The Pakistan report card
The News, October 29, 2009
In times of unimaginable tragedy, it is hard to judge outpourings of grief. The mind is freckled by floods of angry emotion. After having said this, I still feel disappointed that right after the International Islamic University (IIU) bombings one of the pictures I saw in the press was of a demonstration by the boys of the university upholding banners that were against the Kerry-Lugar bill. It seemed to me the significance of what had happened to these hapless students hadn't yet dawned on them.
The International Islamic University has absolutely nothing to do with the bill, and in any case the Taliban didn't bomb the university because they were convinced that the IIU had drafted it for John Kerry. Even at that time, in the aftermath of a senseless act it was difficult to acknowledge for people that the Taliban were utterly nihilistic in their aims.
It was a lost opportunity to honour the lives of the people lost, to say that Islam just doesn't allow any semblance of what the Taliban are doing. One of the students who died was Sidra, a young topper of the Rawalpindi board in the arts group. Her best friend who saw her die chillingly spoke of being unable to sleep, to remember the cold touch of her cheek when she was about to be buried. How did the Kerry-Lugar bill fit into this? Valid criticisms of the bill aside, this was not the moment to do it because it was peripheral to the whole issue, because the Kerry-Lugar bill is also on the lower end of the Taliban agenda, revenge being their first. And the thirst for blood is so great, that the revenge is also taken from the absolutely innocent.
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