace and anti-terrorism.

For the hatred for the Taliban in the Swat Valley, which they briefly took over last spring see this Aljazeera English video– note especially the reaction of students and teachers at girls’ schools:

For an end of the year review of the state of political play in Pakistan see Maliha Lodhi. It is a judicious assessment. But I see the big sea change as the turning of the Pakistanis against the Taliban, which they had earlier seemed to think of as anti-imperialist and committed Muslims, even if a bit rigid. Now, I think most Pakistanis see them as thugs and terrorists, a remarkable change. She is right, though, that this change does not alter their suspicion of and fear of the ambitions of the United States in their country and their region.

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6 Responses

  1. The father and daughter featured in the Aljazeera video also played a prominent role in a video about the Swat valley earlier this year in the New York Times:
    link to video.nytimes.com

  2. Snce the Pakistani "Taliban" now has expanded beyond the frontier Wasiristan areas to include Punjabi and Salafist elements in Karachi, etc., their agenda doesn't seem to be simply responding to Predator attacks but to destabilize the already unstable Pakistani state. We could have a situation emerging where a majority of the population ends up opposing the Pakistan Taliban but are unable to stop a disintegration of the already weak Pakistani state apparatus probably with the connivance of the ISI in order to ensure a return toa Zia ul-Haq like regime.

  3. Re the peace marches in 53 Pakistani cities. So … what is the US doing to support them? What can we, as individuals, do to support them? I believe this is important and feel somewhat at sea about what I can do.

  4. I'm not sure we can do anything to support them. Our support is the kiss of death, as long as we continue the drone attacks. What I'm protesting, however, is that the American press gave so much coverage to the bombing, and no significant coverage to the protests. This is what prompts so many Americans to say "Where's the Muslim Outrage" ? No one covers the kind of active Muslims responses to Terrorism that can be found Here

  5. Hey Juan,

    Let me first say that I have been reading your musings and links religiously since I stumbled on to your website from Huffington Post. I quite enjoy it and really do agree with much of what you have to say and how you view the world. Keep up the great work.

    Secondly, the link you provided for Maliha lodhi article/video in this post os not working, I was wondering if you could give us some details so that I can find it.

  6. juan, i wonder if you might comment on al arabiyya in some future post since you linked to them here. i've become much more conscious of unproblematically linking to news outlets lately–maybe it's because asad abu khalil (angry arab news service) is in the back of my mind, but i feel like any link to al arabiyya needs some kind of contextualisation or justification, especially since a reader like myself only has a cursory understanding of its stakes (but i know the stakes are there–i'm thinking in particular of this recent polemical post by abu khalil which contains a lot i disagree with, especially about iran, but makes good points about al arabiyya: link to angryarab.blogspot.com)

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